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AFS 2022 Windfoils

AFS 2022 Windfoils

I have been on AFS foils for many years starting with the AFS2  which then became the Wind range, W85, W95 and W105. They all had the cigar shaped fuselage which from memory was 88cm long. The “W” range was then updated with longer 94.5cm rectangular fuselages and a moulded in collar at the tuttle head.  And now we have another development in the new 105cm fuselage. Here I will give my thoughts on the progression. This is not a finished article as I  am still testing combinations and set ups and I will update this blog in due course.

I should state that I don’t race so my findings relate to comparisons with previous AFS foils and the occasions when foiling with other sailors. One of the things I have always liked about AFS foils has been their “plug & play” nature. There was never any need to shim things, you could choose what wing size you needed, put your foil together and go sailing. Those days are now passed and you now need to do some trimming.

There are now basically two stabilizer (rear) wings and they have been designed to work on the 94.5cm fuse. So if you are using a W95 with the 94.5cm fuse you can just bolt on the stab without any shimming and go sailing. But when you put them on the 105 fuse they require a bit of negative shimming. The foils come with a couple of AFS shims which are just like flakes of carbonfiber. I have ended up putting both under the rear screw of the stab. I am not sure what angle difference that relates to in degrees. But I have since bought a shim kit from https://www.ap3dcustom.com/products/ and I tried to translate the two AFS shims to the AP3 shim which I think is about -0.5’ and I have now moved onto the -0.4’ shim with the 200 stab.  Sorry if this all sounds a bit complex compared to the “fit and forget” AFS foils from the past so let me continue in more of a review style.

200, 240 & custom stabs

I got a W95 with a dismountable fuse and a W100 (new 100 mast height) with the new fixed 105 fuse. I have had them a while and used them a lot. To go with the new T bars I have 900, 700 and 560 front wings and 240 and 200 stabs. I also have a cut down V3 stab.

560,700 & 900 wings

When I got the new foils it was windy and I used the W100 with the 700 wing and 240 stab (unshimmed) and I was amazed at the amount of lift provided. It felt like it had a similar range to my old R810 wing on the 94.5cm fuse. I am heavy at 95kg and in the past with the 700 wing I had to come out of gybes fast to remain flying and I needed more wind to get flying. But with the extra leverage of the 105 fuse the 700 wing flew much earlier and had more glide. Not quite as early as the R810 but close. Also when you run out of power the R810 tended to just glide down to a stop where as with the smaller 700 wing it tends to be a bit more of an abrupt drop (and the 560 even more so).  Anyway those first few sessions felt great but with hindsight probably the 240 stab was doing too much work and I think I would have run into control issues as the speed increased. 

Finally a day came when I could try the 900 wing with the 240 fuse.  I was really looking forward to seeing how early it would fly. It was a patchy 3 to 8 kts so I had to wait for the gusts to get flying and then see how long I could stay in the air for. I would not like to put a number on what wind speed I could get flying in but it was the lightest I had flown in. So after what felt like a successful session I headed in and a slightly stronger guse came but probably only 10 kts. The foil accelerated and accelerated and the height came up and up regardless of my efforts to pin it down until the inevitable crash happened. I have never had that happen in such light winds before. That experience prompted a chat with Kevin Ellway the AFS foil designer and he advised sticking with the 200 stab on the 105 fuse. So I tried the 900/200 wings and it worked well but at times it felt like I was getting “weed strikes” – strange “slooshing” and “glugging” sounds and sensations. A further conversation with Kevin and he said I needed to add a negative shim to the stab to reduce its angle. I have done that and have had no further issues when using the 900, 700 and 560 front wings. 

The new longer fuse certainly increases the lift from the foil. It lets you use a smaller (faster) wing in the same conditions. So by comparison the 700 wing on the 105 fuse is very similar to the 900 wing on the 94.5 fuse and likewise the 560 wing on the 105 fuse is similar to the 700 wing on the 94.5 fuse. When I say similar I mean in broad terms of wind/flight range. The fizzle out when the wind drops is a bit different in that the smaller wings slow down then just drop whereas the larger wing will keep going a bit more. 

W100 with 700/200 wings

The same stiffness of previous foils remains. The new 105 fuse has a small tail stabilizer on it. You do need to be aware of it if you are in the habit of resting your feet on the fuse when waiting to waterstart as it is quite sharp and could easily cut you foot. 

105 fuse with 200 stab

The dismountable fuselage option on the W95 seems robust. I have been told that the fixed fuse version is going to be the standard and that the dismountable version can be pre ordered. I wanted the dismountable version for air travel. I believe that AFS is now the only fully carbon windfoil on the market which for someone like me who likes to keep his foil bolted together all the time is an important feature. 

