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Expander 4th January 2012 06:21 PM

Update fins for an outdated (but still valid) Formula 161

Since it seems nobody wants to reply in Free Forum, I try to post same questions in this Section.

I (finally) would change my old 70 cm Deboichet R13 S+ fin (old grey series) with a more updated formula fin for my F 161.

Despite everything, R13 is still a good FAST all round fin but, racing against newer fins, its limitations are evident especially in upwind angle.

I have seen a lot of brands have specialized in making very soft fins because of improving just upwind angle; so what fin do you suggest for:

board: (2007) Formula 161
sail: (2009) Gaastra Vapor 11 m
sailor weigh: 85 kg
wind condition: light to medium

Thank you in advance for any help.

Karolis 5th January 2012 03:21 AM

Hi Expander,

The board is definitely still valid - many top guys were still using it in 2011.

As for the your fin question - that's always a tough one. There are a lot of manufacturers making really nice fins and they keep improving and changing something in them every year, so its really hard to say. Anyway, here's a few you can look into - The Boss customs, VMG Blades, Z, Virus, Ifju, C4 fins and last but not least Kashy (though the price is definitely in another league here).

I have tested some of these fins my self, but it is really hard to pick out the best. I used The Boss 74 mainly last year and it is really nice fin, especially when powered up. Good acceleration and easy control. I also liked Z2 (older model) for very light winds as it is very powerful, but in my opinion it lacks top end range. ZE is said to be better, but I didn't have much chance to test it properly, so I cant comment on it. Now I think they have another model.
VMG is also very comfortable fin, especially in high winds. Well, at least the model I have. Heard they improved it for low end.

As you see, there are many options, but its best to try and contact the manufacturers yourself, ask about prices and availability and then make a decision.

All of that said, after trying any of those fins you will feel MASSIVE difference between the one you are using now. Its literally in another level of performance!

Hope that helps!

Karolis LTU1001

Expander 5th January 2012 04:57 AM

Many thanks, Karolis, for your reply.

A friend is proposing an used VIRUS at a reasonable price and he says it could greatly improve my upwind performances, especially compared to my old R13.

I have very few informations about VIRUS; what do you think about this manufactorer and do you know how many Formula models does it produce?


troll 5th January 2012 10:28 PM

Not to threadjack - but can someone knowledgeable comment on the suitability of the expensive formula fins for recreational sailing? I don't race and sail mostly by myself. Do the expensive fins, just help with vmg up/downwind or are they faster and quicker planing overall?

For example, race sails have huge range so they are great for recreational sailing even without any informal "racing" between friends. A full on racing 11.0 has a far greater range than a soft twincam - you can plane earlier and handle big gusts better.

I'm curious if the expensive fins are similarly useful to make sailing by yourself more interesting and enjoyable.

SeanAUS120 8th January 2012 09:09 PM


Simple answer is, they will. What most of these newer style 'expensive fins' have is greater control (upwind/downwind) and much larger wind ranges - we're basically near the point where you can have one fin working well in all conditions from 10-30 knots. For just recreational sailing I wouldn't bother with any of these larger cut-down fins, just stick to a 70 or even 68cm.

The only downside to these types of fins is they are usually VERY fragile. The trailing edges on them are very sharp and can chip if you aren't careful with the on the beach (not to mention you can cut your feet on them if you aren't careful with them on the water). Other than that though, the performance is really another level beyond any older fin and you will probably enjoy the sailing more having one under your feet ;-)

Karolis 8th January 2012 10:16 PM

Hi Expander,

I am not very well informed about Virus fins, but few of my friends have them. As I know there is one model, but as with other manufacturers, they offer different stiffness, rakes and cuts to their fins, so you can customise the fin for range of conditions you are going to use it in.
I am also not sure about the Virus fins price, but if I remember correctly, I think its one of the cheapest new fins you can buy for FW. So I would suggest you to contact the manufacturer first and then decide if the price is reasonable. Maybe they will also be able to answer what fin your friend has by specs and will tell you if it suits your desired range of conditions.

Troll, in short - yes. The new generation fins are better in all aspects of formula windsurfing. Even if you are doing it for recreation only.

Karolis LTU1001

troll 9th January 2012 02:14 AM

Thanks Sean and Karolis,

Any advice on buying the "expensive" fins used?

I understand that g10 gets soft with use - the modern big fins are carbon, right? So, there should be no issue with wear and tear as long as they're not chipped or otherwise damaged?

I like the idea of big range. The site I sail has unpredictable winds, so having gear that works in the gusts while planing in the lulls is a big plus.

Karolis 17th January 2012 04:59 PM


Carbon is also prone to material fatigue. Its the same as with windsurfing masts - they all brake eventually, but its really hard to predict when it will happen. One might last for two years and another one can go for 5 or 6, maybe even more. It also depends on how much you use it. I think the same goes with fins, so you can never be certain when buying a used fin.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, Virus fins, I think, are pretty cheap brand new. Boss fins are also cheaper than other popular ones, so maybe its better to buy a new one and have warranty for at least a year.

Karolis LTU1001

Macka Packa 4th June 2012 11:25 AM

Can anyone point me to Virus of Boss distributors please? I have a 161 that needs an upgrade, any pointers on suitable models (in the less expensive range) would be much appreciated. I'm 80kg and have 8.8,10, 11 code reds, river sailing 10-15kts just for fun. Thanks!

TSAF 5th June 2012 08:46 AM

How does R20 and FRB5 works on 161..?

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