Sunday 9 September 2012

The wind looked promising last night and it kept its promise.

This is the second outing on the warp slalom 76 and it's not a bad board for gusty lake type conditions. anything with less volume would have been a pain in the (fat) arse.

It looked good for the Demon windspeed 8.2. I was guessing 15+ knots. Little did i know this was a lull and the gusts were pretty viscous at the dam end on the lake. After more downhaul (!) I was able to reach the full length of the lake. I had a play with the setting on the Windspeed, if i went flatter i went slower. So fuller equals more grunt and more speed.

The exocet 44 was good and i only span out when maxed out going upwind. I hit something under water twice, which was scary as i was maxing it. Prolly an underwater buoy.

Very please with my 500 as the chop was quite exciting at times. Arms are getting stronger also.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Session 27-07-12

Stithians is a strange place in a northwind. The gusts are more sustained than any other direction, but  the lulls are just as long. In conditions like this, I’m thankful for the high volume of the isonic 135. The runs were short as I was sailing the width instead of the length of the lake. Being out of practice, it seemed I was settled in the strap, then had to get out of them to gybe.

 After my second outing on the isonic, I’m becoming less inclined to sell it now. (on ebay atm, I’m salivating for a Tiga hyper-X) I have sailed Matthews Exocet 76 wide slalom board and the 2 are like chalk and cheese. The isonic is a steady eddy in ride characteristic, where the exocet is dancing on the tail, not in a bad way I hasten to add. It still feels secure. Sadly I wasn’t wearing a gps, when riding the exocet. It would have been an interesting comparison. I suspect the speed difference will be negligible, there are plenty of ways to skin a cat and Starboard and Exocet go in different directions on these designs.

Johnny Vapor re-headed a 63 course fin down to 46.5 and I re-shaped it, so it was less stiff in the tip. What was pleasing was there that there was no singing or sudden spin out. It went like shit off a shovel up wind, while pushing hard on it, I achieved a 27.5 max. Which I was more pleased than the 30 max.

I’m still unsettled on the downwind runs. I’m ducking and diving between being locked in and then standing up. Time will heal this I hope.
Spent a lot of time setting up the mast track position and harness line length as well. I’m still not happy with the set-up, but it is with a soft twin cam freerace sail which was coping admirably in the gusts. The addition of a couple of carbon battens would make it even better imo. 

Sunday 8 July 2012

No Brainer

I have been lucky enough to work with Matthew Burridge, in his sail loft over the last few weeks. To see how he builds these sails was an eye opener, which is an understatement. The windsurf sail industry is slowly catching up with Demon and 5-O sails. Their stance on exotic materials has been a slow grind into the 21st century.

The new 2013 sails are now being announced with lighter versions of last years sails being introduced. Also the forums have been extolling the virtues of these "new" materials being used in the sails. After reading these blogs and posts I feel compelled to comment on the bullshit that some are saying.

Now I can now look at a sail that Matthew has built and see what is involved in the building process. First off is the re-enforcing. I have been building luff tubes for Matt and there are at least 6 processes just for making the head area. Including kevlar strips and layer upon layer of strength patches. Clew re-enforcing would be enough for a yacht, let alone a windsurfer. There there are the grains used in the cloth. The sail is built like a bridge. The load areas are controlled by the grain structure of the cloth. Talking of load areas, these are of the highest importance in the design process. More beefing up is applied to these areas. After my time with Demon and 5-O, I believed them to be over-engineered.

This is where the contradiction smacks me in the face like a wet kipper. Demon Design and 5-O wave sails are the lightest available. How can they be over engineered? Fact is they are not. The customer is getting a huge bang for their buck when they purchase one of Matthews sails. Fact is, on other sails you are being sold short. In no way could the big manufactures used the laminates that Matthew is using. If they did you would be paying substantially more than you would be paying now. All through the design process of any sail, there are compromises. The compromise on Demon Design and 5-O are in another ball park compared to others.

The 5-O team riders are animals on their kit. time after time the sails end up on barnacled encrusted rocks, in the most extreme of conditions and yet they survive. I am now not surprised at the incredible strength of these sails.

A friend bought in a un-named brand of sail for repair. the luff area had failed. After un-picking the luff tube, the horror of the strengthening process came to light. bellow the batten was 6 layers of strengthening, directly above was 2 layers. Where the layers met the sail had ripped in half. This was on a 2012 sail.

The bottom line is, why are you letting yourself be sold short? Remember these exotic laminates that is part of the new marketing bs pouted by the hangers on and paid riders were used by a certain sail designer in the mid eighties. boy do i look skinny.

Monday 27 July 2009

I'm sitting in Barcalona airport waiting for Ali and the girls to arrive.

In the main i will will running away from the wind as i want the clan to have as much fun as possible. If i get any sessions in i will post about it.

So what do i think about south of France....---

Great people. More than happy to help if asked. They are very happy in the knowledge that they are in one of the best playgrounds in the world.

