@ Aco - ok, yeap you're right. I wasn't including big yachts/tri's/cats etc in my comparison; as 18ft'ers are able to be raced on similar sized courses to FW, a maxi would struggle in a small lake for room probably! haha.
I think its around <14 knots or so where an 18ft'er starts to consistently beat FW boards around the course. We can attain similar straight line upwind speeds of around 14-16 knots in those winds however a FW board can't get the angle an 18ft can in the lighter winds. An 18ft can probably do <49 degrees in ANY wind, whereas an FW board doesn't get that tighter angle until 18-20 knots when its fully powered up on 11m.
I totally agree with you re the Defi on FW kit. We often have guys racing slalom in Aus on FW kit against dedicated slalom racers, and the straightline speed is not as slow as you would think for an FW board. Remember, the GPS speed records for FW are up around 32 knots average and were set on bumpy waters, not on speedstrips. Apart from the top guys, most average slalom sailors probably are only doing 34-37 knots average in a race ... so a FW would definitely keep up :-)
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