Wednesday, December 24, 2014

New Avanti Sails and some Manta Pics


I apologize for the long break - the silly season can throw one's routines out sometimes.  We have had some good sailing recently with three fast upcountry sailors (Karel, Andy and Rob) keeping the locals on their toes and one super-fast Arthur hanging with our best.  The bodies are recuperating now however over some quiet days.  Our next wind is expected on Friday and Saturday.

Avanti sails always impress me and their new race sail looks stunning.  These guys came up with carbon fiber load path reinforcing a while ago and although Severne's recent moves in this direction are impressive, Avanti was at the forefront:

Just look at the shape under tension in the top two pictures.  What a beautiful thing!

The bottom picture shows the side-on view and I am heartened to note no protruding batten at the clew.  This approach tempts me to shorten the overhangs on two of my existing sails.  I have wanted to do this for some time but feared that the new shape would somehow not work.  Dan however, knows what he is doing so I am now feeling a lot more confident about cutting two perfectly fine sails.  One would need to do the mod in conjunction with one's sail repair person to ensure that the new margin is properly strengthened and that all the reinforcing is properly stitched back onto the clew area.  I haven't decided yet.

15 Manta Pics
The Manta pictures below came from but I think that the original photos came from a guy called Ken Kitahara at Maneuverline.

Bottom of the new 61

The new 71

The new 81


The 71 and 81 boards show slight differences in the cut-outs compared to the 2014 boards.  Both designs are hugely impressive and I have no doubt that they are going to work perfectly.

The 61 bottom is really interesting - much simpler than the bigger boards but I have an idea that it will be something special on the water.  Simple need not mean ineffective and there is a certain elegance of design here.

That is all for now.  Talk to you soon.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Select Fin Update and a Suggestion for Financing New Equipment


I note that Select are now listing the new VMax 3.0 on their site.  I gather that the larger sizes have more grip than the 2.0.  Unfortunately no updates on the new Rhino race fin.  I am looking forward to seeing (and hopefully trying) this fin.

Speaking to the local windsurfers on our beach, an overriding topic of conversation is the increasing costs of new windsurfing equipment.  If you are a young guy with the skill and passion to enter slalom racing seriously - how on earth do you afford a quiver of new race sails, boards, rigs and fins? This is actually quite serious for the sport and I'm sure that more than a few potential windsurfers are opting for kiting instead.  Not good.

Anyway, this line of thought prompted me to mention my commercial website to the readers of this blog.  One of the sections of this website is devoted to methods of earning money online and if you are interested, I provide the link below.  Please understand that my website is for the general public and so I'm sure that sections of it will be of no interest to you but establishing an online business is something we should all be doing (especially if we wish to continue buying tasty equipment).  Anyway, here is the link to the site.  Please go to the root page of each topic and read this before going on to its subsidiary pages.  Knowing windsurfers as I do, I think that the material on affiliate marketing and the stuff about commodities and Forex trading will be of interest.  The other stuff - not so sure.

Anyway, please have a look.  All the approaches suggested actually work!

Here is the link:

[Phil's Website]      

Mast Specifications by Sail Brand


A while ago I received an e-mail from Giuseppe, a reader from the north of Italy.  He is keen on buying a 2014 GA Vapor and asked whether he should opt for the outgoing GA gold mast or the new blue model.

The easy answer is to say that since the sail would have been designed on the gold mast, this is going to be the best thing to buy.  What I also try to do however, is to think about what is going to happen down the line.  What happens when you replace the sail?  Will the gold mast still be useful?  My advice to Giuseppe was that although the gold mast may (?) be better on the 2014 Vapor, he should opt for the new blue model if possible.  GA tell us that the new masts will work on their older Vapors so he should not have compatibility problems.  He will also have a mast which, in the future, will work with a number of different sail brands and this is the purpose of this post - to give you some mast stats by sail brand.

I wrote a post about mast bend statistics a few years ago.  For those of you who did not read it, here is the short version.  Windsurfing mast bend characteristics are measured as follows:

Suspend the mast from two points (one 5cm from the base, one 5cm from the tip).  Hang a 30kg weight from the point exactly mid way between the two suspension points.  Measure the mast deflection at the mid point when the weight is applied.  For this example assume the deflection is 10cm.
Now mark a point half way between the base suspension point and the mid point and another point half way between the tip suspension point and the mid point.  Measure the deflection at each of these points when the weight is applied.  The tip quarter will deflect more that the base quarter of course. For this example, assume that the tip quarter has deflected 7.8cm and that the base quarter shows a deflection of 6.4cm.  These three figures give us the measures we require.  We take each of the quarter measures (7.8 and 6.4) as a percentage of the mid section deflection (10.0).  So here we have the position of 78% tip deflection and 64% base deflection.  From these two percentages we calculate the curve delta of the mast.  Simply deduct the base deflection from the tip deflection.  In this case the curve delta is 14.  The higher the delta, the softer the mast top.

Here are some deltas you may find interesting:
        GA      Point-7      KA      Maui      North      Severne        Loft          Pryde
460   14        14            14         14           13             13            13              17

490   14        14            14         14           13             13            13              17

These are all stats for SDM race masts.

