First post for ages, I lost the habit when the wind disappeared and although I've been sailing a few times, haven't written anything about it. But now I'm supposed to be writing my dissertation, commenting on the blog is so much more appealing...
5.7 weather. It's been a couple of years since I bothered having a 5.7, but I recently bought a 5.3 and 5.7 Rock, mainly for Maria to use. Today it proved its use. I wouldn't have stuck with it on a 5.3 as it was pretty marginal, but the low tide made the water shallow enough for a few waves to break on Southbourne's underwater seawall, and with a lot of patience you could combine a good gust with a set of waves and get a bit of a frontside hit in. If that doesn't sound too insanely radical it wasn't, but nice to get out and I like the days where you have to work for it. And particularly nice to land a one-handed one-footed backie in front of Clyde, even if the one-handed one-footed bit happened underwater!
Second time out on the new Rocks and they're quite a surprise. Gone is the head that falls away progressively as you put more downhaul on. Gone is the spongy feel, the easy spring and the feeling of having built in suspension. Instead it's much more taught and highly strung and, well, flat. And it needs heaps of downhaul, much more than my frayed bit of downhaul rope could cope with. I'm going to need an 8:1 pulley and some steel cable.
I really rated the old style Tushinghams (and Naishs and some other sails) with the spongy, soft feel, and since I got to use lots of other styles of sail I was convinced this style was the most user friendly (although not the fastest). I can maybe understand the marketing arm of Tushingham wasn't keen on being 'user-friendly' as it's not the most radical of image. However with a user friendly sail you could actually be more radical because you didn't have to think about the rig. For me this new crisper feel is different, but not necessarily better, but maybe I'll change my mind after a few more outings.
Also tried out Clyde's new Wave Joker from Mistral. The same designer as the RRD FSWs which are the best boards ever made, and very nice, only a bit held back by a really weird fin. It's stiff as a board and has no curve in it. It looks like an odd-shaped blade fin from a 1990s dedicated slalom board, and surprise surprise, sails like one too. Clyde spent most of his time half a mile upwind... Not sure how it's made its way into the Mistral range of wave boards. The windsurfing world has really lost the plot over fins!