Thursday, June 30, 2016

North E-Type 6.6 Commentary


As mentioned in the previous post I want to share some thoughts about and give some commentary on this iconic freeride sail.

Initial Impressions  

When we purchased the 6.6, I rigged it on my North Platinum 460 SDM mast.  This is North’s first choice of masts for it.  Their second choice is their 430 SDM and the least favourite mast option is a 430 North RDM.

On the 460 SDM, the sail rigs perfectly.  Once you have tightened the battens the foil is absolutely smooth and as you apply downhaul, it falls off beautifully – a really nice piece of design.  

On the water the sail is powerful for its size, certainly equal to a 7m GA or Vandal sail in this class. The low end is actually quite ferocious and it gets the stickiest of boards planing – no problem.  My first impression was that it is really racy.  It was totally at home on my Falcons 113 and 124 and I had some concern that it may not suit our Tabou 3S 116 very well.  I need not have worried.  It is fantastic with free-move boards – fast, controllable, easy.


The sail comes with trimming marks to help you rig for light, medium or strong winds.  My belief is that you can pull it down to beyond the ‘strong wind” mark for most of your sailing.  It is extremely powerful as mentioned.  I have also discovered that you need not be frightened about applying outhaul.  Once you have dragged it right down, pull it out more than you think you should.  This exaggerated outhaul brings major stability into the rig.  

With the sail rigged like this we had some really fantastic sailing.  My only niggle was that when the wind really picks up the sail can start owning your ass (especially when rigged on a slalom board).  The sensible thing to do in these winds is to rig a smaller sail of course but I always aim to get the widest range possible from my sails and the 460 SDM mast restricts me slightly at the ragged top end.

I have moved away from GA sails and the problem with this as a strategy, is that it leaves you with masts which may not be compatible with your new sails.  I have a Gaastra 430 RDM which I used with my old GA Cross 6.4.   The old Gaastra masts are super stiff and I had a feeling that this stiffness in the RDM mast may just give me controllability and ease without losing stability.
The combo has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.  The sail is soft and light in the hands now and can be pushed into wild conditions with confidence.  I have to say that rigged, it is not as neat as on the official 460 SDM – it definitely looks a bit dishevelled when you drag it down but the results on the water are just fantastic.
We have now bought an E-Type 5.8m and I will be rigging that on my trusty black Fiberspar RDM which has seen such distinguished service with the 6.0m Cross in violent conditions.

OK that’s enough rambling for one post.
Good winds

BTW I hear rumours that Fanatic has developed a new long, super lightwind Falcon board for 2017.  I would like to think that my blog posts had something to do with this but I’m sure that it is a co-incidence.  
They are also bringing in a board called the Blast – a super fast, super comfortable free-race model for non-racing blasters. How intelligent is that!   Can’t wait!      


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New Fins and Karo’s new Page


I apologise for the scarce posts, but at this time of year windsurfing is not at the front of the mind. When one is not sailing, other things become important.


Anyway, to start getting ready for the new season (October) I have obtained two new Zulu fins, one for each of the big boards.  

I now have the T-Rex 138 in addition to my beloved Pritchard Replica formula board and will be trying each with different sails.  I felt that I should get the best fins I can find for each board to give each a good chance to shine.  

We obtained a 50cm Zulu fin for the 90cm board and a Zulu 46cm fin for the 85cm T-Rex.  I hope the 46 fin will be big enough – we will see.

The fin in the snaps is the 50cm size.  The 46cm fin is in the T-Rex already.  
These fins are absolutely beautiful - light strong, flexible with a tactile, organic feel in the hand.  
Look at the shot with the box fitting.  Robbie makes this from carbon fibre making it both super strong and super light.  

All in all a piece of art whose superb functionality imparts a sort of voodoo power. 

Karo’s Page

I promised to mention one of Karo’s new online pages.  Regular readers will recall the post in which I mentioned Karo and the fact that she had been chosen by Severne Sails and Zulu fins to represent their respective brands.

The above page link is part of Starboard’s Apparel  site – please have a look at it.
Karo is gathering sponsors at an alarming rate and by the time our new season starts she will be in the perfect position to give windsurfing visitors help with all sorts of purchasing decisions (fins, sails, apparel, harness lines and a lot more).  If you plan on visiting us, please contact Karo in respect of anything windsurfing or water sport related.

In the next post I will discuss the 2016 North E-Type 6.6m sail which we sailed most of last season.  I think that I have managed some fairly significant tweaks to this sail and I will share these with you.