The above measures show a huge change in some of the brands.  Maui used to have really hard top masts with deltas of 9 or 10.  Gaastra was not far behind them with deltas of between 10 and 12.  Now GA masts are actually softer than both North and Severne.  They are now also compatible with a range of other sails.  Nice!

Pryde and Tushingham are the two brands who persist with very soft top masts.  Antoine certainly gets results out of this approach but I have a feeling he would win on any of the other brands as well.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

PWA Final Results


Antoine has ended up on top of the PWA slalom log for 2014.  Another great year for a great windsurfer. Cyril was second, Pierre Mortfon third, Ben vd Steen fourth and Pascal Toselli fifth. The positions of Pierre and Ben show that both the North/Fanatic and the Tabou/GA combinations are working properly.  I can't help feeling that Pascal was slightly unlucky to be fifth.  Some of his performances were stratospheric and with a little more consistency he could have been challenging the top two guys easily.

Bjorn announced his retirement from competitive windsurfing.  It is easy to forget just what a phenomenon this guy was for his many years at the top.  One of the all time greats who casts a long shadow for anyone wishing to follow in his footsteps.  Good luck champ and thanks for the inspiration over so many years.

The top ten PWA placings give the following results by board/sail maker:

Pryde                                         3
GA                                            2
North                                         2
Severne                                      1
Pt-7                                           1
Maui                                          1  

RRD                                         3
Starboard                                   3
Fanatic                                      2
Tabou                                       2

I have not had an opportunity to ride the Manta 81 yet.  The wind has been either too light or way too strong.  I am also nursing an injury so not sure when I'll be back in action.

Talk to you soon

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Select fins, Lighter Point-7 Sails and some Observations from our Beach

Select have leaked some details of the new 2015 range.  The VMax-3 is out, looking very similar to the VMax-2.  They have replaced the S1 Eliptical with quite an interesting blade called the S1 HiWind.  This is a G10, pointed fin which could be the ticket for speed-merchants on hectic, bumpy days.

What they are also bringing out, is a new slalom design called the Rhino.  This fin will slot in above the VMax and promises to be quite special.  Sizes will be 29 - 45 for the Rhino Slam and 47 - 53 for the Rhino Lightwind.

I am really looking forward to getting a look at the Rhinos.  I'm expecting great things and hope that the price will not be prohibitive.

Point 7 is finally doing something about the excessive weight of their cambered sails.  I gather that some of the sizes are to be cropped by up to 1kg in the 2015 range.  Nice work guys.  Not enough of a reduction but a good start.

Another new and interesting sail seen at the center, is RRD's Evolution.  The sail on the grass was the 6.4 and the guys had it rigged on their Vogue RDM mast.  It looks like a really good blasting machine. It is light to lift, feels springy and balanced and sets beautifully.  Something to consider if you are looking for a high performance, camless sail from around 5.5 to 6.5m.  Nicely built, small batten overhang at the back, strong reinforcements etc.

I am taking a break from sailing today - we have sailed a lot lately, the body is crying and the wind is near gale force.  The forecast for tomorrow looks much better with lighter wind.  I want to try the new Manta 81 and if I do, will report back.

Good winds  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Severne Turbo 2015 - 6.5 and 7.5. Some General Feedback.

I have had the opportunity to try both of Joos's new Turbos.  Here are my impressions:

I rode the 6.5m Turbo first.  The wind was quite fresh and I attached it to the slalom board I was using.  It is difficult to put into words how good this sail is.  It is light to carry and extremely light in the hands once you get it onto the water.  It has good power and pops the board onto  the plane effortlessly.  Once you are fully powered up, it handles the gusts with ease.  Gybing is easy because the rotation just happens (easier than some camless sails I have sailed).

I rode the 7.5m Turbo today in extremely difficult conditions.  The wind was very gusty, one second really strong, the next - nothing.  Despite these extremes, the sail behaved beautifully and I was able to complete the runs easily despite being overpowered in the gusts.  You can actually de-power this machine by sheeting out very slightly.  Compare this to a pure race sail which will have you tail walking in a second if you dare to sheet out under full power.  An awesome sail then which I need to ride in better conditions to allow for some tuning and easy runs.

My feeling about the Turbos is that they are the perfect sail for the non-racing, performance biased sailor.  You may not beat the serious racers on this machine but you will surprise a few.  You will also probably sail faster than you would on a pure race design,.  You will also be able to sail longer, in greater comfort and with less fatigue.  For sizes 7.0m and up I recommend this sail with no reservations!

