View Full Version : sunken mast track
27th July 2007, 08:12 AM
Alright. My new 2004 hypersonic 111 just showed up. It looks soooo cool!
But my question is... what is with the sunken mast track? Its not level with the deck. What does this give you?
Just wondering what makes my new board tick
there is a pic
thanks a lot
27th July 2007, 11:06 AM
That's a real worry, could be your board has shrunk around the track sitting in storage since 2004 (??), or maybe was crushed in transit, or even could be the guys in the factory forgot to do up the vent screw and some of the foam used to inflate the HS111 has leaked out. ;)
A simplistic explanation could be that lowering the mast track allows the foot of the sail to sit closer to the deck and thereby more effectivly "closing the gap" more than if the track/base/rig was sitting higher. In practice, that is not nearly as critical as some imagine, although it's also a positive side effect.
More seriously, a recessed mast track is deliberately used to lower the centre of drive (effort) and reduce roll around the board's longitudinal axis created by the rig (mast base).
[[The distance between the (theoretical) longitudinal roll axis of the board and top of the mast foot sitting on the deck effectively creates a theoretical leverage, which side loading forces from the rig can use to (try to..) "twist" (roll) the board around the longitudinal axis. By reducing that distance, the leverage is reduced, and leverage being exponential, even a small reduction in distance produces a noticeable gain when riding the board. Well, you did ask ! ]]
The benefit of recessing the track (mastbase) is more significant on boards that are (relatively) thick (especially relative to width) around the mast track area (such as .... HS111).
You'll notice an improvement in the ride characteristics/handling/control of a board with this feature, especially at high/er speeds sailed close to the limit.
Cheers ~ Ian
27th July 2007, 09:13 PM
awsome. I am hopfully going to take it for a test drive today. I am interested to feel the difference between the 2003 hypersonic 105 and the 2004 hypersonic 111.
are there any other techniques for this lower center of drive type board? Or do I just sail it like I would any other hypersonic (since they are different than regular boards)
tks a lot ian,
27th July 2007, 09:28 PM
Get the rig a low as you can at the tack (i.e. no extra extension and pull the downhaul until the tack pulley is practically "two-blocked" with the pulleys on the mast base).
With your 7.6 (or is it 7.4) rig, I'd suggest trying the smaller fin first, and if that doesn't get you going, then the larger fin.
Hypersonics get fast and lively when you run the smallest fin possible.
Start out with the mast foot at the back of the track and see if you can get the HS 111 to tailwalk a little. Then move the mast foot forward slightly until it still very loose, but controllable.
Hope this helps,
28th July 2007, 12:57 AM
man I can't wait!
You are correct roger. I have a friend with a hyper, and it seems he uses the 42 cm fin for 7.6 and up and works pretty well. I guess I will try the 34 cm fin (its so small compared to my Go 48 cm fin!!!!!). I am guessing with such a small fin I can't just hoof against it to get going. I really have to bare away and build up speed before I feel it kick in right?
My 7.6 does have a very low foot. I love it. My favourite sail by far. I guess it might be difficult getting the board going with a 7.6 ad 32 cm fin though won't it?
tks a lot,
28th July 2007, 01:05 AM
No, larger fins do not necessarily get the Hypersonics going a whole lot earlier.
As you say, hed off the wind and get some speed before you gradually load up the fin and I think you'll find you get going as early and as easily as you ever will on the HS 111.
That's the most frustrating thing for me on my Hypersonic 96.
It's often fairly hard to get it onto a plane, and it an take alot of screwing around trying different little "ooches and nuances of trim" and all of a sudden it just take off and continues to do so for the rest of the session. Next day, same wind and conditions, same rig and fin, and it takes off right away, or maybe not. Frustrating, yes, but very nice once you get going because you almost have to fall in to get it to stop planing.
Hope this helps,
28th July 2007, 01:15 AM
Is your model from 2004 or 2005?
I will see how I fair today. I am taking it out after I sand down the fin base a bit. It will not go fully into the fin box and I do not feel like really forcing it because I hear you can crack fin boxes. I look forward to trying to tack it. Should be fun with such little nose ;-)
I will probably have more questions once I actually sail the thing! Waited 2 weeks for it to come.
28th July 2007, 09:01 AM
Do you have a file (rather than sandpaper)?
Best way to fit that fin is to rub soap on the fin root (yes, a bar of common bath tub soap like you take a shower with).
When you rub the soap on the fin root, it will be dull and whitish looking.
