Sunday, April 11, 2021

Fanatic Skysup WS edition foiling video and review

On Friday I had a good windsurfing session on my newish hydrofoil windsurfing board, the Fanatic Sky Sup Foil WS. I filmed it with a GoPro camera mounted to the end of the boom. I was using a 4.7 sail, and the foil was a Slingshot Infinity 76 in the "B" configuration, set as far back in the finboxes as possible. The wind was around 15 knots from the SW.

I'm really liking this board now, although it was a major adjustment from the first board that I started foiling on; an older Exocet formula board. The Sky Sup is meant for maneuver-oriented sailing (as opposed to speed-oriented sailing), and is also meant to be useable without the sail for SUP foiling or with an inflatable wing for "wingfoiling." It's very short; 210 cm, and the mast track is placed very close to the front footstraps. The footstraps are near the centerline of the board rather than out near the edge like on a formula board. These aspects of the shape and the placement of the fittings required me to radically change my stance, sail position, and body weight distribution from what I'd gotten used to. The sail must be held with the mast straight up, or or even raked towards the nose a bit, rather than raked back towards the tail as it would be when sailing fast on a board with normal geometry. Controlling the altitude of flight is done more with direct foot pressure and less by applying weight to the mast base. Because of the sail rake angle you need to set the boom lower and/or use longer than normal harness lines if you want to hook in. You can actually sail it without a harness, though, since the forces in the sail are so much less than on a non-foiling windsurfer.

I've used the board with sails from 4.2 to 6.8 meters squared. It handles the 6.8 adequately, but the sweet spot is with smaller sails. Compared to the formula board, the Sky Sup is more particular about having the right sized sail for the wind. On the formula board you have some more leverage to keep the sail sheeted in and the elevation controlled when the sail is overpowered, whereas on the sky sup you just have to sheet way out. When underpowered on the formula board you can still get it foiling with some "stir" pumping of the sail that applies lateral pressure to the vertical part of the foil and translates into forward speed that allows liftoff. But that doesn't work as well on the sky sup, where pumping becomes more about "porpoising" the horizontal parts of the foil. As I learn to pump the sky sup better the liftoff threshold may end up being about the same as on the formula board, but for really gusty conditions I think the formula board may still be a more forgiving foil platform.

The most annoying thing about this new board versus my formula board is that they don't use the same "finbox" system for attaching the foil to the board. The sky sup uses a "pedestal" mount with four bolts that go into two parallel mast tracks and allow fore-aft adjustment of the foil position. The formula board uses a traditional, fixed-position "deep tuttle box" mount with two bolts that go down through the deck of the board. Further complicating things, the foil itself has different configurations placing the vertical attachment more forward or back on the fuselage, and I need it in "C" position for the formula board but "B" position for the sky sup. The whole change-over takes half an hour or so of sitting in the driveway unbolting and rebolting things, re-greasing the bolts, etc., so I kind of have to commit to whether I'm going to be using just the sky sup for a while or just the formula board for a while. I think what I'll do is use the sky sup in our "windy season," with 6.8 sail being the max and waiting for 10+ knots before attempting to use it, and I'll switch over the formula board around June when we get into the light summer winds where I need my 8.0 or 9.5 more often.

2 comments:

Tanvir Rahman said...

short film!

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