A guy on the beach has been sailing a Severne Convert.  I think that it is a 6m sail and he uses it on a Fanatic Freewave (smallish).  This sail has great performance for what is billed an entry level sail. He screams up and down, throwing the rig about and having the most fun out of everyone out there. Astonishing.  The Convert is such a light sail and because of the speeds this guy is getting, I was wondering why one would buy a Gator for more money.  Studying the action shots of these two sails I can see a difference however.  The Convert tends to distort under full power whereas the Gator holds its shape perfectly in the gusts.  Assuming two sailors were out - one on a Convert, the other on a Gator and the wind picked up.  I could see the Convert guy changing down and continuing to have fun while the Gator guy could increase the downhaul a bit and just go a lot faster.        
Convert Loaded Up

Gator - Smooth
Hennie is back from Luderitz and says that he learned a lot.  He sails one of Anders's speed boards with Gasoil speed fins.  He recons that the Mistral is one fantastic design for any speed between 45 and 49 knots.  Easy to ride and really comfortable.  When the speeds get closer to 50knots however, the Patrik speed board is the machine to be on.  It just keeps planted on the water.

Speaking of Patrik boards, quite a few of the serious racing guys here have changed to Patrik slalom boards.  They recon that the comfort provided by these boards makes for faster sailing over rough water.  The main brand up to now has been Starboard.  No-one denies that these are potentially the fastest shapes but they can be hard on the feet, back, neck etc.  The Patriks, because of the softer bottom structure, are just so much more comfortable and easier at full flight.

OK, that is all for now.
Good winds    

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tabou Rocket Wide 108 - First Ride


A new Rocket Wide 108 arrived recently at the centre and Anthony gave me a chance to try it.

The reasons for my interest were as follows:

  •          I wanted to establish whether this is a beginner board or something capable of serious      performance

  •          I had noted that the board comes with a 34cm fin.  This seemed small to me for a 73cm wide board.  Could I fit a longer slalom fin for open water blasting?

  •          I noted cut-outs around the fin area which would suggest some performance credentials.  I wondered how the bottom shape would work in slightly challenging conditions and if it would live up to the promise.

Luckily, conditions were great on the morning of the trial.  We set the footstraps right back and as far out as possible.  The wind was strong for my Cross 6.4 (perfect in other words) and I screwed a Select S11-37cm fin onto the board.

The water state was perfect for the exercise – not too flat but flat enough to be able to sheet in and go as fast as possible.  Nice!

Here are my impressions:
  •          This is one of those boards which just feels right from the moment you climb onto it and start planing.  No adjustments to  sailing style needed.

  •          The 37 slalom fin works perfectly.

  •          The Cross  6.4 felt like a perfect fit but the board seems so versatile that I think it will perform with most sail types.

  •       The straps, in the outside setting, are in the perfect position for serious blasting. 

  •          A leisurely sailor will be absolutely comfortable tooling along on this board, a fast sailor will make it go fast and a very fast sailor will be able to extract high speeds.  When you ride the fin at speed, the cut-outs come into their own and very respectable speeds are easy to achieve.

  •          Upwind performance was fantastic for a freeride board.  This could be due to the fin but regardless, it was effortless and on a par with slalom equivalents.

  •          The board gybes well but favours  a wider arc.  This is not something which likes to be jammed round like a 3S (not in my hands anyway).

  •          Compared to the standard Rocket, the board feels a bit woolly in the gybes.  Those of you used to gybing slalom shapes may be a bit disappointed with this aspect.  Where a good slalom shape will hold you all the way through as if on rails, the 108 wallows a bit.  It also stalls easily if you lack speed.

  •          The board is wide and flat and this, together with the forgiving bottom shape makes for an extremely comfortable ride over rough water.  The impressive levels of control and comfort make this a board which can be sailed effortlessly for long sessions.  Think of how punishing most slalom kit can be.  This does not punish.

My final thoughts are that the Rocket Wide 108 is perfect for anyone looking for an easy, fast and versatile machine.  It’s slightly vague feeling through the gybes will probably not suit serious racers but these sailors are not its target market.  If you want fun and acceptable speed from a stable and supportive board, you have to include this one on your short list.

Good winds

(By the way, one of Joos's Severne Turbos has arrived (6.5m).  We rigged it on his lawn today.  It looks stunning, feels light in the hand and rotates like a dream.  Hopefully we will get a chance to sail it tomorrow.  If I manage to get a ride I will report back.)    

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Pryde Slalom Sail

Just a quick note.  The new Evo7 Slalom sail has been spotted.  It looks nice and simple to me.  No complicated boom attachment area at the back, no overly protruding batten above the boom, 8 battens etc.  The foot area looks almost like a wave sail.  No dragging in the water behind the board with this machine. Nice

I can't make out which size X-Fire Antoine is riding.  I think it may be the 122.

All in all a nice compact set-up

On an Australian site one of the guys has taken this shot and photoshopped a Macdonalds take-away food packet in Antoine's front hand.  Very funny

Talk to you soon

Monday, October 20, 2014

Luderitz, New GA Site, 2015 X-Fires.



The wind in Luderitz seems to have been playing along and some good PB's have been achieved. Hennie, one of our local sailors, went along and I note that he has made some good times (48.77k although the speed site shows 48.62k).

Patrik Diethelm's performance has been phenomenal.  He did 51.46k -  right up with Antoine's record. This is notable because he is the designer of the board he rides!  Respect!
Both Hennie and Patrik are on Gasoil speed fins.  The two leading Dutch speed guys (Hans Kreisel and Jacques van der Hout) are both riding ZFins.