Put the fin root in the fin box, and put a little hand pressure on the fin.
When you pull it back out, you will see spots where the dull whitish soap has turned shiny and black (the underlying color of the fin).
Use a file to take these "high spots" off the fin root and your fin will drop into place very quickly.
Remember to leave the fin root about 1/64" proud of the bottom of your board (don't keep filing until it comes out flat with the bottom of the board).
This last little bit is the "draw" on the front and rear tapers of the fin root and fin box that makes a good tight fit when you pull the root into full engagement with the fin screws.
If it seems like the fin is not fitting on the lower half of the rear of the fin root (the half closest to the bottom of the board) take a flashlight and look into the fin box and see if there's a "glob" of epoxy there to keep the fin higher in the box.
Cobra sometimes does this, and it's then better to take a very small half round or rat tail file and file off the high spot that the glob presents to see if you can get more of the front and rear tapers to fit tightly.
Hope this helps,
3rd August 2007, 08:41 AM
WOOOOOOOOOOOOW... HOLY CRAP!!!!
As you suggested, I sailed the hypersonic 111 with the 34 cm fin while juiced on the 7.6 naish redline. I am at a loss for words. Once you figure out that baring away a lot REALLY helps early planing and getting into the straps on that board, its crazy. I could plane super fast and before people who were even on carve 133's and 8.5s! I could outstrip anyone and could really get dialed in. What a thrill!
its kind of scary baring away though. We had some semi big chop for 16-20 knots and I was hesitant about sinking the nose and me killing myself ;-)
I tried a couple of jibes too. It was fun, I always had a lot of entrance speed and almost made it around a couple of times!
Tacking was difficult though. I fell quite a few times in the choppier gusts. But it pointed so high upwind, I didn't really care. I was just suprised at how much physical effort it takes to sail. I was exhausted after 3 hours sailing! USually I don't even have to come off the water, but now, I take breaks every 30 minutes or so.
My questions are...
1. I found that I spun out quite a few times. People said that it was the weeds that caused them. Is this true? I don't wanna try breaking my speed record (which was set today :-D) knowing that spin out could indeed happen with my technique right now. if it was the weeds, than I can live with that, its not usually that windy.
2. Jibing was pretty fun, but do you have any solid tips? I found I really had to lift with the foot still in the strap to get a tighter turn.
3. What do you describe as an ideal stance for overpowering conditions. Do I need to worry about the nose diving? or can I just sail like I would with a 32 cm longer board...
Thanks a lot Roger, hope you get better soon,
PS HYPERSONICS ARE AMAZING!!!!!! I took a break and let two other very experienced sailors try it and they came off the water stoked, amazed and best of all... WANTING ONE TOO!
3rd August 2007, 12:02 PM
I guess this means you like the Hypersonic, right?
I think the correct term is perhaps "bearing off".
You can tack the Hypersonic, yes, but why would you want to do this?
Unless you are up against some large or immovable obstacle (hull of a ship is pretty large, and a concrete or rip rap " breakwater or breakwall is pretty immovable) you generally do not need to tack the Hypersoinc at all.
Remember when we discussed keeping your weight behind the mast foot and "stepping over" the mast while it's raked as far back as it will go (actually resting on the board above the upwind rear footstrap is a really good position). Try this technique on the Hypersonic and you may soon be doing planing tacks.
Learning planing tacks, BEFORE you get dialed in on fully planing jibes would be awesome, right?
As far as jibing, keep the nose up. If you shift your weight forward at all, the nose DROPS and the board STOPS.
So, don't try to do "tight" jibes. If you keep the nose up and "roll" your board into the jibe without shifting your weight forward, the board will lose almost no speed on the way in,
As soon as the board really starts carving (it does this on the bottom shape (i.e. the wings at the back) ) then you can roll the board a little more to tighten your jibe up, but trying to "stuff" a Hypersonic into a tight jibe never works very well for me.
And, yes, try strap to strap jbes where you leave your old front foot in the strap as you"roll" your board into the entry of the jibe. Press down with your back foot over near the lee rail and well behind the front footstrap (so the nose doesn't drop due to you shifting weight forward)
and pull up with the old front foot in the old upwind footstrap.
Get it right and it gives you alot more control.
As far as the spin out, lighten up on the fin abit, and rail the board a bit more to leeward to crank upwind.
And, if there are any weeds at all, get a good weed fin for your Hyper.