Windsurfing. For general windsurfing bump and jump / freestyle i have to give it a 10 out of 10. The wind is never far away and the temperatures are not too hot either. If your'e sailing on one of the many lakes, bring a weed fin. It's a must for these locations. without one youre in for a shed load of frustration. With my slalom fins the weed just stuck to them and this totally fucked up the board directional.

Speed sailing. With a van like mine it's hard to get to the places that are fast. My favorite sessions were at St maries. The long reaches were heaven. Gruissan is also an excellent location. However the wind is usualy on the beam so it's a case of bearing off into the chop. Dont get me wrong i'm not critisising but i was trying to find somewhere like southend or maybe st johns lake. There are places like this as peoples sessions have testified. But the area is sooooo vast that it's easy to miss the best spots.

Mountain here biking is heavenly. for the last few days i've been riding in the PLN area in the hills. the trails consist of fast downhills, technical rock gardens and steep gruelling climbs that are a case of keeping the front wheel down and stopping wheel spin. Some of the trails are a solid 9 miles long on the gps before i hit a road. Then it goes on for another 9 miles. I have been totally bitten by the MTB bug. Since i've been here i've clocked 1000 miles on the gps odemeter. No wonder i've lost weight!

A warning to other camper van users. The north beach at PLN is accesable for vans like mine. However if the wind veers to a F4+ onshore the beach totally floods. When the beach was dry i considered parking there overnight but decided against it as there was a free camp site very close. I went there next day and it was a huge lake. A couple of vans were marooned in the distance. They must have had a big shock when they woke up in the morning.

I've spoken to Adam Gustaffson and we have decided that as i'm at college for the next year we will be able to try and get to the speed strips in Holland during our holidays. (He's a teacher) And what with the UK USMs being held during the year there will be plenty to talk about. So i'm hoping to keep this blog going with news on whats happening with the UK speed scene.

Many thanks to anyone thats been bored enough to read my ramblings. To be able to put my thoughts and views down in these posts has been good for me. Thanks for the support!!

Monday 20 July 2009

i've had a mare!

Went to PLN with a solid 40 knots blowing dead square. Went out with the North ram and the Warp speed. The ram handle the uber strong winds well, but the warp speed was too big and the nose kept flying in the air. What with the crashes into the sand bank i kept a little offshore and the chop made it very demanding.

So i decided to walk back and get the missile xs with the 24 C3 venom. Only i saw diesel dripping out of the bottom of the van. If it went tits up i was stuffed for picking Ali and the girls up so i packed up and made my way into Narbonne. As it was a Friday and was getting late i knew that i would have to get there toot sweet. All the garages i tried said i had to go to a fiat garage. So i had to drive another 40 mile to a garage found on my sat nav.

When i got there it had just closed(!!) So i stayed the night and found out it was closed for the weekend. So i made my way back to PLN to find that the angle was around 120 degrees and about 35 knots. rigged the 5.4 again with the missile xs. Trotting my way a mile up and down the beach was certainly getting a sweat up. Got to the waters edge and i could see it was dropping. Walked another mile up the beach to see if there was more wind and had just enough to get me planing. So i got a free ride back to my launch spot.

This pretty much my last chance to try PLN in anger. But never mind i've had a ball and i weighed myself yesterday and i now weigh 93.5 kg this is the lightest i have been in a long while. i still have a fat arse though.

For the record so i dont forget. i did 32 miles on my bike yesterday and averaged 14mph. So i'm getting fitter.

I've sorted the van now no i'm happy that things are looking good for picking Ali and the girls up next week.

McDonalds meals in France taste just as shit as the UK McDonalds btw but they have good wifi.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

i've got an internet connection which will stay with me for more than 5 mins

I'm using an aire de service which has a wifi aerial beside it. The trouble is it's 7 euro to park overnight and i'm not doing that. So i park as near as possible to get the wifi. A few people are doing this so the police were called to send us away with our tails between out legs. Anyhow the aire is closed for dinner so i'm in my covert parking space again.

I didnt go to Roses as there was cloud forecasted. This means no wind so i will stay in a more camper friendly area.

Thanks to Boogie for the suggestion for the camera mount. I threw the boom away.... yeppers what a numpty. So i have been to the supermarket and bought a long handle brush. I'm hoping to fashion a camera mount out of this.

I went out yesterday at teliski lake. The SE wind was coming from the sea and was bunching up the cloud against the mountains which was a weird sight. Weirder still was the way it flattened out and blotted out the sun when the wind dropped.

The wind was gusty but again was fun to race against the other slaom guys. The weed was still an issue but i'm getting used to this. As predicted by the locals the wind got gustier by 4 oclock and dropped by 6. Nice blast just wearing my shorts which was a real treat.

The tramontana is kicking in on Friday again with 22 knots forecasted on windfinder. Last they forecasted this it was blowing 40 plus knots. If it does blow this hard i know where i'm going to be. With decent film footage i hope.