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Unregistered 2nd December 2011 12:43 PM

Is formula bad for reaching?
I'm starting out sailing big sails on an older 90cm formula board. Having great time, but considering buying a newer used 100cm formula board so I can plane even earlier.

Have heard that the newer formula boards are uncomfortable on a reach. Is that true even when using a smaller fin? I'm sailing recreationally and am focused on planing as soon as possible and not racing.

I find that even with 12.0, the 90cm board planes earliest while on a reach, and it's still quite comfortable. Of course, when overpowered, I turn sharply up or down wind to bleed off power.

So, would a newer 100cm formula board be similarly comfortable on reach when lightly powered and when using a less powerful fin??

Or is the geometry of the board such that reaching is just not comfortable under any circumstances.

Ken 2nd December 2011 09:03 PM

I can't speak to the newer formula boards (mine is a 160). The same max width (100cm), but the newer boards are wider in the tail.

Reaching on a formula board, as you have discovered, can be quite fun if you have the right size sail. Most formula racers rig for upwind and downwind racing and are tremendously over rigged for reaching.

I don't find my board uncomfortable on a reach unless I get overpowered, and then it's not comfort, it's control. Chop can make the ride a little rough, but it's not too bad.

I stick with my Deb R-13 M 70 cm fin almost all the time and I weigh 77kg. A smaller fin would no doubt provide more control if well powered on a reach, but if it it's early planing you are looking for, you will lose a little bit with a smaller fin. My largest sail is an 11.0.

A newer 100 cm formula board will give you only a very small advantage when it comes to early planing over your 90 cm board (1-2 knots). However, many of the newer boards are much better overall than the old boards (8 years ago).

If the majority of your sailing is in light winds with big sails, it may be worth moving to a newer formula board if it is a good deal. However, some of them were not all that great, so you will want to check it out on the forum before buying. I started with a starboard 175 (not so great), then the 147 (Very good), then the 160 (excellent). I don't race much anymore, but the 160 was and is a great board so as long as it stays in good condition, I will not move to a newer board.

sergio k 2nd December 2011 10:51 PM

Speeking from experience (Miami in the last few years became 'formula central'),
people that switch from older formula models to newer (shorter,wider) like the change, no one
complains that they get more overpowered, that includes upwind/downwind and reach.
What they find is more plannig,control,comfort and angle potential. But do check reviews about
particular fw you're planning to buy, some better for light/heavy people/ light/high wind...

tonymatta 5th December 2011 05:34 PM

The formula boards are optimised for up and downwind sailing. All the improvements are aimed at this. I wouldn't bother spending money on an other formula board if you already have one. They are fine if you get one cheap but they are not optimised for reaching. You would probably enjoy some of the newer wide light wind slalom board that give the same early planing but still provide more responsive moneuvering and more easy and fun gybing. You will get more early planing anyway as you practice and get more skill.

COACHG 5th December 2011 08:50 PM

I have a 2010 Exocet & it reaches fine. I use mine mostly for racing in the S.F. bay but have used in in Tahoe fo light wind reaching.

For light wind BAF sailing there is rally not much to gain with the newer board unless you get it dirt cheap. For what you are doing I think the US is the way to go.


Unregistered 7th December 2011 03:44 AM

My last session was pretty difficult due to chop. The board bounced like crazy. I wonder if a newer board may be easier in chop due to cutouts, even though it'd be 10cm wider? My ML90 is great in flat water, even if over-powered, but the minute I sail into even moderate chop it becomes a handful.

I'm looking at boards like the mike's lab L5. Or even the ml95 - I believe it had cutouts already. Will cutouts and shorter length make the board "magically" better in chop? When I switched from a classic slalom board to an isonic 101, I was stunned by how much better the isonic was in chop despite its extra width.

Indeed, an ideal board for me would be one of the new 90cm light air slalom boards - but they're so damn expensive now. A six year old formula board can be had for about a fifth of the price of a new jp super light wind - and it'll probably have much of its performance at radically lower cost.

So, the updated question is - which of the more modern (say six years old) formula boards is really good in chop and on a reach, as opposed to just grinding upwind? Thanks for all the advice so far...

sergio k 8th December 2011 01:37 AM

SB FW 160 or ML08 would be 2 that would contol chop better, short with good control.
In general, shorter shapes do bounce less, if you like the diff between Isonic and older slaloms,
the change should be similar from older/longer shapes at 260+ to 230+/- modern FWs

Unregistered 9th December 2011 09:29 PM

Thanks Sergio, I'll be looking locally for a newer formula board...

tonymatta 10th December 2011 02:46 AM

I am guessing that if you have chop that the wind is not so light. In that case if you are still only reaching, I would be looking for a cheap old slalom board rather than a cheap old formula board, and keep the formula board you already have for the light wind days when there is less wind and less chop.

Jille 16th December 2011 01:58 AM

Reaching is no problem with light winds.
And when the winds pick's up, sailing upwind and then blasting downwind is a huge thrill!!!
So, there shouldn't be a problem at all........

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