The new GA Sails website is up for those of you who may not have seen it: 

What is evident is that the guys have really focused on creating a well ordered sail range this year. The Crosses now have been pushed properly into the freestyle area - every size now has 5 battens. The Gaastra fans here have always used Crosses for serious high wind blasting but this will change now.  The sail of choice for these conditions will be the Matrix.
2015 GA Matrix

The Severne sailors will choose Gators for these conditions I suppose.

2015 Severne Gator
The latest Gators are looking fantastic I have to say - light strong and fast!

I have been giving quite a bit of thought recently to high performance, 2 camber sails.  My current favorite (between GA and Severne particularly,) is the Severne Turbo but for an easy but still fast alternative, I would not exclude GA's 2015 Cosmic.  This sail never interested me in the past (too "intermediate") but it may just have come of age this season.  I hope to get a ride on one and if I do, will report back.
New Cosmic

The new blue GA masts are also up.  As mentioned in a previous post these are now more constant curve than stiff top.  Nice move I think!


The new X_Fires are now on the RRD site and as usual, look stunning.  The shaper, Aurelio Verdi together with Arnon and Antoine have to be one of the best design teams on the planet for slalom shapes.  Note the fatness in the footstrap area.  


Speaking of slalom shapes, Tabou have amended their Manta spec page.  Mistakes still exist however - they show all sizes with short Tuttle boxes.  Surely the 81 and 85 have deep boxes?  Come on guys - these details are important to us.

My feeling is that all manufacturers should follow Starboard's example and give a correct, comprehensive spec sheet for every board on offer.  Include fin size ranges! It is not that difficult.

Talk to you soon 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

2015 Severne Turbo and Tabou Manta now on Site

The new Turbo is finally on site and it looks the business.  Surprisingly, the dimensions have changed significantly from the 2014 model.  The new sails are taller and lighter than the outgoing model.  The 6.0, 7.0 and 8.1 sizes have the biggest weight reductions but all sizes are lighter.  Yes!

I get the impression that Severne have given quite a bit of thought to this new sail.  One always had the impression that the Turbo was something of a "tacked on" model in the range, floating between performance and freeride lines.  The reality is, that the Turbo is one awesome blasting machine and the market obviously delivered this message in 2014.  Anyway, the 2014 sails were great and it seems that the new ones will be similarly endowed with awesomeness.

If you get one of these sails, please ensure that you apply sufficient downhaul!  They are powerful beasts which can spoil your day if not pulled properly.  The rear edges of the two panels above the boom should not be tight.  The one with the Turbo logo will be quite relaxed and the one immediately above the boom will also be slightly loose and bowed.  Outhaul will be neutral but if you are overpowered you may need to tighten slightly.

Tabou have their entire range of boards on the site now.  The new Mantas look very tidy I must say. Light and crisp.  They have not yet entered all the specs correctly though.  They only show sizes up to the 71, and the volume numbers make no sense.  Here's a tip Tabou - get a proper windsurfer to enter your data and anomalies like this won't happen.

Anthony, our supplier was on his Manta 71 the other day and we got to talking.  His sail was a Phantom 7.1 and his fin a 37cm slalom shape (Select I think).  Ant says that the board was perfectly happy with this fin.  No problem upwind and fast on all tacks.  He says that he felt that the small fin, may cause the board to drag in the water and we were wondering if this is something to  be concerned about.  I have always been a fan of smaller fins because they are more controllable overpowered but with the improvement in modern fins, do you lose some efficiency unnecessarily with a smaller fin? The logic here is that a bigger fin pops the board out of the water decreasing board induced drag. The increased fin area from a bigger fin imparts less drag than the board induced drag with a small fin.

Maybe the boffins out there can give us some ideas about this.  I know that the speed guys use really small fins but in the ferocious winds they are used in, the board pops out regardless.  We are talking about normal blasting over roughish water in wind which is not trying to tear your face off.

Talk to you soon                

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Equipment from North and Severne and Reader Feedback


Sorry for the long break.  I have been working on a project and my mind has not been on windsurfing.

Severne, Gaastra, and Tabou all seem quite late in presenting their 2015 slalom stuff.  I'm not sure why I always get impatient around this time of year - its not as if these companies have inferior equipment in their current ranges but the thought of new stuff is just so appealing.

North have all of their 2015 merchandise loaded and their catalog is on site.  Of interest to me (apart from the sails already discussed in previous posts) are the super light Platinum Aero booms and Platinum Aero masts.  Not cheap but really nice pieces.  You will not find the weights on the site (the weights shown there are wrong) but they are in the catalog.

Severne's 2015 Reflex and Overdrive sails have been spotted around.  This is not a great photo but good enough to glean some details
It seems as if the new Reflex has only two reflex batten tensioners in place of the three in prior years. I am frankly more interested in the Overdrive behind the Reflex.  We can't see much unfortunately but it looks like a nice machine.  The reflex tensioners seem a bit more robust on the new models.

