Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fin Feedback

I have had the opportunity to sail my new VMax 39cm fin quite extensively and I am ready to give my verdict on this fin.

The fin is a thoroughly competent performer.  It hauls up-wind, blasts across the wind and really moves downwind.  It is not without its faults though.  I spin out every few runs in situations where I should not really be spinning out.  Under extreme pressure I feel the fin scudding sideways on occasion.  All in all I give the VMax a rating (according to my off-the-cuff grading system which I have just created), of B+.  It may not be good enough to take into the PWA fire zone but it is certainly good enough to be a training fin for sailors at the highest level.  It is certainly good enough for me and I suspect for 90% of readers.  

Is the VMax worth buying?  Definitely.  I think that it is better than the Select S11, S12 and I presume, the S1 as well.  Apart from the performance aspect, I also have more confidence in the build of this fin when compared to the S series.  I know that I am not alone in finding splits in my old Select S series fins and I have confidence that the VMax will posess decent durability.

As I mentioned, my fin is a 39cm length and is perfect under my Falcon 113 with sails of 6.4m and 7.0m.  I suspect that I may be better served for the bigger sails, with a 41cm fin.  The really fast guys here tell me that the 39cm length is correct - regardless of sail size and the stronger the wind the better.  Maybe I just sail in lighter winds than they do.  I will try to get a ride on a 41cm VMax with my 7.8m, and will give you feedback when I do.

I am also in a position to give feedback on the Gregor fin (39cm) I have been trying.  Surprisingly this fin is very comparable to the VMax.  I also spun out on the Gregor but perhaps not as often as with the VMax.  Like the VMax, the fin is fast and it blasts comfortably upwind and downwind.  Like the VMax, a solid B+.  I am now ready to return the Gregor to Juan Alonso and I have to say, I am going to miss it.  A nice piece of equipment.

When I compare the Vector Canefire Carbon (40cm) to the above fins, I am confident that the Canefire outperforms both of these fins on all points of sail.  The Canefire does everything asked of it with ease and class and allows the rider to be his fastest in comfort.  On my rating system, this fin gets a solid A.  I would rate the Canefire as being equal to an equivalent Deboichet, Hurricane, Gasoil (and maybe an F4 - I will give an update on these fins in a moment).  The A grade fins (in my scheme of things) are good enough to win at the highest level at a purchase price which will not break the bank of the average sailor.        

I suppose that to get an A+ grading, we would need to go to Kashy, maybe Ifju and one or two of the really exotic fin makers.  Regarding F4, I tried to e-mail the guys but they have simply not replied to me.  You may recall that at the end of our last season I was in contact with the guys and they seemed keen to send some fins for us to try.  It seems as if this is not going to happen and I am deeply disappointed.  They have extended their fin range and it looks awesome.  If any of you get to ride an F4 fin, please give me some feedback and I will post your remarks.

We have had a couple of quiet days so a chance for the body to recover.

Good winds  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Some Thoughts about GPS Units and the Future


GPS units, as we all know, allow us to record windsurfing run times, distances, speeds etc and allow us to download and analyse the resulting stats.  If you are serious about constant improvement in your windsurfing speed, you need to use a GPS unit.  If we do not measure we cannot maximise our rate of improvement.

Most of us would agree with all this but few of us take the trouble to use a GPS unit every time we go out for speed.  Among the members of this blog, Alastair Nichol, Eric Kaminga and Kevin Do are probably the only guys who use the GPS unit properly as an improvement tool.  The rest of us (certainly most of the rest of us) simply don't take the trouble.  I own two GPS units and I have to say I never have the urge to fiddle with set-up, strap the unit on and download after each session .  I am simply too slack to use the unit and my development in the sport suffers.

One thing which would really tempt me to use a GPS unit would be if it could somehow give me a real time, continuous reading of speed during each run and I could view this while blasting.  This would allow me to see the results of changes to stance, trim and attitude in real time on the water - a completely different thing to viewing retrospective stats.

I was reading about Google's new Glass system.

I am not a huge fan of up to the minute communication devices as a rule, but this could be something special for us.  I am sure that this technology will allow one, with connected GPS, to beam real time windsurfing speeds continuously and directly into one's eyeball.  Awesome!  I don't use my current GPS units but I would certainly use this - no question!

I will comment further in the next post about my 39 VMax fin and how it compares to the corresponding Gregor fin which Juan Alonso sent to me last season.  I will also comment on how each of these fins stacks up against Vector's Canefire carbon.  Interesting.

Good winds (we were blown out today so I used the time to recuperate)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Windsurfing Center in Morocco


Jennifer Tulip sent me this report and asked me to post it on the blog. 

Here is her article:  

Windsurfing is Really Taking Off in Morocco.

If you’ve ever thought about doing something fun and different, there’s no better time than now to do it!

Explora Morocco have just opened their brand new surf centre in Dakhlah where you can enjoy surfing, windsurfing or even learn to kitesurf!

Dakhla is located on a peninsula on the Moroccan coast of North West Africa. This prime location is where the Atlantic chill merges with the warm desert heat, resulting in conditions that are particularly perfect for windsurfing. Owing to this, the local surf community is abuzz with professionals and amateurs alike flocking here all year round to take to the waves with the wind in their sails.

