I collected my new raceboard from Sam at WSnS this morning - it was delivered late yesterday. After closely examining the four(!) boards I selected mine, strapped it onto the roof racks and then drove back to Wollongong, (picking Ben up at Botany Bay after a light wind formula session). Screwing in the footstraps and fixing in the centreboard took about an hour (remember to "soap" the footstrap screws), then off to the lake for a christening! Unfortunately the southerly which has been so sweet this week was on its last legs so I only had 5- 8 knots. Without a raceboard sail (hopefully next week delivery) I rigged up the Severne Reflex2 9.2 and hit the water, knowing I would be underdone in the horsepower stakes, but excited to try the new weapon. After sailing around for about an hour these are my initial impressions;
(1) Nice on water control - easy to tack and gybe (light wind!)
(2) The board rails easily and is stable in different "tilts" - there is more than one comfortable position.
(3) The board accelerates very readily on a gust or pump.
(4) It is easy to pump onto the plane off the wind (even in the light winds) - the wide tail seems to do its job very well.
In my short time on the water I am impressed with the board. Of course this was only in light winds, but I feel it will be even better when the wind is up. I really like the fact that it is not too wide or "volumous" - the dimensions are very similar to my AHD ProRace 380, which was a winner in its time (and probably still is!).
Other things to note;
(1) It is not a light weight board - I measured about 17kgs with every thing on board except a fin - a bit lighter than my AHD. Construction looks very good. Solid and not too fragile.
(2) The centreboard works very well - I was expecting a bit of a battle here, but it rotates quite well (remember to silicone spray the CB before a session). Having said that I feel the centreboard is too low in the housing because it "bulges" the slot flusher when retracted. Some simple spacers should fix that.
(3) The centreboard is 78cm long. The included fin is a Drake/Debouchet R13 52cm.
(4) There is no universal joint included. (Sam has the good Starboard joints for separate sale).
All in all I'm impressed with what I got. Testing against other boards begins tomorrow - the forecast wind doesn't look too good though
Note: the blue board in some photos is my rebuilt AHD ProRace 380 (Rick's old board )
I've now had a chance to try the board out in windier conditions (up to 25 knots) and am still impressed with the performance. The board is fast off the wind - I've had it up over 26 knots on the GPS - but no faster than the traditional (narrow tailed) raceboards, but more importantly, no slower. In windy conditions the early planing ability of the phantom is somewhat irrelevant, whereas control and speed are required. I've mostly sailed with a 44 cm weed fin due to the lake conditions, making the board feel a bit "soft" in the back, but none the less nice and controllable. The board feels "big" when tramping downwind (using a 9.2 m Reflex2 sail) but that is to be expected. Going over the short sharp lake chop can be a bit of a challenge and care needs to be taken to keep the nose clear - if the nose plows into the chop ahead (going downwind) then be prepared for a swim - the board decelerates rapidly! Having said that, most raceboards suffer this problem to some extent. I think the wide tail doesn't allow the nose to ride very high when coming over the back of chop. I found the 52 cm Deb fin which is supplied with the board a bit of a handful in 25 knots - the board starts tail walking. A smaller fin in these conditions is probably advisable.
The combination of mast position and centreboard angle is important when going upwind in the windy conditions. It is a case of giving up a bit of angle for a bit of control. I have found that one or 2 positions back from the front mast track position and the centreboard retracted a bit presents a good combination. I suppose this means that the sloped mast track really does help railing the board so in windy conditions not so much help is required. Testing against a Mistral Equipe the Phantom is much better upwind in windy conditions - faster and slightly higher angle. Another good characteristic I've noticed is the board doesn't stall very easily when going upwind at high angles - it slows down of course but still tracks well - a big improvement over the Mistral (and Fanatic Mega Cat that used to stall in windy conditions). I reckon the board can develop a good VMG upwind if just sailed off the fin - more testing required here.
The most remarkable feature of the board is its gybing ability. Fantastic!! The wide tail really helps here. The ability to turn the corner and not loose too much speed is remarkable - the big board is very well mannered. A couple of times I've exited a gybe faster than I went into it. There is no need to scamper forward on the board to prevent the tail sinking which make for faster transitions.
I now have my raceboard sail so further testing is lighter conditions is now on the cards - I expect this sail will be used in most race conditions.
Hello, thinking about the new phantom vs a ultra sonic for light wind fun in sydney harbour. been about 20 years since I had along board, thinking a out it probably 25 with an original fanatic cat!!!
Have you any view on race board vs wide short board in marginal planning wind...
And how much fun are you having on the phantom when its cranking with the track back and in the back straps... think ive forgotten teh feeling of having over 3m of board out in front !!!
Any thoughts would be great
PS.. hows the service and any deals at WS&S?
Great reports...looking forward to seeing all the gear at Hawks Nest in a couple of weeks...
Good read and review ..... i forget there is this gear out there ......back in the day really enjoyed it.
The first time I got back on a longboard after many years (decades) away I realised why they were so popular back in the day. Awesome fun!
