Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tail Cam Test Run

At the Onboard Beachport weekend I finally had the chance to get some footage from a the ‘Tail Cam’ I have been working on. I first made the mount in January and tried it out on my mountain bike.  I have since made improvements to its stability and safety but there is still a long way to go until I am 100% happy.  Here is a short edit of some of the footage from the Sunday( 10-18 knot day) at Lake George. Unfortunately the lens slowly fogged up so the results should be better in summer.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Will to Win - Neil Pryde 40th Anniversary Book

Neil Pryde have released a limited run of hardcover books celebrating the companys 40th anniversary.  The book covers the history, the people & the sports of this iconic windsurfing brand. Part business book, part corporate history, part celebration, part biography, part sports narrative it is sure to interest anyone who has followed the sport for many years as well as those newbies wanting to know how windsurfing has shaped up to what it is today.  I ordered my copy last night and look forward to seeing some of the old never before seen shots and stories.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Board Quiver 2011

For 2011 I am trying to cover as many conditions and types of sailing as I can with 4 or 5 boards.

I hope to use these 4 boards with the following sails:
JP Super Lightwind - RSS MkIII 9.5 & RSR EvoIII 7.8
JP Slalom VI 68 - RSR EvoIII 7.8 & RSR EvoII 7.0
JP Speed 49 - RSR EvoII 7.0, RSR5.8 & RSR 5.0
Fanatic Freewave 115 - NP Excess 6.4 & 5.4

There are a few gaps there such as a 90L slalom but without our faster/flatter spots of the past I hope to spend a heap of time on the 68/7.8 combo again. I'm not sure how well the SLW will work with 7.8 but hopefuly it is as good as on the Slalom IV84 when it is gusty.  I am keeping the 49 for the occasional trip to Sandy and some possible new SA speed locations I want to try out.  I have always had a soft spot for the Fanatic freewave and decided to get on this year.  I made the mistake of thinking I had to get a board smaller than my slalom so that I didn't "double-up".  The JP 102 FSW didn't plane as early as I had liked for my weight and I had read in forum posts that the 112 actually felt a lot smaller than the quoted volume so the FW115 was the one to go for.  I also like the graphics a lot more!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Onboard Beachport X-perience

The Onboard Beachport X-perience is on this October Long Weekend with something for everyone! There will be Wavesailing & SUP Expression Sessions in the surf and Speed & Racing on Lake George. The event is Sponsored by Onboard and will be run on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th of October 2010 with the 3rd day Freesailing/Paddling.

The format is simple:
Wavesailing expression Saturday and Sunday when and where the conditions suit at Beachport (Possibly Robe) with a riders vote determining the event winners!

SUP Freesurf when the conditions best suit with an expression session to select the top 4 surfers to battle it out in a final. Race on Sunday.

Speed Sailing (and Racing depending on conditions) on Lake George Saturday and Sunday with GPS results determining the speed winner!

Event Schedule: Wave & SUP @ Surf Beach
11:00am Conditions brief, Wavesail & SUP,
1:00pm BBQ Lunch and Drinks thanks to Onboard.
5:00pm Close of day. Dinner at the Beachport Hotel.
9:30am Conditions Brief, Wavesail & SUP.
12:30pm BBQ Lunch and Drinks thanks to Onboard.
5:00pm Close of Competition.
7:00pm Presentation at the Beachport Hotel and Dinner.
Free Sailing / SUP day, More Coopers etc....

Event Schedule: Speed & Racing @ The Lake George Spit
11:00am Conditions brief, Speed & Racing .
1:00pm BBQ Lunch and Drinks thanks to Onboard
5:00pm Close of day. Dinner at the Beachport Hotel.
9:30am Conditions Brief, Speed & Racing
12:30pm BBQ Lunch and Drinks thanks to Onboard.
5:00pm Close of Competition,
7:00pm Presentation at the Spit or Beachport Hotel and Dinner.
Free Sailing

The Onboard Beachport X-perience is free however we encourage sailors to sign up as members of Windurfing SA (or Victoria).

Come down and have an awesome weekend!

