My First Impressions Is133, Is110 and Is101
Been a busy 2 weeks, and managed to test my new (to me) 2009 IS133, 2009 IS101 and 2013 IS110. Tested with my new 2013 North WARPs 6.3, 7.0, 7.8, 8.6 and 9.6
First Test Is133 with 9.6, wind 12 to 17 kts. Board feels incredibly short, compared with my Mistral 123. Technique to get it going is completely different … stand well back to stop the nose digging in. Initially it feels a little “sticky”, I feel that a little more practice is required getting it going, however, I was pretty well powered up so not an issue on the day.
Gybing is another area where I need to learn a new technique – I managed a few brilliant gybes and came out full planning, straight into the straps, however, many times the board luffed up severely. I think that it is better to flip the rig earlier and come out pointing downwind a little more. Also it is not necessary to get your weight forward as this just force the nose underwater. The board requires a lot of foot pressure to get it to turn, but once turning it seems to go round very well
In terms of speed, no complaints – I did not take the GPS out, however, I was pretty much the fastest on the water that day. The board feels very planted and “easy”, chop was not an issue.
The standard 52cm fin was way too big. I switched for my 47cm Select S12, which was a little small, however, I feel that it will be excellent on the 8.6. I have now got a 49cm to use with the 9.6m but not tested it yet
Last weekend was the first of the winter slalom series in Weymouth. 5 of the the UK’s top 10 slalom sailors were present, so the standard was pretty high
Next Test the IS110. The wind started out pretty light – by the time I was rigged, the wind was increasing to 20 kts, which was a little too much for the 8.6 for anything other than speed sailing. I was very please how well the board handled the 8.6, the rig definitely did not feel too big for the board.
From the very first gybe, the board felt right. Like the 133, it needs a lot of foot pressure on the gybe, even compared to my Mistral 123, which is also the same width – I put this down to how strong the directional stability is on this board. My 43cm Select S12 felt good, if anything, it may have been a little too big
After a few runs, I decided to change for the 7.8…… just in time for the first slalom race. A very quick in and out was all the time I had to tune up my new board and sail (not ideal), and I made the mistake of leaving the 43cm fin in place. The Mistral 123 was perfectly happy sailing maxed out on an 8.0 with the 43cm fin…. Not the Isonic 110; to be fair, it still sailed well and gybed well, however, I could not sail a max speed as the fin was lifting too much. In the second race, I was in second place, before catapulting on the final run down to the line, so it couldn’t be a terribly bad setup
I sailed with the 7.8m as the wind slowly climbed, all morning – even with a too big fin, I managed some half decent results, and most importantly I did not miss a single gybe.
By now the wind was gusting 25kts, and my strength was failing so I changed down to the 7.0 and put my Deboichet SL3 40cm on. Here was the real test of my board purchase, I wanted a board that would be my mainstay for 7.0, 7.8 and 8.6, I was really hoping that he Is110 would be comfortable with the 7.0 and I was not disappointed. I would never have dreamed that a 75cm wide board would be so nice to sail with a maxed out 7.0. With the SL3 I was really able to exploit the speed of the Is110. Even though we were sailing a figure of 8, one leg was very broad, the other very tight. Sailing Broad, the Is110 was just about as fast as anything out there, including the Is107’s a number of other competitors were using. The Is110 is so adjustable in the gybes, on several occasions, I was able to pick up places when competitors fell in from of me, and I was able to adjust the arc to go round them, while sailors behind had to bail out.
Where I was a little disappointed was sailing the tight leg, the Is110 was not a quick as some boards, however, this may be down to the fin or my technique on a new board, apparently the SL3 is a great downwind fin, but lousy upwind. I think that I need to experiment with some other fins – I have in my collection a 2009 Drake 38cm and 40cm, so will try the Is110 with these before deciding whether to order a new fin.
Much later, after all the racing was complete (and the wind was blowing 25 to 35 kts) I went out on the IS110 with a 7.0 to see how fast I could get it to go. I was so shattered that I managed just one run, but even then I had a VMax of 32.94kts (61.0kph) – if I was less tired and had a smaller fin, I am pretty sure that I could go quite a bit quicker. In comparison, I never managed to get the Mistral above 32kts.
Final test was the IS101. For the final 5 races, I changed down to 6.3, the wind was now blowing 22 to 33 kts, and I was too tired to hang onto the 7.0, even though the top sailors were still sailing with 7.0 I changed board for the IS101 and my select S12 37cm fin. It felt much looser than the IS110, however, by this time, I was so shattered that my sailing was falling apart, In one race I dropped every gybe, having not fallen on a single gybe in the previous 10 races.
The next day the wind was gusting 40+kts; luckily there was no slalom racing, so a good time to tune my Is101. I rigged a 6.3 and Chocco fireblade 3 34cm fin, and from the first gybe, I knew that this was going to be a good day. The Is101 is an amazing board in windy, choppy condition. I was well powered up on the 6.3 – the Fireblade 3 suits this board and sail combination brilliantly, I don’t remember spinning out at all.
There are 2 main strengths to the Is101 – firstly, its ability to gybe, it is really easy to initiate the turn, even when sailing fast and broad on chop, this was always an issue on my 2008 Falcon 105. Once turning, the board is really easy to control, even in chop. I found that I needed to “hold” the board on the rail longer then I was used to, however, once I got the technique right I was blasting out of every gybe, straight into the straps – some of this is probably down to the 2013 North WARP’s, these sails power up so fast (compared to my 2010 North RAMs)
In terms of speed, it is difficult to say – Conditions were very choppy, so sailing really fast was difficult, I was easily able to do 31 – 32 kts, but this was slower than the single run on the Is110 the previous day. It did feel slower than my Falcon 105 in similar conditions, however, the Falcon may just give the impression of more speed as it was always verging on being out of control when well powered up on chop. The Is101 is so controllable and “easy” that it may be faster than it appears.
Overall, I am really pleased with the Is101 (I would love to try the IS97 to see how they could have improved it!). The 110 has great potential and clearly will be really competitive with sails from 8.6 to 7.0 in winds from 15 to 27kts. While both the Is110 and Is101 felt completely natural, the 133 needs some development of my technique, I also need to give it a good test in lighter winds – When I tested it, I should probably been on the Is110 and 8.6 (but I was waiting for the Is110 to arrive)
I would love to hear other peoples' views about these boards to see if they align with my first impression