Hypers are a little less "affected" by surface weeds as the complex shape helps to divert weeds away from the front of the fin, but any weed on your fin pretty much guarantees spin out at some point.
As far as "stuffing" the nose into chop, I too was always worried about that with the Hypers. but it never happened.
Sure, a 2 or 3 foot boat wake is not something you want to drive into head on, but normal chop is easily handled by the shape under the nose of the Hypers. It only "appears" that the nose is practically in the water because the top of the board is so flat nose to tail. All the "rocker" that you would normally see in the nose of the board is still there, but it's all underneath the nose.
Great news that you are having such a good time with this new board.
Hope this helps,
3rd August 2007, 01:33 PM
Great to see such excitment. I have the 2005 Hyper which is the same bar graphics. I use an 8.4 RS6 and 6.7 RSRacing on it. I found to plane early get your weight down low while bearing off and as soon as you feel a gust sheet in and drive your feet forward. Don't over pump when nearlly going. Do short pumps and the concaves will do the rest. To get it going in a true 10kns I use a 49 select and once on the plane it stays on the plane. When powered with 8.4 I go to the 42 supplied. The 34 is the best fin I have ever owned. I use it on the two stypes as well as the hyper with the 6.7. I have the later model on yours which is made out of diffent material, but you should still get a lot out of it. A friend of mine rides the same board and he is getting some great speeds out of his when I'm on the Stype. Ivcan pull away off the wind in strong conditions but he kicks my butt going back upwind after bearing off. You will grow to love that hyper so much you'll never sell it. I've tested a couple of Isonics now but can't bring myself to change. It's overall ability is second to none.:D
3rd August 2007, 09:24 PM
I am going out today. I will try jibing again today and use those tips. I think I was actually scared to try jibing. I havn't had much success and I was pretty overpowered with that big heavy 7.6 (35 % carbon mast :-( ) I can maunever everything well... its just getting the stupid sail out of the water. clearing the rig in chop was hard...
In very overpowering conditions, where should my mast track be? I had it pretty far back. Should I put it further forward? like at the center mark? I was afraid this would make the board even flatter, and I would be done if I hit any chop:-(
Also, what footstrap positioning should I have for speed control? I like a bit wider stance, so I have them set on as far outboard as you can get, and the front straps middle holes and the back strap furthest back. It is really funny. I learned on the Go with outboard straps. Now, I really can't get used to wave boards with inboard straps...
Any tips for big sails in chop? I find uphauling always busts up my hands. The uphaul is murder for blisters. In really strong wind for that sail and chop, I find I try and get the mast perpendicular to the wind like I always do with smaller sails, than the board always seems to pull the sail downwind in 2 seconds... so the mast is pointing right into the wind :(
PLANING TACKS? HAve to try them. But what I am going to try today is... Go out from the beach into the middle of the lake, tack (I am more consistent wit them) come back and try jibes in the inlet (nice sand and waist high water for a while). That way when I fall on jibes, I can touch and easily clear the sail and keep going again.
thanks you two. I would be amazed how early the board will plane with the 42 cm fin. I could get planign earlier then everyone on a 34 cm fin...
4th August 2007, 12:09 PM
alright. I am obsessed with slalom sailing now. There is NO comparison between my hyper and my old go. So much faster, so much more control... I can't say enough.
I tried some tips roger, and I got some carve jibes today!!!!!!! It seems with the hyper, I have more speed, have more confidence in carving, since I hve more speed and it almost seems more confidence that I will sail out of it and not stop half way through the jibe. I really got low, back foot out of the strap, hand back, unhooked, hung off the boom (which I raised to nose height which makes an amazing difference with early planing...) and beared away, then straightened front arm more, let the sail pull me into the carve, got bent knees and leaned sideways, not forward, into the carve. I can get all the way around now, afterwards I either stay clew first and straighten out, or flip the sail while moving my feet if I am less powered.
Early planing was interesting though. I raised the boom like I said before and I found flutter pumping while going downwind helped. I would flutter pump (just moving back hand in and out while hooked in) then slip into front strap, then flutter pump more, then get into back strap and really bear away until planing, then resume my across the wind angle to get more apperent wind and speed up more. Has this worked for you?
I still can't seem to unlock the whole upwind angle that the hyper is apperently so good at. I can go upwind, but it seems I have to be really powered. If I lift with the front foot, push very hard with the back foot, and rake the sail back while leaning forward, it seems like I am going to get off the plane unless I am very powered to overpowered. What angle should I be able to point? I am fully planing, not half planing.
