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Old 29th August 2008, 01:34 AM   #21
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1) The claim that the KONA ONE is the best selling board model in the world is likely to be true. It probably sells more than any single model from any other brand, like Starboard Rio M. In the Rio case sales are split between S, M and L models. But of course Starboard make much more boards, counting all models and sizes, than Exocet. I would not be surprised if there were more Futuras than KONA One boards made...

2) One part of my brain, maybe that closest to my heart, would really like to see Formula as the Olympic board. But it certainly makes it a boatspeed only game, with very little tactical finess.
Another part of my brain says that "what if there would be one Olympics without any wind"... The result would likely be that windsurfing got kicked out of the Olympics altogether. But regardless, in order for Formula to be realistic in the Olympics the schedule would have to be very different from the other classes. The fleet would have to be on constant standby for two weeks, ready to race as many races, at any hour of the day, that is possible to cram in when (if) it is windy. It is not just about picking another board type, the whole olympic (sailboat driven) sailing scheme would have to be altered. It is not impossible, if there is a will there is a way (but would it bring any better TV-coverage?).
Maybe at the end of the day the Raceboard 9.5 class would be likely to be the most successfull over a few olympiads.
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Old 29th August 2008, 02:51 AM   #22
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Great discussions as always.

The more I think about the more I am convinced that what windsurf racing (including the olympics) needs is Formula 1.2 (1 sail, 2 boards). Take Starboard's FOD and add a serenity and you have close to the ultimate wind powered racing in <25knots for the rough equivilant cost of the rsx and much cheaper than formula.

Look at James' great chart - Formula + Serenity is the best racing for those winds. (I hope you don't mind the link James!)
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Old 29th August 2008, 04:34 AM   #23
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You're quite right that the two board format certainly isn't new on some fronts, but for the Olympics it's my understanding that it would be in the sailing arena. Clearly Joe's thoughts coincide with this approach, and as he notes, the use of only one sail makes things fairly simple and inexpensive. All wind ranges would prove viable, and this could be accomplished with a minimum of pumping. Contrary to FE, the use of a carbon boom would polish the package off, to include possibly a choice of two fins to cover both boards (a weedfin could be a choice in some venues). Very creative, flexible and results focused. The potential conditions experienced in races can mix things up, but that's what defines the total Olympic athlete, and separates the outcome from a specialty racing formats like formula or real light wind longboards where body types often bend or skew the results.
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Old 29th August 2008, 08:00 AM   #24
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The only hope we have is for KA to start making boards as well as sails, only then will have quality windsurfing equipment, although Starboard is the next best thing to KA of course.
Maybe KA, Starboard and C249 should get together and fix windsurfing?
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Old 29th August 2008, 09:11 AM   #25
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I support the FOD concept because 'less is more'. Just a personal view. Anyway the main point I offer is that WS at the recent Olympics got very little coverage here in Australia. What is more surprising though is that in the discussion on the future of WS in the Olympics I have seen very little commentary on what actually happened at the Olympics hosted by China. A recent TV report from China by an Australian journalist moreover made the point that China is now poised to massively expand its involvement in many sports including WS. A pointer to the future?
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Old 29th August 2008, 11:59 AM   #26
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tactical sailing???

We all know the windsurfer is an athletic contest at the moment, and was in the IMCO days as well; it is not going to make much difference whether you stick with longboards or go formula; upwind in this type of craft is more strategic than tactical (i.e. right side of the course; leverage over key competitors vs. roll tacking on every single little shift).

DOwnwind, anyone that says planing craft are less tactical than the plow to the mark subplaners probably has not spent much time on them. Formula is hugly strategic and tactical downwind because gybes are planing gybes and you have a constant VMG tradeoff that can be leverage to screw up others; ditto for other planing craft as well. I have to tolerate this crap from the keelboat guys I sail with, who claim my planing yacht (downwind) is 'not tactical' (and therefore in their eyes rubbish) even though I have yet to see any tactics downwind in them sailing with virtually no place changes race after race straight at the downwind mark and very minor manipulations of the rules; by comparison the gains or losses and ability to put the hurt on with a downwind gybing machine like a formula board is far more IMHO.

