Saturday, 30 April 2011

Fanatic Falcon 111 Review (2011)

I have now had a few sessions on my recently acquired Fanatic Falcon 111 so I thought it was time to share my thoughts and initial impressions.  All sessions so far have been with a 7.8m Evo III but I have used two fins from Select - a 41cm S11 & 37 S10.  Conditions have ranged from a gusty 12-17 knots and choppy water up to 30 knot days with both big chop and flat water sections.  Locations were the fresh water Boggy Lake and salt water Lake George, both are located in South Australia.  Test dummy is 110Kg and 193cm with over 20 years sailing experience.

The first Falcon I ever owned was the 111 from 2006.  Back then the design was quite a bit different; mono concave tail, double concave mid section and an overall length of 245cm. Over the past 5 years the concept has evolved into a well rounded racing and fast freeride machine.

Hull - The current design has a double concave in the nose and mid section that runs until 40cm from the tail and washes out into a spiral "power vee". There is no tail kick and the rails have a comfortable amount of tuck throughout.

Deck - The most noticible features on the deck are the modified volume distribution and the recessed mast track / deck concave. The larger volume from the front straps back allows a nice amount of deck roll which increases comfort levels and allows you to sail faster for longer.  The rear straps are very clost to the tail and as a result the centre of your rear foot is directly over the leading edge of the fin.  The stance width of 520mm(front strap second hole from the front, rear strap 3rd hole from the front) is quite a bit narrower than other brands are using  and combined with the rear strap placement it allows a really connected ride on the fin and means you don't have to bend the back leg too much on deep speed runs.

 Recessed Mast Track / Deck Concave

Hull Graphics - As with the other boards in the fanatic range, the falcon has been given a macke over in the graphics department.  The hull is a combination of black base coat with airbrushed silver outline.  The paint is then screen printed over creating the white fanatic logo pattern.  You can feel a raised area on the edge of the screen printing but is does not seem to adversely affect water flow.  A light rub with wet and dry would take the edge off but this may affect resale value.  The paint and screen print both have a matte finish unlike some of the other boards in the fanatic range which also use gloss in combination with matte finishes. This suits a dedicated slalom board well.

Deck Graphics - The deck has the bi-axial carbon finished with a clear resin,  the rails are silver and airbrushed to fade into the carbon deck.  A full clear vinyl transfer with red and white screen printing is then applied with non-skid and pads applied over the top.  Full vinyl deck graphics are pretty standard these days but an unpainted full carbon weave is uncommon.  It shows that high performance materials are actually used rather than hiding cheap materials under full deck graphics.  Care should be taken not to leave the deck(and hull) in direct sun on really hot days as delamination could occur if the laminate gets super hot.
From the second you step onto the board you can feel the increased buoyancy in the tail.  There is no problem with the nose sinking when off the plane as long as you have a little power in the sail to keep you moving slowly. In transitions you have to remember to be slightly tail biased but this is easy to get used to.  The water flows well around the stern and the board un-sticks easily.  Pumping the board onto the plane in marginal conditions is relatively easy and finding the right trim is intuitive.  Just using leg pumping seems more easy than other slalom boards as the board "feels" very light in the water and doesn't need a really big fin to hold a straight course.  The large amount of spiral vee certainly aid this directional ability and once up and planing give the board a very lively and maneuverable feel.  Direction changes can be swiftly executed allowing for efficient negotiation through both confused chop and long snaking trough lines.  If however you do have to go over steep chop head on the hull shows little sign of slowing and feels very efficient.  In very steep chop it was easy to sheet out slightly to lift the nose while maintaining full board control.

 The Falcons comfy stance is narrower than most slalom boards...

A 41cm S11 was used only on a marginal wind day so the full upwind potential could not be tested for figure-8 racing but even just powered you could point high with good speed.  The main use I have for the board is GPS speedsailing and it fills this role perfectly.  The board was very fast and easy to sail off the wind and it was really easy to keep the tail locked down and sailing flat.  I found that the vee and slightly narrower tail minimised the rocking from side-to-side that you sometimes get on wider tail boards with sail power changes and harsh chop.

Gybing was easy to initiate and the rail held well in choppy conditions.  The board seemed to prefer to be gybed with equal or slight rear foot bias depending on the entry speed and sail power available.  No tacks were attempted as I rarely need this manoeuvre when speed sailing.

Short Gybe video playing with a boom tail mounted GoPro.
The hull utilises a basalt cloth which feels robust and combined with a bi-axial carbon deck the boards fells both light and stiff.  This is a high performance board and should be treated as such, the deck will ding easily if impacted so take care.

Technical Data

Action Video
Coming soon...

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Lake George 10-4-2011

I had a fun session down at Lake George near Beachport a few weeks ago.  Here are some of the stills I took with my GoPro.  I am still trying to edit the video footage I took.

Here is one of my favourite shots showing a nice arc to the gybe entry.

I went out on the 7.8 / 49 combo first - pushing the limits of the 49's range!

 The JP 49 hitting WARP speed ;)

JP 49 / 7.8 gybe sequence below...

Falcon 111 / 7.8 gybe sequence below...

