RE: FE160 versus F-Type 148 or 158 for recreational sailing?
How much mast foot tuning did you do on the F-Type 148?
I found the FT-148 needs to be tuned to sail very free, if you want it to be easy over the chop.
But, it sounds like you've made up your mind so I guess the FT-148
is a lost cause.
I don't understand how you found the FT-158 more to your liking than the FT-148 (unless you are a pretty big guy).
As far as getting a Formula Experience board it will probably plane a little earlier than the FT-158 (maybe a knot at most) but I don't understand how getting another wider board is going to help with your "rough over the chop" issues, but I suppose that since the Formula boards NEED at least a 9.0 m2 you do not plan to sail the FE-160/F-161/F-158 in choppier waters, right?
If you want a really "lite wind" board, then the Apollo may be a better choice.
I'll be interested in seeing the article on the Apollo. I don't have the May editiion yet.
The Apollo will definitely plane earlier than the FE-160/F-160/158 and the F-161. Probably on the order of 2-3 knots (depends on your weight, sail size, and skills).
I didn't think much of the Apollo at first, but now that I have it figured out a little better, it's an amazing board.
Your TA SW 51 should work well on any of the boards you are looking at.
Hope this helps,