Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cool Video/Cool Equipment


Hannes Louet-Feisser, a windsurfer in Ireland sent me this video. It showcases Garmin’s Virb X/XE and the Virb Edit Software as a really cool recording combo.

Please have a look at the video.

Hannes is a good sailor as well and rides some really nice stuff. In addition to the recording media (the main subject of the vid) pay attention to his gybes and the speed of his hand changes. We cannot be slow or sloppy with hand and foot changes in a slalom gybe and Hannes nails these two aspects properly.
He also does some quite tricky tacks but it is the gybing which interests me.

Anyway the Virb X/XE and software are a fine combination. I like the way all the data is displayed on the screen (position on the course, speed at each point, average speed, direction of travel etc). This is all so nicely overlaid in real time, onto the video. Very convenient for analysis.

Hannes also supplied this link which explains how to use the Virb Edit software with your GoPro:

I was going to include two more videos of racing on our lagoon but there is a bit of work involved with them. I will do them in the next post.

Good winds (and thanks Hannes)

Monday, January 18, 2016

New Performance Sails


I may have been sleeping on this but I discovered last week, Severne’s new slalom sails on their site. Both Reflex and Overdrive look awesome. Severne, once again doing what it does best – continuous improvement. They are just so relentless with this and have used it to carve their way to the top in every sail category.

S2 Maui has also had its new race sail on the net.



The Reflex sees further improvements in stability. Where North have concentrated on simplicity, Severne forges ahead with ever more complex engineering. North has shown that an easy, 7 batten race sail can win against everyone (er everyone except Antoine!). Severne know exactly what they are doing however, and it will be interesting to watch the two approaches compete on slalom courses this year.

The 2016 Reflex has an even wider sleeve than last year’s model. This frightens me but racers will appreciate the improvements to stability and rotation.

Reflex 2016


The Overdrive has 7 battens and can be rigged on rdm masts. These things no-doubt soften the feel on the water and should boost speeds in the hands of non-racers. 
Comfort = Speed.  

I'm not convinced by the fiddly design elements above the clew but knowing Severne, these shapes enhance some aspect of performance.   

Overdrive 2016

The two images above are from Severne’s website.

I still believe that for the likes of me, the Turbo is the way to go in larger sizes (7.5, 8.6 Turbo.  5.7, 6.5 Gator) but if you need every ounce of speed and possess the required skill and strength, put both the Reflex and the Overdrive on the short-list for your next upgrade. 

S2 Maui

If you want to push the boat out for your new race sail and feel like something new, have a look at the new S2 Maui - Venom. You can see a whole bunch of Spanier/ Szpunar trade-marks in the design and I’m sure it will be special on the water.

They have moved away from the 9 batten layout employed in the Maui Sails TR model of bygone times. The sleeve, the red, the black and the blue bits of the Venom are made from their magical new material.

I like the Kevlar stringers running down the sail. Strong but light!  Nice! 

S2 Maui Venom – a lovely thing
The image comes from their FaceBook page.

Good winds

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Some Equipment news and Commentary


We have been blessed with fantastic winds over the last few days.  Each day the wind picks up slowly allowing one to rig perfectly for the next hour or so, sail, rest, re-rig and go out again in stronger conditions.  With winds like this, clear, clean water and old friends to share the conditions with, how could we ever complain?
The racing guys were here and quite a few internationals showed up for a week of racing.   The first race started on Saturday but only got underway when the conditions were completely ballistic.  It was interesting to watch how they managed.  Vincent Langer from the Fanatic team ruled the day.  When every other sailor changed down from their 6.2m sails to 5.4m, Vincent just stayed with his 7.2m sail (Point -7, AC-ONE).  The man is a force of nature and even seasoned racers could not work out how he held that size in those conditions.

Craig and Danny from Fanatic also did really well.  Craig, Danny and Vincent were all riding 2017 Falcon proto-types.  Watch out for the final versions when they come out – they are going to be serious machines!

Here is another gripe about windsurfing equipment.  Charl, a local hot sailor (and Joos’s son in law), showed me three harness lines, all marked as 26inch.  These lines were from Gaastra, Pro Limit and Chinook.  Not one of them was the same length as any of the others and the length differences were substantial.  
This is totally unacceptable.  You put your money down for an expensive set of lines and get them onto the water to discover that they are too short.  Come on manufacturers – this is not rocket science.  All we expect from you is the ability to measure a piece of rope!
Speaking of Joos and Charl, they have been experimenting with a 6.0m Gator and a 6.0m NCX, on a small slalom board and a Tabou 3S,96. Surprisingly they both report that the Gator seems to suit the slalom board better and the NCX seems better on the 3S - totally counter intuitive. 

 I took the 3S/NCX combo for a spin and found it fantastic. The sail is fast and stable on the little 3S. I did not get the chance to try the Gator with the 3S so I cannot say whether I agree with the findings of Joos and Charl. If I get a chance on this combo, I will give feedback. 

 The new Gator is fantastic. Charl joined the racing with it – the only non race sail in the fleet - and scared quite a few hot racers on their race equipment. 5 Battens, no cams – wtf?!

Good winds