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Topic: Performance Longboarding

Had the new (to me) Mega Cat out today with the 8.5 SPF and my new (old stock) FinWorks VTR Pro 470 pointer. Many thanks to Steve Howie of Canandaigua Sailboards for setting me up with those VTRs. Winds were 8-15 kts, just about ideal conditions and about 95% planing.

Holy Cow. I had an IMCO, but I really don't think it was anything close to this. The Mega Cat / VTR is one heck of a setup, and the 8.5 Speed Freak is a delightful motor for it.

My upwind technique is a bit rusty, plus the straps are floppy and need to be replaced so it was a bit hard to get into the beating straps. But once there, man does this board go upwind! I think it points higher than most sloops! With a great sail, great centerboard, awesome fin and a great hull...this thing just drills it's way upwind.

Beam and broad reaching with the CB up was phenomenally easy. Surely slower than on a light wind planer, but the Mega Cat just kind of glides it's way onto a plane. And even when it's not planing the hull speed is surprisingly good - I'd forgotten how different it is than pumping and popping a shortboard onto a plane.

I muffed a few carve-entry / pivot-finish jibes and toppled in, guess I'm bit rusty on that with a narrow tail and trying to avoid the CB/mast track trigger. Am getting better at adjusting the mast track, and picking the optimal setting of track/CB/straps for beating upwind. One thing for sure, on a performance longboard, there is never a dull moment.

As to the SPF, it was what you would want - light, powerful, stable, no tendency to get unstable at the leading edge of gusts, closes the gap nicely...an excellent sail for a performance longboard.

How did we let this kind of windsurfing slip away?

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Re: Performance Longboarding

Before SUP, this board looked HUGE and uncool. Now it does not, and certainly does not sail uncool.

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Re: Performance Longboarding

Wish I'd bought one from one of the locals, and his D2 board too... ...when they were uncool and still obtainable.

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4 (edited by Geoff 2012-09-30 16:08:22)

Re: Performance Longboarding

Well, one thing I'm sure of is that my tolerance for schlogging and pumping to a plane has taken a big hit. Schlogging is dullsville, and unless the schlog-to-plane ratio is 0.2 or less, one runs out of interesting things to do (I like the twiddly freestyle stuff, but only so much and if I've got to do it with a big sail to pump the interest factor diminishes).

I'm not sure what my minimum is for the Mega Cat...my guess is around 5 kts. We'll see. But from winds of 5-15 kts, which is most of the sailable days on inland lakes, the Mega Cat is quite engaging.

Looking at some of the newer performance longboards, they look awfully big to me so I can't imagine they carve a jibe that well. The Mega Cat glides up to a soft plane so easily, as a free-ride concept I should think we ought to get back to 250-280 L / 380-400 cm / 70 cm wide designs (deja vu...I know I've posted something like this before!)

Sounds a little like the Kona One, but the K-1 is really more designed for plane or glide, not glide-to-a-plane. The Mega Cat is far too technical and tippy to be a family board, so I think designs like the K-1 are more the call as a family board. I enjoy the K-1, but I must say I never got off of it and said "WOW". I have, however, had learners and progressing sailors take the K-1 and get a touch of performance with a bit of security and they were quite jazzed. With the Mega Cat, my first few moments on it had me thinking "Whoa!", and every time I come back ashore I'm stoked.

The guy who sold me the Mega Cat preferred to use his Fanatic Viper, which is likely more accessible and that wide-style + CB may be the way to go, but I've been on those and they just don't have that "Wow" factor. Wide-style boards tend too close to schlogging, or maybe it's more like riding like a barge (on and off the plane). Is there anything out there that has a little bit of accessibility AND some high performance? Or does that combo still elude us?

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Re: Performance Longboarding

geoff, interesting post

i have owned a k1 for about 90% of the time since about 2006. i am also the distributor here in nz, and together with a couple of other guys, are konaNZ association, so i have a bias.

i have also had a couple of imco's and an f2 lightning, and the lightning in particular was a really good board like the cat, and you are right that they are a huge amount of fun, and a revelation in 5-15 knots.

i found after awhile, that unles you are really into the sub planing longboard thing, that the constant adjusting of centreboard, mast track etc wore a bit thin, and i eventually longed for the simplicity of the k1.

basically i'm agreeing with what you are saying :-)

we had a couple of sessions where we pitted the k1 against an imco and it was interesting that as they both graduated to a plane, the imco was a bit faster at the start, they were pretty even through the middle onto a plane and underpowered planing, then as power built up, the kona pulled away handily. personally, i don't even use the centreboard, and pretty well use it as an overgrown shortboard.

