Monday, May 25, 2009

Power Sailing

Its been one of those weeks.
The wind has been relentless.
Everyday, if you want it, it's there...waiting for you.
25-30k on the outside.
Gust so strong, you ask yourself what the hell you're doing sailing formula gear.
Well, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

That was the case the last 2 days sailing op'ed on the 9 and 10m north warps.
The new 2009 north's have a reduced clew and shorter booms.
The result is amazing control both upwind and downwind.
The 9.0 and 11.0m 2009 sails rig much flatter than previous year's versions but the key, it seems is to run them fat with lots of tack strap pressure and a negative outhaul. I also immediately moved my harness lines back 1/2'-3/4' to get some additional power. So far, running the downhaul at or past the max mark hasn't yielded any significant gains- even in the most stupid conditions.
Wednesday we saw some big puffs come through with most the the guys on the 9.8's steadily powered. I was able to really capitalize off the breeze, sailing the 9.0 in absolute control- not giving up anything. Upwind, in the lighter patches, standing the 9.0 up right easily transfers the power to speed. Im really amazed on how good the shorter boom and clew length add to the performance and handling of the sail.
Saturday saw a 2nd session on the new north 9.0 in what seemed like a steady 30k westerly at the beach with gusts pushing well beyond that on the outside. In that much wind, it's all about control- no matter what gear you have. Holding it down was a handful but manageable. Pinching upwind was the key. Downwind I was in the super chicken just trying to keep the board under control. Transitions were the toughest but if you made them quick and popped the cams, it all seemed to be ok. I even ran a 64cm C3 D series fin from a few years ago that just kept the board flying with out ever being too much.
Sunday saw another very overpowered session on the 2008 10.0. I kept this sail in my quiver as it was such a solid performer last season, I didn't want to let it go. A 10.0 is the bread a butter of any San Francisco Formula sailors quiver. It's got to perform well in both the upper and lower limits of its wind range. Saturday, I rigged the sail with a 550 mast vs a 520 and although it felt different, but Im not convinced it was any slower. Again, I was running a smaller fin but the kashy 68 was still alot off the breeze. Upwind, it's possible to really pinch this set up and sail effectively but Im beginning to realize a smaller fin is essential for more control and speed off the breeze- especially as the sea state increases.
Despite the breeze outside, this weeks trend has been lighter on the inside- perfect for testing the 2009 north warp 11.0. Paired with the 72-2xxs kashy and 70xs kashy, this set up with the starboard 160 has been unbelievably easy to sail fast. I had angle right from the beginning by really running the sail as full as I could. With the shorter boom, the 11.0 seems like it can handle more wind and still be sailed in control. Maybe its that new sail feeling, but the sail pumped so easily and felt attached in every condition. I haven't felt a sail this good in a long time. Perfect from the get-go.
The starboard 160 has been a real workhouse in all conditions- sailing very comfortably in the most overpowered gnarly SF voodoo chop that Bay can throw at it and still easily finding the groove in lighter 11.0 conditions. So far, its matched up as well or better than the L8 and exocet boards in every condition we've seen so far.
2 more upcoming races this week with a Friday night series at the St.Francis and a CalCup on Saturday. Let's hope the wind continues.

Meanwhile the collegiate dinghy nationals continue all this week at the StFYC with the womens championship continuing to May 27th and the co'ed championship from June 1-3. The racing was in the lee of the harbor today with great viewing from marina green and the wave organ. As usualy, Shawn Davis was there to capture all things nautical.


USA-4 Steve Bodner said...

there's the chicken strap, super chicken strap and then the pussy strap!

Jose said...

Steve in the picture of your starboard 160 you have a double chiken strap set up. How you ended up with that on your board? Did you added the plugs or did the board came in with the set up like that. I want to do that to my 162, can you shed some light on how to do it.

USA-4 Steve Bodner said...

I left the handywork to Mike Z. I just told him where I wanted them.
He added 4 additional plugs a bit further back from the original center strap.

Jose said...

Mike Z did a super job there.Lucky you have him there and that he was willing to do that for you. How does it feel?the setup after the repositioning of the straps. Can you do me a favor and take a picture from the top of the board and possibly some mesurements for reference. I want to do that to my board.