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

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