Have just spent few days sailing my new demo 2013 102 Fanantic Ray at Green Island Cairns, can say this board in strong winds is nice and comfy and quick, and maybe in the right hands possibly as quick as a SB Isc of similar size?
It's labled as a 'free race' board and thats what it is , quick and comfy, easy to ride, nothing hard about it at all, , 'get on it and sail' pretty easy to hit 30kn speeds for sure..no idea if it could get to the higher end of that?..yet!
It planes quite early for its lack of size, handles chop well and gybes well, straps and pads all nice, moderate deck concave nothing radical, same goes for cut outs to tail also. I wanted something that handles stronger winds in more comfort and control than a larger sized board does, must be abled to be sailed in open waters, I also didn't want the full carbon knee jar effect, it seems to do all this well, feels comfy not skittery, its a gradual build up to speed..doesn't have the 2nd gear that Iso's seem to have, it just pulls constantly to speed.
Its a 'small' 102ltr, the specs says it could handle a sail up to 8.2m..I'd say BS to that.. low to med 7m would be max size I would suggest..I'm 85kg it really seemed to be more at home with a smaller fin (tried a 33 and 35 Select), it obviously works better in stronger winds than lighter...but still planed quite early in light winds, think its sweet sail size would be a 6.5m.
Not a lot of volume in the nose, which is common these days, so tack fast!..but in 0-5 knts, I was pretty much sunk up to knees...so if your heavier than me you may want to look at the next size up if you want some float.
Not sure about the foot strap pin/plugs? they seem to be raised too high?
Was 'nervous' about getting the Fantatic after reading some of the reviews here...I guess time will tell..at this point feels nice and strong, no issues..great colors and great looking board, It will get a good test out here, so will be able to report back on hows its holding up.
Can't imagine you could go wrong if you want an easy to sail Free Race Board for stronger winds.
Hey there Jonsey. Nice review and picy - good to see some colour.
As you probably already know, your Ray is the same shape as the Falcon but in a more forgiving and heavier construction. So it will fly once you have it dialled in and should be easier to control in the open ocean. I am 87kg and have last years Falcon 99 and run 36 and 34 Meanline fins in it. My favourite sail on this board was my 7.3m Hot Sails Maui GPS and I agree that early to mid sevens is the sweet spot, but I also regularly used an 8m Hot Sails Maui GPS on this board with no worries, so don't be surprised how big you can go on modern boards without issue. That board will do mid to high 30s no problem. My PB 2sec peak on the 99 with the 7.3 was 37.2kn on a lake in not so flat water, and a mate rode it for the first time earlier this year with a 6.6 and did 36+kn on it without having it dialled. The shapes are fast for sure so keep pushing it....
Don't be nervous about owning a Fanatic, I have ridden my more 'fragile" 2012 Falcons pretty hard for 12 months so far and no issue. I have had a Skate 109TE for two years, and I ride this in the surf and open ocean as my bump and jump board - no issues. Given the shear volume of boards that get pumped out of the Cobra and Chinese factories there are always going to be a percentage of sad stories across most brands. Treat it right, use the vent plug if storing in a hot place and more than likely you wont have any issues.......keep us posted on your experience with your new toy.
I have a 2013 Ray 102 as well and it's without a doubt my favourite board for blasting around. As free race boards go I think the ray has a lot more slalom blood in it than free race actually. I'm using 34 and 36 cm JP slalom fins in it (all I have at them moment) and with these fins the ray is a pretty exciting ride. It's got this way of rolling right back onto the tail section for a very low wetted surface when sailing. The cool thing is that it's got excellent grip despite the tail walking. It makes for a very fun ride. I suspect the lowering of the mast step due to the concave deck may have something to do with the boards fore and aft trim. The deck is domed in the strap area and concave around the mast track and I find it a little off putting actually but I haven't really had enough time to get used it yet. There may be free race boards around that are easier to ride but I don't think you will find a faster 100 litre free race board. The thing goes like the clappers. with the right conditions and fin I think high 30's are quite doable on one of these.