AC-1 Formula Windsurfing 2K13 development: Built in Italy.
Andrea Cucchi ‘Personally I love formula windsurfing. Formula was big at the time I was at the top of the worlds rankings. Still now even if I’m not sailing everyday on the Formula board, it’s just amazing how everything comes back in few minutes. Feeling the same motivation and challenge as those times, where all the pros were on Formula Boards battling each meter upwind. The feeling of how the board planes over the water is great. This feeling will keep this discipline alive! Could be that thecome back is around the corner. In some countries it never died, but in others it had slowed down due to the slalom hype. We believe in it, we love it and we will push for it full time. ‘
Before starting the development of the Formula sails, we felt we needed some targets for 2013.
After having won the Master World Championship in Denmark in 2011, 2012 was a bit slower in results for the Formula international scene. Our riders had clashes with other events, there was more focus on slalom events and so on. We still won some national titles, as the Italian Championship title of Malte Reuscher, but now it was time to get back on it again at full focus.
So we sat down with our Black Team riders to make a plan for the development schedule of our Formula sails. We knew that having Alberto Menegatti and Maciek Rutkowski in the team, guys who were born with the Formula boards could have brought us great results at the next international world events, so… there was nothing to wait for but to start focusing getting them the best.
We took out all the protos we had done starting from those where Andrea had won the world title in Denmark, all the different curves masts we had asked from our supplier, spent few days in the loft looking at all the combination, working on the batten gradings and took each corner of the sail under examination. We started doing the first testing already in the middle of the summer on a slow motion pace, and by September once the slalom sails were approved from the team and could be registered for the PWA deadline, we emptied the vans from the small gear and made space for the 1m boards.
Sailing out from Lake Garda with Alberto and Andrea, the testing was a dream. Took little time to get all the tuning and setting to test, both with the same feedback on all the combination they tested. We knew the sails had already a great upwind angle and downwind, but we wanted to get more acceleration and overall more comfort. Keeping our existing project, smothering out what was needed, keeping away from too much down haul, extreme tensions and any unfriendly sail topics which we could have avoided. Our idea was to get a sail where you would not get tired from holding it in position to go fast, and would not get you tired after 3 races back to back. We had to find the right amount of that little backhand pressure to get the board to rail, but that would not get the board too powered up, when the wind would increase.
After the clean up, we had to get to this back hand pressure which would have railed the board to go upwind, but not created too much barrier for the wind to exit fast from the sail. This to keep the sail having more speed and acceleration. A job which is done in a certain area of the sail, and it’s based on millimetres!!
One day our sail designer, Claudio, was at one of those boring courses that need to be done for the Italian law, where they give updates safety rules at work. As a bad student, but fully passionate in his work, he developed a system that would have allowed to adjust different settings on the water of the leach. You can see some pictures of it.
So as those 3 days of his nightmare ‘safety course’ was over, at the loft, new parts were welded to build these adjustable leach tensioners. The sail was modified to be able to vary tensions using kite materials, and the job was done in less then 5 hours. In the afternoon we were on the water. The sails were at the point where only that last, but very crucial setting had to be found. We had to play to find the right millimetric tension inside a 3cm range distance. After 40 minutes on the water, the boys started to figure out how to compensate the normal out-haul against the new adjustable leach tensioning system! The results and things we had found out from that system were somehow confirmations of what we had expected. So once the spot to the mm of what we wanted to have was caught on each size, the final prototypes were built and tested for the final approval!
Now if you are asking yourself if the leach adjustable system will be integrated on the sails, the answer is NO! Great short cut for testing, probably could have helped in some conditions, but keeping it simple, less things to think about when sailing, less settings, but the best compromise we believe will be the fastest on the water. For us it was just big short cut to what normally is being done to achieve that result!
We will keep the formula sails only built in Italy. This way we are also able to have in our line more sizes. 10.0,10.5,11.0, 11.5,12.0. All sizes are under 8kg, without aiming to use the the lightest materials, but what gave us the fastest reflex and acceleration.
How would we describe our formula sails? Comfortable forward drive, with the right pressure for the back hand to rail the board in all conditions. Easy also to rig, friendly to down-haul, light, and ready to win!
If you’d like more info contact us at [email protected]. The sails are now available.