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Old 19th September 2006, 02:14 PM   #21
milk laser
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi steveC,

I'm calling not to repeat modernization processes that has negative influence on racing communities (1998-2001). Modernization could be aranged in a way it will only strenghtens comunities. At Apollo case I see nothing new in social field. Starboard creates products that creates communities. It's strange for me to concentrate only on technological side and ignore social.
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Old 19th September 2006, 05:24 PM   #22
Mr Love
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

I agree with Mr milk laser . I reckon it,s great that starboard are trying ideas that lower the planning threashold ,it should only be encouraged , but by registering 2 different boards for FW racing it is feeding the "gear wars"mentality . The sponsored sailors and those that are cashed up will bring 2 boards to an event and chose the one to register based on the weather forecast . Normal sailors can not compete with this , again widening the gap .
Don,t forget the whole essence of Formula when it was devised in the late nineties was to be a lower cost alternative to the madness that PWA course racing had become . A one board philosophy was at the core of the ideal .
Every racing class in history that has taken the "gear wars " approach has failed . Sanity must prevail .
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Old 20th September 2006, 01:29 AM   #23
steveC
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi milk laser,

Thanks for responding to my post above. In addition to your comments above, I had the opportunity to review your parallel posts on a similar thread here. You've brought up a number of thoughtful points about the social side of competition, but I think you have also missed a few that I thought I would comment further on.

First, about folks leaving windsurfing for kiting. Really, I don't think that had anything to do with the "gear wars". I live in an area where there is absolutely no racing, but still the majority of windsurfers all abandoned the sport for kiting. I'm one of a few windsurfers still left. In my area, so many folks painted themselves in the corner focusing on being wave sailors and exhausting all other forms of sailing. By limiting their interest to such a narrow base, there was little opportunity to maximize and realize their interest. When kiting came along, it gave these folks a new outlet where seemingly radical aerials and maneuvers were possible in very light wind. it was fate that kiting would lure and drain participants from windsurfing. In my opinion, the windsurfing industry couldn't have affected the exodus to kiting in any way.

Earlier, I mentioned Formula Experience (FE) racing, but maybe that was missed. It is my understanding that the FE class gives budget minded folks the opportunity to race in a community of like minded folks that don't want to invest in the yearly "gear war" mentality. Of course, the FE class isn't the fastest formula stuff out there, but the social aspect and cost focus are truly in line with your thoughts here. I wonder why folks like yourself aren't finding an attraction and commitment to FE racing? I think I know the answer to that question, because the really competitive heart of the racing scene wants the best technology and any possible edge to dominate and win. So, it's this tug of war between those in your local racing scene. Instead of establishing reasonable equipment ground rules and abiding by them through local group agreement, the problem is conveniently viewed as an outgrowth of the industry's design and development efforts. When the root problem is at home, I wonder why the industry is so often blamed. Maybe it is because the brands are competition with each other to win over the marketplace to their corner. But that is the nature of business overall, so it's kind of fruitless to expect everyone to put the brakes on.

I've noticed that folks look back on the old World Cup circuit and complain that the gear rat race nearly ruined the sport. With the introduction of Formula, that was suppose to change. Putting boards aside for a moment, I look at the cost of huge rigs these days. I think that it fair to say that most committed local racers are going to have 2 to 3 sails, to include the masts to service them. Look at the price of NP X9 masts, at probably $1100 USD a pop, and the durability is so questionable that its hard to have just the minimum number of masts. When one adds up the cost of sails, masts and boom, the price of a board is dwarfed by comparison, especially if one replaces everything on a yearly basis. Personally, I'm amazed with the stratospheric costs.

Windsurfing can be a very expensive sport, and there are so many that can't refuse to throw money at it. It doesn't surprise me that industry leaders are so focused on improving products. Yet, instead of talking about binding up the industry's innovation and development cycle of racing products, you need to work at the grassroots level with your fellow competitors and decide collectively where your limits are. In my opinion, the problem is at home in defining your community. I know that seems harsh, but there is truth in that. You are simply working with human nature and will.

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Old 20th September 2006, 03:04 AM   #24
milk laser
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi steveC,
now I see that different ideas are developed from narrow local points of view. You've said that in your area there is no competitions at all. That is very significant difference. "Unattached" people has no requirement to be in community because they don't need the structures that works for them (judges, racing courses, boats, international relations among other racing communities, etc) and are created mostly by themselves. Speaking about me I can't imagine "unattached" man owning formula board. Formula charm is in racing, recreation sailing just creates questions "why do I need so big and heavy sail"?

FE is not a board if you have sailed FW. Carbon boom makes a lot of difference. Also if fleet is less than 20-15 boards then separating that fleet into smaller fleets of FE, FW makes competition not so interesting. In my area half of FW racers have one sail, others 2 sails. About half of them changes equipment once in two year period. They are competitive enough for 2 years. You dont need 3 sails if wind range is 7-25kts and chop not higher than 1m.

I'm not asking to bind industry's innovation. I'm asking for more responsibility from industry, for more understanding about "racing communities". Speaking in marketing terms I'm asking for changes in "target group" description. Mostly racers are not the guys "seeking for top performance", but racing comunities "seeking for fair racing on top equipment, not gear wars". Communities are able to decide not only their limits, but also producers limits and promote that much more agressively and wide than producers.
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Old 20th September 2006, 12:33 PM   #25
PG
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

This is a strange discussion.