Good winds


Friday, June 10, 2016

New Equipment


Two pieces of new equipment caught my eye this week.  The first of these is GA's 2017 Vapor race sail and the second is Patrik's hollow formula board.  The formula board has been around for a while but he has put it on his site at last.

GA Vapor 2017

The 2017 GA Vapor sails have made an appearance at various GA distributor events.  Here are pictures from the facebook page of  Bartek Grzesiek.


What an involved piece of design!  I’m not sure how it works but I applaud the attempt to get rid of the overhanging batten above the boom end.  Incidentally, most of my sails have an overhanging batten and I have to say that they all perform well.  The overhang just irritates me.

GA’s efforts with the new Vapor, almost solve my problem but I have to wonder if Avanti’s simple approach is not the way to go:

 Without the opportunity to try both sails I have to side with Avanti on this.  Simple often turns out to be better.

Patrik Formula4 Airinside

Patrik has his new hollow formula board on the site now – a sublime piece of design and proof that when something looks right, it often is.
Steve Allen won the Australian Formula Windsurfing Nationals on this board winning every single heat on his way to the final.  No mean feat.


You can see why I chose this board as one of the inspirations for my new super board concept.  Just narrow it to 85-90ish cm and stretch the length to around 240 cm to create something really special for the non-racing blaster who wants to smoke in lighter winds.

Good sailing  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

PWA news and a Development on the Big Board/Medium Sail/Medium Fin front

Here is some PWA commentary and also a development on my big board/medium sail/medium fin initiative.
Matteo Iachino has left Fanatic/North as most of you probably know.  This came as a surprise to me in light of his great form last season.  He has moved to Point-7/Starboard and seems to be doing even better on the new stuff beating everyone else to win the first event in Korea.  The new Point-7 race sails seem to have the right stuff and I have the feeling that this year’s iSonics are also particularly good.  The first lady in Korea was Lena Erdil, also on Point-7/Starboard.

Julien Quentell has made a big move, leaving Pryde/RRD to join Avanti Sails and Patrik Boards.  This too was a surprise since he seems to have been with his previous sponsors for ever and has always performed well.  Go through the videos on the PWA site and you will see Julien dominating one of the heats on his new equipment.  A nice performance but I note that neither Avanti nor Patrik show him as a team member at the time of this post.  Not good.  The could both have posted the heat vid to promote their respective brands.

Big Board/Medium Sail Quest

You will know from recent posts that I am pushing to get more sailors to try bigger boards with slightly smaller sails and fins than they were designed for.  Well here is the latest installment.  

I happened to be glancing through a schedule of sale items on the site of one of our equipment suppliers.  On the boards page was an old F2 T-Rex which immediately drew my attention.  This is a board from 2002 made specifically for Dunkerbeck to win the formula racing that year.  

The whole formula movement was finding its feet and so F2 produced two sizes of T-Rex.  The one in the sale was the smaller of the two (138l, 85cm wide, 262cm long) and since it is also a full carbon board, it seems to fit perfectly into this big board/medium sail category.  I contacted the guys, gave them a silly offer and two days later the board arrived at the door.  

Despite the time of the year and the usual cold and fluky winds it brings, we were given a bonus of good wind shortly after the board arrived.  Ellie and I took the beast out with my 7.8 camless sail and a 45cm fin (both sail and fin much smaller than envisaged for this board).  

The wind picked up to way beyond what I would expect to sail this combo in, but we decided to hold on to see if we could survive.  Well, it performed beyond my wildest dreams.  The board shoots onto the plane and accelerates effortlessly to what feels like a pretty decent top speed.  Chop is handled easily and the board seems to shrink as speed increases.  Due to the leverage over fin and sail, we were both able to hold the rig easily despite being totally overpowered.
Windguru shows some reasonable wind coming in a few days and I will take the board out again, hopefully in calmer wind.  I will report back if I get a good session.

You will note the chamfered rails which help the board shrink as soon as it starts to fly off the fin.  The rails also seem to aid in the turns so you can drive the thing round like a much smaller slalom board.  Note also how the rail hardens and sharpens up towards the back of the board.  All in all, this T-Rex is an impressive piece of design.  Peter Thommen knew what he was doing.

I could not comment on the larger T-Rex which was 170 or 180 litres, a meter wide and over 270cm long (a real monster).  

I urge you to look out for a good second hand 138l T-Rex like ours if you can find one.  Guaranteed you will have fun and will frighten your mates in light to medium winds – all for very little money!  Release your inner raptor if you feel strong and sail it way over-powered as we did.  

You also have the bonus of being able to screw in a long fin and fly with an easy, flat 10m sail in light winds.  Bargain!