my other shortboard is 305cm long :-)

long-short or long long, they are all good with SF and SFUL. i still say the 7.0 Ul is one of the all time best longboard sails ever designed

ps, my 7.5 SPF should be delivered tomorrow :-)

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6 (edited by Geoff 2012-10-01 03:09:05)

Re: Performance Longboarding

Yeah, if I were in the mood for a lazy cruise-type sail, I'd pick the K-1 for sure. I keep the CB in my K-1 and am not interested in going without. For that, I'd pick the Kona 11'5!!! But if I'm up for testing myself and getting a workout, it would be the Mega Cat. Maybe next summer (season fading rapidly here) I'll race the K-1 and Mega Cat...the IMCO race you describe doesn't surprise me, but my gut feeling is that in skilled hands the Mega Cat would leave the K-1 far far behind under all conditions and points of sail. The only one where the K-1 might win is B&F planing reaches, as it's a bit less technical to jibe.

Still, I should think it would be possible to make a board that splits the difference? Adjustable mast tracks  can be set to a fixed position (for those who haven't seen one, the trigger can be set flat and doesn't engage the adjusting mechanism), so the simplicity thing could be achieved. What we haven't got is the hull form. I think it would need to be shaped kind-of like the K-1, but thinner rails and maybe no step-tail. Or maybe a removable tail plug to fill in the step, such as on the *B (I think it's the *B).

PS - Unless you're into the spinny-twiddly sail tricks, somersaults inside the boom, pirouettes and all that stuff, I think your beloved 7.0 SFUL is about to get a demotion...

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Re: Performance Longboarding

the board you describe was made by exocet. it was called the x-380. full on race board with a step tail, adjustable mast track, tail insert, 13.5 kg's. i regret never getting my hands on one.

yes, the 7.5 SPF may be THE ONE

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Re: Performance Longboarding

Maybe I need to try that X-380 someday!

I think the 7.0 SFUL will remain beloved on the Kona 11'5"...much better matchup of board and sail there.

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Re: Performance Longboarding

well, as soon as my 39cm pointer assives from trueames for my 11'5, i'll be able to agree with you :-)

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Re: Performance Longboarding

Geoff-  Yes, the industry let it performance longboarding go, but it's coming back.  I imagine that the new board that looks big to you is the Exocet D2.  Everything about sailing that board looks fun, but everything about owning one looks less so (size, expense, etc.).  I am still very curious about the AHD Tacktik - can't find anyone who has sailed one and can really say how well it balances all of its design elements, but at only 320cm and with a long fin and long daggerboard - and at half the price of the D2 - it looks great to me for a modern longboard.  Technical, but not fussy.  I have a number of classic longboards, and they all have their strengths, but each one has issues as well - particularly the older boards, with cluttered decks and the need for modern reinforced fin boxes (your Mega Cat is later model trim box?).  The AHD seems to tackle each one - but how much is compromised?  If I didn't have several longboards already (from dumpsters and garage sales) and were starting fresh, would likely try the Tacktik.

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11 (edited by Geoff 2012-10-02 16:22:32)

Re: Performance Longboarding

Hi NYO

After yesterday's discussion I looked at the *B and Exocet websites. Will check out the Tactik...but I do like AHD's Robin's egg blue paint jobs. I'll bet tooold could do something more dazzling but in theme!!

The *B site helped characterize it for me, as I think the 320 class longboard is probably that "everyone's all-purpose funboard" I've talked about. I believe the K-1 is in the 320 class too. *B has an interesting competitor in that it looks like a scaled-down "regular" performance longboard (wide point forward, pointy pintail, lots of straps, etc.).

Of Exocet's new boards, the D2 doesn't interest me. Too pricey, plus I don't think it's a "sailor's longboard". I'm sure it's record-setting in it's wind range, but I'm more interested in a technical challenge and range of use more than max speed. Some of these things - the D2, the Serenity - they're small boats  with a windsurfing sail mount. Fine, no problems, it's just not what I'm looking for.

No, I like the RS 380 Elite, which is the X-380 with the ahem...ummm....ahuh ahuh....steptail done away with. Sorry, Rod. IMHO, having sailed the limited ranges of IMCO, Mega Cat, F2 Lightning, K-1...the step tail is a good innovation but unnecessary for high-performance sailors. Not because the high-performance sailors can't use the turn of speed the step tail offers, but because they are better at making advantage of the full capacity of a traditional longboard shape - upwind, downwind, planing, non-planing, etc., and on some of these points of sail the step tail suffers. The main plus for the step tail is that the straps are much further forward, and thus negate the need for an adjustable mast track (since the planing balance is in just one place). This makes a longboard much more accessible to most sailors - no mast track fiddling, and you don't have to get "...way back there?!" to get in the straps.

