iSonic 105, high winds, lightweight sailor
I learned a lot this weekend. We had what might have been the strongest, most consistent winds, I have ever experienced on my current gear. I weigh in at 145 pounds right now. So, what did I learn?
I learned that an iSonic 105 with a 4.8 Hucker makes a fun combination but won't be the fastest on the water until I figure it out more. I think this is at the limits of what is practical for this size board unless on very flat water.
I sailed it during our club races this weekend, which is always a sobering thing to do for me. The first two heats I used a different board with the same 4.8 sail. I did ok, but felt I would do better if I switched to the iSonic.
The first two heats with the iSonic were very windy. The 4.8 was a good sail for the conditions for me. Heading on tack 1 & 3 on the .6 mile course, I found the iSonic to be blazingly fast. It was super easy to control. I really didn't have to think about much. The best part of it is the off the line acceleration. I found I could jump on and go -- and before I knew it, I was in 1st or 2nd. It was so much better than the other board I was using. I loved the way it jibed around the mark too. I realized that the more aggressive I got, the better it felt. And the accleration out of the jibe was top notch too.
Then came the sobering news for me. The return tacks (3rd & 4th legs of race) were heading into the chop. It was more downwind, but the pounding was too much for me to keep control of the board. I was noticeably slower than some of the other competitors. I just couldn't keep the nose down. I didn't have access to a smaller fin and the mast track was all the way forward already. (I was using a 32cm weed fin.)
With my AHD Convert 60, I managed a 5th and 2nd. With my iSonic, I managed a 2nd and 4th. So, I really didn't improve my standing by switching boards. I'll have to work on how to get this board to perform in high winds.
After lunch, the winds backed off a bit. Competitors went to bigger boards and sails. Sails ranged from 6.4 to 8.0. I was on the 8.0 Retro. I had it downhauled to max, and it worked beautifully. The next three heats I won. Again, the iSonic accelerated from the starting line better than the other competitors. The water had flattened out considerably and I found I was out for a Sunday cruise. I almost lost the first race of the afternoon because I was TOO relaxed. Oops. Lesson learned! The last race I made a mistake at the start, which cost me a good showing there. I couldn't get past the three people in front of me. I should have released some downhaul tension light everyone else. Oops. Lesson learned (again).
I placed 1st, 1st, 1st, 4th for the afternoon heats. I found that if the iSonic got a good start, I didn't have to worry much about the other competitors.
I think the 8.0 Retro is about as large as I'll go on that board. It was a very comfortable combination for me to sail.
The board is just what I was looking for -- a very versatile machine I can use in a wide range of flat water conditions.
Overall, I got 2nd place. The person who got first proved he is the most consistent sailor and racer. Also, he proved he could pick the correct equipment and knew how to keep things in control.
Sorry for the long post. If you read this far and have any advice for how a lightweight can keep things in control during high wind races, I'd love to hear it! I don't see myself getting a new high wind board any time soon.
Starboard [Gemini, F-Type 148, iSonic 105], AHD [Convert 60, GT Special 73], Windsurfer
Neil Pryde [v8 9.8], Sailworks [Retro 8.0; Hucker 6.6, 5.6, 4.8]
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