Upwind ok sure there is less tactics to sailing a Tornado (I am told) than a Finn because of the relative losses in tacking vs. fully powered up boat speed. Are any windsurfers truly tactical other than slalom racing? (I don't know the answer, and hope someone can answer).

Once they allowed people to plow into marks, to touch eachother and to have full kinetics, you already have pretty much relegated windsurfing to be a relatively non tactical sport. I suspect the height of tactics would have been the period of the Div 2 boards, where you can not lose too much by tacking and where in light winds it was not the pump fest it has evolved to - unlike the current crop of boards (including formula) but they are all much the same except perhaps the Kona racing which theoretically doesn't allow pumping; obviously if it ever evolved to Olympic level that would be almost impossible to police.

The only way the Kona could be the biggest selling model is that they haven't changed the model year on year for 3 years now, and there is really only one model of board. by that criteria, the WOD and the IMCO are probably bigger sellers than the Kona. Smoke and mirrors - although a lovely mirror, it is a great board. Volumes are definitely miles lower than what would be implied by saying it is the world's biggest selling board; I think they mean it is the world's biggest selling single model of board when calculated over the life of the board and excluding any boards not still in production. Which it probably is ;-)

PG - formula needs to be prepared to have racing in slog conditions if they want to be olympic; there is no way around it. The same as the tornados and 49ers which look just as lame in those conditions, but it is part of the game. We saw most of the world spending serious cash in order to optimise their body weight and even rig plans (e.g. tornado American team custom kite) to deal with that. The windsurfer is far easier, as it is possible to simply create a board tilted towards those conditions, and let everyone have that board. For Formula, that is in general the earliest possible planer, with the ability to still race in sub planing mode. The skill is high but the viewing spectacle of Dempsey in Greece was probably enough to convince most people that no matter what board you put someone on, racing a windsurfer in sub 3 knots is pure pumping, pure pain and purely painful to watch.

A mega fin is probably what is required. Sure it will look stupid, be a luckfest and people will complain, but that is not significantly different to the moaners in Greece, Aussie, LA etc who weren't happy with the lack of breeze and the viewing spectacle of windsurfing in light winds. That's the sport of sailing. I don't bother in sub 3 knots unless to race, but as an Olympian or yacht racer or any sort, you have to be prepared to go out in that or come last.

With board rig development formula could be considerably better than it is now, that I think is part of the concept of Apollo project, and I was very surprised how well the board sailed in one of the first iterations 2 years ago (I am not that good and was quite easily able to plane up in about 7 knots and then point up and down from there); I am sure it would be more advanced from there.

To compare longboard surfing now with 30 years ago, it is easy to forget the boards are cmopletely different in weight, strength and how easy they are to use, even though they may superficially look very similar. If windsurfing is to do the same for longboards, then it probably needs to go through a modernisation smiilar to what surfing did; the market for the original longboards e.g. atlas woods era remains very expensive, very small and very focused on art rather than actualy riding the boards...because let's face it surfing on those old heavy boards is way harder than using quality modern gear.

Same same for the windsurf industry - if they can sort out the weight issue then the longboards stand a good chance of earlier planing and more market acceptance. e.g. my GF can handle a formula board (weight 8kg) she cannot easily even lift most of the longboards which are up around almost 20kg. And yes, with a smaller rig she can sail either. She just struggles to get the longboard to the water.

We are talking about two completely different issues of course; olympics and general public. But they are somewhat interlinked as the Laser Radial new rig for olympics/women/youths has shown.
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Old 29th August 2008, 08:24 PM   #27
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Default new concept????

What about the research field of a 3.20 to 3.80m board without daggerboard, but with a deep fin, may be two positions, and enough rail to go well upwind ?