Yesterday, for instance, I got out in the afternoon in 5-15 (mostly 5), offshore, smooth water...Mega Cat + 8.5 SPF. Mainly experimented with CB position (up, partly down in several spots, down), mast track position, point of sail, footwork and strap/strapless stance. The Mega Cat really scoots in some unusual configurations that are a consequence of sea state, wind direction/strength, point of sail, etc. Many of those configurations were CB up, mast track forward to full forward, and bearing slightly upwind to mild broad reach...some points with a tiny bit of windward rail (CB up). Skimming very fast to planing in the straps. But my fave is the overpowering gusts when beating upwind, CB full down, in the beating straps and driving so hard that the carbon CB hums.

I've done that kind of experimentation on the K-1 and, in all honesty, the Mega Cat would have done a horizon job on the K-1. BUT, as Rod correctly notes, it was a lot of fiddling and tweaking and messing around with a big rig on a mast track...with a funky trigger that I accidentally step on now and then...so if that's not your cup of tea then the 380 class isn't for you.

And looking at the shapes, specs, etc., I note that these new performance boards are designed to meet the 380 class (like my Mega Cat). So they're 380 length, 65-67 width, 250-295 volume, and the weight specs are just under 14 kg.  So then....looking at my nearly 20 year old Mega Cat (doesn't look it)...380 length, 67 wide, 250 volume, 70 cm CB renowned for it's power. Oh yeah, one last spec on my Mega Cat - 12.5 kg. What is it with Fanatic? How do they consistently make boards lighter than everyone else? If they all broke in two, that would be one thing, but they don't. Great boards, durable, ridiculously light. How do they do it?

My guess is that these new performance boards are an improvement, primarily in hull bottom shape and volume distribution, but that my old hot rod will hold it's own against all of them because of limitations inherent in the formula. And sailing freely out on my own, wandering wherever my heart leads me, I'd never notice the difference. So, like my cars, I'm going to ride her until she can't go any further.

Also, NYO, to answer your quetion - this board is a weird combo, not anywhere stated. I'm increasingly sure that it's a Mega Cat 380-I, 250 L (stated on the hull), 6 footstraps, but Trimbox not Powerbox (which seems to be the spec'ed fin setup on the 380-I). She hauls butt on the 8.5 with a 470 pointer. I've always thought "Ewww" about the Trimbox, but on this board I really like it. Shows what I know! The CB bag is marked with the name Rick Cronk, NY-30. So if you know who that is, I think I've got his old board.

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Re: Performance Longboarding

To me, it comes down to this:  You can either get a good longboard with a daggerboard for light air days or sit home with most of the kiters of the planet.  Has anyone besides me and my local NE FL buddy Todd, an HSM poster, noticed how few kites there are out when the breeze is light?  Hmmm.  Anyway, I digress...I have logged dozens of great sessions this (mediocre La Nina?) summer simply because I got off my high horse (recovering Formula addict) and returned to my windsurfing roots.  Me, my (other NE FL) buddy Tom, and our late model Mistral Equipes have had numerous great centerboard planing days while everyone else was bemoaning the lack of wind, all the while looking down their noses at us hauling around our vintage roof-top-monsters! SO GLAD to see posts here by guys who are rediscovering what made this sport great in the first place.  Even more stoked to see HSM leading the way with the Summerfreak!  How about some comparison tests of that sail against other "light air" sails.  I would love to see how it works in comparison with light air formula sails....

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Re: Performance Longboarding

geoff, if i gave the impression that the k1 was anywhere near as good in subplaning conditions as the trad longboards you mentioned, i didn't mean to. i agree that any trad longboard would do, as you rightly said, an horizon job on the k1. i was just saying that the k1 does an ok job as a longboard if you don't want to bother with all the "fiddly bits" :-).

to my mind, you have shortboards at one end, 380 longboards at the other, and the k1 in the middle... it was often described by a certain board tester as the jack of all trades, master of fun. i think that is the reason you don't come off it with that wow feeling, more of an ahhhhhhhh :-)

most windsurfers would have no idea of what glide really means in lb terms, especially those 380's

regarding th steptail, yes, even exocet admitted that the tail slowed the board down by a couple of knots, hence the insert in the warp x-380. i still think it was one of the nicest looking boards i have seen

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Re: Performance Longboarding

StevenPVB wrote:

stoked to see HSM leading the way with the Summerfreak!  How about some comparison tests of that sail against other "light air" sails.  I would love to see how it works in comparison with light air formula sails....

