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.
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.
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!