FINS-FINS-FINS : Worth the $$$$

FINS-FINS-FINS : Worth the $$$$

Post by Walt » Wed, 18 Jan 1995 23:31:49

A lot of fin talk lately - fins are critical to optimizing having
a good time - speed, control, spin out, turning, pointing - you know.

I've tried a lot of fins and there are many good ones.

You might  want to try Carbon Air fins, advertised in PWR and WS mag.
I have no affiliation with this company or the people that run it.  I was
just struck by several conversations I had with the designer, Robin Thomas.
Super smart guy:  theoretical, but practical.  Tests his theories out and
makes big departures from the vogue trend.........

I've spoken a lot to the designer and he actually has something very
different.  His fin is a hand laid-up carbon  fin with the fiber orientation so that as the fin is loaded up (pointing big-time), the
tip can twist dynamically to greatly reduce spin out.  The twist is the
opposite of a flexing fin that is being twisted due to the load.  (This is
how he explained it to me - I don't profess to understand the exact
details.)  Thats the theory - once the fin starts to spin out, the
shape changes and laminar flow resumes - spin out event over.  It has
to do with the fber orientation translating a lateral load into a
rotational twist.

Now for how it actually sails:

Its really weird.  On a beam reach or other non-loaded up point of
sail, the fin feels real loose and fast.  (If you are not in any
kind of strong current, you can use a 12" pointer up  to about 5.8
for a 150 lb sailor on a 95 liter board).  By using the smallest fin
possible, you reduce drag and increase speed and increase the upper
wind range of the rig.  Once you head up and start pushing harder
with your back foot - at some point you will feel the fin start to
let go - then within a few tenths of a second you feel it lock on and
start tracking.  You can actually notice that you can point higher than
others and that their is a dynamic 'sheeting' action of the fin.

The designer has been in the business of doing airodynamic modifications
to airplanes to increase speed and fuel economy for about a decade.  He
is a very smart guy and very involved in testing to prove his

The bad points: its a small operation and he hand makes everything so
sometimes finish and precise tolerances vary.  He makes them for all

The good points: it is way different than normal fins and he stands behind his warranty to replace or refund if you are not satisfied.

Anyone else out there use them?  I have 12, 14 and 16 inch fins
plus other 'normal' G10 blades and wave fins.

Happy sailing, Walt Z.