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Test : Challenger Sails Aero+ 2015 test (english)
Publié par thelaurent le 18/01/2015 19:00:00 (9729 lectures) Articles du même auteur

Test of the Challenger Sails AERO+ 7.8 et 8.6 2015 (Handcrafted).

(english version)



 

 

14th of December. Ile Grande (Bretagne, France): first time on water with the Aero+ 2015

Link (HD): https://media.joomeo.com/large/54bbdbd0be76a.jpg

 

Intro

Claudio Badiali shipped me the 2015 Aero+ handcrafted sails mid December, in two sizes: 7.8 m2 and 8.6 m2.

During the following 2weeks, I had the occasion to test both sails in Brittany/France, on my home spots!

Since 2013, the Aero+ has been significantly improved and the new 2015 Aero+ is a great surprise for me.

In this article, I share with you my feeling about the new 2015 Aero+, and what improvement have been made according to me, compared with 2013 versions.

 

 

My first test of the Aero+

Sunday, 14th of December. it’s 2pm, I am in Saint Sauveur’s harbour, on the Britton island “Ile Grande”, Côtes d’Armor, Brittany, France.

I’m just taking my time, watching at my brand new Aero+ 2015 lying on the grass, before testing it. It’s a beautiful sail, nicer in the real life than on pictures.

At the bottom the sail (both on the 7.8 and the 8.6), Claudio Baldiali has written: “First CS Aero+ 2015 in France, for Laurent”. Cool isn’t it?

The wind is now blowing around 12 to 15 knots, but is announced to be picking up quickly to 25 knots in the afternoon. It’s high time to rig the sails and to go on the water!

Link (HD): https://media.joomeo.com/large/54bbdc2b201ee.jpg

 

 

 

Test conditions

For this first test, I went on the water between 2:40 and 4:30 pm, under a cloudy and unsettled weather, about 12 Celsius degrees.

After 30 minutes of navigation with a wind around 12 knots, the wind picked up around 20 knots.

 

Then, I went out in open sea for a session of about 30 km (see Suunto Ambit trace below).

14th of December - Trace of my first test session (30 km) – Ile Grande, Bretagne, France

Link (HD): https://media.joomeo.com/large/54bbdcb72fef3.jpg

 

 

Rigging 

I rig the sails (both 7.8 and 8.6) on a Challenger Sails RSS 490 2015 mast (100% carbon). Please not that the mast curve has changed in 2014, so it is recommended to replace the mast if older than 2013. 

Indeed, the 2014 and 2015 masts are more flex top than the 2012 & 2013 masts (even if the global body of the 2014/2015 mast is globally less flexible than in 2012/2013).

The recommended luff on the 7.8 is 502. With a North extension set to +14cm on the 490cm mast, it’s perfect.

Note: for the 8.6, the recommended luff is 525. I set the North extension to +34cm, which seems surprisingly sufficient (according to the recommendation, the setting should be around 36 cm or more).

The rigging steps are as follows:

  • - Downhaul till the mast bends sufficiently to reach the ends of the cambers (about 6 to 8 cm less than the recommended downhaul tension).
  • - Put the wishbone (note : the handcrafted does not have marks on the boom cutout, I’ll put some typex marks later on to remember an average wishbone position).
  • - Tie off to the wishbone tack.
  • - Clip the cambers on the mast. The following pictures show the ordering for clipping the cambers. To pass a camber, press with your left hand on the upper part of the camber (not on the batten) and push with your right hand below the camber to help it to clip the mast. If the camber are too hard to clip, release a bit the dowhaul tension; if the cambers do not stay on the mast, dowhaul a bit more.

  • - Finalize downhaul tension as shown on the pictures below for the 7.8 and the 8.6. Of course, I’ll play in the future to fine tune the downhaul tension, but these first settings where ok on water… (note : and confirmed during other sessions later).
    • For the 7.8, my dowhaul setting is 501cm (recommendation: 502)

  • For the 8.6, my downhaul setting is 520cm (recommendation: 525)

 

 

The cambers are bigger than the 2013. They are white instead of black. The only exception is the lowest camber, which is smaller and black, and quite similar to the 2013 cambers.

