Friday, August 30, 2013

Some Reader Feedback on Previous Post


Nils informs me that brochures for both the new Gaastra sails and Tabou boards are to be found on  This is quite correct and I've had a look.  I am battling to copy photos from this site so please visit it if you want.  The Tabou Manta page on the ISSUU is exactly the same as the one I posted (scant spec detail on the new stuff) but the Gaastra brochure is quite good.

First shock - the new Phantom now has only two cambers!  I am always in favor of simplifying and paring down as you know but this is quite extreme.  The Phantom is a pure slalom machine and I'm not sure that the serious guys are going to be that excited about this development.  It is all about performance at the end of the day of course, so I look forward to getting my hands on one of these new machines.  Brave man Peter! (go to pages 63/64).  The Gaastra Vapor is on page 70 and looks great.  It boasts 4 cambers so good for serious racing, not good for me.

All in all, Gaastra have a fine brochure here, full of really tasty gear which also looks stunning.  This version of the brochure is still incomplete but it gives a good impression of all the new stuff.  As I've said before, Peter Munzlinger has really brought this brand to the forefront and continues to impress with his innovation in design and new materials.

Nils also mentions that Simmer has their full 2014 range up on site.  This is mostly true but the boards which interest me (Monster and Godzilla) seem little changed - if at all, from 2013.  The sails of interest are their VMax, 6 batten, performance camless model, the SCS slalom racer and the pure race SCR.  The VMax is properly described but the two cammed models are still greyed out so we'll have to wait a bit longer for them.  If you are a Simmer fan and you are looking for an excellent freerace sail which is easy and fast, give the VMax some consideration.  I do not know the modern Simmers but my experience with previous models taught me that Simmer makes fantastic stuff.

Go well guys and I will try to talk to you soon                

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Some New Board News

There is not too much on the Net about 2014 boards (other than wave stuff) but here is some of the news I managed to find.

The draft page for the new Mantas.  I assume that all the sizes with TBA's have been re-engineered and this covers my three favorite sizes - 61, 71 and 85.  The current boards are all fantastic so I hope that they have not fiddled unnecessarily.    

The new 3S's are on the site.  The graphics and colors are great as usual.  I like the cartoon hand reaching back (don't understand it but it adds a certain character to the tableau)
They state in the blurb that the 96 and 106 models are now more wave orientated - BAD.  They then go on to say that the new shape and tails give better top speed - GOOD.  I'm confused but really interested to ride these two sizes and form an opinion.

Starboard have their complete new range on site and as usual, the freerace and slalom stuff is interesting.
Here is some detail of the new iSonic's underside.  Some serious hydrodynamic engineering right there.
They have also come up with a new construction for their performance boards which sounds promising. Usually when a board company announces a new construction, I find that the boards are suddenly heavier and I always suspect that the "new" materials are actually cheaper, heavier and inferior to the old ones but this seems to be the real thing.  The weights have actually decreased for 2014.  The 2014 iSonic 110 has had it's width increased slightly to 75.5cm.  Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of this board but I wonder if they are not going too wide.

Tillo have announced their new range of slalom boards.  I am not familiar with this brand and have no idea about weights but what I like is the sizing.  The widths are 64, 74 and 84.  For me, a perfect spread for a slalom quiver.  I would personally exclude the 64 size, replacing it with a Tabou 3S 96 because I'm not a serious racer and like to have fun (as opposed to terror)  in stronger wind.

That's all for now
Talk to you soon

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thoughts About Some of the 2014 Equipment


Here are some new sails worthy of comment.

 These are the new Gaastra Vapors.  They seem a bit lighter and less cumbersome than the current model.

This is the new Ka race sail.  Also quite simple.

 This is the new Warp being tested.

What strikes me about these new race sails is the impression that they have all been pared down compared to previous years.  They all seem flatter and lighter - a fantastic development in my opinion.

The exception to this is the new Severne Reflex shown below.  Nine battens!  I'm sure that this is going to be an awesome weapon in the hands of Bjorn but never for me I'm afraid.

Avanti have created a light, technora based version of their Poweride model (the Poweride ME).  Excellent news for those of us looking for the ultimate, light, camless performance sail.  Nice work guys - please send me some to test! 

This is the new Gaastra Cross.  Great colors and probably improved performance in the larger sizes.  What concerns me a bit, is the fact that they have reduced the number of battens in the smaller sizes.  All Crosses used to have 6 battens but now they have reduced this number to 5 in all sizes under 6.4m.  Our 6m Crosses are used for serious speed here and I'm not sure that the new 5 batten sails will be up to scratch for this application.  We shall see.

I thought that Vandal Sails as a company had come to an end when Dan joined Avanti.  Well, the brand has announced a new batch of sails for 2014.  Here are the Addict and the Stitch.  I'm not sure whether these are new designs or just the 2013 sails in different colors.  If they are new then presumably they will incorporate the advances being made with the Avanti sails (?).  These are awesome sails which usually fly under the radar so if you are looking for an accomplished sail and you come across one of these for a good price, give it serious consideration.