Also, with the hypers shape, can I still ride the fin like I can with other boards? What technique gets it up to riding the fin? It seems like I am having trouble with the hyper. I had no problem with the Go
4th August 2007, 12:48 PM
Yes, I found that flutter pumping and fin pumping (once the board is fully on plane but not yet up to full speed) worked the best.
I used to term this more as "ooching" than pumping, as you had to get everything pretty much right and the board would just "take off" but it wasn't something that seemed to be eactly the same technique all the ttime. Perhaps the Hypersonics (when underpowered) respond a little differently depending on the fin and rig you are using. The board kinda "retunes" itself, and then the sailor has to figure out what's changed and what now works. Sure builds a lot of new skills I'll tell you.
As far as getting your HS 111 upwind, remember you are on a smaller fin and slightly narrower board, so you need to get up to full speed, then lift with the front foot and push with the back foot, but do it progressively and gently.
The Hyper will go upwind higher and faster than your GO 139 did, but you have to "finesse" it a bit more.
So, no "hard turns" upwind until the board is really up to top reaching speed, then "coax it" upwind and keep the speed up.
It's easy to take it too high and have the speed begin to b*** off. When this happens, lighten up on the fin a little and ease a little pressure off the front foot (lifting up here) so the board foots off a bit and gains the speed back.
Then ease back up a little and find the angle (it changes depending on how powered up you are) where you can get both the best speed and best angle. Don't try to go higher as you will be going at angles that only formula boards can exceed.
I used to drag race a lot of sailors on dedicated slalom boards (the older narrower style) and I could easily drive them upwind until they lost their speed, then drop of a little and leave them in the dust.
Or, head upwind, while maintaining the same speed as the slalom board, then head off and pick up quite a bit of speed and just blow by in front of them.
You'll get used to it. It's a very "different" and unique board, and you've probably only scratched the surface of it's full performance potential.
And you did this in 2 or 3 sessions.... that's pretty incredible!
Hope this helps,
4th August 2007, 10:07 PM
fin pumping? what do you do there? Push against the fin like you see the formula sailors do? can you explain how you do this?
Thanks a lot,
4th August 2007, 10:27 PM
Fin pumping is where you pulse push against the fin to loosen the board up when it's a bit sticky.
It would be very similar to "flutter pumping" your sail ( and with good technique you can try both at the same time).
You just "jab" the fin slightly, not enough to raile the pressure to the point of spinout, but enough to kinda "wiggle" the back of the board which often helps the board to "unstick" and acellerate more quickly.
It needs to be done when your have both feet in the straps and the rig partially raked back and partially sheeted in.
Biggest problem many sailors have is trying to get things going too quickly. Unless you are very powered to overpowered on your rig size, you have to "manage" all the factors and work up to speed one stage at a time.
Yes, when you are powered up, it looks like all one fluid movement, but the more underpowered you are, the more you need to stretch out the time frame for each stage. It still looks like one fluid movement to someone on shore, but out on the water, you are moving from stage to stage at a rate that keeps your board accellerating.
Hope this helps,
6th August 2007, 02:23 AM
Im still trying to figure out this fin pumping bit. So I would bear off, flutter pump, get front foot in, flutter pump some more, then back foot, then what? kinda wiggle the back foot to get the back of the board loose, then straighten those legs and get going? I tried it yesterday and I could not get it to work. is it like trying to get a skateboard or snowboard going with out going down a hill or pushing? that little lunge forward almost?
I was experimenting a lot with different pumping techniques and I did get some real full body pumps... these worked well, but it only worked with the 42 cm fin.. the 34 was just too small it seems.
I aslo was wondering if jumping a slalom board is any different to jumping a wave board. I sw some great ramps yesterday and I had a lot of speed. It would have been killer to just jump. Right now I am talking about jumps just clearing t he fin and small ones. This won't damage the board will it?
with straps in the most outboard, pushing with the back foot doesn't raise the nose as much as it sinks the windward rail and I go straight through the chop :-( Is there something different to slalom boards?
Thanks a lot... and y ou were right. friday I got carve jibes really well (carving part) but yesterday, it just didn't work. It seems some days you get it, others you don't... the only difference I can see is having more power, and a smaller fin. I kept getting backwinded... like carving around, then getting flattened (even before going dead downwind...)
6th August 2007, 10:49 AM
As far as "pumping the fin" you need to just jab or "pulse" the fin a few times, without changing the roll trim of your board (which should be as flat as you can keep it).
