NEW RS FORMULA
GETS TO THE TOP AT IT'S FIRST RACE IN AUSTRALIA
The second weekend racing of the season, Windsurfing NSW Tour took place in Jervis Bay (Huskisson, NSW). It was the occasion to christen the new Exocet RS Formula and put it to the test. Huskisson is the ideal location for Formula sailing, with steady seabreeze, and a range of water conditions from flatish to quite rough. Once again the conditions were perfect with a total of 10 races over the weekend. Out of the bag the 2014 Exocet RS Formula the board looks fantastic with an aggressive look. Some of the changes from last year’s model are:
- Narrower at ofo (80.5cm)
- Thicker rail
- More parallel footstrap position
- Thinner nose
- More V around mast track
DAY 1, we were greeted with light NE conditions (10-12 knots), and the fleet started rigging the 11-12m sails. I decided to rig my Mauisails TR9 11 combined with a Z 73 fin. With no time to tune/test the board prior to the event, I set up foot straps and mast position as recommended by Patrice Belbeoch (rear foot straps one hole from back and front foot straps all the way to the front), and mast track position around 133. Straightaway the board felt easy to use, balanced and settling on the V nicely. The real test was about to start with the first race of the weekend 5 minutes away…
Race 1 :
Off to a good start in the lower end of the line, it was easy to get out of the pack in clear air and see the potential of the board in this first upwind work. The board railed effortlessly, accelerating in every gust. This was a relief to see that I could pull away from the fleet straightaway. I rounded the top mark in 1st , and off to the first downwind with a jybing mark in the middle. I lost some ground in the light conditions but rounded bottom mark 1st. Second work upwind, I was a bit greedy, missed the top mark and had to double tack (Byron (PD/P7) and Brett (Gaastra/Gaastra) cruised past and I settled for 3rd in this first race.
Race 2 :
Similar conditions and race tactics saw me rounding top mark first and just got caught on the last downwind, Byron (PD/P7) taking the win.
Race 3 :
Conditions were getting stronger, most changed to smaller sails, I rigged the Mauisails TR9 10 but on the way to the start line my harness bar snapped which saw me cross the line a few minutes late. I played catch up and managed to climb back to 7th.
Race 4 :
After the lunch break conditions were stronger again, gusting to 20+ knots. Water state was more challenging than wind strength. The typical voodoo chop of Jervis Bay was back. I decided to play safe and use my secret weapon TR9 9.2 combined with Z fin 70. Based on the first few races, I wanted to test the speed potential of the board going for a smaller sail and not necessarily being overpowered in that nasty chop.
This option payed off straightaway, as I managed to pull away from the fleet from the get go and round top mark in a comfortable lead which I maintained to get the next 2 bullets. The combination of the smaller sail and board let me push the board to its full speed potential with phenomenal acceleration, the board hovering on top of the chop. The longer water line helped control in that chop which was an additional bonus compared to others I saw getting airborne while on my way downwind.
DAY 2 , Forecast was for similar conditions and another great day racing. As soon as the breeze kicked in, the race committee sent us out, which was a repeat of first few races of Day 1. Light conditions but most were using 11m after the long day racing on Saturday. Only minor changes to mast track position (132) to free up the board even more and I was off to a great day leading every race (only settling for 2nd due to tactical mistakes in race 2 and 4)
Race 2, I managed to get stuck behind a power boat after jybing on the downwind and race 4 jybing short twice.
Race 5 conditions were getting lighter and could not get off the start and had to patiently wait for a gust to get going.
Overall the 2014 Exocet RS Formula is a winning machine in a wide range of conditions. Not being able to use the board at all prior to the event, I could not be happier with its performance. Three main points stand out :
- Easy to use, plug and play. The wind wasn’t extreme but water conditions challenging and I felt at ease going through the chop, being able to accelerate and not worry so much about controlling the board
- Speed. Not always being in the best position on the start line, I could put the foot down and accelerate to lead the fleet in clean air. I rounded top mark of all races (started on time) 1st.
- Manoeuvres. Tacking and jybing seems really efficient for a Formula board. The longer water line really helps keep momentum and speed through manoeuvres.
Next test will be in light conditions using the board with 12m. More to come…