Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Some Feedback from our Lagoon


Steven Van Broeckhoven was here the other day performing some of his unbelievable moves.  I think I mentioned once before how difficult it is to understand what he is doing.  The moves just keep coming - one into the other - each more puzzling than the last.  Joos tells me that even if you film Steven doing these things and then slow the film down it is still difficult to understand what is going on.  Fantastic talent and ability!  I note that he always sails in the same spot when he comes here.  I suppose the wind/water conditions are optimal for him on that particular stretch of water.

We hosted some national slalom racing here this weekend.  Dan Aeberli (the F2 board designer) joined in and did really well against an extremely hot field.  He was sailing a prototype Silberpfeil (I estimate about 69/70 cm wide, volume 110-114 litres).  I inspected the underside of the board and it was a mass of inked marks with measurements.  His Choko fin was similarly marked with lines and measurements so I assume they are doing quite a bit of product development here.  For much of the racing Dan used a 7.9m Ka race sail - an awesome machine in bright green.  Distinctive and so very fast.  I am always encouraged when a board shaper sails his boards at a really high level and kicks ass on the boards he has designed.  This somehow gives me massive confidence in the products.  Patrik Diethelm is another example of this - sailing his own boards in the PWA and doing really well.

Following Daniel's showing at the racing, I took some time to look at the Choko website.  We tend to look down on G10 fins here for real slalom performance but Dan was on what looked like a standard Fireblade proto and smoked a whole lot of sailors on Deboichet, Hurricane and Select Vmax fins to name a few.  Looking at their site, the Choco fins which could be of interest to us are the Fireblade and Black Pearl for normal slalom and the Spirit Pro for the wild stuff  (if Select's Edge doesn't pan out).

Andy rigged his soft stuff and as I was leaving I watched him smoking the entire slalom racing field on one of their legs.  I will discuss this in my next post which will continue on the theme of soft equipment for high winds,  I will attempt to get into some of the physics at play.    

Here are the Choco fins we need to be aware of.  Talk to you soon


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Advice on Juan's Equipment Selection


Most of you correspond with me via e-mail and I prefer to answer by e-mail if the response is not likely to be interesting to others.  Juan has posted his query to the blog so I have posted it to the main page below together with the response I gave him.  Juan’s situation and my suggestions of a way forward may be of some help to some of you.     

This is his query - 

I have myself np h2 8,2 mtrs whith rrd firemove 130
Np h2 7,2 mtrs and gaastra cross 6,4 with rrd firemove 110
Gaastra poison 5,8 and 5,0 whith rrd firemove 100
And rrd fsw 84 to use whith poison 5,0 and 4,5 mtrs
And im allways thinking in how to reduce sails and boards
May i have you opinion? Regards juan

This is the response I gave him

Hi Juan
Here are my thoughts regarding your equipment.  As an easy sailing equipment collection I have no problem with anything here.  

If you want to reduce the number of boards then my suggestion would be to get rid of the 110 Firemove first.  This would leave you with the 130 (85cm wide) and the 100 (69cm wide) as your big boards.  The jump between the two boards is absolutely acceptable and you will still be able to step from one to the other as the wind changes.  The 130 will go beautifully with the 8.2 and 7.2 sails, the 100 will take the 7.2, 6.4, 5.8 and 5.0 sails.  Your FSW 84 is a great small board which you should hang on to.

Once you have ditched the 110 Firemove, you need to establish the path you want to follow with your windsurfing.  If you are like most of us, you are going to want to get faster on the water as you progress (as opposed to wave sailing, freestyle or gentle cruising).  If this is what you want to achieve then your next upgrade will be to exchange the 130 Firemove for a pure slalom board.  In 130l/85cm wind, the water is generally flat so I always advise sailors to go for the raciest design they can afford for this size of board.   I gather that your supplier sells RRD so the X-Fire is going to be your machine of choice.  The X-Fire 122 is 81cm wide, beautifully light and will probably plane in lighter winds than the 130 Firemove.  It is also a rocket ship and will smoke with the 8.2 and 7.2 H2’s.  

Once you have done this upgrade then you will have a nicely balanced quiver.  You may get hooked on speed and want to swap the 100 Firemove for a medium slalom board or a fast, light design like the Firestorm 111.  This will only happen in the future.  For now you should enjoy the user friendliness of the 100 Firemove.  Use it to perfect your gybes, tune your sails and improve your skills for overpowered sailing. 

A word on fins - Most fins which come standard with boards are totally unable to extract the performance which those boards are capable of.  You need proper fins and money spent wisely in this area can be some of the best money you can spend.  If you are sailing with stock fins then you must change.  Your 130 will benefit from a 49cm Select S1 or a 48cm Select Ride-Freerace.  The 100 will benefit from a 39cm Select Edge.

Your sails are all fine.  Please ensure that you give sufficient downhaul to the H2’s.  These are hugely powerful sails and can be absolute pigs if they are not downhauled properly.  Go beyond spec! 

To answer your point about NP sails – I think that Pryde makes some really fine sails.  Their race sails are some of the best you can buy – light, elegant and fast.  Your H2’s are powerhouses and the Hellcat is one fine sail.  Their crossover sails however, are not that impressive.  I say that because I have yet to see any visiting sailor on a Pryde freeride or crossover, keep up with us on our Gaastra Crosses.

I hope these points are of some assistance Juan.  Please keep in touch and let me know how you get on. 


New Select Fins


I mentioned in the last post that I had issues with some aspects of the new Select fin lineup.  The new slalom fin looks great and I have no doubt that it is going to perform.  The thing which bothered me is that fact that I understood from the pictures that they had excluded the SRX Freeslam.  This fin is proving to be one of the best we have available for real world conditions.  I looked at the picture of the new Edge and it looks slightly different from the SRX.  I queried this with Anthony who got straight on to Select.  They assure us that the new Edge is exactly the same as the old SRX Freeslam.  It has been painted black and the sizes are now in odd numbers.  I am much happier now and only slightly worried.  I need to hold a new Edge in the hand together with an SRX to be totally convinced however.

Talk to you soon