Monday, December 31, 2012

Nice Gybing Video

Hi All

Just a quick post this one - between the sailing, drinking and eating.  I saw a really nice gybing instructional video a while ago.  It is on YouTube but just google - carve gybe tuition with neilson.  This will take you to the YouTube site.  The video is simple, easy to understand and each stage of the gybe is nicely presented.  Good stuff

Talk to you soon  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Re-look at the Ultimate Quiver and Some PWA Gossip

Andy sent me an e-mail with his thoughts on the ultimate windsurfing quiver.  I include the message here:

Hi Phil

Current ULTIMATE quiver that I have been giving some thought to:

Formula Fin
Overdrive 9.5 or Phantom 9.2
Manta 85/135
53&49 S11
Overdrive 8.6 or Phantom 8.5
Manta 71/116
39,41&43 S10/11/12/Vmax?
Overdrive 7.8 or Phantom 7.8
& Savage 6.6 or 7.2
3S 66/116 or Rocket 66/115
36,38 SRX/ 37,39 S12 or combo
Cross 6.4 & 5.6
3S 61/96
30,32 SRX, 33S12 or Edge 31&33
Cross 5.6 & 4.8  

I would still like my 5.2 cross in there somehow, but struggle to justify it, even in the ultimate quiver.

A challenge would be getting enough "Special Sticks" for the Cross sails.

Since it is the ultimate quiver I would want lovely carbon booms, extensions and bases[Chinook springs to mind] also.

One Can dream

This is an interesting quiver.  If you wanted to restrict yourself to 3 boards I think Manta 85 and 71 with a 3S 96 would go a long way to covering all your needs.  The "special sticks" he refers to are the masts we have discovered which work so well with the Cross sails.

A quick bit of PWA gossip before I sign off.  I heard that Alberto Menegatti is leaving Gaastra for Point 7.  I have seen no confirmation of this anywhere on the Internet so please don't quote me but let's see if my intelligence sources are any good.

Talk to you soon  

Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 Mantas and Some Thoughts on the 2013 Overdrives


The 2013 Manta line is on Tabou’s site and I believe that this is probably the best range of racing boards available today for the advanced windsurfer interested in general blasting or winning at local races.  The shapes are so accessible and easy to sail for the proficient windsurfer.  Whether they are good enough for the very best pro sailors, I’m not sure.   We will see when the PWA circuit resumes in 2013.   I think that Starboard and RRD are two really difficult acts to beat where top slalom racing is concerned and Fanatic is always capable (on a good day) of producing something special.

One slight concern that I have regarding the 2013 Mantas lies with the 71/116l board.  Early this year (2012), the Tabou team were testing boards here and one of the boards was the 71/113 Manta which several of us rode and which I reviewed on this blog.  Hennie, one of our top racers purchased this board and has been devastating at races.  This is the board that local sailors have fallen in love with and is the one slalom machine on everyone’s list.  What I notice now however, is that the volume on the specs sheet for this board is shown as 116l on the 2013 site.  The team inform us (in the description) that changes have been made to make it racier.  This worries me.  Is the new volume simply the result of measuring the volume accurately or is the final board a different design from the one we tested?  Was the board I tested merely a proto which has not made the final cut?  If the board is a new design, will we be as impressed by it as we were with Hennie’s  113? - big questions creating a lot of uncertainty here.  Tabou – please send a new 71/116 Manta for testing!

Looking at the entire Manta range you could quite easily buy the new 85/135 as your light wind board.  Andy rode the 2012 85 the other day with his 7.5 Overdrive and absolutely smoked.  He was getting speeds which were simply unheard of for big boards a few years ago.  If the new 85 is an improvement on this 2012 model then I want one.  End of story.  If the new 71/116 is the same, as good or better than the one we tested,  then this is virtually a compulsory purchase.  I no longer believe in small slalom boards for myself but if you are set on slalom boards throughout your range then the 59/88 is the board that interests me.   What I like about this machine apart from the narrow width, is that they have increased its length.  Small boards stall so easily in the gybe through bad chop if they are too short.  The extra length of this model is bound to make difficult gybes a breeze – Nice!

