A while ago Jeff gave me a UltraLight (UL) SuperFreak (SF) 5.0 to test.
Assuming everybody knows what a SF is, the UL is a version with most of the panels made of an ultralight dacron. Think about a parashoot or a kite and you'll have a pretty good idea of what kind of lightness we're talking about!
The photo below shows Ulli taking it out for a spin. The funny thing is that the other SF in the background is Micheal's and that's an UL too, and then there's a kite. In other words, everything you see in that photo is extremely light... other than Ulli maybe.
I didn't notice any difference at all in the performance compared to a regular superfreak. Instead, here's the advantages I found:
- every time you move the sail around it's better because the sail is
lighter: jibes (big time), tacks, bottom turns, top turns, backwind rides...
- it seems to absorb the gusts even better... which is hard to believe, considering how incredibly gust-absorbing the regular SFs already are!
- much easier to fly the sail when water starting. I had a couple of
emergency water starts in the impact zone with a bomb approaching and I went for it with no hopes to succeed.... "no way, there's no way I can make it"... and voila', the sail was out and my ass was saved.
- in SUPER light winds I even prefer it to my regular 5.5. In fact that's when I use the light wind water start technique (front hand on the mast below the boom and back hand on the foot of the sail) quite often. The difference between an UL 5.0 and a regular 5.5 in that particular case is huge. Way, way easier with the UL.
And when the wind is too light to even water start like that, uphauling an UL 5.0 is way easier than uphauling a regular 5.5.
Add the fact that with the shorter boom of a 5.0 I can be closer to the wave face and you'll understand how I now don't give a damn about that little extra power and upwind sailing ability that a 5.5 would give me.
Plus, in super light wind you don't use your harness that much. A lighter sail in your hands means so much less work.
Here's a video that (after a short introduction) shows mostly Jeff sailing an UL 4.7 in one those epic days we had in February.
When I showed it to Jeff, he went like:
"cool, who's that?"
"what you mean, it's you!"
"me? And when was that?"
"what you mean, it was that epic day, you forgot?"
"that day?!? You got to be kidding me! The waves look so much smaller than they were!!!"
Unfortunately that's what it is... the waves look smaller, but... da hell, at least it's something... Enjoy it! Ah, and if you want to see a better definition version, it's also on the Hot Sails Maui video section. Check it out, so that you'll have an idea of the quality degradation introduced by youtube...
If we're talking sailmakers that are trying to do something new/extraordinary/out of the box... the other ones will excuse me, but I put Jeff on top of my list.
Allright, what else.
Extremely strong and gusty wind continue here in Maui. Here's a forecast I read on surfline: Going into the longer range, the NPAC looks to take an extended break with high pressure asserting its dominance over the region. This will set up both breezy trades in the next few days and prevent any major storms/swells from taking place.
If I wasn't conscious of how lucky I am to live in Maui, I'd be depressed now...