NCW windsurfing team rider Dave Ludgate: Tahe Techno/Nautix Windsurfing 148L board & 6m sail feedback.

NCW’s windsurfing team rider Dave Ludgate took delivery of his brand new Tahe Techno windsurfing board and Nautix Windsurfing freeride sail a few weeks back. He’s been putting it to good use ever since.

We caught up with Dave to get his thoughts on the kit to date. Over to Dave.

First impressions: it’s a lovely looking board – the colour goes well with the Nautix sail! It’s solid, robust – the construction allows this and although the weight is a little higher than that of a carbon/kevlar featherlight board – you don’t have to sweat every time you place the board down on any surface! The fin is great. I added some footstraps but do need to get hold fo some Tahe Techno ones (which are coming I believe).

On the water the 148L is plenty buoyant, even for my 90kg (after breakfast!). Beach starts, water starts and uphauling are no problem. But this is where the board is pleasantly deceptive – for its dimensions and volume, it’s bloody quick! According to my Garmin watch (which may not be totally reliable) I maxed out at nearly 38 knots. The little bit of extra weight due to the tougher construction means you have to help it up on to the plane but don’t get me wrong it wants to plane and will hold your hand the whole way. When it gets up on the plane it feels and acts like a much smaller board. It responds well to foot pressure, turns great and even though I didn’t get it out of the water (jumping) it feels like it will hop well – next time! Fast tacks are a cinch with the extra volume in the nose and the extra length when compared to similar boards.

Nautix windsurfing freeride 6m sail.

First impressions: it is beautiful, I love the deep red colour and the black contrast. The reinforced monofilm is very reassuring and the sail is very well made, with great fittings. I love that the mast top slides into the bottom, this makes storage much easier. The boom is great, easy to attach to the mast and the wider front end makes transitions simpler. I love the smaller diameter tube as well – I inherited my mother’s hands! The extension works well with the downhaul fitting, making it really easy to apply as much downhaul as you like. The graduations on the extension suit the sail well also. To be honest, I was a little worried about using a mechanical UJ, I thought that it may inhibit rotation and transitions but when I used it on the water but I honestly can’t tell the difference. The bonus to that is that I don’t have to worry about my UJ snapping hundreds of metres from shore – I have first hand experience of this!

Dave waterstarting and ready for the off.

Rigging: this is where the whole setup shines – it is so easy to rig, it may be worth noting here that never before have I had an entire rig that was brand spanking new! The mast slides effortlessly into the luff tube and finds the mast cap with a small bit of help. Once the right length of extension is chosen and the downhaul line is put in the right position – the downhaul is effortless, giving the user a lot of options. The boom attaches onto the mast well – one point of concern here for me, at 6’2”, is that the boom cut out on the luff is a little low, but that might just be me – I like a higher boom.

On the water, as noted above, the whole set up is surprisingly and pleasantly fast! The rig is very lightweight (even with a C30 mast and aluminium boom) which makes it very comfortable in hand. It rotates effortlessly and is very forgiving. Even when overpowered, I never felt like the rig wanted to kill me. It’s a robust setup too, for scientific purposes only, I initiated a few planned wipeouts!!! I never feared for the rig and knew it would be back up again looking to go fast. What I really liked about this rig was its range. To start off I rigged it conservatively, max downhaul and outhaul. I wasn’t getting enough power so, on the water, I tweaked the outhaul first by letting it out a bit and WOW, it made a big difference, it was like a new sail. This great because it means the wind range for this sail is very impressive. I tweaked the downhaul a bit but I found that setting that at the recommended level gave the best results. Where we were sailing was (and always is) very gusty – the sail reacted well to the gusts – it doesn’t spill as much of the gusts as a sail with a big floppy leech – but the light-in-the-hand feel of the rig makes it more forgiving in the big gusts.

I’m absolutely delighted with this setup and have found myself watching the forecast daily for suitable sessions – just like the good old days!

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