I mentioned Tectonics' new Fury fin a while ago and Kevin Do purchased one.  His feedback is not as good as I was expecting.  Kevin recons that the upwind capability of the fin is not as good as his VMax 2.  He says that the fin kept spinning out when pushed hard - it seems to be a bit soft for this type of use.  He also points out that the fin does not have the usual brass bolt plugs so one would need to be quite careful tightening the fin bolts.  This is all very surprising to me.  I would have bet money on this thing being something really special.

Anyway, our season is about to start and the wind is beginning to swing round.  We had two sails last week and the body has just about healed.  Very unfit!

Talk to you when the new Mantas are on the site.
Good winds

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Some 2015 Equipment Previews

Just a quick post with some new stuff from GA and Tabou.

 The new Phantom looks cool.  Sizes are the same as for 2014

 Here is a bigger picture of the new Manta.  Tabou hide the cut-outs in these photos as you are probably aware.  We will need to get one in the flesh to inspect the underside.

 The new Speedster.  I would like to try this board in 118/75cm (LTD of course).  This could be the sweet size for the heavier sailor who likes to push the envelope.

The Rocket adopting the new dress code.  Not too bad on the eye I suppose.

OK that is all for now.  I note that Fanatic have posted the new Falcons on the site.  The video is quite interesting where Pierre and Matteo comment on things like mast foot and strap positions.
Nice boards - I would like to give the 120/74cm a go.

Talk to you soon

Saturday, August 30, 2014

PWA and a new Fin

The PWA racing at Alacati has been really fast, really close and interesting to say the least.  Going into the last day we have Julien Quentel and Antoine leading (that pesky Pryde/RRD combination working fantastically for both these guys and also for Arnon who sits in 5th place)

Pascal Toselli is in third with Ben vd Steen in fourth.  Anyone doubting whether the GA/Tabou combo can go fast needs only to watch Ben in some of these heats.  He is flying!

Tristan Algret is not someone I know much about, but he sits in 7th and is only 20 years of age!  A fantastic achievement in this field of fierce, experienced masters.  I will be watching this guy over the rest of the season.  Awesome performance Tristan!

The new fin mentioned in the title, comes from Tectonics Maui.  As you probably know, Tectonics has been in the industry from the early days.  The man behind the blades is Dennis Parton who is right up there with designers like Dave Kashy, Jeff Fagerholm, Boogie, Curtis Hesselgrave, Rick Hanke etc.

This new fin is the Fury, a slalom model which looks very good to me.  I usually prefer carbon fins but this thing is made from a modified G10.  This material makes it possible to make the fin a lot thinner which, together with the shape+profile has resulted in a fantastically controllable foil at speed.

Micah Buzianis and Phil Mcgain are both raving about this fin and these are men who know what they are talking about.  From the commentary I have seen, it appears that the sweet sizes for the Fury are around 34/36/38.  The very long sizes are still good, but maybe not quite as formidable.

If you are looking for a really fast slalom fin in one of these sizes, please put this one on your short list. The Fury just looks right to me.  I predict that it will be epic overpowered over rough water.  

Good winds

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Stuff from North and Naish

I said that I would post when more 2015 equipment made its appearance on the sites.  North and Naish have both shown signs of life!

North has added details and specs for their freeride/race sails.  The new S_Type sl sail is something I have been looking forward to and it looks good I have to say.

There is not too much of a batten overhang at the back of the boom and the whole thing looks tight and right.  The nice thing with this sail, is that one of the 3 cams is removable so you can experiment with this to suit your style/power/control requirements.  Very cool!

Naish have all of their 2015 windsurfing gear up.  They always interest me because they are a brand not easily persuaded by fads and fashions in the industry.  While I admire this, I just have a nagging feeling that they may be falling behind the curve a bit.  Their boards are still really long and narrow but fat for the volume.
The two boards which would be of interest are the Bullet Slalom and the Starship.

The Starship is a hard core bump-and-jump model with a shape which would work really well here. The problem for me is that it is made from wood and glass fiber.  The 65 (ish) wide board weighs in at 8kg!  Come on guys!

Their Bullet is light enough however, and one would need to try each of the three sizes to get a handle of how they perform with a variety of sail types and sizes.  They each come with a fin which looks quite good.  Bear in mind, these machines are made by real sailors, for real sailors in real world conditions so I give them respect despite their old school dimensions.  Take your best, most modern slalom board and sail.  Put Robbie on a Bullet and challenge him to a race. Then prepare to experience the mother of all ass-kickings!

The Naish sails don't excite me at all.  The Bullet slalom model looks much the same as in prior years (still fast though - see my "Robbie" comment above) and the other models just seem a little tired.  The Supermoto with 5 battens and one cam.  I don't know!  The new Noa is a bit interesting but there is a lot of good stuff available in this niche from other designers.

