We had an epic day's sailing yesterday - big equipment, flat water. Miriam Rasmussen arrived with a group of fellow Norwegian sailors. They all seem to be on Challenger sails and Novenove boards. Quite a coincidence in view of my previous post. Rigged at the site, among all the race kit, they had one of those soft sails which is being developed by Challenger and Heru Sails. I mentioned this sail in a post some time ago. As Anthony commented - an encouraging development for our sport. I'm not convinced that all the gremlins have been eliminated from these designs but am reasonably confident that they will be. When that day comes, watch out! Our sport could start on a new and exciting path.
What is worrying as far as Miriam and her people is concerned, is the lack of wind predicted for the next few days. You can usually bank on February in Langebaan to dish up loads of strong, constant wind but I suppose fate is always in the wings to spoil things. Bring an awesome lady windsurfer from a distant land and watch the wind shut down. Damn!
Anyway, here is the sail section of the ideal quiver. I would start with only four sails and these would be GA Matrix - 5.5, 6.5 and 7.0. The big sail would be a Severne Turbo 8.1. There are so many good sails out there right now that one could substitute similar lines from any number of brands.
I favour soft sails for 7.0m and down because they are light, easy to sail and will go as fast as most of us are capable of sailing in real world conditions. They also permit one to constantly vary the sail angle to the wind to improve speed. This is a fascinating thing and if you consciously do it on every run you become good at knowing when to sheet out slightly to avoid stalling, sheet in slightly to increase upwind speed etc. It is a subtle activity but really interesting. Andy, being a pilot, is better at this that I am but I like to think that I am improving. Cammed sails are far more prescriptive and are engineered to optimize attack angles across varied conditions as long as you hold them reasonably sheeted in.
When I first rode Joos's new Turbo 6.5m, I recall thinking to myself - why do I need soft sails when this thing is just so perfect. I then rode Karel's 2015 Matrix and was reminded of the appeal of the more direct, tuneable nature of a good soft sail. My experiences with my camless 7.8 have convinced me that you need cams in sizes bigger than 7.0m.
So there you have it 5.5,6.5,7.0,8.1. If you are lighter that I am (80kg or less) then you may choose smaller sizes maybe ranging from 4.7 to 7.5. If you sail in light-wind conditions you will want to add bigger sails and maybe exclude the 5.5 and 6.5. My choice is for my weight, sailing style and local conditions.
I have been having great results recently, sailing bigger boards with smaller fins and smaller sails and will discuss this in more detail in the next post. I also managed to ride Anthony's Manta 81 (nice machine!) and will give my thoughts and impressions of this board.