For Details on the Wave & SUP contact Pete at Onboard (08) 82943866
For Details on the Speed & Racing contact Tim on 0400 887 054

Friday, 13 August 2010

Last Session @ the Clayton Channel

I edited this clip about a year ago but didn't get around to posting it.  The wind was light and gusty from the north, great for long reaches but you had to gybe before the big lulls.  The water was nice and flat and will be greatly missed by the local speedsailors.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

JP Slalom Evolution

The JP Slalom's have evolved into a range of world cup dominating shapes, but where did it all start?

The first range of dedicated slalom shapes was released in 2005.  There were 3 sizes and they were a little different to other boards on the market with their square tails and compact outlines.  Below is a brief summary of what developments and changes have been made throughout the Slalom's 6 years of evolution.

The Evolution of the JP Slalom Range!
(if the graph does your head in - read the specs below!)

Slalom I
94L - 235cm x  60cm - 5.3Kg
114L - 238cm x 70cm - 6.1Kg
134L - 238cm x 80cm - 6.8Kg

Slalom is becoming popular once again after being almost killed by un-friendly slalom boards of the late 90's.

Short & wide - no unnecessary weight up front.
Channel bottom as used on most JP boards.
Straight & parallel rail towards the tail for straight line stability.

Slalom II
84L - 232cm x 55cm - 5.0Kg
94L - 234cm x 60cm - 5.3Kg
114L - 234cm x 70cm - 6.1Kg
134L - 238cm x 80cm - 6.8Kg

With the PWA Racing Format changed to Slalom 42 the range is increased to 4 boards. 
There is no figure 8 slalom, only downwind. 
Colour schemes now incorporate the now standard yellow & black. 
Micah joins the JP team and bases his decision on testing the near final prototypes.

Thinned out and flatter deck from mast track to nose to create a spoiler effect.
Optimised rail shape for increased comfort.
Slightly reduced tail width for a looser ride.
Tail cutouts with bigger openings for increased control & jibing.
Channel bottom is maintained.

Slalom III
69L - 240cm x 53cm - 5.0Kg
89L - 240cm x 59cm - 5.3Kg
109L - 240cm x 69cm - 6.1Kg
119L - 240cm x 79cm - 6.8Kg

The Chnnel Bottom is dropped in favour of a cleaner more traditional botom shape.
A range of 8 G10 slalom fins is released the complement the board range in 28, 30, 32, 34, 38, 42, 48 & 52cm sizes.

Slightly longer shapes, especially in the smaller sizes.
All 4 boards have thinned volumes in the nose and center.
Rails thinner with reduced radius.
New constant radius deck shape around the strap area.
Straps slightly closer to centerline with more outline curve between the straps.
New smaller size(69L) is also a speed board option.
Tail cutouts modified on each size, smaller boards have smaller or no cutout.

Slalom IV
54 x 240cm - 70L - 4.9kg!!!
60 x 240cm - 84L - 5.3kg
68 x 240cm - 104L - 6.1kg
76 x 240cm - 114L - 6.6kg
84 x 240cm - 134L - 7.2kg

The range is now specified in board widths rather than volume.
Pro edition in Biax Carbon with silver limited finish.
GPS testing shows an average speed increase of 5km/h over the MkIII. 
A fifth board is added to the range so that every rider can find the perfect match.

Bottom curves adjusted for each size of board.
Tail cutouts adjusted to suit the requirements of each size.

Slalom V
54 x 236cm - 72L - 4.9kg!!!
60 x 238cm - 92L - 5.6kg
68 x 238cm - 112L - 6.3kg
76 x 238cm - 122L - 6.8kg
82 x 238cm - 132L - 7.1kg

Slalom is changed to 63- 6 sails and 3 boards have to be registered at the start of the racing season.  Construction has been modified with a timber hull & carbon deck providing a softer feel in harsh chop.  Antoine joins JP and continues his Slalom domination on boards developed by Werner & Micah.

The mid sized boards have added volume, a lot of which is in the rails.

Slalom VI
56 x 235cm - 81L - 5.4kg
59 x 235cm - 92L - 5.8kg
65 x 235cm - 101L - 6.3kg
68 x 235cm - 112L - 6.5kg
76 x 235cm - 121L - 6.7kg
82 x 235cm - 132L - 7.2kg

The range of boards is increased to 6 with a new concept of 3 boards for lighter sailors & 3 for heavier sailors. 
The smaller boards now feature a timber deck also and high speed comfort increases. 
This is at the expense of a slight increase in weight.