The other realisation was that I had been in a back and forth mentality from slalom without really knowing it. For sailing in a small water way like the Broadwater (slight misnomer that!) a longboard opens it up instead of just doing runs from side to side.
Planing on a slalom board is always going to be more fun, but longboards can also be a buzz too. ...and hey, they actually plane in wind too.
A bit of an update after a lot more sailing of the board.
After a big session on the lake yesterday (Ben & I did over 130km ea), mainly on a formula board (with a Reflex2 9.7 - gusts up to 24 knots), I switched over to the Phantom (with a 9.2 Reflex2 sail) and I reckon I had more fun on the Phantom! Don't get me wrong, the formula was great fun, and generally faster on all points of sailing, but in comparison to the Phantom the ride on the formula can be quite harsh, bashing into chop or tramping over it. The Phantom just slices through the chop upwind when railed up and off the wind the the sheer size of the board seems to smooth out the jolts.
The best run of the day was the last run, from the South end of the lake to the North end on one broad reach - about 6km well powered up . The Phantom is so comfortable and well mannered - it was a hoot. Ben was on the AHD and this was just as quick.
Things to note : 1) if well powered up, rail the board so that the footstraps are dragging in the water - the angle upwind is a little better and acceleration in gusts is a little better. In lighter winds don't rail the board so much - the drag to upwind angle ratio seem to increase when not fully powered if tilted too much.
2) with the mastrack fully back, and in the back straps the board will not "tail sink" even if only moving slowly. This means that this position can be employed a lot earlier than most other raceboards. It also makes pumping to stay planing easy - you don't have to scamper up the board and slide the mast track forward to stop the tail sinking.
3) the footstraps supplied with the board are a bit soft for my liking. They tend to collapse or twist the "wrong way" sometimes making it hard to get the foot in quickly. I've replace the back straps with ones off my old formula board, and stiffened up the beating straps with plastic strip.
The 9.5 raceboard sail (mine is a Severne) is well suited to the board, providing good power to help railing, and certainly improves tacking. The board also pumps very well with the raceboard sail, particularly downwind.
The weak point of the board may be in the 5 knots of wind range - this is probably also related to my lightwind technique. Older, traditional raceboards are probably marginally faster in these conditions, maybe related to the Phantoms wide, flat surface area underside. Hopefully all the races in the upcoming Oceanics at Hawks Nest are in windier conditions than this
I am very interested in this board as others had hinted at as a freeride for 5-15 knot board.
What's your take on the planning windspeed with a 9.5?
Any updates on 377 or exocet d2?
About to order one or the other so any news appreciated!
The only comparison between the 377 and the D2 that I know of was at the Raceboard Oceanics at Hawks Nest last month. The 377 was the clear winner in the conditions - wind any thing from 6 knots to 25 knots. I haven't sailed the D2 so can only report what I saw - the chop seems to adversely affect the D2, particularly the vertical bow, making for hard work to keep it tracking upwind at good angles. Going downwind the D2 seems to plow into chop making for hard work to keep it tracking straight and low. I think the D2 is a winner in calm "lake" waters but seems to demand a high technical ability in rough water.
Of course I'm totally biased towards the 377, and think it is a great all round board - I was pleasantly surprised with it's good light wind performance and very happy when the wind got up. All in all the 377 is a very well mannered board, very capable of winning races as well as being good fun to cruise around on.
The Exocet Elite 380 seems to be much closer in performance to the 377......
Almost ordered - what's your estimate of the planning threshold for the 377?
Thanks again, Joe
Just a comment on the Phantom. I read a post on the Starboard forum pleading with Starboard not to change the design as his club had six Phantoms racing there. I can see his point as I don't think you get into raceboarding because you like continuous technical development as such. However, they are not 'one designs' either and the new ideas innovations seem pretty good.
What is the correct balance for Starboards between getting racers back on the water and updating this raceboard?
Planing depends upon so many things, such as sail size, fin, sailor's weight, fitness, skill etc, but I reckon you can get the Phantom going in about 8 knots of wind. Of course once it is planing it seems to hang on very well (probably due to the wide flat tail), maybe down a few knots. The Phantom isn't radically different, performance wise, than any of the good "old" raceboards - it just seems to do everything well, with good manners
Hi Da Vecta,
The raceboard class is not a one-design class so anything new from the brands is most welcome - it shows that there is interest in the class. A good sailor on any of the new boards or any of the good old boards will do well - obviously some are better at some conditions than others. If clubs or areas want to set up "one-design" racing then go for it - that isn't really anything to do with the brands. Apart from a few boards most designs are "tweaked" (minor or major) every couple of years so it is unreasonable to cry "foul" if a brand stops producing a particular board to replace it with another.
Talking of One Designs this is my set up ATM. Sorry had to show someone!
It's still great fun to sail especially with a modern sail. This one is 8.6.
Love the Reflex 3. I use a Reflex 2 9.2 as my high wind (>20knots) raceboard sail.
Does anyone know the approx date of my Mistral One Design in the above picture?