Yes, the Hpersonic can be pumped with the larger fin, but pumpng is less effective with the smaller fin.
You can do some "chop hops" or just "get some air off the top of rolling wind waves without hurting the Hyper at all. Be careful when landing that your get the board back down flat, rail to rail, and try to get the fin down first. It's not really meant to be jumped, but give it a try and see how it works for you.
On your comment:
"with straps in the most outboard, pushing with the back foot doesn't raise the nose as much as it sinks the windward rail and I go straight through the chop :-( Is there something different to slalom boards?"
You seem to missing the point here, or you were really underpowered, need to shorten your lines, or something.
To go upwind "on the fin" your entire weight must be supported by the rig.
There should be virtually no weight on your feet at all. Your legs and feet just steer the board.
So, pushing with your back foot will never "raise the nose". You set the fore and aft trim (how high the nose is raised) by your mast foot postion. For someone your size, I'd suggest keeping the mast foot in the back 1/2 of the mast slot. Putting it forward of the half way point will flatten the board too much and make the board very "sticky".
Lift and pull with your front leg/ foot and push across the top of the fin and across the top of the water with your back foot.
At no time will this pulling and pushing ever lower the upwind rail.
You really want a slight bit of lee rail on your board so the water all splashes out on the upwind side and the lee rail is pretty much in green water all the time, with not much "splash".
If you are getting back winded on your carve jibes you are flipping the sail too late and going way to far around. Try to come out of your jibes at or below a beam reach on the new tack.
Hope this helps,
6th August 2007, 11:25 AM
I wasn't talking about pushing the back foot trying to go upwind. I have no problem going upwind now at a good angle. I figured out you can't expect to just push hard on the fin and do all the stuff you need to go upwind and expect imediate results... You have to keep it constant, gradually loading the fin more and more and you will steadily go upwind at a greater angle.
I was talking about jumping technique. Like with a wave board, you push down wind backfoot to raise the nose then pull up etc with everything else and get into that crouched stance and footsteer the board off the wind again.
My question was, What do I need to do to jump a slalom board? Thats what I mean... I tried getting my weight over the board more and pushing (like olieing a skateboard) with my hyper, but it felt wierd and I just carved upwind. That is what I meant.
Jibing, I will try releasing the sail earlier. How do the people do those crazy laydown jibes? Don't they get backwinded? or am I just holding that sheeted in stance too long. That would make sense. Once my friend gets back from out east, I will get him to take a sequence shot and I will edit it together. I feel like letting the sail go early just gets the jibe going slower or something... not as fluid I mean
Sorry for the confusion and thanks a lot for answering all these questions. I was lucky enough to get a wierd 3 days in a row of quality powered 7.6 conditions. It seems like the 7.6 race/slalom sail I have (naish redline from 06) is a very good match with the hyper
6th August 2007, 11:46 AM
Ok, I'm not sure where you came up with the jumping sequence your describe, but if it works for you.....?
How about finding a good steep ramp, crouching so you can "spring up" when the board "pops" off the ramp, and then hauling the rig out pretty flat so you get a bit more airtime.
If you are trying to do flat water jumps, go ahead and try, but I think finding ramps and using them will prove alot more effective.
On the jibing, if you are cranking around with the sail oversheeted, in not too powered conditions, I'd suggest trying to keep the rig slightly powered on the way in, flipping before you are straight downwind, and then starting to sheet in on the other tack when you are still well below a beam reach.
Don't see how you can back wind doing this...?
Laydown jibes are simply regular jibes where the rig gets laid way over on the entry. The rig comes back up and gets flipped just like normal once you get around to nearly down wind.
Hope this helps,
6th August 2007, 12:19 PM
ahhh I get it. the jibe part that is. I am almost starting a downwind 360 kind of thing I guess.
This only happens when I am really powered. Overpowered that is. I have no problem when I am comfertably powered. I heard someone say sheet in when you are overpowered while jibing, but I guess I took it too far in my case and didn't sheet back out in time.
As for the jumping, I was watching Beginner to Winner and he describes pushing with the back foot to get the nose up etc. I was just confused I guess. I will try it again next time I am out.
It is really cool right now. My first time out on the hyper was pretty scary. Compared to the Go 139, I was blasting WAY faster I was almost afraid to bear off. Now it seems like I am just going slower. I guess im just getting used to the speed. I am starting to bear away on some runs and try some speed runs. Its fun. I hope to take my friends GPS out. Get some tuning things checked out to see if they really make a difference. One massive one that I just found out is that this hype about early planing and a high boom is actually very true. I was out in a marginal day and during a long lull, I raised my boom as high as it would go... I would normally not even think of getting planing, but now, I was comfortably blasting around!