Smaller sizes now have a double concave running into a flat vee in the tail.
Larger sizes have a constant flat vee throughout.
Outline straightened between the straps and tail widened for a more parallel stance.
New race deck for increased comfort and control at speed.
Deck pads are increased in thickness.
Slalom IV Range
Slalom V 92

Slalom VI 92

Friday, 2 July 2010

Totally Wild Windsurfing

The Onboard crew made an appearance on national TV this morning on Totally Wild.

Totally Wild is a kids show that screens at 8am and so I usually miss it, and I did on this occasion also.  The filming was done late last year and I took the day off on a shocking forecast but still got planing for the camera when the wind picked up to 8-10 knots.  I make an appearance at 2:10 & 4:25 on my 9.5 RS Slalom.  I had given up on the show ever screening...

It was a great opportunity to promote our sport of windsurfing!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

New Cub in the Pack

I can't believe I have a daughter!

I have a Son and 3 Nephews in the family and so we were all blown away when Isla arrived on Monday @ 1:14 pm. I haven't been on the water for 2 Months! My Wife has been so sick and our first arrived early so I have been on standby for an early arrival.  Isla loves the water like her Father and Brother!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Neil Pryde High Performance Road Bikes

Neil Pryde are set to release a range of High Performance Road Bikes.  No pictures available yet but I want one!  Here is the press releaase from the Pryde Group Site:

NeilPryde, the flagship brand within the Pryde Group and the world’s leading Windsurfing Sail and Rig supplier announces the introduction of NeilPryde branded high performance road bicycles planned for launch in the second half of 2010.

The new product line will capitalise on the company’s reputation for cutting edge high performance equipment manufactured in carbon composite materials.

Neil Pryde, founder of the Pryde Group commented on the move:

“A high proportion of the NeilPryde customer base share our passion for cycling and we are confident that our customers will appreciate the performance and elegant engineering in the NeilPryde Bikes.”

The design of the bicycles is a collaboration with BMW Group DesignworksUSA.

The Pryde Group plans the launch of the high-end carbon fibre road bikes mid 2010 with product sold direct to consumers via the Internet and through a select dealer network in key markets. The program will be fully supported by professional consultants and after-sales service.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

New Toy - JP 102 FSW

Picked up my new JP 102 Freestyle Wave during the week after selling my JP 92 Slalom.  It was a hard decision and if I could afford the luxury I would have kept both boards.  With our SA speed spots gone and a another baby on the way  I am hoping this will be the answer to getting my sailing fix after work on the local coast when the summer seabreezes kick in. 

I am going to use it with the 6.4 & 5.4 Excess with the option of putting the RSR 7m on it occasionaly.  I am really looking forward to mixing it up a bit as I am getting a little tired of the 1 dimensional sailing I have been doing for the last few years.
I wasn't sure about the boards colour scheme when it was first released but I have to say it is really growing on my.  I went for the bombproof FWS construction as I want something a little softer in the chop and from landing big airs.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

RS:Racing Evo III

Robert Stroj Interview (NeilPryde Design) care of the NP Website.

RS:RACING EVOIII and the Integrated Compact Clew

Q. Some of the top NeilPryde Team Riders will be racing on the EVOIII this season. Why?

As with any very new development it’s always a challenge to get all the little details 100% right and it took a longer time to finalize the design than was originally planned. We wanted to make sure that there was plenty of testing before the sail gets introduced to the market.

For those reasons we decided to have only our international team register and use the new RS:RACING EVOIII sails during the 2010 racing season so that we can introduce fully tested sails to the market later this year.

Q. Will there be a difference in the EVOIII sails introduced to the market later in the year from the ones the Team Riders are using now?

The sails introduced to the market will be the same designs as used by the team during the season, but will be introduced in new colors and different graphics.

This is a very similar concept to the current EVOII Limited Edition sails which are exactly the same designs as the regular 2009 EVOII sails, just with new graphics and colors.

Q. What is new with this sail design?

With this sail we introduce the Integrated Compact Clew where, in comparison to the current Dynamic Compact Clew, we have eliminated the cutout at the clew and connected the foot area with the leech by closing the sail behind the boom end.

