I remember having similar discussions with you several years ago, I know your opinion about freeride and race gear very well. What is new however, is that I started to think along similar lines for the last season or two. Your F1 - Porsche analogy is very good, I often use it when in argument with my racer mates. I've been using Starboard iS122 with 7.3-9.0 sails, it served me very well but I think I'm going to replace it with a fast freeride of around 110-115 lit. I know I won't be able to use a 9.0 sail and I will have to find another board for the lightest conditions (probably a longboard). Slalom has it's place even for a recreational rider, but I decided to go for a route that seems a bit more fun to me. I often used my iS122 in rolling swell, gnarly chop, always pedal to the metal in the outboard straps, it just stopped being fun after a while (and it was fun I admit). I bought it for light-to-mid wind sailing, not for competition, I am not a racer and just don't have the dedication to do it all the time. Just a few points in addition to what you wrote about your Syncro:
1. In offshore 18 gusting to 25, then dropping to 5, there is always going to be some compromise. Actually my 75 wide slalom wasn't too bad for that, if the water was flat(ish). I don't expect ANY board to slog me fine in 4-5 knots, and then to work in 25. I put up with big, or I swim - no problem ;-)
2. If a sailor wants good planing performance in light winds, say 9-14 knots, and the water is not too gnarly, then I still think a slalom is maybe better than a freeride - depending on what you want of course. In that wind you are not going to get "excited" about maneuvering 8-9m rig anyway, and you're not going to pull any screaming carve gybes. In these conditions, a slalom ride can give you an edge in fun/excitement. In both of your examples, you needed a 7-7.5 sail to plane - at 105kg. That makes you lucky wind-wise, compared to many. Keep that in mind, I know guys 30-40kilos lighter than you, who have to use bigger gear regularly in their gusty inland spots. I think this is what Ken is talking about.
Of course other sailors will have different views. We all do it for fun right?
Last edited by Screamer; 16th June 2011 at 12:53 AM.