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Old 27th April 2007, 06:56 AM   #11
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Default RE: Stop Formula XXL Sails!

Sails are getting slightly smaller at the big end of the sizes, but the weight is still going up.
Every year Mr Spanier has managed to increase the weight of each generation of racing sail from Nitro 1 to todays TR-3
Of course all his followers will say,"oh but the sail is so good" but that does not get way from the fact that for the past 8 years any improvement with performance has come at the expense of weight.
Maybe they stopped making the 12.5 becuase no one could lift it
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Old 27th April 2007, 02:22 PM   #12
geo
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Default RE: Stop Formula XXL Sails!

I am not a Formula sailor, and my largest sail this season is 7.0. That said, consider my opinion as one from the outside.
A line must be drawn. Currently, the line is at 12.5 but it could be different. Some could say 15.0 is better than 12.5, why not? Just like others say that 10.0 is better. IMHO the point is that the line should be drawn where it better helps to fulfill the goals set.
It seems to me that the main goal should be to bring the most people to race, and IMHO again a 12.5 size limit does not work well in this regard. I do totally agree with Svein Rasmussen.
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Old 27th April 2007, 10:49 PM   #13
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Default RE: Stop Formula XXL Sails!

The pros & other formula racers that have sore backs, do so because they try to carry the biggest sail possible for the wind conditions.

This means 9.0 to 10.0 sails in 25+ knots. Superman would have a sore back.

For the recreational formula racer / sailor like myself, I now resort to what is "reasonable and manageable" to finish the race. I have raced a 6.5 on my SB160 on a few occasions in 25+ knots, just so I could keep racing and finish.

I weigh 80kg and work on maximizing my efficiency with the smallest sail possible for the conditions. I have an 11.0, but spend more time on my 9.5 & 8.5 because they have much broader wind ranges than the 11.0. What I sacrifice by going smaller rather than larger is the deep downwind performance, a price I am willing to pay. I am not pro, so the only thing I risk if I rig too small, is the possible ego boost I may get by beating the other racers / sailors.

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Old 28th April 2007, 01:22 AM   #14
steveC
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Default RE: Stop Formula XXL Sails!

Although I'm not a racer, I think that ThierryP has made some insightful points above. Limits of sorts have led to technological/performance developments that have ultimately filtered down to the general public. While I think that many restrictions in car racing have been implemented to promote safety, others were undoubtedly used to narrow the field to encourage more equal competition. All in all, rules and limits have worked well to level the playing field.

Yet, are rules and limits always advisable or productive? In windsurfing, like in many specialized sports, the physical characteristics of the participants has a significant influence on the nature of the competition and the final results. On top of that, age kind of always finds its way of affecting the balance too. Even the best performer eventually has to deal with the impact of age. So, to level the playing field and encourage participation amongst the broadest spectrum of possible participants, weight and age classes have been used successfully to achieve these goals. Notwithstanding the categorization strategies to fairly balance competition, there remains the pro class to define the highest level of competition.

In thinking about all the different forms of racing competition, I think that there should be a few formats targeting and promoting "all out" competition. For pro level formula racing, I find it hard to argue for eliminating 12 to 12.5m sails. Like some have noted above, these jumbo sails offer a valuable performance asset. Off hand, it can be argued that these larger sails stack the deck against the lighter weight participants to some degree, but if they were taken away, bigger sailors would be dealt a clear liability. In my opinion, there is nothing holding back sail designers from developing more powerful smaller sails to improve the performance capabilities of their smaller/lighter weight sailors. However, it must be remembered that sponsered sailors with all the prime physical and mental attributes are truly going to get the focus and attention, and they will ultimately define the sensible limits.

Yet, as discovered in 2005, there can be certain technological limits in the equipment that affects the viability of everything. So when 12 to 12.5 sails became super questionable because of sketchy masts that weren't up for the job, folks started to think differently. Now things are at the fork in the road. Some have abandoned the jumbo sizes, whereas others have not. I think that what we will see is improvement on either side of fence. If one path proves superior overall in a competitive environment, the direction will be clear. Patience is needed at this point to allow things to naturally evolve. A forced decision isn't an imperative right now, at least at the highest level of competition.


