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