Renewing my equipment
Recently, I've been sailing a lot less than up until 2 years ago. My gear is a 2001 FF198, with sail sizes 9.8, 8.5, 5.5 (all freerace/freeride sails). I am a heavy guy (96 Kg on a good day). I remember being able to take the 8.5 out in days when the wind was nearing 20Kts, and having a blast. Lately, however, it feels like a handful - I tense up, afraid of committing to the harness, and tire very quickly.
Last time I went out, I ended the session with a big crack on the deck of the board, just forward of the center footstrap insert (it seems to be going under the deck pad, too), so I'm now thinking of buying a new board, and a new sail to go with it.
Since I have no problem waterstarting, I thought I could go down in size to something like the Futura 144 or Go 144. I'm also considering buying a new sail at size 6.8 to cover the gap in my quiver. A more expensive alternative would be to buy both a 6.5 and a 7.5, but I don't really want to go there.
The conditions I usually sail in are salt water, cross/onshore 12-22kts, 0.5-1.5 chop/swell.
1. What can I expect my planing threshold with the 9.8 to be (on the FF198, I could not really get planing below a steady 13kts).
2. What advantage would the Futura have over the Go, both of which being the same shape? Does the build technology matter in anything other than weight?
3. Would it be easier to sail the 8.5 in conditions around 18 knots on a 144 board than it is on my FF198?
4. Is buying a single sail (6.8) to close the quiver gap realistic, or do I need two sails?
My advice would be to go for the futura because it was really build for blasting even though the GO has a price advantage and still gives you the excellent blasting skills you want from a board. I'll leave that issue to Roger.
As for planning threshold, i don't know how wide the FF198 was so it's hard to tell but i'm guessing they'll be comparable.
If it's easier to controle an 8.5 in 18 knots is a question of training. I sail my 7.6 no cam freerace sail up to 20 knots without losing too much controle on my GO 139 with it's stock fin or on my 113 L board with a select Scross. Up to a year and a half ago that would have been impossible to immagine but a good deal in weightgain and some powertraining got me there without increasing my TOW dramatically (which is unfortunate).
You're a heavy huy, like me and if you're buying fullcambered sails like i suspect you are you can easily close a 1.3 mē gap. Personally i go from 7.6 strait down to 6.2 (i'm 100 K wet weight) and then down to 5.4, but usually, in one session if i have to change my 6.2 i usually go strait down to 4.7. When i start a session in 5.4 and the wind picks up i can usually go down to 4.2 at once so i think a 6.5 or 6.8 full cambered sail could easily do the trick.
I'm doing the Windfest in Cape Hatteras, NC at the moment.
I'll answer your question as soon as I can.
CC has given some fairly good advice, and you are correct that the Go construction will be more durable, but heavier, than the Futura. Basic hull shapes are the same.
Hope this helps,
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