Last week I got a new, used, "formula" windsurfing board- a Starboard Formula 135, model year 2001. I had been in the market for an early planing shortboard to match my new 9.5 sail, and this one was a steal at Ace Performer.
Ironically, this new toy is the oldest of the four formula boards I've owned during my windsurfing career, due to multiple cycles of quitting and restarting formula windsurfing. It's also the smallest, at just 85 cm wide and 135 liters volume. It probably wouldn't be competitive on the racecourse with a modern, 100 cm wide formula board, but I'm not competitive on the racecourse, anyway, and 85 cm is enough width to get quite good early planing. The dimensions and volume of the F135 actually match closely with modern light-wind slalom boards, which max at 85 cm wide and are similarly thin in cross section. So I've been thinking of the board as a poor man's light-wind slalom board.
The standard fin length for a 100 cm wide formula board is 70 cm, but that would be overkill for an 85 cm wide board. The F135 was originally marketed with a 58 cm fin, but the secondhand board I got came with a 65 cm fin, which I worried would be too long. I tried it for the first time (well, the first time in decent wind) on Sunday. The 65 cm fin wasn't unmanageable, but I think the board will be faster with a 58. I'm trading the 65 for another windsurfer's 58, which I think will be perfect. Anyway, here's a video of my test session at Wiggins Pass in Naples, FL. The sail is my 9.5 Ezzy Cheetah. The wind is side-offshore around 9-13 knots. The songs are by Tomas Walker and by the Ramones.
11-18-12 F135 Test Run from James Douglass on Vimeo.
One thing I notice looking at the video is how much the bottom of the sail flexes, twists and flaps. I think part of that is the product of it being a camless sail with durable rod battens instead of stiff tube battens. Another part may be the way I'm using a pulley hook through the clew grommet for my adjustable outhaul. I've ordered another kind of pulley system that's integrated with the grommet, and I think that may help stabilize the back end of the sail. Stay tuned.