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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Some Racing and Industry news

You will probably have noticed from the Tabou and Gaastra sites that Ross Williams won the 2014 Formula Windsurfing Championship in the Azores.  His equipment is clearly working properly - the new Vapor formula board, his Elk fins and the new GA Vapor sails and masts.  Nice one Ross and impressive work Peter and Fabien.  I read that the conditions were really tough with vicious gusts interspersed with lulls.  Unpleasant but Ross just squirted along with each gust and powered through the lulls, taking everyone else to school.

IFCA also ran their 2014 slalom championship in the Azores.  Ben van der Steen won easily on his Manta 116/GA Vapor 8.6 and iFins Streetracer 40cm fin.  If you go to Continentseven they have a video of the final race.  This performance has to dispel any doubts about the potential of the new GA Vapors and Tabou Mantas.  I have a slight reservation because Antoine, Bjorn, Peter Volwater, Micah, Finian etc did not compete but there were plenty of other hot racers.  Only Matteo Iachino (Fanatic and North) managed to hang with Ben for a while but by the last leg was way back.  Everyone else was simply not in the race!  I await the first PWA slalom races with real interest.  The performances of Ross and Ben have me excited about the new GA/Tabou lines.  The new softer top GA race masts (I have been crying for this for years!) have resulted in beautifully manageable sails.  Add the fantastic new Manta shapes into the mix and you have a potential for something very special.

Eric Kamminga e-mailed me about Chris Lockwood's new fin line.  The first models are all G10 at this stage but he says that carbon fins will follow.  Here is the link to the site for Tribal Windsurfing - Chris's company   I note that the slalom shapes appearing on the site are his Series One fins.  I like his Series Two fins with their shark fin plan form.  Very cool and highly rated by the guys who sail them.  Chris, as you are probably aware, is one hot designer and is also one of the fastest guys on the water so I have huge respect for his designs.
Hopefully these blades find their way into the Tribal range soon
Talk to you soon

Friday, May 2, 2014

Equipment News

A while ago I mentioned CST Composites, an Australian company who had been contracted to manufacture masts for Avanti.  CST produces carbon fibre components and its customers include the military, aerospace and automotive industries.  They are an extremely high tech outfit.

Of interest to us is the fact that recently, they have started producing their own brand of high tech windsurfing masts and marketing them through a company called Slake (Pty) Ltd.  They have replicated the bend characteristics of most of the main sail brands and have come up with replica masts for any of these sails.  I have huge respect for any concern supplying into any of the the above industries because of the fierce quality standards and tolerances demanded.  Their masts will be something special.  Look them up.  With any luck they will start producing other bits and pieces as well as masts (booms, fins, extensions ??)

Just thinking about it - Australia produces some really great windsurfing equipment -  Severne and Ka sails, Carpenter and Chris Lockwood fins, Slake masts, OES boards etc.  I am envious!

I was reading something about Ross Williams the other day and noted that he is now using Elk fins. These look interesting. Their slalom blades are elliptical so something to consider if you are in to do-or-die blasting over rough water.
Elk Slalom fin

Elk Plus Limited, the manufacturer, is another really high tech manufacturer.  More and more of the top guys it seems, are recognizing the value of using serious manufacturers whose quality standards and systems can deliver impeccable products consistently.

Maui Ultra Fins are finally offering their carbon slalom fins for sale.  These look really cool and I would like to try one.  I have a good feeling about these blades - they just look right and like the above products are produced by a quality driven, high tech company (this time in Germany).  Nice!

MU Slalom Race fin in carbon

Talk to you soon