Interesting thought. The summer freak is designed for sub planning wind, and in these conditions, should take on all comers, Once your really planning, well, head back to the beach?

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Re: Performance Longboarding

Hi Geoff - might find these an interesting read (if you can read them - else PM me and I mail them to you) smile

Yes it is the Ultra Cat that preceded the Mega Cat but I think the shape remained the same....

<image> <image>

I'm with you regarding the K1 - I have one as well, it definitely has its moments and I have had many great cruises on it, but are starting to feel it's compromises.
For planing - I'm now able to start planing in 10-12 knots with the SPF 8.5 and the HyperSonic, and below the 10 knots my old Competition does a far better job than the K1 (Note to self - need to get the Comp wet this year...) Else I take my large SUP with a small SF for those twirly swirly old skool freestyle manoeuvres if that is the mood of the day...

I had the idea to have custom built a lightweight version of my classic '83 Mistral Competition - but that board have it's flaws as well - so now I'm kicking ideas back and forth with a shaper regarding a performance longboard - but those ideas is still on the drawing board and may risk staying there wink

A note regarding the "old" performance LB's:
- most of them are designed before Eric Thieme used a big slalom board in the course race at the Aloha Classic - so they are designed to be able to sail in higher winds (as well) - hence the narrower tails - as they where designed/used for "all conditions on one board" whereas the new ones like the RS D2 are designed for primarily light winds.

I like the looks of  the RS D2 but it has some flaws from a design perspective (this is one of the things I'm discussing with "my" shaper) - since it is so wide, it needs a big fin and daggerboard (or vice versa), which on the other hand creates more drag - also on a long board like the Equipe or Cat you have a long vertical and sharp edged side which you use when going upwind, which then minimize the need for fin/dagger area. Of-course if the shape is more "boat like" you will need the fin/dagger area to create the necessary resistance...... and so on and so on smile

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Re: Performance Longboarding

one thing i will say about the k1 that suits me. our local conditions can vary considerably very quickly. the beauty of the k1...for me...is that it handles all conditions reasonably well. if it's light and it picks up, the board changes into a giant slalom board. if it's windy and drops off, it changes into a cruiser.

and that's the last thing i'll say about the k1 :-)

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Re: Performance Longboarding

On two occasions, I've had low-level beginner women who were anxious to terrified, but within minutes were going back and forth and proud of themselves.

The one who was terrified (an ex-girlfriend), we drove up to the launch site to see white caps, waves, and about 15 kts, and she was terrified. I rigged a sail, set her up, but had to get back to my dog in the truck and was not able to do more at the beginning than help her get the board out in the water and then get her launched. My view was obscured by trees.

Getting back hastily as I could, I was surprised to see her reaching back and forth, occasionally nearing a plane (she'd never planed), and she came in stoked with "that smile".

SOLD. The K-1 is my idea of an easy-user, non-fiddly, all-arounder for the whole family. I think there may be other, slightly more fiddly, 320 class boards that can give a pretty good experience, but I really cannot imagine selling the K-1. No way. It's a keeper.

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18 (edited by Surfingsen 2013-02-28 12:52:37)

Re: Performance Longboarding

I have now found the time to scan the complete raceboard test from the UK Windsurf Magazine back from 1991 in higher quality than above....
(There you can find a test from 1994 of the updated versions as well, of boards like the Mega Cat and Equipe II)

The tested boards are:
Bic Bamba, Fanatic Ultra Cat, F2 Lightning World Cup Race and the Mistral Equipe
http://surfingsen.blogspot.dk/2013/02/r … -1991.html

I have it as a Pdf as well - so PM me with your email if you want a copy (ps. it's 7MB)

Edit: typos

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Re: Performance Longboarding

So good to read the longboard love-in. I have had so much fun on the K1 from rail riding to racing around the Island (40 miles + beats). And yes I have noticed that there are fewer kites on the light wind day. In the past I had an Alpha 220 with razor rails from nose to tail one false move and you were in.

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Re: Performance Longboarding

"Diabetic cats need to eat small meals several times a day - a tablespoon of food is a "meal." This not only keeps them from spiking their blood sugar up and down, it helps stabilize them."

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21 (edited by paulf 2018-05-25 13:34:53)

Re: Performance Longboarding

had a 19yo cat that went diabetic from the prednisone it needed for a benign brain tumor, needed an insulin shot every day and did not like it...happy that mother nature intervened before the vet had to. never had a mega cat though. had an equipe in the light construction but never got great on it after short board fever took over.

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