I have been thinking about this clew concept since my time at ART. After the introduction of the Compact Clew that came out on the RS5 at the end of 2004 I was hoping to be able to take this concept one step further and use all the advantages of the Compact Clew without having to compromise the outline of the sail.

Q. How does it work and what are the advantages?

The real advantage of this concept is that there is a tension connection between the foot edge and lower leech. This helps to keep the foot of the sail from blowing out in gusts and also makes the whole leech twist, harmonically, getting even more out of the advantages already associated with the regular Compact Clew.

In addition, there is the benefit of a cleaner sail outline, when compared to the Dynamic Compact Clew, and therefore better aerodynamics as it is not necessary to have a clew cutout.

In comparison to regular sails with a clew on the back edge of the profile the EVOIII has all the benefits common with the Dynamic Compact Clew: improved lower leech twist and much reduced draft movement due to the lower leech ability to create reflex behind the boom which releases excessive power and effectively locks the draft forward.

After long development (since May 2009) we ended up designing a very simple and precise sliding rail system for sail closure behind the boom. It works similar to a zip but is much stronger and incorporates a batten to support this area as well as evenly distributing the high load coming from the clew grommet.

With this system being very new we decided, like previously mentioned, to ensure it is fully tested prior to introducing new sails to the market.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

DIY - Booms - Shortening an X9 Boom!

I bought an X9 260 boom CHEAP(bargain of the century) as we do not have any formula sailors in my area.  My biggest sail is a 9.5 RSS MkIII with a boom length of 238/240 so I wanted to cut down the 260 to suit. The next "standard" x9 down is the 225 but this would mean 15cm of extension - I wanted it as stiff as possible with minimum extension but with a little flexibility for fine adjustment. I have a 180 and 200 X9 also and checked the lengths of the large diameter end of the boom(that sleeves the tail) and found the 180 & 200 are from the same tooling and the 225 & 260 are from the same tooling( as far as the start of the larger dimater goes). Or to put it another way the 200 has about 80cm of tail tube( and can be cut down to the 180) and the 260 has 100cm (and can be cut down to 225). I decided that a 230 would be best and everything went well.  I would not recommend doing it if resale value is a high priority(as it is no longer standard) but if you want a customised boom to suit your particular quiver of sails that you will keep forever then it is a good option.  Measure twice and cut once! 

I will add some words to the slides when I get the chance...

Monday, 22 March 2010

DIY - Fins - Making a Mould - Step 1

There are many reasons why you may want to mould your own fins - you may want to save money, to make a shorter copy of a favourite fin or improve the performance of a fin in certain conditions. In my case I want to experiment with Twist, Flex & Fin Rake. By making a durable mould many fins (10+) can be made with little or no damage to the mould itself. If you are wanting to make 1-3 fins, there is a quicker and cheaper method I will cover in DIY – Fins – Making a fin Mould – Quick Mould. 

If you have a range of fins from the same family use the longest to make the mould from.  I am making the mould using a Select 39cm SL7.  These are great fins and 39 is the biggest you can buy.

Materials and Equipment

You will need and Epoxy System(resin & hardener) for making fins and this same system can be used to make a durable mould. By adding fillers such as Talc, Carbon Black and Aluminium powder you can make a variety of gelcoats, putties and fillers that can do just about anything related to fins and moulds. I buy 500ml PP(polypropylene) cups from a health food shop to use for mixing the resin and fillers together. They are cheap and can be re-used if not damaged and are the perfect size for the resin quantities required.

To mix the resin and work with the filler you will need to make some spatulas. Power hack saw (& plain hack saw) blades work well as they are thin and stiff and can be ground easily with a variety of fillets on the tip for mixing and filleting. You will need to grind the teeth off of the cutting edge to make cleaning easier.

The powersaw blades are also great for making a blending stick, stick sand paper of different grades to each side using double sided tape and you have a flexible sanding or blending stick.  These are handy for doing board repairs when you have to sand down filler flush with the surface of the board. 

For making the mould you will need some scraps of MDF of melamine coated chipboard.  I prefer the melamine as you dont need to seal the surface and therefore save time when building the mould. MDF will allow a finer edge when cut with a jigsaw. 

