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  1. #1

    Post

    After not one but two days of stronger-than-expected wind it was not
    surprising to see all the summer sailors dust off their old kit and head
    to our beaches.
    Some of these guys probably only sail 6-times-a-year and see no
    reason to change their boards or sails most of it still in tip-top
    condition.

    It was great to see so many people sailing and enjoying themselves.
    But it is also interesting to watch these guys sail and to see what kit
    they are on. I can see opportunity for heated debate here.

    Sail size, for example.
    Do we sail on bigger sails nowadays? On Sunday it seems that sail
    sizes ranged from a 4.1 used at Worthing to 7 or 8metres sails used
    at Hayling Island. Of course some beaches got more wind than others
    with Worthing, as usual, topping the 'sea breeze' or thermal top-up
    wind. And other beaches were simply further away from the incoming
    front which also added to the gradient element of the wind.

    On my own beach in Brighton we also had discrepancy of sail size
    only some of which can be put down to location. (Between the piers
    and off Kemp Town we need bigger sails because of the high cliff side
    and tall buildings, whereas up towards Hove Lagoon, where the land is
    flatter, it is a bit windier inshore.)

    At Shoreham yesterday it seems that they were on 4.5's to 6.5's. And
    this range doesn't just relate to the weight of the sailor, or to the wind
    pattern of the day.
    My point is; Do those clunky, camber-induced, tight leech sails power
    up earlier than our modern flatter, loose-leech rig, leading us to use
    bigger sizes?

    Heated debate anyone?
    And board design? Do the new boards plane earlier?
    The first person to mention 'Mistral Screamer' gets sent to the back of
    the class.
    Now back in the UK.

  2. #2

    Post

    To pick up on what our esteemed Editor says above;
    Bill, yes we obviously have to compare sail sizes of people sailing off
    the same beach (that was the rambling point i was making).
    But I'm not sure I agree with you about Ezzy sails being the best for
    'top end'.
    My only experience is with Ezzy wave sails which are fantastic but
    which definitely tell you when they've had enough.
    When we sailed in Cape Town all last winter the Ezzy sailors were the
    first to complain they needed to change down as the afternoon 'Cape
    Doctor' wind increased. North (Star wave sail) sailors hung onto their
    5m sails when many others were on 4m sails. And my Tushingham
    Rocks, with a bit more downhaul, didn't complain at all. In fact it
    wasn't until I did change down that I realised I could have done so
    much earlier.
    I'm not sl*gging off Ezzy sails at all here, but they are cut very
    differently from other rigs, with fuller heads and with little rotation.
    Would you not expect such a 'broadseam' cut sail to top out first..?

    As far as modern rigs go, I actually think they are much better,
    whatever size you need to rig.
    It's the stable pull and lightweight feel that makes these sails a
    pleasure to use. Plus the reduced 'swing weight' offered by lighter
    masts and booms, and by shorter luff lengths.
    Now back in the UK.

  3. #3

    Post

    Hey Weathercam, posting at the same time again!
    Great minds etc...
    Now back in the UK.

  4. #4

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    I can't let that one go.
    Can we have a head to head; Ezzy Wave top-end versus Tushingham
    Rock top-end?
    We were all on new kit in Cape Town and several of the sailors there I
    was talking about are pros.
    The change-down pattern was noticeable because we were on the
    same beach every day with the same increasing afternoon wind
    conditions. Sure, every sailor will have his preferred sail-size or
    rigging settings, so you could put it down to that.

    On a personal note, I sailed my 5.7 Rock yesterday in way over-
    powered conditions. You can really hang onto it when you need too
    but, like Nico says above, by cranking on the downhaul, you release
    the head of the sail so that it's permanently sheeted out.
    Doesn't flap like a 'burgee' tho...
    Now back in the UK.

  5. #5

    Post

    Weathercam, you must get to Cape Town.
    The South Easter is indeed a thermal-accelerated wind. Set up by the
    typical November to February gradient wind which funnels around the
    Cape Peninusula, and then is accelerated in the afternoon by the
    sunshine on Table Mountain.
    What is particularly stunning there is that you can read the wind by
    watching the position of the 'table cloth' of cloud on the mountain. The
    wind fills in from about lunchtime and then gets stronger and stronger
    (spreading further and further along the coastline) and then it can
    continue to blow all night, only to be temporarily interrupted the next
    morning as the sun gets to work at first on the wrong side of the
    mountain.
    But you watch the cloud and you can see what you'll get. If the table
    cloth cloud goes, the wind goes too.
    It's a stunning sight (and this is why I would like to live there one
    day).
    Port tack winds though... not your favourite.
    Now back in the UK.

  6. #6

    Post

    I'll go with that, Billyboy, word for word.
    Now back in the UK.

  7. #7

    Post

    It's funny Weathercam,
    I'm with you on changing skegs in my boards, but I'm always changing
    them for smaller and more raked back ones when the wind is strong
    enough to allow me to.
    But then I'm also in a minority who have no intention of trying to blast
    past someone. In fact I don't sail very far at all without throwing in a
    transition to get back to where the waves are. All those speeding
    people get in yer way...
    The windsurf market tried to gear more up to fast sailing with DSBs
    and the like, but people couldn't gybe them and so then we got sold
    chuck-about freeride kit.
    Which way it's going now, only time will tell...
    Now back in the UK.

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