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Old 28th April 2007, 06:54 PM   #15
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Default RE: Stop Formula XXL Sails!

I'm glad to see the topic has such many comments, all very precise and complete.

I'm agree with Thierry and geo: the development in racing (or extreme) conditions many times helped normal people to have better and better equipement, not only in windsurfing...

Now anyone can glide in much less wind than in the past thanks to wider boards, we can use cambered sails and go fast minimizing the rotating problems, many sails now have an incredible wind range.

The Severne Glide/Neil Pryde Helium are "sperimentation" or a bit more, that I think can be usefull both for rancing class and recreational sailors who want an easy ride with minimum drawbacks.

The question is not "a forced decision" steve, becouse there're always forced decisiona (even 12.5 limit is a decision, or 1 meter width..) but push the developers to make something for racing that can still be usefull for anyone. I mean that's the final purpose of racing in the end.. (or that's the ideological/marketing "excuse" B) )
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Old 28th April 2007, 09:04 PM   #16
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Default RE: Stop Formula XXL Sails!

When this thread was started, I had just finished a week of sailing every day. Each day except one, I was able to get out and enjoy using a 4.8. Two days ago, I went out with my 9.8 (largest sail). My back was sore the next ... I sailed for 30 minutes that evening.

So, I am just reinforcing the fact that these big sails are big... very big. I can't imagine owning a 12.5!

With that said and reading the other comments, I think there is merit to the opinion that we need a smallest maximum sail size. I agree it would help us, the public get a more efficient sail.

There is a loophole though. What is stopping a pro from having a light wind 10.0m2 and a high wind 10.0m2?

Just trying to add to the discussion. I wonder if manufacturers would try to go this route to get the best of both worlds?
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Old 29th April 2007, 07:32 PM   #17
ThierryP
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Default RE: Stop Formula XXL Sails!

"What is stopping a pro from having a light wind 10.0m2 and a high wind 10.0m2?"
Answer: a regulation that says you can only register one type of sail of each size (I didn't write "one sail": if a racer rips his sail, he can change it for a new one, but same type/dimensions). I am just answering the question, not advocating that rule; having the choice between a low wind and a high wind 10m sail should be a good thing for regular sailors.
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Old 30th April 2007, 02:10 AM   #18
AlexWind
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Default RE: Stop Formula XXL Sails!

Well, this is not really a problem: they can do like North Sails does with Warp Slalom/Formula..
A 10 meter sail for low wind and a 9.9 for high wind
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Old 16th May 2007, 12:32 PM   #19
TG
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Default RE: Bull S***

Why should y'all care what I sail?

I enjoy my big sails; if you guys & Svein don't like it that's your problem. The up/down angle of the big one's is just better--and that's what make FW exciting. Again, if you can't pull it out of the water, that's not my problem.


I don't run around posting that a 3.3 is a wuss sail and should be banned, so if I enjoy holding down an 11.6 in conditions that most are on 4.8s that should likewise not be a problem for you.

Frankly, I think there's a big push on to leave 'lightwind' to the f'ing kiters, or to the horrible boredom of lightwind slalom (to sell all new stuff, like the huge and stupid isonic 155).

The problem with FW, is the same problem with real (highwind) slalom: it's not the sails, it's the arms-race, stupid! It costs to damn much for most people.


Peace.
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Old 16th May 2007, 11:25 PM   #20
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Default RE: Stop Formula XXL Sails!

I think that race rules limiting size to say 10.0 would not mean banning sales of 12.5 sails. You could always be using one at will. Of course, we may discover at that point that the market for such huge sails would shrink and maybe no one would produce them any longer. But that would be a different problem... after all, I just see the light again after years of good slalom materials being totally disregarded...
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