One more question. Does this boom height make increase speed as well as early planing? Or once you have your stance dialed in, or does it matter once you are planing.
Thanks so much for helping me understand Roger,
6th August 2007, 01:17 PM
Sheeting in (oversheeting, actually), to start your jibe, when you are really powered up, is the correct thing to do as it takes some of the power out of the sail, and sort of "draws" the nose of the board into the carve.
When you are less powered, and have less speed, shutting off the power isn't what you want to do.
So, for fully powered up to overpowered, yes, oversheet as you head into your carve. When underpowered or only marginally powered, you need to keep some power in the sail to keep whatever speed you have. This would be where you sheet out prgressively as you turn off the wind.
If the guy in the video was talkign about small wave and bump and jmp boards, where your stance is alot more vertical, and the tail of the board is very narrow, yes, stomping DOWN on the tail brings the nose up and if you time it correctly, that will occur just as the board "pops" off your ramp. In flat water, this same rapid downward push on th tail will get the board up out of the water for small jumps and to get the board out of the water for freestyle tricks.
But it does not really apply to a wide tailed board like your Hypersonic.
I'd look for the steepest ramps you can find, and use the limited "pop" in the board for any jump attempts, and be sure to land the board flat (rail to rail) as if you catch the wings at the back of the board, you will probably have a "yard sale".
Boom height is a very individual thing.
Formula racers on huge 9.8 + m2 rigs run the booms very high.
Slalom racers run their booms much lower.
You have to find out what height is the most comfortable for each of your sails. Normally the larger the sail the higher you may want to run the boom.
For super fast (scary fast slalom) in higher wind conditions, even the big guys run their booms down around shoulder to chin level.
Again, you have to experiment and figure out what works for you on your board, with your fin, and your rig.
You seem a bit "susceptible" to what you are seeing on the videos.
The videos are good, no doubt, but you have to look at the conditions they are made in, the board and rig types they are using, and see if these things match what you have.
The more their gear is different from what you have, the less credible the video is if you try to apply it to your sailing.
One thing to consider.
The videos are most often made in salt water, and you are sailing in fresh water. Just the difference in buoyancy is going to make a difference.
Hope this helps,
7th August 2007, 11:22 AM
wow I had no idea. I will keep that in mind. The sail tuning and trimming and technical stuff like that will still apply though. Won't it? Like the movie Faster by Peter Hart? All that speed advice is still good? That is an awesome movie.
Also, Roger or Ian, would you recomend getting an adjustable outhaul for my 7.6 and maybe my 6.6? I would like to get into slalom sailing and speed sailing as well as long distance course racing with friends at my local spot. Wondering if its good with sails like that. I know they recommend one for big sails.
Oh and after 3 sessions on my hyper, my mom noticed that the footstrap neoprene or whatever they use is ripping at the seams. I don't see what would cause this. Maybe just defective? Its only on one footstrap. But it looks like the whole thing is comign apart. Bad material/production mistake?
Thanks a lot,
7th August 2007, 12:54 PM
I haven't seen the video "Faster" by Peter Hart, so I cannot say how applicable the tuning info is to your current gear.
If the boards look to be similar width, then much of the tuning may be similar.
If they are on slilghtly older dedicated slalom boards then the rig tuning should work, but the techniques and board tuning may require a little "modification" to be fully applicable.
Only way you can finds these things out is to go out and spend the time on the water to test them yourself in your conditions with your gear.
Unfortuantely no one can tell you to set your board/rig/fin up a certain way and you will be tuned at 10/10ths.
Even if they were to sail your gear and go considerably faster on it than you can, you probably could not take it out and duplicate their speed without making some changes to make things more comfortable for you.
As far as the adjustable outhaul, that's a very inexpensive way to get even more performance out of your rig.
Yes! Get one!
Check your footstrap to see that it's really tight to the boad and that the anti-twist device is working correctly.
Footstraps usually last a long time, and if you feel there's a problem, take a digital photo and work a warranty back through the dealer you bought the board from.
Normally you have to take the board to the dealer, but for something like a footstrap, maybe you could just send the footstrap in.
If you straps are tight to the board and not twisting, I wouldn't worry about the neoprene cover too much.
Hope this helps,
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