The 2012 Severne Overdrive 7.5 has been causing a stir here with Andy smoking all comers on the water.  My concern regarding the 2013 models is that they have wider sleeves than the 2012 models.  Also, the 7.5m has become a 7.8m.  Take it from me the 7.5m had more than enough grunt.  I hope that Severne is not making this sail too racy and difficult to sail.  I do notice however that the alternative masts specified for the new Overdrives are RDM masts.  Interesting and this would undoubtedly soften the sails for smaller guys.  I am unsure about how the camber inducers are going to work on the narrower mast if you were to go the RDM route but knowing Severne they will have an elegant solution.    

That’s all for now.  I’ve had a chance to examine more carefully the new Select fin range and I have issues.  I will discuss these in the next post.     

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gaastra Phantom and Severne Overdrive

Hi All

Happy holidays and congratulations for dodging the end of the world on December 21.  We live to sail some more.  Awesome!

We have had some fantastic sailing over the past few weeks and some equipment models are making their mark.  Karel, an extremely fast visiting sailor has bought a 2013 Phantom 7.8m and Andy has purchased a 2012 Overdrive 7.5m.  Both of these sails are phenomenal.  Fast and easy.  I almost keep up across the wind on my Savage 7.8 but through the lulls, upwind and downwind these sails are easily faster.  No question.  Andy is now as fast on big stuff as he is on the smaller kit.  The Overdrive is a mighty sail - huge low end grunt and seemingly limitless top speed.  I have not ridden either of these sails yet despite both guys kindly offering them to me to test (I was too busy having fun on my stuff and exhausted myself).  I trust both of the guys however and have no hesitation in recommending either sail to anyone who wants to go really fast on this size of sail.  Both guys are really impressed with their sails and both are smoking on the water.  Ample reasons for an endorsement!
My impression is that the Gaastra is a bit softer than the Severne leading me to suspect that the Phantom may be better suited to the lighter sailor while the Overdrive could be a better bet for the aggressive sailor who has the weight and strength to keep it trimmed.  Both of the guys have vowed never to own another pure race sail given the performance and ease of these two machines.

Andy's Tabou 3S 96l is still proving a giant killer.  He sailed against two of our premier racers a while ago in wild conditions.  They had full slalom sails of course and one was on his small iSonic.  Both were given a spanking by Andy on the 3S and a 5.2m Gaastra Remedy.  He uses a Select SRX in the wild conditions.  I am now convinced that most of us have no need for pure slalom kit in the smaller sizes.  I now have a slightly different take on an ideal sail and board quiver and will discuss this in a future post.

That is all for now.  In the next post I will discuss some concerns regarding the 2013 Manta range and the 2013 Overdrive.  I've just noticed that Select have brought out completely new fin ranges and I will be examining these and discussing them with Anthony if I can corner him.  I will hopefully have some thoughts about these fins and some reservations to share with you.

Good winds


Monday, December 3, 2012

Dunkerbeck Visit and Some Equipment Feedback


Bjorn popped in for a visit on his way back from Namibia this weekend.  It is always nice to see the top guys in the flesh and on our sailing patch.  He had a short sail to clear his head after the long trip.  Unfortunately I had already left when he arrived and so did not see him but he borrowed one of Grant's boards and went out with his own Reflex 6.2.  Some of the locals had the opportunity to talk with him and report that he is a really nice guy.

I've been sailing my 2012 Falcon 113 quite regularly and finally have it tuned for the 2 sails I use it with.  This board is a total performance machine - quite harsh and clattery over chop but easy to control.  It needs wind to get going but if you are powered up, things become easy and everything seems to fall into place.  If you are not powered up (ie if you keep falling off the plane) the ride is miserable.  Under-powered the board feels sticky on the water and is exhausting.  Also notable with the Falcon is its propensity to dive if you let your weight bear too far forward in transitions.  I started to be conscious of this trait after Eric Kaminga mentioned it to me in an e-mail.  It is not serious for me but I can understand how it could be really annoying if you tack your board often and are not quite quick enough through the move.