Plastic putty or Car Bog is required when setting up the fin on parting plane. To clean-up the putty put some metho in a detergent squeeze bottle and label it!. Another useful tool is a scraper or chiseled end on the filleting tool or spatula to use for shaping and cleaning of partially cured(green) bog.

Here is the first stage of making the fin mould...

Sunday, 28 February 2010

DIY - Heel Crack & Dent Repair

Heel dents or cracks are much less common these days with the advent of foot pads on all boards. In the old days(before pads were standard) it was obvious if a crack had started. These days you may not even know you have them until you see water dripping from the bottom edge of the pad. On slalom boards they usually only occur on the back foot heel area.

The last board I made had some cracks appear. It was not because the layup was too light, it was just sailed a lot in chop. I have lots of offcuts of the materials used in board manufacture so I could keep the repair light. If you dont have access to these you could fill the foam region with polyurethane foam but some have a lower than required density and can crush more easily than the eps core.

I use the West Systems 105 epoxy. You can buy a pump pack that dispenses the exact ratio of resin and hardener to take the guess work out of mixing the correct ratio.

Here is how I went about repairing the damage.

Step 1

Remove the pads with minimum damage. This can usually be started from a curved or pointed corner. If the pad starts to tear you may need to slice the area that is not peeling with a sharp blade to help it along. If the dent or crack only affects a small area under the pad you may only need to peel the local area of pad away.

Now that you have cleared the pad away from the affected are proceed the press the deck around the crack or dent to identify where it has softened. Mark with a pencil the border of the affected area. This is the area you wil be removing as the material is damaged and needs replacing. With a sharp chisel you should be able to carefully shave the laminate away. Work from the pencil line in and try to angle the cuts so that the laminate on the edge will have a large bonding area.

The pvc sandwich foam should now be exposed. I then use a dremel tool to grind away all of the damaged pvc and eps core foam in a smooth concave shape.

Step 2

With some tracing paper copy the outline of the pvc foam and transfer the shape on to a cardboard template. Cutout the template and copy it in pvc foam.

Do the same again only this time copy the eps foam outline onto a piece of eps foam.

Cut out each of the pieces of foam to the outline with a snap off knife. Now you need to sand the eps foam so that it neatly fills the void in the eps. It is not a problem if you go too far, it is a problem if it sits high though as this will be reducing the amount of pvc foam you can apply. Now with the eps sitting in place do the same with the pvc foam and fill the void. You do not need to get the top of the foam sitting below the skin as we will sand this down after the foams are cast into place. Use 6mm foam as you will have to sand it down to blend with the board. If you use 3mm you don't have as much freedom and the fit of the foam cutouts needs to be more exact.

Use the pvc foam template to cut out 2 layers of 6oz glass cloth.

Step 3

Mix up some resing with microbaloons to a cream consistency, that is with minimum sag. Butter up the polystyrene block and the hole it is going to fill. Place the block in the hole and push it in so that it is level or just below the line of the existing eps foam. Now spread the excess filler (that is squeezing out around the block) over the top of the block and the edge of the pvc foam.

Pre-wet the glass patches with pure resin and place them on the block making sure that the edges of the glass finish on the pvc.

Now butter up the back of the pvc blocks and push them into place just enough so that filler is squeezed out evenly beneath the block. Tape the block into place starting from the center and working out with vertical strips. Leave the resin to cure overnight.

Step 4

Once the resin has cured remove the tape and fair the foam with the body of the board. Work with a block and coarse paper of about 40 grit until nearly flush and then go down to 80 grit. A surform is the best tool to use if you can get your hands on one.

With the foam flushed off cut out a glass patch slightly bigger in size than the outline of the pvc foam. Cut out about 6 patches or so for heal repairs with each patch slightly larger than the last to feather the edge of the final laminate. Mask of the area outside of the largest patch to stop resin running over the board.

Mix up some resin and a small amount of microbaloons to butter up the pvc before laying up the patches. Allow to cure and then sand back smooth in preperation for a final primer and topcoat. If the layup has low points that wont be filled by paint fill them with microbaloons and sand flush.
Paint the repair with primer and then top coat to match the colour of the board. Polish to blend the top coat and re-apply the pads(and non-skid if required) using contact adhesive such as selly's quik grip.

