Tuesday, May 23, 2017

PWA and some New Equipment



Here are some thoughts on the last two PWA meetings and commentary on some random new equipment coming down the line.

The racing in Ulsan, South Korea was not good for the men.  No wind meant that the two final heats were just not possible and so - no results.  
The ladies managed to get a result however and their ranking table was able to get started.  Sarak-Quita reigns supreme!

Japan was slightly better than Korea.  They ran foiling races in the light wind which gave everyone something to watch.  They also managed to achieve slalom results for both men and ladies.   Julien Quentel won the men with Jordy Vonk second and Antoine third.
Here are some of the more notable impressions so far

·   The young guys are coming but Antoine is still a force

·   I note that the GA riders all seem to be on last year’s sails.  Are the 2017 designs not working?  Not good for anyone who has traded their 2016 Vapors in for the new models.


·   Julian Quentel was smoking on Avanti sails and Patrik’s new hollow boards.  I provide some specs for this range of Air Inside slalom boards further down.
JuJu in full flight with Jordy on his tail

·   The S2 Maui slalom sails did really well I have to say and the design appears to also work well on foil boards.
Antoine Questel leading Seb on his S2 Maui Venom 

·   Foiling will benefit big time from the top guys getting competitive and pushing design envelopes to increase equipment speed, improve ease of use etc.


Here are some specs for Patrik’s 2017 hollow slalom boards:






The 130/81 board's length is disappointing to me because it will not serve as a good multi-purpose blasting machine.  It will shine as a pure race board with massive sails of course but put smaller sail and smaller fin on and you get a heavy, unresponsive pig. Pity!

Here is the 130 next to a smaller (but longer) brother

Simmer has developed a range of slalom boards which should prove very, very tasty.  They are designed by Aurelio Verdi who, as you probably know, worked for RRD for many years.  During his time there he produced some of the best windsurfing boards around.  I rate him as one of the gurus of our sport.

Well, Aurelio is now on his own and is evidently freelancing his talents in addition to developing his own board range.

Here are the new Simmer slalom boards.  

(They state that "all sizes features a Tuttle box" but I hope that the two large sizes feature deep Tuttle boxes -?)

OK, that’s all for now.  

Good winds and I will talk to you soon

Thursday, May 4, 2017

PWA and Some Thoughts on High Performance Sails



I was waiting for the PWA racing to start in Korea today but the wind has fallen on its ass.  Looking ahead on WindGuru, the rest of the event doesn’t look that great either but they will certainly get some racing in.
Today sees a light on-shore wind which would be perfect for foils.  They really need to bring this discipline into the mix and run the races at the slalom venues.  If they did this, light days would cease being a complete waste of everyone’s time. 
Anyway – I’m really looking forward to watching some of the young slalom guys come through this season. We already have Matteo and Pierre at the front (both 27 years of age) and I think guys like Jordy Vonk, Tristan Algret and Basti Kordel are going to start walking over some of the old guard.
Everyone seems to have ramped up their training over the winter so we could be in for some upsets.

Current High Performance Sails

Here are some thoughts on performance sails.  I exclude pure race models because unless you are an actual racer, these machines are simply too intense for most of us (difficult rotation, titanic downhaul tensions, merciless stresses on body and soul of the rider, heavy weights, finicky rigging …etc).  I also acknowledge that there may be excellent sails not included on this list.  Having said this, if I were in the market for a high performance sail right now, these are the models at the top of my list.

The first 4 sails in the group are what I would rate as more performance oriented:

Avanti Tempest

This sail replaces the old Condor and they have really applied their minds to creating a great  mix  of lightness, speed and easy control.

Just look at the set of the thing. Very cool.

A 7.0m Tempest weighs 5.0kg and rigs on a 430 SDM mast.

Severne Overdrive

This sail, like most of Severne’s stuff, is a fantastic piece of kit – light, fast and highly recommended in most reviews.

A 7.0 m Overdrive weighs 4.9kg and rigs on a 430 SDM or RDM mast (very nice).


Sailworks NX

This machine has been around forever and has been steadily tweaked and improved over its lifetime. A good racer with proper board and fin can win on an NX against any sail on the market. The sail has 7 battens and 4 cams making it slightly old-school but bear in mind – old school can sometimes kick ass.  Big time!  Believe me!

A 7.0 NX weighs 5.2kg and sets on a 430 RDM mast.

Ka Koncept

The Ka has also been around for a long time and like the NX, its winning attributes have been tweaked and refined over time. I owned a Koncept 6.6m in the past and it remains one of the fastest, easiest, nicest sails ever.

KA does not furnish weights on their site. A 7.0m Koncept rigs on a 430 SDM or RDM mast.

The next 2 sails are all slightly more free-ride oriented so maybe not quite as fast as the above models, but a whole lot more fun:

North S-Type

This sail actually sits on the cusp of both camps. You can rig it with 3 cams for more performance or with 2 for more fun. I have heard people say that the S-Type is just too free-ride to consider for serious slalom blasting but I don’t agree. If you have a chance, take one for a spin. You (and the people sailing with you) may be surprised by the high speeds you are able to access so easily.

A 7.3m S-Type weighs 5.2kg and rigs on a 460 SDM mast.

Simmer 2XC

This is probably a wild card having only 6 battens/2cams but I am convinced that rigged on a light, high carbon RDM mast and light carbon boom it is going to deliver massive amounts of speed and enjoyment. Don’t be frightened to downhaul this beast!

A 7.1m 2XC rigs on a 430 RDM mast.

Other performance sails worthy of consideration include Ezzy’s Lion, Sailloft Hamburg’s Mission, RRD’s Firewing and even Severne’s Turbo_GT.

OK that’s all for now. I will speak to you once we have had some racing in Korea.