Andy was able to sail Lorch's Glider 105 and was really impressed.  I am grateful for Andy because of the way he sails and evaluates windsurfing equipment.  When he sails he usually blasts against Harry and some other really good sailors, all on optimized kit.  This blasting is at top speed over real world conditions and the sole aim of these guys is to maximize speed in the prevailing conditions.  Each sailor is keenly aware of how fast they should be going and if they are on a new piece of equipment they can tell immediately whether it is better or worse than their normal stuff, based on how far ahead or behind their main competitor they end up after each run.  Any piece of equipment, therefore, is put through the fire when being evaluated.  Speed over the entire course is the main criterion – concepts such as easy cruising, ability in waves, happiness generated or brand loyalty, are all irrelevant.

This all means that if a piece of equipment gets the nod from Andy, I know that it is something special as far as flat out blasting and controlled gybing goes.  If he is excited by a particular board, I pay close attention.  Well the Lorch got him excited so rest assured - this is one awesome board.  He recons that the standard fin is totally acceptable.  You would  buy a really good fin with this board but the standard one would make a fine spare.


We don't know much about the Lorch brand here and only see one of their boards when a visiting sailor from Europe happens to bring his own equipment and happens to have one in his bag.  What I like (in addition to the performance potential discovered by Andy) is the fact that they can build most of their designs in a super light construction if you are interested.  Look at the Platinum SL weights on this chart!  A Glider 105 weighing under 5kg!  Awesome (but probably awesomely expensive as well)    

    Platinum LinePlatinum Line SL
    Glider 954.904.65
    Glider 1055.204.95
    Glider 1205.505.25
    129 Breeze6.205.95
    142 Breeze6.406.15
    Oxygen 604.504.25
    Oxygen 674.704.45
    Oxygen 734.804.55
    Oxygen 835.004.75
    Oxygen 935.505.25

They have introduced their new Offroad model for 2013 (a rival for Tabou's 3S) and I would give anything to test one of these in view of the results achieved with Andy's 3S 96.

Three notable slalom sails to have broken cover recently are Avanti's Condor, Severne's Overdrive and Gaastra's Phantom.  Each one of these sails is going to be fantastic for the advanced blaster who wants to blow everything else off the water.

That is all for now.  Talk to you soon

Tabou 3S 96 and 106


I promised to give some feedback on the Tabou boards we are currently interested in.  I wrote in a previous post about the excellent blasting performance Andy was able to extract from his Tabou 3S 96 with two Select Eagle fins (29 and 31).  Well he screwed a Select S12-33 onto the board and took his high wind performance up significantly.  On this combination (with Gaastra Remedy 6.0) in strong wind, he is virtually unbeatable by any of the really hot local sailors.

I took the 96 out with the S12 fin and my Gaastra Cross 6.4 on a windy day in some quite big rolling chop and it cooked.  The reason you can push the speed so high over rough water is its incredible comfort in these conditions.  Comfort=confidence=speed.  You still feel all the bumps but somehow you are able to maintain control where other boards would be losing it.  I’m not as fast as Andy but on this combination in proper wind I am as fast as I can go with any board/sail combination I can think of.  Very impressive and these revelations have caused me to re-think my ideal board quiver.  I used to think that the Rocket 95 would be my high wind board but now I have no hesitation in recommending the 3S 96 for this slot.  If you want to try a 3S 96 in this role remember to put a fast fin under it, attach all 4 straps as far back and as far out as possible.  Your mast foot should be towards the front of the track.  The plate of the mast foot should completely cover the front of the track.
Interestingly, I got to try the 3S 106 on the same day as I took Andy’s 96 out.  This board had been set up with 3 straps inboard and to the front. It also had the standard fin so I rode it accordingly – enjoying the swells and taking it easy.  The board behaved impeccably – relaxed control with awesome support through the gybes.  I would really like to get the 106 out on the water, set up for speed and see how it performs.  I would also really like to ride the 3S 116 in both strap/fin configurations.  I would choose a Select S12-39 for this board.

I'm looking forward to trying the 2013 Rocket 105 with Select S12-35 soon and will report back if I get a chance.  Fabien is one of the current board designers who is really getting his act together.  He embodies the concept of continuous improvement in board design with his evolutionary approach.  Nice work Fabien!