Starboard gets flamed for trying to stretch the lightwind envelope of FW, while not wanting/daring to abandon teh style of FW boards that have been quite successful the last few yars.
On the other hand, if some other manufacturer, like Tabou, would have launched the Apollo and admitted that it was optimized for the low wind racing in FW then I assume that everyone would have been just thrilled (and applauded their courage).

The end result would still have been the same, the lightwind optimized boards would excel in low wind, and more allround boards would excel in high wind.

Formula Windsurfing is a development class. Thinks will not stay the same forever :-)
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Old 20th September 2006, 07:32 PM   #26
Remi
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi Milk Laser,

For the FE Class, have you ever try the new F 160 Tufskin with a Formula Experience rig?
In the last Youth Worlds in Belgium, the FW and FE compete together and big surprise, 4 times is a racer who was on a FE board who win the race and the wind was never over 15 knots. So not soo bad for a very cheap equipment who is in my mind absolute perfect for youth but also for " social " as you said. For example in Peru their is no more FW, all senior race on FE and seems that they are really happy.

But yes also the plan for 2008, that will be only 1 Formula board who cover both that we have right now.

All the best
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Old 21st September 2006, 12:54 AM   #27
steveC
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi milk laser,

I think I'll give it one more go here.

In many respects, you are right about "unattached" sailors like me. It is highly unlikely that I would sail formula equipment, but much of that has to do with the locales that I windsurf at. Lots of rocky bottoms with surf, and to make matters more difficult, kelp and weeds are at most spots. If I lived in the SF Bay area, my view and interests would very likely be different. Still, one would have to rationalize the expense and balance it with the fun involved. Currently I'm using a 5 board quiver, and that's more than most are willing to invest in and maintain.

Regarding the FE class, you touched directly on their weakest link. Why would anyone want to buy a funky aluminum boom? Junk in my mind. Actually, if you check past history, I have been very critical of aluminum booms, especially for use in a formal racing class like FE. It's my thought that the restriction was probably an inside deal heavily influenced by aluminum boom manufacturers. If the change to a carbon boom was allowed, FE would be a fantasic way to go for so many folks. Like Remi points out above, an FE kit can be competitive, and I would say much more robust than a FW kit for the right price.

I still think you are missing the mark about the industry's role and responsibilities here. I get this feeling that your view of the industry is along the lines of "you can sell dope in our neighborhood, but not too much at a time". Really, like I pointed out earlier, your community needs to establish reasonable limits that local folks will abide by. Local agreement and control is truly the best formula for a fair playing field. The industry is creating and marketing on an international level, and they are offering a range of products designed to suit a broad variety of potential customers. From a practical standpoint, it doesn't make any sense for the industry to manipulate and control local racing scenes, as that's best accomplished at the grassroots level by the local community.

Your point about racing communities "seeking fair racing on top equipment, not gear wars" is a bit unrealistic. You can't use top equipment, and at the same time limit the release of "new" top equipment. You're in effect saying, I want the best stuff, but you (the industry) can't change or improve anything because we need "suspended animation" of your top of line products. Not too much sense in that from a business standpoint. You can have "suspended animation" at the FE level, but not across the board, especially with the industry's premier products. In other words, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

I think PG made an excellent point above concerning FW being a development class. History has shown that it's absolutely true in the literal sense. With the manufacturing processes and methods being used today, the industry is not encumbered by expensive molding costs as they were so many years ago. Ideas can flow very quickly, and there is little reason to limit development on premier racing products. In my opinion, the only way to artificially suspend this trend would be for the ISAF to refuse to recognize a new production design. I don't think that will happen, but who knows, maybe "racing communities" will have more influence like you say.

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Old 21st September 2006, 02:03 AM   #28
James
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Formula racing is cool, but I think that even without the Apollo it's an awfully tough class to be competitive in.

I've done local races on my F158, but it's always terrifying and exhausting and I'm usually miles behind the serious competitors. The other day I was riding my F158 and stock fin against Dave Kashy on a F160 with one of his Kashy custom fins ($700 USD!). Granted he's a better rider, but there was just no way I could come anywhere NEAR his speed and upwind / downwind angles with my setup.

I could train extra hard and spend $$ on fins to be competetive in formula this year... Or I could pick up that $200 F2 Lightning 380 longboard that I just found on CraigsList and race in the local longboard class with top-of-the-line everything!
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Old 21st September 2006, 08:23 AM   #29
Remi
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Hi James,

Their is another possibility with the FE Class, real cheap compare to FW and enough good to have really good fun and race. At the last Youth Worlds where the FW and FE racers race together, we was really surprise to see in 4 races that a FE board win the races, soo not so bad.

In the FW Class their is a very good change in 2008, all boards who will be register the 30 september 2007 will lock for 2 years. So the next change will be only 30 september 2009. That will give a chance to many racers to be competitive 2 years with the same board.

All the best
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Old 21st September 2006, 09:39 AM   #30
Nathan
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Default RE: Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

Not too sure what all the fuss is about, because a racer could be carrying two board to a event RIGHT NOW, its just that the boards would be from different companies, to explain.....

Example: Lets say the board company "XXX-Boards" makes a fantastic formula board (named "Light Wind Machine") this formula board is the best light wind board on the market (up to 15knots), leaves everything for dead. Lets say Starboard makes a board name "161" is the best board on the market for winning races over 15knots.

A cashed up racer who has brought "Light Wind Machine" & "161" can go to a event, determine the overall conditions for an event and register the best board for what he thinks will win him the most races.

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