I will end this post now.  I want to discuss the Vandal Addict in a bit of depth in a future post and compare it to the Sailworks Hucker (a towering bump-n-jump icon).  I will write a bit about the new boards first and probably do the Addict/Hucker article after that.

Good winds
We should be back on the water in about 3 weeks time - Happy!  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

PWA Comments and Rigging for Speed

Sorry for the long break but when we do not sail, my mind tends to be on things other than windsurfing.

To comment on the PWA racing so far, RRD and Pryde seem to be working exceptionally well together. Antoine and Julien Quentel were placed first and second in the most recent racing in Catalunya.  Both of these guys, as you probably know are on Pryde/RRD.  Arnon Dagan is also riding this kit and seems to have come alive this season.  He was placed 7th at this venue and did even better in previous races.  This is after a long, long time on Gaastra/Tabou on which he did precisely nothing in PWA slalom.  The move seems to have been really good for Arnon.
Antoine and Juju at the mark.

Arnon  easing past his old partner, Ross 
I apologize for the picture quality - the originals are tiny and don't do well enlarged.

The board brands among the top ten racers in Catalunya were as follows:
                                  F2 ..............................1

Sail brands were as follows:

                                 Point 7........................2

Starboard still has the upper hand - what can one say.  They make proper stuff and employ some fearsome sailors but watch this space - others are coming!

Peter Volwater won the Dutch Slalom Nationals a while ago.  Nice for him to win at home against some great racers.  Holland seems to be producing a whole bunch of really fast guys.  I think that the face of international slalom racing is going to reflect this in the coming years.  

Speaking of fast Dutchmen, you may be aware of the video - Ghosts of Speed.  This is a film which follows a bunch of speed sailors in the Netherlands.  I have not seen the film but would recommend it for the speed junkies among you.  What I have found on YouTube, is an offshoot of Ghosts of Speed.  This is a 12 minute video in which they ask each of the sailors who star in the main documentary, to give tuning tips for maximum speed.  I will give some commentary on this video below but for those of you who are interested, just go to Facebook and search for Ghosts of Speed.  They are on Facebook and you will find this clip among all the others.  Look for the vid titled  "How to Tune a Racing Sail to go Fast"

The sailors starring in the tuning vid are :

Jurjen van der Noord
Peter De Wit
Hans Kreisel
Dirk Jan Knol
Martin van Meurs
Luc Salomons
Barry van Lingen

These are all properly fast sailors with Jurjen and Martin having the fastest 2 second max speeds.

Jurjen's tips include downhauling the sail (Reflex) to the recommended setting plus/minus half a centimeter.  He also stresses the importance of pulling on the tack strap and pushing the head of the sail to the leeward for the speed run.  This would not apply for general blasting of course but if you are going for that extra knot on a strip - something to try.



Peter De Wit recons that he gets the best results by having more pressure on his back hand going into the strip.  I don't really understand this and would need to discuss it with him.  In my experience, if I am going to be facing huge gusts of wind, I prefer the pressure to be on my front hand.  This means that as the gust hits and the center of effort moves back in the sail, my hands will be balanced.  I also find that this (lines back) setting allows me to maintain controlled fin pressure when the gust hits.  Having said this, these guys know so much about speed sailing that my opinions probably don't amount to much but I am still allowed hold them.

Hans Kreisel provides a whole bunch of useful tips involving boom height, mast track position and harness line placement and how these things inter-act.  He also stresses the importance of batten tension with the caveat not to over-tighten the third batten from the bottom.  All good stuff.  Hans says that he avoids an adjustable outhaul for speed sailing because all the ropes and pulleys tend to dampen the system and prevent the immediate transfer of power to the rig.  He also sets the boom to the correct length and pulls the sail tightly up against it.  I have to commend Hans on these really useful and practical tips.


Dirk Jan talks about the need for sufficient downhaul and also the importance of cam pressure.  

Dirk Jan

Martin spends some time discussing wind shifts, apparent wind and how these things effect one's equipment and speed.  This is all quite technical and I need to spend some time listening to it again.  Interesting.



Luc stresses the importance of the tack strap to bring power to the lower part of the rig and also says that he uses an adjustable outhaul to save strength getting upwind.  I am in Hans Kreisel's camp on this I'm afraid.

Lastly Barry van Lingen.  Barry gives a lot of credit to his broad base fins.  He also likes long lines and a low boom.  This goes against my particular style but I am not nearly as quick as Barry so I'll not comment.

Well there you have it.  Some interesting insights by some of the fastest guys on the planet.  I was relieved to find that I agree with the way that every sail in the vid is rigged.  Jurjen's Severne looks slightly under downhauled but I will concede that I am probably wrong to say this.  The local sailors with Reflexes, have found that these sails, because of the fancy batten system, perform well with slightly less downhaul than one is inclined to give them.

I note that some of the 2014 gear is out so I may discuss some of this in the next post.

Good winds