Saturday, July 13, 2019

Foil pictures

We had another nice foil session 2 days ago, and Eddie took some nice pictures. Here's Nina on the foil and Gonzalo on a longboard:
Nina was on a 5.2, Gonzalo on a race sail (8.5 or 9.5). He was one of the few windsurfers who was planing consistently - most guys on 7 m sails had a few good runs, but mostly slogged.

Fortunately for me, Nina was a bit overpowered on the 5.2, so she came in after a short session and let me have a turn. I started out on the 6.5:
I never like this sail very much, largely because it is low-end oriented, while all my older Gaastra Matrix sails were top-end oriented. However, it was great for foiling, powerful but stable. Cool!

The picture above shows my favorite "flight height" on the 60 cm mast: just barely above the water, so that the board just touches the waves a bit every now and then. One excuse for flying low is that I frequently get spinouts when most of the foil is out of the water. Those are usually not very dramatic, but often end up with the board slapping back down onto the water. The gently touches when flying low are much nicer, and loose a lot less speed. But perhaps it's really just my inner chicken asserting itself.

We took turns on the foil a couple of times, and I used the 5.2 for my second session. Here's another "flying low" picture:

Occasionally, I ended up foiling a bit higher, and I'm definitely making progress controlling the height.
I'm still amazed how much fun foiling is even at low speeds. My speeds typically were around 10-13 knots, with only rare spikes above 15 knots. That's about half of the speed of sailing on freeride or slalom gear! Here are the tracks for the day:
I had a few runs of 700-800 meters, pretty much the entire distance I foiled (limited by shallows on the left, and the stones from the old pier on the right). The longest "high foil" without touching the water was probably less than half of that distance. I made a few dry jibes, one of them close to planing, but did not foil through any. In contrast, Nina foiled through one of her jibes "by accident". I'm sure she'll have more of these "accidental foiled jibes" soon.

We have ordered a second foil, and it should arrive early next week. Maybe that will cause the strong summer winds to come back? We stayed with Slingshot because we really like the modular system, and the short 60 cm masts are great for low tide foiling. But we decided to get an Infinity 84 as the second foil (together with last year's front wing which Slingshot pretty much gives away for free), since I hope that it will push my almost 200 pounds up sooner. It may be a bit slower, but I don't think that's a bad thing anymore!

I almost ended up buying a Starboard GT-R foil. It would have been a few hundred dollars cheaper, and comes with a longer fuselage, which should make keeping a constant height much easier. One of the speedsurfers we met in Western Australia, Stroppo, regularly posts sessions with top speeds in the mid-20 knot range from the Starboard GT foil. Without any doubt, I'd be at least 5 knots slower (just like on the windsurf board), but that would still be plenty fast. However, I did not see any option to buy a shorter mast for the Starboard foil, which would have made foiling at Kalmus during low tide questionable, and foiling in the Hatteras sound impossible. So all I could do to imitate Stroppo was to try to look a bit like him:

During the session, wind averages from the iWindsurf meter at Kalmus were mostly 15 mph, with a few readings of 17; gusts were mostly in the 17-18 mph range, with a couple of 20 mph readings. I tried to plane with the 6.5 m sail on my Skate 110 a few times, but either the wind was too light, or I have forgotten how to sail a "slapper" in marginal conditions. When foiling, the 5.2 m sail was mostly ok, and only a bit smaller than I like in the lulls; the 6.5 was plenty big, and I could get up onto the foil pretty much anytime I liked, with (at most) minimal pumping. After 12 sessions on our foil, and about 20 foil sessions in total, foiling already had dropped the "good day" wind definition from 18-20 mph to 15 mph (and probably 13-15 mph). Sure, I could have planed with a 7.8 m sail on the 70 cm slalom board, but that would have been a lot more exercise and a lot less pure fun :-).

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