 

New 2015 camber

 

For the battens, I did not put too much tension, the right one to take away wrinckles (and I’ll make further tests to refine later).

 

A picture of the 7.8 rigged for the first time:

14th of December: 7.8 rigged

Link (HD): https://media.joomeo.com/large/54bbdd970d689.jpg

 

Pictures of the 8.6 rigged for the first time:

20th of December - 8.6 rigged (first test)

Link (HD): https://media.joomeo.com/large/54bbdde1cebf5.jpg

 

 

20th of December with my friend Freddy - 8.6 profile – Leech opening in the wind

Link (HD): https://media.joomeo.com/large/54bbde2765a4d.jpg

 

 

20th of December: 8.6 + AHD SL2 132L after the session

Link (HD): https://media.joomeo.com/medium/54bbde5bc9d67.jpg

 

As always with the Aero+, the sail is visually quite impressive, with its large-sized mast sleeve combined with a deep profile for maximum power.

The mast sleeve in 2015 is a bit larger than as in 2013 on the lower part of the sails. More precisely, on batten 6 and 7, the mastsleeve size have been increased of 5 cm, to be measured on the batten line. The deepness of the profile hasn’t changes, but is more central than in 2013.

First test of the camber rotation on the ground: magic, all the cambers rotate all together without any difficulty! This is excellent, and this is the first time (to my knowledge) that an Aero+ version has a so good camber rotation when rigged for the first time. On the earlier versions, it was necessary to break in the sail during 4 or 5 sessions before having an acceptable camber rotation.

 

 

New: LTA (Leesh Tension Ajuster)

Claudio has introduced a strap to adjust the tension of the Leesh at the bottom of the wishbone, as shown on the following picture:

I imagine this strap will allow putting some tension in the leech. This could help in low wind to get planning by “keeping the wind in the body of the sail”, and could also enhance the upwind capacity. I haven’t tested different tensions on this strap, and have chosen a moderate tension for my first tests of the sail.

 


On the water

My firsts runs during the first 30 minutes are in the bay of the harbour, in a wind of 12 to 15 knots.

 

I can plan intermittently thanks to the gusts, and when I can get the planning, I can maintain it easily all during my run, even when the wind drops at 12 knots.

 

I’m with a friend of mine (Jean Luc), and we hope the wind will pick up to go in open sea.

My first feeling is that the sail is lighter in my hands than the 2013 version. I don’t think this is due to its actual weight: this feeling is a result of the dynamic balance of the sail, which is perfect in my hands. 

My harness lines are at the same location as with the 2013 sail.

From my first run with the sail, I can feel that the sail doesn’t draw my forehand, as it was the case with the 2013 version. The 2013 Aero+ can be quite tiring because it permanently draws on the forehand to accelerate. With the 2015 version, the draft of the sails is perfectly well balanced between the two hands. A perfect balance and a draft perfectly central.

The power of the Aero+ is still here, but I also feel that the sail is “thinner”… Up to now, one could says that the different versions of the Aero+ were a bit like “tractors”, because of the their permanent power. In 2015, things have significantly changed: the sail does not provide any more this feeling of “tractor”, even if the planning ability is still here.

The first jibe confirms that the camber rotation is fine: no specific effort, the sail changes tack quite easily, and quickly. On my 2013, the camber rotation could come in 2 steps: with the 2015 sail, the camber rotation is quick and sweeter. The camber rotation is not as easy as with a North Ram, RRD Firewing or Ka Sails Race or Koncept (to compare with few sails that I’ve tested), but still is as perfect as it can be for a sail with such a deep profile and power. During my next navigations with the 7.8 and 8.6, I can confirm that the camber rotation made a lot of progress compared with the 2013 versions. In addition, the rotation is easier and does not necessitate a vigorous impulsion, as it was the case with the previous versions.

The new balance of the sail (forehand/backhands) is also of great help to terminate the jibes in a good position: no pressure on the forehand and no need to bend that much the knees to compensate the power of the sail. The jibe is more natural and easier… excellent. 