Monday, 18 April 2011

Baked Veneer Hull Repair

I have purchased two timber veneered boards and built one and they all had problems with the veneer cracking. This was due to the veneer drying out and re-sealing was the remedy.  I repaired a friends boards recently that was an extreme case. The board was accidently left in the sun(Australian sun - fry eggs on your car bonnet!) in a board bag hull upward for two weeks! He thought that the board would need to but cut up to fit in the garbage but when I took a look at it I thought it was salvageable.  The saving grace was that the deck was not facing up.  That would have meant a lot more work and a board

Here is how I undertook the repair.

The entire hull was covered in cracks that 
sat up higher than the surrounding area.

The veneer is reinforced with fibreglass in areas such
as the fin box.  These did not crack but the weave
appeared swollen and needed to be faired.

The rail has a fine weave glass for about 25mm from
the rail which is post moulded.  This area may or
may not need fairing also.

Here is the hull after being sanded with120 grit(random orbital).
Be sure just to take of the highs, you dont want to go too
far into the veneer as it is only 0.9mm.

Here is another area after sanding with the120 grit, there are
finer cracks present.  You want to sand until all of the
lows have been just touched by the paper.

Tape off the rail and tail area that is glass covered,
you only want to apply epoxy resin to areas of unsealed
veneer and gelcoat.  Warm the room where the board
is located.  Warm the resin to the recommended curing
temp using spot lights.  When the both have warmed
apply a thin layer of resin and tipoff using a piece of foam
roller or rubber gloved hand.  The board should be cooling
as the resin is applied to stop out gassing under the curing
resin.  If the boar is cooling this will actually suck resin in,
which is a good thing in this case
More info on this step later....
The first layer of resin applied.  Note the patch under the
gelcoat from the factory.  Might have been a defect in
the veneer or a repair done and covered with a glass
patch before final painting .

Edge of the tail patch reinforcing the box lightly sanded
to blend with the veneer.

Detail of the first resin layer. 
There will be some air bubbles and streaks where the
resin soaks into sanded areas of the veneer.  Wash/sand
off the amine blush and apply with a second coat of resin.

Wash/sand off the amine blush and sand the second coat 
being sure not to sand through to the veneer.  Remove 
the masking tape and fair out the edges that were masked off.

Detail of the sealed veneer.
The signs of a random orbital used at the factory.

Detail of some of the bigger cracks filled with resin and faired.

Finer resin filled cracks.

Paint the hull using acrylic primer and lightly sand.

Be sure to mask off the rails and deck to prevent
overspray contacting the deck.

Detail of the hull finish.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Fanatic Falcon 111 Gybe - Boom Tail GoPro

On my recent trip to Lake George(near Beachport, South Australia) I captured a bunch of footage and tried some new(for me) mounting positions for my GoPro camera.  I got plenty of the usual head cam footage as well as boom mounted near the mast.  I had not tried the rear of the boom due to the need to change mounts in the water(and possibly lose a $330 camera) and the inconvenience with pressing record.
Lake george is waist deep in middle lake and reasonably flat so I had less chance of loosing the camera in a stack and had flatter water to gybe at the end of each run.  This was the perfect opportunity to try mounting the camera on the tail of the boom.  What really stood out was how much slower and less reactive the rig was in the gybe with the camera mounted at the rear.  The camera is only a few hundread grams but it slowed down the rig flip remarkably as well as oversheeting on the entry to the gybe and trimming the sail when sailing a straight course.  I was happy with the view as it showns the foot and hand work required as well as timing variations.  I will mix the other footage together in a clip but for now here is the gybe with boom tail cam.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Tuttle Fin Re-box - S10

I needed a Select S10 39 for my Falcon 111/Evo III 7.8 combo and since none were available in that size I had to re-box a bigger fin to make one.  I had a 57 from a SLW that I sold which would be too big for my Falcon 134 and since I could buy the big fins I needed for this board the 57 had to get the chop.

 S10 37 top, S10 57 bottom.

 S10 37 top, S10 57 bottom.

 Marking out the 39cm on the 57cm fin.(+2cm)

 20mm longer than the 37cm fin(plus a little extra ;-)

 Measure twice - Cut once!


 Select Elite Layup

 Make flushing plates matching the foil profile.
Wax mould & plates.

 Cut-out 2 layers of 200gsm plain weave 
Carbon Cloth for each side of the fin head.

 Mix Talc and chopped CF. 
Add a touch of carbon black.

 Layup each side of the mould.

 Add special sauce and swing down fin jig.

 Place top mould using dow pins and clamp shut.
Go to bed and allow resin to cure.

 Resin cured, lever the mould halves apart.

 Top half of mould removed, flushing plate still in place.

 Flushing plate still in place.

 Top flushing plate removed.
A few air bubbles, needed more filler!

 Remove fin supports.

 Apply pressure to fin tip to pop head from mould.

 Head released.

 Bottom mould with flushing plate.
Insert removed to make Deep Tuttle Heads.

 Fin with jointline flash.

Flash Removed.

Pictures to come...
Drill holes for barrel nuts.
Drill clearance holes for screws.
Allow to cure for a few more days.