Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Bigger Board/Smaller Sail Initiative - Some Thoughts


I will ramble on in this post a bit so if you are not up for wading through random musings –please look away.  The post is also aimed at non-racing recreational sailors so will not be of much interest to racers and speed demons.  

My topic has to do with board shapes and plan forms.  A huge thing that I discovered when trying smaller sails on bigger boards, is the importance of the width of the back of the board.   A wide rear deck provides leverage over fin and sail of course.   When sail and fin are smaller than envisaged by the designer of that board size, the leverage over the rig is really significant.  What this allows one to do is to ride the big board into conditions you would normally change down for.  Neither the sail nor the fin was built with this extra leverage in mind so by exploiting these factors you enter unfamiliar territory for most of us.  If you allow yourself to explore this realm you can open a door to something new and exciting.
My own trials with big old formula boards and with our old Falcon 124 have been a revelation in this endeavour.  The 124 is 76cm wide and can be sailed with a 40cm fin and 6.6m soft sail.  The ride this combo gives is simply awesome.  The board is light enough to shoot onto the plane and continue to plane through lulls where the 71/110ish slaloms are falling off (even with bigger sails).  The soft sail and compliant Zulu fin tame everything down to make things easy, fast and fun.

The whole small sail big board process has caused me to decide that I no longer need a pure slalom board less than 75cm wide.  I weigh 90kg so if you want to try the concept you may go down to 71cm if your weight is less than mine.

When I am finally overpowered on the 124/6.6 combination, I easily change down by keeping the sail and clicking on the 3S 116.  If I receive a windfall from the kind folks at the lottery, my slalom board would be the iSonic 114 and the step down would be the Severne Fox 105 mentioned in the previous post – two boards for most of your sailing as long as you possess appropriate fin and sail sizes.  
The wide rear is obviously not the only factor in determining performance but it is certainly important in my view. I had been toying with the thought of getting something like a JP Supersport 125 to move away from slalom boards altogether but on comparing the rear sections of the JP with the iSonic 114, I have to say that my preference would be the iSonic

When you look at the Starboard rear strap positioning, it is clear that they are placed for maximum force against the fin.  The JP’s straps are simply too close to the centre in my opinion.  If they had maintained the width just a bit further back I may have been swayed but not this year.  Sorry JP – a pity  because I suspect that you have nailed the under shape of this new Supersport – easy, superfast, light, not too short etc.

On the new Starboards, one thing you hear from everyone who tests the iSonics is the insane wind range they are capable of sailing in.  This tells me that they are easy and confidence inspiring.  This confidence comes from comfort and control which I believe is largely due to the rear strap positioning.  A soft 6.6m sail is totally outside of what you would expect to sail on a 76.5cm wide iSonic but if you ever have the chance to try this combo  – screw in a 38cm fin and give it a go.  It may set you on a new path!

As an aside, I notice that many recent board cut-outs have become longer, thinner and pushed to the outside edge more than in prior years.
JP SSport
Severne Fox
This seems right somehow (it seems to fit with the flow of things) but I would need to do a comparison between an iSonic and one of Patrik’s boards to reach an honest opinion.

Failing that, I would really like to test Patrik’s F-Race 75 against JP’s Supersport 125.  That would tell us such a lot about so many things!

Good winds 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

2017 Severne Blasting Board


I have been keeping an eye out for promising 2017 blasting boards.
The last post dealt with Fanatic’s Blast and I think the subject of this post is equally exciting.  

Severns’s Fox has broken cover and it looks the business with parallel rails, nice volume under the feet.  The bottom shape is reportedly extremely fast, being comfortable and controlled in wild conditions, allowing the rider to keep on pushing for greater speeds.  Nice!
If it does what it says on the tin this is going to be a board which ticks all the boxes.  It certainly looks the part

The pictures are from the above site where the writer also discusses his experience with the board on the water.  Please have a look at his comments.

The boards come with G10 power box fins specially designed for them.

This is an exciting product from the masters.  I think that the board is manufactured in China by IQC, a composite manufacturer which in itself represents an interesting development – a mainstream board to be made outside of the Cobra factory.  Price war? - I think not unfortunately.

So far I have only seen images of the 105 litre model (105/65/239).  There are bound to be other sizes in the pipeline.

Good winds

Friday, August 5, 2016

New Fanatic Blast 2017


I am back now, having spent some time in hospital having surgery.  Not good but I managed to escape and am at home once more.
While I was away, Fanatic unveiled their new Blast mentioned in my previous post.  Looking at the Blast pictures and vids, I have to say that it looks absolutely right for its designated purpose (fast blasting fun).  They took stuff learned during the development of the Stubby wave board and combined design aspects from the latest Falcons.  

This is all particularly cool in my opinion and I predict that the board will be something special.  It incorporates a new approach, new lines and new shapes. It has parallel edges and a diamond tail – two of my favorite things.  Absent are cut-outs.  No problem! 

Looking right is all very well but the boards need to deliver.  I am quite aware of this so my next goal is to get a ride on a Blast and report back.  I hope Craig and Danny bring one or two with them when they visit in November.  Failing this, the Surf testers may well have one or two Blasts in their testing arsenal this year.  Fingers crossed!

If you are rich you could buy all three sizes but the 115l/66wide would be a really good single board.  Add 3 fins and you have a wide wind-range covered.


Here is a thought about this new concept.  I would be willing to bet that it could serve as a template for a lightwind superboard.
I sense some eye rolling here but bear with me.

You would need to:
·         scale it up to a volume of 140 – 150l,
·         stretch its length to over 245cm
·         increase the width to 86 – 90ish
·         widen the tail (big time).  Have a wide diamond of course
·         insert a deep Tuttle fin box.
·         Provide outboard strap positions in addition to the current options

I can almost guarantee that such a board would be a lightwind rocket delivering equal helpings of speed and fun with a big, easy sail (7.5m upwards)

Something to ponder

Good winds