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?