W95

Here is a video of the W95 with the 900 wing in 9 to 13 kts – https://youtu.be/6uWdSjy1lmU

UPDATE

I have used the foils a lot now and a few things have come to light.

The W100 with the 200 rear wing does benefit from adding a negative shim on the stabilizer. I have found that a -0.5′ shim tends to give the foil more stability across a wide range of use. Without it the lift ramps up a bit too quickly as you go faster.

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Patrik Foil-Comp 78

This is a new board for 2022. Before I continue with the review I would like to point out that this board is made in the Patrik factory in Ukraine. While our thoughts are for everyone in Ukraine they are particularly for the employees at the factory and their families. 

Patrik Foil-comp 78

This board is unmistakably made as a competition board with its sights firmly set at PWA highwind foil slalom, however this review is not done in a competitive environment and is more of a comparison to other foil boards. It may help if this review is read in conjunction with my review on the Foil- Comp 91. I have used the board from over powered with a 4.2 (30 kts) to marginal “gust hunting” with a 7.0. I have used the board with an AFS W95 with R810 and R660 wings. 

First impressions  – From above the board looks very much like a scaled down version of its big brother the Foil-comp 91 which was released in 2021 and a board I have spent a lot of time on. Compared to the 91 it does have an extra row of inserts for the back strap. The two rows are only about 2cm apart so it is for fine tuning rather than offering an inboard or outboard rear strap option. The front strap is the same as on the 91 – allowing you to alter the angle of the strap to suit your sailing stance. The mast track is recessed the same as the bigger boards and also the same distance from the tail/foil.

Flip to board over and you immediately notice the size of the cut outs, they are massive. The cut outs extend right up to underneath the front footstraps.  

Length – 209cm, width 78cm, volume 145 ltrs

Patrik Foil-comp 78

On the water – Being used to the Foil-comp 91 the board feels very familiar. It is stable to uphaul and sail along waiting for a gust. As you would expect from the volume there are no issues with the board supporting the heaviest of sailors at rest. Getting the board to the water in strong winds is a bit more manageable than with a bigger board. The cutaways at the tail make it easier to grip.

Patrik Foil-comp 78

Getting flying – The board offers plenty of support allowing you to get into the front strap early. When you have plenty of sail power the board releases without any effort. You can hardly feel the release, this is where the large cutouts come in. Due the very small surface area under the tail it is easy to initiate the take off with slight back foot pressure. When there is less sail power and you have to accelerate to take off speed the cutouts are noticeable. In light winds I try to get a gust in the wind to coincide with a slight downslope in the chop (no water is ever truly flat). I pump the sail and the board accelerates a bit, pump it a bit more and it is like the board changes gear and the acceleration increases. It is the board riding up onto the steps in the cut out and it is just like changing gear in a car. I think it is important to use an efficient high aspect wing that will allow the board to accelerate and not to act like a brake. The result is that the board will fly early in light winds but you would be missing so much potential if you are passive about your take offs.

Patrik Foil-comp 78

In flight – The board is comfortable in flight as it should be considering all the footstrap fine tuning options. The ride is comfortable and controlled at all angles to the wind. The lowered mast track position helps steady the flight. As you would expect with 78cm width the board will not point as high into the wind as it’s bigger brother the 91cm. Interestingly for competition use the board is recommended for sails up to only 6.5 while I found it very comfortable with a 7.0 and it would probably take a 7.5. But I guess the recommendation comes from the fact that at the top level a wider board would be faster once you are onto 7.0+ sails.  

Gybeing –  The board is easy enough to gybe whether you are overpowered with a small wave sail or powering into the turns with a large race sail. Height corrections are easy and predictable. When gybing in rough water you have to accept a few touches with the top of the chop otherwise you risk over-foiling and this is one of the most noticeable features of the board. On most boards you feel every touch sucking at your speed and momentum but on the Foil-Comp 78 you can hardly feel them. It doesn’t matter if the touch is a “flat skim” or if a wave tries to grab a rail while the board is banked over, the board carries on regardless. The result is you can gybe at a lower/safer height without paying a “speed out of the gybe” penalty. It is not a small board so it doesn’t have that nimble feeling of a small foil board but what it offers instead is a stable and predictable platform from which to push your foiling into higher winds

Overall – The Foil Comp 78 at 145 ltrs might have the volume of other boards that you consider as light wind foil boards but the 78 is so much more. Undoubtedly this board will be competitively quick around a slalom race course at PWA level but the board offers high wind comfort and control to average ability sailors. It could easily be a one foil board  for anyone intent on foiling across a wide range of wind strengths. The only area where it could be bettered is in the light wind super efficient style of foiling with large foil race sails, that is where it’s big brothers come in.  

Patrik Foil-comp

In conclusion the take away impression of the Foil-comp 78 is that it showcases just how effective cutaways under the board can be and in that department few designers can match Patrik.