Talk to you soon


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reader Feedback and Some New Equipment at Last



Following my last post, Flemming (a reader from a northern land) sent me this e-mail.  I thought it may be useful for anyone into the whole speed monitoring thing.  I know that we have had all the technology to do real time monitoring, but up to now, no-one has pulled all of this tech together into a nice simple package.  The Recon Jet is finally such a package but quite expensive.  Flemming gives us a cheaper alternative:

Hi Phil

Just a comment on your resent post on real time monitoring of speed. I think what you are looking for can easily be done. All what you need is a smart phone, the right app for the phone and a water proof AquaPac to keep the phone safe while sailing. I always bring a smart phone with me while sailing for registering the entire session; once at home I can analyse the speed etc; but this is retro-perspective. You want it real time and for that purpose there exist an app called GPS Speed Talker (at least for an Android phone); this app will speak out your speed and you can configure the threshold before the phone starts 'speaking' and you can also set the distance that must be sailed before the speed is measured. I must admit that I haven't tried this app - it is just an idea - but it can be done for a very low budget using an old smart phone.

Best Regards


New Kit

Starboard have released their entire 2015 board range and once again the boards look very cool.  
One thing that I am picking up from all the designers (certainly for slalom/freerace/freemove boards) is that they are moving more volume towards the back of the new models compared with previous years. All the new boards I have seen, have extended the wide area backwards on the board.  This keeps on going right past the front straps and only starts tapering in to the tail at the last moment.  The tail is kept really narrow with cut-outs on either side to maintain deck space for the back feet.  I suppose that this approach gives a better combination of early planing and control.

Here is the new X-Fire v7 (105).  Note how the wide area is drawn back

You can see this trend on the new Futura as well

The Futura range sees changes to volumes and thickness across the range.

The AtomIQ range has been added to (more sizes and 2 construction options)
The Atoms have interested me for some time.  I think that they are really fast and that you would be able to thrash them over rough water at high speeds.  I would love to give one a bash on a windy day here (100l + Cross 6.4 + totally overpowered).  I think it would be a blast.   


GA's Matrix is not yet on the site.  The 2015 Matrix looks quite nice in this shot - I always prefer seeing a sail under tension in photos.  
Anthony, our supplier, rides these sails in the smaller sizes and he smokes on them.  I have always chosen the Cross for sails under 7m but the Matrix is a worthy alternative.  Since the Crosses under 6.4m now only have 5 battens, this sail may offer better stability in these sizes.  I need to take one out. 

Here is a snap of North's Warp 2015

Once again this sail looks compact and crisp.  The PWA rankings attest to the effectiveness of these machines (Pierre and Matteo in second and third).  Only having seven battens seems to do them no harm at all.  Very nice!

OK guys
I will speak to you again when more 2015 equipment breaks cover   

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Some Tech and Some Industry News


Some time ago, I mentioned the Google Glasses and how they would be cool to monitor one's speed in real time on the water.  To be frank however, the Google frames seem a bit fragile and I'm not sure how successfully they would handle a face plant.

Well here is something a bit more hairy-arsed.  It is the Recon Jet and is capable of doing all and any real-time monitoring we could wish for.

This thing is built with extreme sports in mind and has all the connectivity you could want.

My requirement, as mentioned previously, is to be able to see my speed at all times.  I need to know what effect changing my bearing, leaning forward/ backward slightly, shifting my back heel to vary pressure on the fin, sheeting out slightly etc, etc has on my speed on the water at that second.  The Recon Jet seems to be the perfect piece of equipment for this and could be a hugely effective learning aid for anyone seeking to improve speed and efficiency.

I may have been sleeping lately but I saw a picture of Sara_Quita using a Severne sail.  The last time I looked she was with Gaastra.  What is going on?
If she is moving to Severne then they have a real catch.  She is bright, articulate, pleasant and one hell of a sailor.  An impressive individual and someone who can really light up a brand.  Severne gets it right yet again?

Speaking of Severne - you may have seen the "Hyperspider" video on their site.  They have started making certain sails with this technology which basically prints Technora fibers onto the sail precisely along each stress path.  This means that instead of relying on the general panels to handle loading stresses, these stresses are contained directly with strategically placed re-enforcing.  This method enables Severne to make the sails lighter, stronger and more efficient.  So far I think only two sail models are made like this (Blade Pro and S-1 Pro) but as more 2015 stuff is revealed, we may see other models incorporating the innovation (new Reflex and hopefully Overdrive ?)

Talk to you soon  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Some 2015 Kit


I note from the sites that Severne, North, Fanatic and Tabou all have 2015 kit starting to make an appearance.  As per usual the wave stuff is brought out first and the offerings from Severne, North and Fanatic all look fantastic.

North provides a look forward at the entire sail range, even though they do not yet give details and visuals of the slalom stuff.  They have reduced their model range quite substantially and I think that this is a good thing.  I mentioned the new S-Type Slalom in previous posts and I would really like to try one out.  I am a bit skeptical of this sail following Martin Cross's comments regarding the 2014 S-Type.  I hope they have made the new model friendly and fast.

Tabou's 2015 Manta (not on the site yet) is peeping out as well:
They have replaced their very detailed paint job for something much simpler.  I like the 2014 livery a lot but I must say I also like this design - mat sea-green, some carbon showing through and a few discreet flashes of bright color.  Nice!

Ross has the following to say about the new boards.