This board could be as light as 9 to 10 kgs, without the factory nightmare which is the dagerboard hole,( which is very costly also.)

Fairly fast upwind, and in sub planning conditions, very close to the formula performance in planning conditions, much easier than the formula in strong wind, and downwind...

I have no memory of such a concept...
Am I wrong?
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Old 30th August 2008, 06:09 AM   #28
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I will say this again.....If you want to race in 0-25 Knots plenty of tactics and no pumping needed, bring back the Division 1 board MISTRAL SUPERLIGHT length 380cm width 68cm volume 260 liters WEIGHT 16 kgs it had a 6.3m2 sail and thats all it needed, ofcourse you could modenise the sail if you like. I would be more than happy to race again with this board. If anyone wants a photo I can send you one.
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Old 30th August 2008, 11:38 AM   #29
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Clarification: "The only way the Kona could be the biggest selling model is that they haven't changed the model year on year for 3 years now, and there is really only one model of board. by that criteria, the WOD and the IMCO are probably bigger sellers than the Kona."

The claim was of course ANNUALLY.

I believe it is pretty much impossible today to reach the sales figures of yesteryear, and thus become the best selling board ever. The market back then was some 400% bigger!

But the sales numbers are irrelevant when it comes to picking the next Olympic board...
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Old 30th August 2008, 03:19 PM   #30
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It's crap to say that there's no tactics in gybing downwind; it's also wrong IMHO to say there's no tactics in boat that perform best DDW. Whether it's a board or cat in strong winds when you're gybing through 90, or a Laser running DDW in light, it's intensely tactical...maybe more in the latter case IMHO because the fleet tends to be more packed. In something like a Laser fleet you are going up and down to intercept each puff, rolling away or heating up or going BTL for best VMG, while working leverage and angles over your competitors, intensely trying to synchronise puffs and the angle and size of waves for surfing opportunities, and trying to anticipate the mark rounding. Since it's common to go around overlapped with several other competitors, even 5cm is vital.

Sure, some people go from DDW classes to faster boats and say there's more tactics - but isn't that because they already know the DDW tactics from years of experience and then find there's a whole new box of tricks to learn? But the new box of tricks is not any harder than the old box of tricks....as the last Olympics proved (ex laser sailors 1st and 3rd) you can go from a DDW class to a tacking-downwind class, but skiff champs do poorly in Lasers, indicating that it's not dead easy to go the other way.

Some of the stuff I sail goes from DDW in the light to gybing through about 70 to 80 in the breeze. IMHo there's no difference in the importance of tactics.

"Are any windsurfers truly tactical other than slalom racing? (I don't know the answer, and hope someone can answer)."

It seems to me that non-pumping longboards can be truly tactical, in the style of Etchells or Lasers, but in the boats most of the fleet is pretty much competitive in speed and handling whereas in the boards only a minority are as competitive in speed and handling. Therefore in boards there are therefore fewer competitors who you have a real tactical battle with IMHO; most of them you can just speed away from. So it's less tactical overall. God knows why that's a problem; the ability to get more straight-line speed (a skill fast gear tests more) is just as important IMHO (and I'm not much good at it).

In big winds or on faster boards, in my experience, the boards are distinctly less tactical. Others may disagree but how many of them have good records in slow gear? If they cannot win on slow gear, then how do they know the tactics needed in slow gear and therefore how can they compare the two?

Fran, in the normal variable conditions how would you choose where to put the fin? The rails are low aspect and therefore inherently not efficient in terms of preventing leeway, aren't they?

Cats can have very deep, narrow shapes and a cat without boards cannot compete with a cat with boards.

Modern sails with a wide wind range are twice as heavy as original sails. We happily accept doubling the weight for more adjustability in our sails, so accepting a 20% increase in weight for a 100% adjustability in CB size looks okay by comparison. The production costs are, of course, a problem, but then modern fast boards are hard to produce cheaply too.

About the Kona numbers - are people going on opinion or fact? If it's fact, care to share?
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