Jibe after jibe, I appreciate the work of Claudio on this 2015 Aero+. 

At about 3pm, the wind picks up: time to go in the open sea to see how the sail behaves in a stronger wind (more than 20 knots) and choppier water. To go to the open sea, I have to beat against the wind and the current with a lot of tacks during short runs: a good occasion to test upwind capacities, quick planning and easiness of the camber rotation. Quick planning is similar to 2013, easiness of the camber rotation is of great help when tacking: easier than with the 2013 version. Regarding upwind capacity, my first feeling is that the 2013 and 2015 versions are quite similar.

As we go more and more into the open sea, I can now test the sail ability in stronger winds (20 to 22 knots) and rough water. The 2015 Aero+ is definitely more comfortable and « smoother » than the 2013 version. The sail helps the rider to absorb the gusts and the choppy sea, while preserving the rider’s stability: softer, more « progressive ». The acceleration and boost are still here as with the 2013 Aero+, but the power is not delivered immediately. Indeed, the power is progressively delivered; this helps to control the board and to stay in the same position on the board. 

I can feel the power of the sail, and at the same time, it works in such a way that this power is delivered progressively, and the sail glides in the air. This 2015 version is a perfect synthesis of glide and power! 

After about 30 km, a stop on a wild island (Molène Island), I go back to the harbour, full downwind. The 2015 Aero+ is easier than the 2013 when going downwind, because the draft is a bit backward: excellent, again. 

At the end of the session, I do not feel tired; the sail does not cause undue fatigue thanks to its perfect balance, softness, and stability. The rider feels very confident even if the wind picks up. 

I’m convinced by the Aero+ 2015 and enthusiastic about Claudio’s work.

 

 

In summary: 2013 versus 2015 Aero+ sails

Between this first test and this paper, I have tested the 7.8 Aero+ 3 times more, and 1 time the 8.6… the first feelings were right.

I could test the 7.8 in quite strong winds for this surface: the balance and the glide of the sail are amazing.

I could measure via GPS that I go faster in average than with the 2013 Aero+. On each session, I systematically measured my session speeds: best 5 x 1sec, best 5 x 10sec, best 5 x 500m, and average speed over 12 knots. The top best speeds (1s, 10s, 500m) do not tell that much on the sail, because they depend too much on the day’s conditions. But on my average speed above 12 knots, I go 1 knot faster than ever before, this makes a huge difference!

Here are the 6 main changes I could feel and measure:

  1. The sail is less physical to sail: the power is here but the sail is much smoother than in 2013. Acceleration is more progressive. On a run, the sail destabilises less the rider, this can be noticed especially on choppy water. At the end of a session, you feel less tired!
  2. The balance between forehand and backhand has moved backward and is now perfectly central: I did not feel anymore the power on the forehand, as it was the case with the 2013 versions. The power is now central and located between the two hands, right in the axis of the harness. This helps a lot in strong winds, because the forehand does not have to compensate the extra power any more.
  3. Camber rotation is perfect (but still not smooth): on both 7.8 and 8.6 sails, the camber rotation has been perfect from the start. I can’t say that the rotation is smooth, because the sail has a lot of draft, but all the cambers rotate very quickly and all together. The rotation doesn’t need a strong effort to be initiated during the jibe. It’s much better than in 2013, with a break-in period and a harder rotation at the end.
  4. Jibe is easier: thanks to its new perfect forehand/backhand balance, the sail is much easier to jibe, and helps a lot the rider to restart fast. No need to be prepared to compensate the pressure on the forehand and the forefoot, or to overly bend your knees, the sail power is well balanced and one just has to go in the straps on the other side.
  5. Sail works for you in gusts: the sails if very soft and smoother to ride than 2013 version. The gusts are well absorbed and the feeling is smoother, with a more progressive acceleration in strong winds.
  6. Average speed over 12 knots calculated on the global session: I go 1 knot faster than with the 2013 versions (to be consolidated through more sessions).

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