RE: Pros and cons of smaller sails on Formula
I have no doubt that sailing formula gear can be both fun and challenging, and frankly, I have often toyed with the idea of getting a kit. Yet, the issues I raised above have always brought me back to earth, especially because of the kelp and weeds where I live. Still, there are a few places where I could both safely launch and avoid the thickest kelp beds. Maybe if there was another person that sailed formula gear, it would bring me a bit closer to some commitment. I mean there is absolutely no one that sails formula gear in my area, and I'm talking at least 50 miles either up or down the coast. In fact, I've never seen anyone with formula gear, except in the San Francisco Bay area, which is over 300 miles away. Pretty rare stuff.
Although I only touched indirectly on the cost of formula gear, there's really no question that it's exceptionally pricey. If one could be satisfied sailing a 8.0-8.5 rig, the situation could be considered much more pragmatic. For now, sounds like you're having fun with it, but I wonder whether the lure of the bigger rigs will be something you can avoid. I guess you could focus on a 11.0 FE type rig that would take away a lot of the price sting and still offer pretty strong up and down wind performance. However, I could never accept the thought of an aluminum boom. I think the added cost for a good carbon boom would be a very wise investment overall.
Another thought would be the used market. From what I have been able to gather, the likelihood of finding a used rig in your area is a much more favorable possibility. I would expect that you could most likely save 50% of the cost of buying new and get last years top stuff.
In the long run, I'd be curious to hear about where this path eventually takes you.