RE: Drake fins, cheap but not chearful
If I get Thierry right, when he says "Drakes" he means the Curtis SR6b design fins, as opposed to the Deboichet design Drake Pro.
I agree with Thierry about the limitations of the Drake Pro (Deboichet): the stock fin supplied with my S95 feels unreliable at speed, like one is on the verge of spinout. The other model, the Curtis design, is described by Ian Fox in former threads as more apt to powered sailing and better at speed. This leads me to other considerations.
Starboard already has available a better fin design for dedicated slalom boards; so why supply such boards, that are advertised as good for performance sailing, with the fins that deliver better low end but less performance instead?
When I bought the S95 I decided to get more fins in order to enhance the board's range of use. At first, I thought to complement the stock 32 fin with similar 30 and 34. After having sailed the board with the stock fin a couple times, I discarded that option and went for 3 "true" Deboichets to be sure I was making no mistakes. If the board was outfitted with the (superior?) Drake/Curtis model instead, maybe I would have decided to buy similar fins and that would have been better for Starboard. So, why?
I remember time ago when most if not all manufacturers were producing slalom boards that derived from what the pros used, only detuned for "general use"; this resulted in unfit boards, with fatter rails that led to lesser control at speed, bigger volumes that meant useless weight and so on. At last, the new racing format of Slalom 42 implies that the pros use production boards and ultimately leads to customers using pro level boards (well I will never believe this is true at materials/weight level too, but at least it is good for the shapes) But it seems to me some manufacturers, and their testers in first, are still doing that old mistake: to think that customers have lesser performance requirements than competing racers. That is not true at all. Probably even the reverse can be true in some cases. Just like good boards sail better than detuned ones, good fins sail better too.