Saturday, April 18, 2015

Three Times Eleven Is Enough

It's getting warm. To warm to stay at home even if the wind is light.
I took the pretty cat out for a ride today. Amazing how the GoPro can make it look small!

A couple of days ago, the lovely Nina joined me for a light wind session. She took the Mistral Pandera and a 5.3 m sail, and had tons of fun in 15 mph wind. I took my BIC wind SUP because I wanted to test my new fin:
It's small - 11 cm, to be exact. When I saw it on the Black Project Fins web site, I just had to have it. Just imagine - put it into the SUP, step a little bit forward, and with a little help from the rocker, I can sail all the way to shore in Hatteras! No more walking!

I figured it would be big enough. When Caesar was here last fall, he never used a fin in light wind. I'm no Caesar. I can sail the SUP without a fin, but need to concentrate so much that I can't do much else. But I have used a 15 cm fin without a problem, so 11 cm should be fine, right?

It took a number of back-and-forth emails to convince Chris at Black Project that I had not lost my mind, but eventually, he mailed me the fin. When I tried it two days ago, I learned stuff. For example, I learned how easy it is to turn a 10 foot 6 board by scissoring your legs when you have a really small fin. It worked, and my previously slow-turning SUP now turned like Nina's Nova.

However, I move a bit slower than Nina, so it turned a tad fast for my taste. Sailing leeside (backwinded) or in switch stance also required just a bit too much attention - not enough pressure on the front foot, and the board turned into the wind.

Then I realized what the problem was: the fin was not too small - it was lonely! There were two unused fin boxes in the board. As soon as I put the two little side fins in there, everything was perfect! All three fins are about the same size, and worked just about 3 times as well as one of them. Surprise! (NOT!!). I have mostly used the board with just one 26 cm center fin in light winds; but 3 times 11 is more than 26! The total area may be a bit smaller, but the board tracked beautifully, even when sailing switch or leeside. Whatever the numbers are - three times eleven is plenty.

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