Saturday didn't start off looking very promising. The weather report predicted rain, the sky hung dark, and the wind barely hit 5mph. There was a handful of folks sitting around Worldwinds reading, waiting for wind.
Through some miracle, the breeze hit the double digits around 2:30. I rented an F2 Stoke 155 with a 6 meter sail. By 4 the sun made its appearance and it looked like paradise. Suddenly there was a crowd on the water.
After an hour of sailing I decided to come in and get more sunscreen. When I came back to the beach I couldn't figure out which board was mine. I knew that I had a f2 stoke 155, but the sail on it seemed wrong. Nearby there was sail that looked like mine, but the board was a JP X-cite Ride 160 -- also wrong.
I bent down to take a closer look at the sail on the Stoke and was convinced I had walked into another dimension. In addition to the color, the harness lines definitely didn't match what I had just sailed, and the sail seemed huge. Do I fly around on giant sails in this alternate universe?
I touched the sail and nearly jumped out of my skin when Don shouted from the deck "That's not your board... Not unless you want a 9 meter sail."
I contemplated this and decided I definitely didn't want to sail the monster. I learned that one of Don's customers was performing research on the x-cite and the stoke. I talked to him as we walked to deeper water. The gent was planning on buying one of them to take back to Phoenix. Our boards were swapped so he could compare. Mystery solved.
Later my path crossed again with Mr. Phoenix on the water. We stopped to compare notes on the Stoke 155 and the x-cite ride 160. We both agreed first and foremost that the JP had a sinky nose. When performing tacks, the front tends to swamp and the chop washes over it.
The stoke felt like the front had a lot more float. In addition, the F2 felt more stable at low speeds. The board seemed to forgive small mistakes that would sink a rail of the JP.
However, the JP did seem to plane faster than the F2. Since I'm just starting to get the feel for planing, I'm not certain if the board or the rider should be blamed for this. Mr. Phoenix thought that the x-cite might possess more room for growth than the Stoke. A little instability leads to fun tricks perhaps?
Mr. Phoenix also noted that the fin on the Stoke seemed to break free easier than the JP. He seemed to think this was correctable. I can't say that I have the skills to have an opinion.
I'm finally starting to get the hang of fast tacks. Or, at least, I'm falling off a lot less, even when I sink the nose. I don't think I've quite put the fast in the tack, but I'm faster and I no longer tip-toe around the mast as much. Now I stomp around with big steps that miraculously don't throw me off the board. Steering feels more natural too.
Beach starts feel easier, even in deeper water. I'm successful around 75% of the time. Unless my cheapo aqua socks get pulled off by the muddy bottom.
I occasionally found myself planing. I'm still not sure how to control or maintain it, so it doesn't last long. Sure is fun though. If the weather cooperates perhaps I'll get help in my Sunday class.