Sunday, November 29, 2015

New Equipment Feedback and Some Commentary


GA Phantom 7.8

You may recall me discussing a test of some free-race sails of around 7.5m.  The GA Phantom performed pretty well in this test but the tester commented that rotation was sticky. 

I mentioned that Gareth had ordered this sail and that I was confident that we would cure the rotation problem when it arrived. Well G took the new sail for a spin the other day and was happy with the performance.  He agreed with the tester however – the rotation was not good.

What he did after the session was to read the instructions which come with the sail (who does that?!).  The instructions mention that you can remove the spacers if rotation is poor.  He looked inside the sleeve and sure enough – the sail comes with spacers fitted onto each cam.  He removed these and his next session was much improved.  Problem solved!  

Heads up for any of you who have bought or are planning to buy this sail.  Look inside the sleeve!

Stunning Sail!

Evil Conditions and Severne Unit

About two weeks ago a few of us were out in difficult conditions.  Our prevailing wind here is from the south east.  This wind is usually constant and easy to rig for.  

When it blows strong south westerly however, it can be gusty.  The sea in this wind (depending on the tides) can have high, steep swells with deep troughs.  The gusts are fierce and the lulls light.  These are difficult conditions and not suitable for slalom sailing.  

What equipment to take?  I decided on my retired Naish Hybrid 110 (blow off 10 years of dust/chase spiders out of every nook and cranny), 37cm Edge fin and 6.0m sail.  This combo is good over chop, the large fin keeps the nose up and keeps going through the lulls (sort of).  The sail was a 6.0m Cross.

I did quite well on this combo and was easily able to keep ahead of most of the other guys.  I am not totally happy however.  The old Hybie slows down quite quickly in the lulls.  I would have done better on something with better glide.  I have to say I spent some restless time that night trying to envision an optimal set-up for these conditions.

I think I have a dream combination for this type of sailing now  - here it is:

Sail            Severne Unit 6.0 or 6.5

Board        Patrik F-Cross  102 or 112

Fin    iFins Air 34 or 36.

The star of this line-up is the Unit - a strange foil with 5 battens and one cam.  This sounds like the sort of Frankensteinish thing I usually avoid like the plague but just look at the pictures.  It looks so right on the water and people who have sailed one are ecstatic.  

The first guy in the UK to sail a Unit was a tester.  He finished his test and ordered a 6.0m and a 6.5m for himself immediately (he couldn’t stop smiling ).
This is not going to be a sail for the racer or speed demon but as a fun, easy sail with low down power and great controllability it promises to be something special.  Certainly it would be special for our difficult s-westerlies (or our winter n-westerlies for that matter).


Slalom Boards

The testers from Surf Magazine are with us at the moment.  They usually come with only wave and freeride kit but this year are testing some big slalom boards as well.  

They have 5 models – Tabou, Starboard, JP, RRD and Fanatic.  All boards are around 81cm wide and they test them with North Warp 8.4m sails and Select VMax4 fins (43 cm I think)

I have asked the testers for their preferences among these boards but they are quite non-committal.  They say that the boards are different but each one good in its own way.  One thing they all agree about however, is the fantastic improvement in the JP 82.  They recon it’s gybing, control over chop and when overpowered are in another league compared to the 2015 model. 

I think that with the excellent 85 slalom (new for 2015), Werner had a design breakthrough and has carried this into the other JP slalom sizes for 2016.  Nice to see!

Good winds   

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Drone Just for Us!

Joos told me about a really neat drone which could be exactly what most of us have been waiting for.

The name of this thing is Lily and the developer has designed the software with adventure sports in mind.  Of significance to us is the fact that it floats, is water-proof and takes off from the water – no problem.


Water no Prob

The Waterproof Controller

The controller is worn by the rider so you are never in a situation where the craft loses contact with its base station. The rider is the base station. 

The drone can be set to follow or to hover, keeping you in frame or to capture certain moves in slow motion.  Very clever.

Please have a look at this footage if you have not done so already.  $499 for early orders – Bargain!

Here is another vid about Lily with a robot describing all aspects of the device.

Good winds

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Some News from Luderitz


Here is some news from the speed challenge.

Karin Jaggi has set a new women's record at 46.31 knots.

Patrik, using her sail, set a new Italian speed record at 52.33 knots.

Antoin beat his own world record and recorded a stupendous 53.27 knots.

Anyone who has tried unsuccessfully to sail faster than 30 knots knows how almost super-human these speeds are.