Formula vs Slalom Reaching Speeds
Here's a problem I need to figure out. Me and a few of the guys have thought to do a long distance race around our island and well we haven't done it in a long time. When we did do it, Formula did not exist so the discussion is would a Formula board break our current time?
I've been out sailing on biggish slalom gear with my mate while he's on Formula gear and for sure I've got a higher reaching speed, however VMG up or downwind I get toasted. But the course we'd do around the island has two massive reaching legs, with a fairly long downwind section and a bit shorter upwind section.
So I've been thinking a compromise setup would be to use my F-148 with the stock fin which is easier to handle at speed on long reaches compared and pretty fast. My slalom board would be a tad faster, but would lose out on the up and downwind legs!!
Problem is we don't windsurf so often these days, kiting seems to have taken over so never get out to GPS the gear and figure out the speed differences!
If windy, (more than 18knts) the formulas (champions) are getting the first places, with Nacras in close 3rd place.
If less than 15 knots, the Formulas are dead.
Contrary to your island, rounding our is a course with 40% upwind, 40% downwind, and only 20% reaching.
That makes two months I am trying to get as much info as I can to get in the next event with a new gear, longboard or hybrid, with I guess a good chance in low wind to medium wind, and also maybe in very strong wind...
Thanks to keep in touch when we will make our experience!
One ask: your Island, if I understand, is like a stick with the wind perpendicular... how will you handle the long reach on the down-wind side with a formula or a slalom board?
Are you in cold or tropic water?
Well we are in semi tropic water with many reefs to deal with, but they don't pose much of a hazard normallly unless you're sailing into the sun and get blinded!
We only go around the island if the wind is a favourable direction, meaning we can reach on the longest legs. On the leeward side we have to maintain one to one and a half miles offshore so not to be affected by the wind shadow.
Because of the risk, organising the trip is important, with mobile phones this improves things somewhat. Overall the rounding can be done in just over 2 hours, to break 2 hours would be the aim.
I guess the difficulty is knowing that such long legs are reaching, is working out whether a slalom board in the 120l range with a 8.4 can make up the time. I know there is for sure a speed advantage, but how much would be needed. It's something for us to try and figure as we know the course more specifically. But it's nice to hear the same problem exists for others!!
Fran, you should have a good afternoon and get round the course whatever the conditions on a Bic 310 Hybrid (the Pacer is also competitive according to race results - not able to try one). The great thing about these boards is you can rail'em upwind in the light stuff or fly the fin to weather when it blows. BUT I don't think you stand much chance of beating big cats - that's a tough target. For that goal if things look marginal I think you only chance might be an Apollo?
a few years ago I raced cats from 16-20 ft in a distance race point to point. the first leg was a 1 hr upwind (for me) then I reached down wind for an hour. so it took me ~2hrs. the first cat was 1 hr behind. I was on 10.7 and formula 160
In our Island, no much luck to have a day showing a cross wind to have a reach on the two long legs,(40% + 40% of the course) and even in that case, the hills are high and stiff enough to make very unstable the downwind (leeward?) reach, unless you cruise more than 1 mile away the coast!
Thanks to these high hills, we have an overall look of the race who shows these last years that in more than 15 knots the formulas get great advantage on the Nacra's, and suddenly they lost more or less all because of a no-wind hole, or because they start to plane without gaining upwind, and also, (big surprise for me), planing without gain downwind! these "staying at the same place" might be as long as 15 to 30 minutes on a 2 hours race!
I am close to make my choice of material for the next event: two boards, two sail: If the wind is definitively lower than 15 knots I will go with a raceboard + 9.5 sail, if the wind is more than 15 knots, it will be a hybrid with 9.5 or 7.5. (I weight 70 kgs, 155 lbs).
In case of doubt (wind between 12 to 18 knots) I will race on the raceboard.
Hybrid: BIC 310 OD (I dream of a pro light version, but as I use the hybrid only if windy the weight is not so crucial), or Exocet Pacer Pro
Raceboard: Exocet X380, old or new Equipe, or... new Phantom!
My challenge is to show new options for this race, and to place in the top ten
overall: formulas and cata.
With the specificity of our race, no luck I think for a slalom board.
Lucky we are to live on island: this kind of race around shore is captivating!
Some advise about the sails? my priority is for: 1st performance upwind, 2nd Lightness and easy handle.
Yep, it's not the average wind but the size of lulls that determines how formula fares. The only race results of this kind I know of shows the big cats easily have the record
For sails, if you look at
you'll see most use a North R type, although Bic do a purpose designed sail now too. And over on the Aerotech forum Dennis has had a Cuben Fiber Pacer sail made up which must be the ultimate. Good luck and let us know how it goes
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