Sunday, December 25, 2016

Seasons Greetings and two Race Sails from Severne


I had planned to respond to Joe Windsurfer’s comments regarding the exorbitant costs of some of the emerging technologies within our sport.  I will do this in the next post however.

I use this post to wish all readers well for the festive season.  Good winds and everything of the best for 2017.

I note that Severne have the new Reflex and Overdrive sails on the site now.


I don’t seem much difference visually.  I suspect that they have just refined and perfected something that was pretty near perfect to start with.
I do note with relief that the length of the overhanging batten above the boom end has reduced slightly.  We are moving in the right direction!  In a few more years it may just disappear completely!


On the Overdrive they have done away with 2016’s complicated shaping at the boom end, opting for simplicity in 2017.  Much better (imo).

With its option of being used on RDM masts, this sail has to be on your short list if you are looking for an easy race sail with blistering performance.
Other sails I would include on that list incidentally, would be the Avanti Condor, North S-Type, Ezzy Lion, Ka Koncept and maybe the NX from Sailworks.

OK that’s all for now.  Our wind looks good from about 14:00 today so Xmas lunch just became Xmas dinner.  Sailing comes first!

All the very best


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Three Windsurfing Developments to Watch


Here are three developments within our sport which we all need to be watching:

3Di Moulded Sails

North have been moulding sails in 3D for a while now.  Their focus has been the ocean yacht racing guys but they are going to be using the technology for windsurf sails.   What is achieved is a sail which has been moulded in 3D rather than one which has been stitched together from different patches, each shaped to create the overall design.

They create the desired sail shape on a design computer and the resulting pattern is fed to a huge table on which the shape is created.  The surface of the table is actually flexible and sits on a huge arrangement of pneumatically controlled rams.  Every part of the table surface can be raised or lowered (individually or as part of an array) to create the belly and flat areas of the sail “in flight” as the yachties say.  All the rams are inter-connected and obviously connected to the design computer.

Once the shape of the sail has been finalised and represented on the table, the sail material in tape form (carbon fibre, aramid, dyneema and binding agent), is applied to the 3D form, vacuumed down with plastic film, heated and cured. The tapes are mechanically applied with large, pre-programmed robot heads.  

Batten pockets are incorporated into the design and load path re-enforcement is achieved by simply adding extra tape layers across specific areas (all pre-programmed of course) Very cool! 
Sorry for the long winded description.
The yachting industry is the only marine sports fraternity with deep enough pockets to have made this technology possible but it is now bedded down, working and paid for.

North feel that their windsurfing arm could now benefit from the process which yields ultra light, ultra strong, ultra accurate and perfectly repeatable products. Yay!

Please have a look at this video of Ben Proffitt interviewing two of the North guys who have brought along one of the new sail prototypes.

This is interesting stuff which I will be watching over the next two years.

Inflatable Speed Board

RRD took the best aspects of their inflatable freeride board and incorporated them into the design of an inflatable speed board.  John Skye sailed the machine with a 7m sail and thought he would need to stay close in for a smooth ride to get some decent speed.  The wind was no good however so he went into the choppy water where he easily reached 34 knots in the stronger wind.  He says that the air ride buffers you and you just go faster.  (WTF?)

Here is the link to his interview:

Here is a video of John hitting indecent speeds on this unlovely piece of kit.

A proper board you can carry in a back-pack.  Very interesting!


Hydrofoil windsurfing has been around for a long time with AHD probably the longest running promoter of the concept.  More and more designers are jumping onto this train however and this year the PWA held its first hydrofoil race which Antoine won.

I have to say that the concept is attractive to me but I have a few reservations regarding the current equipment.  Whenever I watch someone hydrofoiling it seems to me to be quite a balancing act.  The stance is really upright and I don’t see anyone really hooking in, leaning back and just blasting.  The board seems really keen to nose dive if the sailor should sheet in too far and I’m not sure why the fin has to be so long.

I know nothing of this technology but it seems to me that the boards need an additional foil somewhere in the centre of the board or maybe a broad foil at the back of the board with two smaller side foils towards the front.  The rig should be super stable in my view – not super unstable.  I also think that the foiled board should be sailed leaning towards the rider like the foil kites I see.  

We need to be able to hook in and fly without feeling that we are standing on top of a tightrope.  As I said I have absolutely no expertise about this so these are merely vague opinions and wishful thinking. Anyway I am sure that one day, foiling will be windsurfing’s solution for having a blast in light winds.       
Good winds