Power of the Wind
Explora Morocco run a popular surf school in Essaouira, Morocco and have just opened their new centre in Dakhla. Their skilled and fully qualified instructors can teach you the ropes of all these water sports and offer a range of tuition options for you to really get to grips with the surf.

They also offer an equipment hire service for those already skilled in windsurfing who are travelling without their kit.

Visit the Explora Morocco website now to discover everything you need to know about windsurfing in Morocco and book your lessons and accommodation.

That is Jenni's article.  

I did some research on the Dakhla center and was quite impressed by what they offer - it looks like an excellent place to consider for a windsurfing holiday.  

The center offers 2014 Fanatic and North equipment.  The winds are constant and steady, blowing from April to October and peaking in July and August.  Sailing terrain comprises a huge, shallow lagoon with clean water and firm sandy bottom.  They have three zones – a speed strip, the general sailing area and a wave spot at the entrance where lagoon meets ocean.

The accommodation seems good and is right on the beach.  Equipment rental rates are on a par with anywhere else.

This is perfect spot to concentrate on a particular move (gybing for instance) and come away with solid proficiency.  Hire for a week or two, take out a Gecko in lighter winds and a Freewave when the wind picks up.  When you are not nailing your gybes have a go on the speed strip.  This is just a stretch of water with a really low sand bank to the windward.  The water is absolutely flat allowing you to rack up some proper speed runs.  All of these things are on offer at a venue which is not overcrowded with kitesurfers and other windsurfers.  My idea of a proper holiday!  Click on the link above for more information.

Talk to you soon  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fanatic and North News

Here are some views of the fin box surround profiles on the new Falcon models.  Like Starboard and RRD, Fanatic have gone for complex cut-outs.  There is obviously merit in this otherwise the top guys would not be doing it.  Some serious design development is evident.  I hope to get a ride when Craig is here to assess the effect for myself and report back.  He usually brings a 110 but I am hoping to see a 120 on the lawn.  One can only hope.

Falcon 140
Falcon 130

Falcon 120 /74 - my favorite width




Just a short note about the new North lineup.  They have posted their new E-Type camless performance sail (replacing the X-Type).  I think that this is going to be something special.  They say that they discovered things in the development of this sail, so profound that they incorporated them into their new race sail.  Usually the process trickles down from the race model to other models but this went the other way.  Something kick-ass this way comes! (sorry Shakespeare).

One thing that is bothering me about North however, is the fact that they seem to have dropped their ultra light Platinum Aero mast in SDM.  They still offer the RDM sizes but no SDM.  I wrote to them asking about it but they ignore me.  On this topic, I note that Avanti also seem to have dropped their ultra light Tow Pro race mast.  I also wrote to them and they also ignored me.  Windsurfing suppliers are not good at responding to simple, relevant questions about their products - not acceptable!

Talk to you soon

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Season Starts and Some PWA News

Hi All

We have had two days in a row with sailable wind and I sailed on each day.

Yesterday I tried my new VMax fin (39cm) for the first time.  I was totally overpowered on my Falcon 113 and Cross 6.4.  Despite the wide eyes I was able to get quite a good impression of the fin.  My impression is that this is one fine foil.  Even though I was flying out of the water after each large piece of chop, I never felt out of control.  I had one spin-out but the fin recovered quickly allowing me to continue blasting without too much of a delay.  So far so good then.  I look forward to sailing this board/fin combo with my Savage 7.8 and will let you know how that goes.

On Monday we had a far easier sail.  Softer wind and I was on my winter freeride board, Cross 6.4 and shox system.  So much easier than pure slalom!  Joos was also on the water and I have to compliment his rig.  He was on his Manta 110, Vector Canefire Carbon 40cm, and 6.5 Severne NCX pro edition.  What a beautifully balanced, elegant set-up.  The sail has the right combination of power and lightness. The Manta is super easy and wickedly fast, and the fin is a delight (as I discovered when Juan Alonso sent me his to try at the end of last season).  Joos also had his rig softened with a shox system which enabled him to keep sailing for far longer than usual for this early in the season.  It is good to see the guys getting the right equipment onto the water for the prevailing conditions.  A perfect recipe for fun.

I note that Antoine Albeau is once again the PWA Slalom champ.  What a sailor!

Second is Alberto Menegatti.  No mean feat for a guy who was not doing at all well last year.  Alberto was a frequent visitor here last season so we are pleased for him of course.  

Third was Julien Quentel, also on RRD/Pryde.  A lethal combination this year.  This is born out by Arnon's position -  14th!  Fantastic for a guy who has been in the wilderness for so many years.  Great result!

Other points of interest - Loft have not been as well represented in the standings as they were last year.  Bjorn ended in 13th place - not a spent force, but there are quite a few young guys who can beat him most days of the week now.  Some of the old salts did quite well.  Cyrill came in 4th, Ben vd Steen 5th - two power houses of our sport.  Gonzalo made 6th showing that he still has it and that Loft sails can perform in the right hands.  Micah Buzianis and Josh Angulo were 8th and 9th respectively, evidence of the value of experience, class, and years of competing at the highest level.

Talk to you soon