Monday, 8 February 2010

JP Slalom VI 92

After much anticipation my new "real world" speed board has arrived - the JP Slalom VI 92. I previously had the Slalom V 92 which was a good board that planed early and gybed like a dream but I just felt that is didn't have quite the top end off the wind that I was looking for.

The new board is 1 cm narrower than the V at 59 so this was a good start. There is a nice double convave that runs until 50cm from the tail and washes out into a panel vee. What suprised me is that there is 1.5mm of tail kick, this combined with the overall width might reduce the early planing capability a bit but the wider 41cm tail probably negates it. Once up and planing though the board feels looser and softer over harsh chop than the V. First time into the straps the wedge under the toes is really noticible and care needs to be taken not to over-commit to an upright stance. I found that it was easier to hook in when traveling a little faster and when the body was more out-board rather than hooking in too early when the body is more upright. This is because the toes have to point a little more upward when placing them in the strap and is only a problem on lazy hooked in starts. The ride is also softer with 5mm pads, I think the old ones were about 3mm.

I have only had 1 session so far on the board but will add to this section when I have more TOW. Initial feel is that the board will need a little more than the 31 cm fin I was using with a 7m when conditions are choppy. I found that the board got a little rolly and even though the nose didn't really lift a little more tail lift would help the ride. I am getting a 34 Venom and hope this will suit the 7m EvoII when well powered up. I have a JP Sallom III 36 for gustier days and to also try out the 7.8 RS Slalom on lighter days. I feel that the board will take the 7.8 slalom easily as it is quite a light yet powerful sail.

The 59 has a timber deck and hull which gives it a more robust and slightly heavier feel. Last years 92 had a timber hull and carbon deck and even then you could feel the veneer dampening the ride and softening the feel of the board through chop compared to the full carbon slalom IV's. The veneer is just visible through the silver paint and is well sealed from drying out, a problem that some of the more "visible" veneered boards have. It does feel heavier than the V but I think the robust feel is more of an advantage. I have heard that the bigger boards are still full carbon but am unsure of when the transition in construction occurs.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Reconditioned HMR S66

I have finally finished repairing the last board I made, a 66cm slalom board in timber veneer with CF tail cutouts. There was some water in the board from heel cracks caused by sailing 1000's of km in Boggy Lake chop. I wanted the core to dry out as much as possible and have had it sitting in the roof of my shed for a year ( I also had a JP68 to sail as well...). Here is the finished result.
I wanted to hide a bit more of the timber veneer on the deck and went for the primer with the timber just peeking through. Non skid is always a problem to source, I can't get hold of the re-dek system that I have used in the past. I tried a spray on non-skid product that some guys are using on SUP boards but is just too fine and is really meant for tiles on steps and slippery areas. In the end I went for the old sugar deck on epoxy which will yellow a bit with age but provides extreme non skid grip.

Friday, 8 January 2010

DIY Enclosed Trailer

After years of loading and unloading station wagons enough was enough. I needed an enclosed trailer so that I could simply hitch up and head of for some TOW. I looked at what was available on the market and nothing really suited my needs which were...

  • Take all of my gear each time I go sailing.
  • Fit everything inside rather than the boards being on top racks.
  • Allow the possibility to sleep inside.
  • Have a low drag body for minimal fuel consumption.
  • Have the same track as my sedan.
  • Not sit too high above the roof line of my sedan.
  • Have a long drawbar for towing stability and ease of reversing.
  • Transport building materials when doing jobs around the house.
Here are some shots of construction and the finished product.
I have a lot of experience in composites and have made 10 or so boards so building a trailer was the way to go. After looking at several different fabrication type construction methods such as steel and aluminium I decided I would use a similar contruction to that used in wooden boats. This method was also different to anything I have seen(in trailers) so I wanted to give it a try. An outer shell would be glued to a wooden framework that was to form a self supporting structure that would be bolted to a welded steel chassis. This was going to be more labour intensive but would give me the seamless result I was after.

I started sketching and modelling forms that were aerodynamic, utilised the materials strong points and maximised internal storage volume. I also added a few features such as "frenching" the tail lights and pumping the guards. I will post each stage of the build process seperately. The stages are...

  1. Design
  2. Chassis
  3. Body Frame
  4. Skin
  5. Finishing