Tabou are also showing their new Rocket Wide.  I assume that this means they will be dropping the Thunder from their new range.
If this is true I will be disappointed.  I think that the Thunder was a design with a lot of promise. Lengthen it slightly to facilitate easier planing off the beach, insert Tuttle fin boxes and you have a range that could challenge comparable slalom boards any day of the week.  I don't think that the Rocket Wide is going to offer anything like this performance potential.  I may be wrong of course.

That is all for now
Talk to you soon


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Some Equipment of Interest and a New PWA Venue


Sorry about the long break - the lack of sailing for me, means that windsurfing is not uppermost in my mind so I tend to neglect the blog a bit.

Anyway, the next leg of PWA slalom circuit is underway.  This is in Awaza, Turkmenistan (??)
As is so often the case - bring a large number of windsurfers into one venue and the wind is very likely to disappear.  No wind for day one.  I understand that the forecast predicts better wind in the days to come.      47 men are participating and all the main guys are present.

Some equipment occupying my thoughts recently -

  • Severne's Turbo sail.  Joos has ordered a 7.5 and a 6.5 for the coming season.  I am looking forward to seeing them on the water and if I'm lucky, will get to ride them and report back. Based on the pictures, specs and test results, the Turbo seems to be an NCX with added low end power, better control and better speed.  Nice!
Bjorn Dunkerbeck

  • GA's Phantom 2014.  Regular readers will recall my impressions of the 8.5 Phantom of Julian Field and the speed and control he is able to extract from this (quite big) sail.  I hope we get to try one or two of these sails with the new GA 100% masts.

  • North seems to be upping its game big time.  The 2015 S-Type Slalom Sail, as unveiled at Defi, promises to be something really special.  In addition to this, North's mast maker reports a new Aero mast which is lighter than the current model but just as strong.  This company is also producing a new boom line (to be called the Aero Boom) which is reportedly lighter and stronger than anything else on the market.  I like where this is going!  No pictures of the new booms and masts I'm afraid.  I think that they are going to unveil them in October.
That is all for now.  I will give some commentary on the racing if they have wind

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Best Upwind Slalom Board (??)


Just a quick post.

Juan from Spain e-mailed me with a question that I have absolutely no idea how to answer.  He recons that modern slalom boards are now so specialized for downwind sailing that this has compromised their upwind ability.

Juan asked me to recommend a slalom board with good upwind performance.  I have to say I am unable to answer this question.  I know that pure slalom fins are fantastic downwind tools but struggle upwind.  This makes them not so suitable for most of us.  We don't engage in official slalom racing and most of our blasting comprises a long, tight upwind leg followed by a flat-out downwind blast. Most of us then, require a fin which will power us upwind at speed and not lose composure on the downwind run.

I had never considered that modern, pure slalom boards may also have developed a weakness where upwind blasting is concerned.  This may be absolutely true but I don't have the knowledge or understanding of board shaping to be able to comment.

What I recommended to Juan was that he consider a slightly bigger slalom board than the models he was considering.  He was thinking about a 107 iSonic/105 X-Fire/Falcon 110 etc - all around 70cm wide.
My experience of the 2014 Mantas suggests to me that the boards have become a lot easier to ride in overpowered conditions.  This means that a bigger 2014 slalom board will be as easy to sail as your old smaller model.  A bigger board will allow you to use a longer fin and this will be better upwind (assuming you have the right fin of course).  You can always screw a smaller fin into this slightly bigger board for overpowered sailing.

My recommendation to Juan then, was to look at the iSonic 110 instead of the 107.  I also pointed out that Fanatic's 120l Falcon is 74cm wide - a worthy contender.  As a wild card I included AHD's SL-2 122l.  The AHD is probably not as highly specialized as the others and so may be a little better upwind. Who knows?

To change the subject I thought I would include this picture of Antoine gybing.  Note how far he bends his legs.  This is something which very few of us do correctly.  I always think that I am bending my legs properly but if there are photos of the session, I notice that they were almost straight in the gybe. Well, here is the main guy getting right down.  Low center of gravity = great stability.  Thanks for the master-class champ!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Some Results and Reader Feedback


Sorry for the long break.  I have been involved in a project and have not felt like posting.

The Defi and the initial stage of the PWA racing are both behind us.
Andrea Cucchi won the Defi after 6 races.

I note that Denis Standhardt came in 4th.  I had to smile - Denis sails here every year in December and I have to say that he is a combination immovable object and irresistible force.  When I am out holding onto my 6.4m for dear life, Denis is screaming up and down on his Vapor 7.9.

I watched him almost sail over the toes of two kiters once, at top speed.  He was totally unfazed whereas the kiters came directly into the beach, packed up and departed.  Good man Denis!
Denis blasts past the first kiter

The second kiter's near death experience

Denis calmly cranks out his gybe and continues on his way.  Awesome!

The PWA, Costa Brava leg yielded a few interesting results.  Antoine won the event with Cyril second and Pierre Mortefon third.  Stellar performances all round.  Of interest to me is the fact that in the first eleven places, three are GA/Tabou riders.  No other sail maker and no other board maker has three places in the top eleven.  Ben came fourth, Cedric came in seventh and Ross was number eleven.

