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