Durable light air board for 46 year old
I was sailing my 2001 AHD Formula 95 about a week ago on the river next to my house when I found a new sandbar/oyster rake (I thought I knew all of them). I had an abrupt deceleration from about 18 knots to zero, and as I was catapulted into the river my rig slammed the deck, cracking the nose of my board.
As I see it, I have two options:
1) have the board repaired (a bit of a hassle, but it's been done before and could be done again), or
2) buy a new board
If I buy a new board, I might like something a little easier to handle and more durable than my old AHD Formula board (I am not getting any younger, and my opportunities to exercise are more and more limited due to family commitments).
So, here is what I am looking to accomplish:
Mainly back and forth sailing in flat water on the coastal river next to my home. Because the wind and current often align, I need a board with a fin/sail combination that allows for good VMG upwind to keep from getting swept away from my dock. What worked best for me with the AHD Formula board (until the crash) was a Maui Sails MS2 10m sail and a 70 cm Deboichet fin. I weigh about 75 kg, have excellent, though not expert, skills, and have windsurfed since the age of 13.
Any recommendations? I no longer race, and simply want something easy to handle for flat water sailing in summer sea breezes (typically 6 to 12 knots). This formula gear seems to be getting more and more difficult to horse around as I get older. Thanks in advance for all your suggestions.
Seems that the Is133 Sonic is your avenue in such light winds, matched with the sail size and wind that you foresee. You could do a lot thinking about the fin.
The iSonic has the same delicate construction as a modern formula board but is smaller and won't plane as early or get as good VMG in light 6-12 kt winds. So I think Jack would be better off with a Formula Experience 160; starboard's F160 formula board in tufskin construction. Either that or a Futura 155 or GO 155 / 166.
Another route would be to get a wide, early-planing board that will handle a 10.0, but that the family can use, too. Like a pre-2008 START or RIO.
Have you thought about Bic's Techno Formula? Sorry *Board but I think their construction is way tougher (especially in terms of dents and dings) and lighter than the FE. The FE has better VMG upwind but the Bic is not far off the pace and is easier to get planing. It also has a looser ride despite its length. If you look around you can get a new one for under $1,000 USD. It doesn't even have a vent plug so it is pretty maintenance free although the grip wears out fairly quick.
A good friend of mine has the SB Formula Experience board which is a Formula 160 in a way more durable construction. It is noticably heavier than my old 160 and my current 162 of course, but it seems he gets it going really well and has great speed compared to the rest of us except pointing really high (probably has to do with technique as well though). Also he bought the board progressing directly from a wide centre-fin equipped beginners board and thus used this board when progressing through stages that saw him slam really really hard at times (including something that looked like an almost complete and very un-intentional front loop just a few days ago) and he has yet to repair tjhe board. On the other hand I've got 4 holes in my 162 from minor stuff like dropping the rig on uphaul rope knots etc.) All in all I think the FE 160 looks like a great board for recreational formula sailing.
What about a longbaord
Have you considered a longboard like the Phantom 380 or 320 or even the Kona? Check out LBWS.com.au for some reasons why longboard sailing may suit your requirements.
I agree with both the Formula Experience 160 and the Bic Techno formula. I have friends that sail and race both and they do very well. I think the FE 160 will offer better performance overall and they are relatively inexpensive.
The Phantom boards will not offer the same level of excitement or speed as the FE 160, but may be "more relaxing" to sail than formula. They won't plane as quickly either, but they can still get you upwind if the wind drops. Kona's are good light wind boards, easy to sail, good upwind performance, but pretty boring compared to formula.
Don't give me this "not getting any younger" stuff. I am 63 and what keeps me in top shape is knowing that I will be on my F160 30-40 days a year.
Your Deb 70 fin will work well in the light winds, but at 75kg and a 95cm board, you probably could get by on a 66 in winds over 15 knots, which will be a little less demanding and will give you better control. You may lose a little upwind performance, but if you aren't racing, it doesn't matter.
If you don't have an adjustable outhaul, get one. It will make formula sailing a lot more relaxing, allowing the rig to stay in balance as the wind goes up and down.
I think fixing your AHD is a good option too.
On topic of of age, I'm 47 and sail with some guys in their 50's and 60's that can kick
my ass, all on the formula gear, so dude - you're still a spring chicken...
Newer boards, specially this year's crop - are shorter, with refined shape and
with the a custom fin (In my experience a must to harness all the potencial), are easier to sail and have a huge range both low/high wind,
they are frigile/but easy to repair in most cases, you can glue a nose guard if you really concerned.
Both Bic and FE formula are better choices for durability, but do not have the same low end
or crisp feel do to their weight/construction. One benefit of age is usually more disposible
income for toys - so don't be stingy and treat yourself - buy a nice toy or two, we live only once!
shallow water fin
i am 43 and have an old formula 155. i use a 58 cm fin and a 45cm one as well, Yup the 45cm works with an old 8.5. Its not he best performance to get planing , BUT its shallow water friendly, and fast off the wind beam to broad reach when a biiger fin just is too powered up. Still points..OK... there is some spin out but its a tradeoff.
the nice thing about the formula, is that being so wide,( and this is an older board not as wide as the latest pickings) when the wind does die its just so balance friendly getting back to the launch. Easy on the knees, and legs and that what i need at the end of a session then perhaps its gone light and shifty and my energy level is down.
Even in an off shore light wind in the lee of lots of trees i can get the board within 60 feet of shore, then jump off and push in.
so stick with a wiber board and try a much shorter fin, i'd say.
Hi Foulweather Jack
You & I are real similar in age, theres loads of young guns where I sail and its a great feeling when they cant catch you. Theres also loads of top guys a decade or more older than me who can mix it up with the young guns. State of mind, your sell-by date is way away my friend.
The iS133 or iS144 are great light wind boards, but if you sail in conditions nearer to 6 knots most of the time, your better looking at iS150 (free formula) or full formula 160/161etc. If nearer 12 knots most of the time, then iS133/144 is a conteder. These are still delicate light weight boards, but, unlike the AHD (approx 260ish cm long) there shorter & lower noises tend to keep out of the way c/w your AHD (but still could be hit).
Cant help but think its possibly a waste of money repairing a 7-year old board when kits moved on so much??? Guess if you really like the AHD, its an option.
You said: "This formula gear seems to be getting more and more difficult to horse around as I get older"
Consider a "jezes knob" (not a great name for a product, highly suspect) or similar protection, this way you'll have the benefit of an 8.5ish kg board. The formula experience/Bic techno formula are nearly 11kg, so real heavy on the beach. If not already, consider getting a 100% carbon mast to loose some extra weight.
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