Cedric Bordes is perhaps my biggest surprise.  He usually sits way down in the rankings but I kept on seeing him featuring in the heats.  Initially, I thought that he just got lucky but as the heats and elimination rounds progressed, he was always there.  GA/Tabou have definitely made a breakthrough this year!  The kit works!

Kevin Do has been trying his new VMax fins and recons that he gets faster times downwind with the VMax2 than with the series 1.  He agrees with us here that the series 1 is slightly better upwind than the 2, but for downwind, the 2 is slippier, more controllable and generally faster.  He is also getting great speeds from his Vector Volt Carbon and will be spending more time evaluating this blade in the coming weeks. Interesting stuff.

Kevin reports that one of his VMaxes failed on him (it just started twisting easily in the hand) but that Select replaced it - no problem.  Nice one Select!

OK that's all for now
Talk to you soon (ish?)    

Friday, May 30, 2014

Defi Wind 2014

Just a short post about Defi Wind in Gruisan.  I posted about this race last year - a drag race 20km in one direction, round a bouy and 20km back to the start.  One thousand racers participate and it must be one fantastic experience for those lucky enough to participate.  They had the first race yesterday and it was won by Nicholas Warembourg.  Nicholas is the guy behind those fancy fins I told you about a while ago.
The same guys seem to fill the top ten positions every year.  Clearly they know how to do this thing (as well as being peerless sailors of course)

The always slightly kamikaze start to this race.  

Windsurfing manufacturers often take the opportunity to showcase upcoming models at this event.  A good plan - where else can you get 1000 eager participants (and their followers) in your sport in one place.  Only at Defi Wind!

This is the upcoming Naish Noa - a camless race sail in sizes 5.8, 6.4, 7.0 and 7.8

North have done a really intelligent thing in my opinion with the development of their new S-type SL sail.  This is a combination of (and replacement for) their current Ram and S Type models.  They seem to have combined the best of both models creating a soft, fast sail with one removable cam for added ease. Right up my street!  Sizes will be 6.0, 6.6, 7.3, 7.8, 8.3, 8.8.

Sorry about the poor picture but this is all I can find right now.

OK that's all for now.  Talk to you soon

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

PWA - First Race of the Season

The racing on the Costa Brava has finally begun and they have managed two days of good racing.  It has only been possible to start around 15:00 hours each day but they get through the heats pretty smartly.  Here are the guys who made it through to the final heat and their positions:

  1. Menegatti             (Point 7/Starboard) 
  2. Moussilmani C     (Severne/Starboard)
  3. Buzianis              (Maui/JP)
  4. Frans                  (Maui/Starboard)
  5. Albeau                (Pryde/RRD)
  6. Quentel               (Pryde/RRD)
  7. Vonk                  (Point 7/Starboard)
  8. Moussilmani S     (Simmer/Starboard)

Alberto shows that he is deadly serious about building on his success of last season.

Note how much downhaul he has on the Point 7.  Nice!

Cyril and Micah show that they still have what it takes and that their equipment is working.

The Severne/Starboard combo working beautifully for Cyril.  I think that is Ben in second place.

Is it just me or is Micah looking particularly lumberjack-like these days (?)

Taty Frans is a huge threat as I mentioned last season.  The freestyle guys have such outrageous skill that if one of the top guys decides to get serious about racing - watch out!
Taty has rigged his sail like a typical freestyler - not much downhaul resulting in a sail with instant and constant power which he has the skill to handle and manipulate.  Compare this set with Micah above.  Micah has a much bigger sail but pulled right down.

Jordy Vonk is a Dutch sailor and the youngest competitor at 20 years of age.  He is hanging with the best so will definitely become a force to be reckoned with. Watch this space!
Jordy rocking his Starboard/Point7 combo

Disappointments for me include Basti Kordel going over early in heat 10 disqualifying himself for the rest of the elimination round.  He had been doing fantastically well against some real heavyweights but ended up on the beach.  Ross Williams went over early on a heat but managed to avoid disqualification by tacking back round the start bouy. The problem was that by the time he got going, the race had started and the others were already at the first bouy.  Both Gonzalo and Arnon jumped the gun in heat 9 and were disqualified.  Peter Volwater only came fifth in heat 7 so was unable to advance.
I am always disappointed when seasoned racers mess their start up and are disqualified.  There is really no excuse since this aspect of the sport is every bit as important as being able to sail fast. Neither Antoine nor Alberto are ever caught like this because they have made sure that they train for and get it right.  That is how they maintain consistency and keep out front!  It is such a waste for a sailor to get himself disqualified early on and shows a lack of professionalism.  I can forgive Basti but not the likes of Arnon and Gonzalo (old,old soldiers!).

Basti Kordel is a guy I am watching with interest.  He has a great record under his belt and is one fine sailor despite being only 23 years of age.  He has always sailed Lorch boards but this season, fell out with them.  I notice that he is on Starboards for this regatta but says that he will be evaluating a few brands through the season.  I am hoping that he joins Tabou since his sail sponsor is GA but we'll see.

Talk to you soon