Juan Alonso from Spain has requested some commentary on the North Shox system which I use with my Cross 6.4m. I will give you some of the background to me acquiring this system to give you some context.
I needed two new extensions and my mast feet were in need of replacing so I decided on a solution which would replace my worn stuff but would also give me the chance to experience something new. I had read about North's Shox system and have always been interested in it. I visited the North guys in Cape Town (Ocean Spirit) and asked for the following:
2 Uni.XT extensions - 1 sdm and 1 rdm.
3 Boje Joints
This combination gives me all the new bits I need for my replacement program. What it also lets me do is to try the Shox system. The guys at Ocean Spirit gave me the Shox upgrade kit to try on apro. This allowed me to remove the standard base plate from the rdm extension and replace it with the Shox conversion kit (the red thing shown below). If I didn't like the Shox system I could then return the kit, replace the original plate and continue as normal. If I liked the system I would just pay for the kit and continue with it (still with the original plate stored away which can be replaced at any time in the future). The I.tendon (the silver thing next to the red kit) has the same connecting flange as the Boje joints so I am able to move the 6.4 Cross between boards as the wind changes.
Sorry for the lengthy story but it helps to give some context.
The Shox system is interesting to sail with. It definitely has the effect of smoothing out rough chop. This keeps you comfortable and allows you to keep the board trimmed even over the wildest water. As I have said before - comfort = speed. I gave Joos (our Doctor) a ride on the system and he immediately ordered one for himself. Joos has been nursing a damaged knee and a sore back for some time and is one sailor who feels every piece of chop. His reaction after trying the system just once is testament to how effective it is.
Having said this I would not use the system over flat water since it has the effect of isolating you from your equipment. The really good sailors need to be in constant touch with their equipment to make the minute adjustments required to optimize their speed and this system imparts a slightly vague quality to the rig. I am happy to have the system on the 6.4 since I use this completely overpowered more than any of my other sails. I therefore recommend the Shox system as something to have in your equipment bag, to be employed when you need some comfort on the water. Maybe not when you are racing and need to win.
That's all for now. I want to write a piece about fins in the next post. Andy phoned me from work recently to discuss his sail on a Vmax fin. Whenever he phones me to like this I know he has been seriously impressed by something and I listen carefully. Well I will talk about this and expand a bit on fins in general in the next post.
Talk to you soon