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A Northwave 6.2 ZX on 460 Mast in Waves/Chop?

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Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: A Northwave 6.2 ZX on 460 Mast in Waves/Chop? Reply with quote

I talked to Chris at Northwave Sails regarding using their 6.2 ZX sail in waves/chop. The sail calls for a 460 mast. Other comparable sail makers, e.g. Ezzy Tiger 6.3, Sailworks Revolution 6.2 all call for 430 mast. 430 is lighter than 460, so the whole rig is lighter and less cumbersome in the waves too.

Is there any sense in taking a rig with a 460 mast into any kind of wavy conditions?

This is the sail:

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Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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Location: East Bay

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Give examples of the spots. What you call "wave/chop" might be flat water conditions at the Gorge or Sherman Island.
If you're talking sideshore or onshore waves on the OCEAN, most sailors would choose something smaller, but if the winds are around 16, you have no choice, so rig it on your strongest mast, probably an RDM and don't fall in the impact zone.
For 25 years, every 6+ sail was on a 460 mast, and they got by.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I have to question your view that a 460cm mast is cumbersome in any of the conditions you mentioned. While a 460 would be slightly heavier, I seriously doubt that it would noticeable. When you think about it, you could save some weight by going with a shorter mast extension, since the 6.2 only needs 10cms extension.

What is the carbon content of the 460 mast you have or intend to buy? By going with a 100% carbon RDM, you'll get the lightest weight and excellent durability in surf conditions.

Lastly, the question can be asked about the weight of the boom you intend to use. Not all booms, even the carbon ones are all the same weight. A heavy boom would undoubtedly make any sail feel more cumbersome overall. Arguably a more important performance issue than the mast. Since the Northwave can be considered a more high aspect design, it's likely to have shorter boom length. It's slightly shorter than the Sailworks Revolution (186-191cm). Although the Revolution has a shorter luff (455cm), the ideal mast recommended is a 460. Even though the Ezzy recommends a 430 mast, it's maximum luff length of 458cms will require 28cms of extension. That translates to a heavier mast extension.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conditions are onshore wave and the average wind is around 15-17. I have an NP Atlas 5.4, Aerotech Phantom 5.7 but nothing bigger. I plan to get the 90% Chinook RDM 460 to go with the Northwave 6.2. My boom is standard aluminum. I should probably get a lighter boom.

The plan is to have a wave sail bigger than the Phantom 5.7 and try it by Diamond Head, HI this March. Maybe I should just get a 6.3 Superfreak?

I compared the Norwave to the Aerotech Phantom (6.2) line and it too calls for a 430 rather than a 460 mast. 6.3 Superfreaks take a 430 mast as well.

Last edited by nodak on Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 12 Nov 2008
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Location: canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i sail the great lakes, it can get kinda wavy and choppy, my 6.2zx9 is fine on a 460, not a problem.
i also have a 6.3 hotsails fire, it rigs on a 460 as well..
prefer the zx9, feels more powerful and better balanced than the fire.

i like longboards.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure what you mean by "wavy conditions", and I haven't used my NW 6.2s in breaking waves, but I love 'em in Gorge swell. When everybody else is sitting on shore because they're 5.0 snobs, or BAFfing on slalom gear, or getting occasional short rides between long slogs on those 5.0s, I'm out there not only planing full time but also slashing and jumping and laying it down and bouncing off swell-tops up to chest high, pretending I'm having fun. I may be on anything from 96 to 78 liters, depending on conditions, but I'm doing a good enough job of pretending I'm on a 4.2 that some guys my size actually launch on their 4.2s and can't figure out why there's no way in HELL they're going to plane. I did go to a Featherlite for its higher foot for better clearance in tight jibes on bigger swell (not to mention its stunning wind range and stability), but my earlier ZXs still worked fine as long as I kept their lower foot out of the water.

It's not the Northwave, or expert skills, or imagination, or spinach, or whether my mast is a 430 or a 460; it's a mindset issue. Apparently a bunch of guys got together decades ago and issued a decree that anything bigger than a 5.2 or so is suitable only for mowing the lawn. Thank God I never got that memo (I'm betting it included the FFF mandate), because the primary difference between a 6.2 and a 4.2 is in wind-swell size and a few pounds of weight. You get used to the latter after a few botched jibes, and there's still plenty of fun to be had on wind-generated swell that's only thigh to chest high ... let alone ocean waves.

If that sail is rigged on a 430, it must be jacked up on an extra foot of mast extension. That's 8 oz less mast weight but an extra 4 oz for the longer extension. If you're good enough to feel a 4-ounce weight difference at ankle height when throwing 6.2 sq meters of airfoil around in the wind and waves, you're good enough to adapt to it in your sleep. After all, didn't Robby start out on a lead pipe and a bedsheet? Wink

The apparent weight and inertia of a rig in the wind depend far more on aerodynamics and the distribution thereof than on a few ounces of mass and its distribution. The only way to tell which of two same-sized sails will feel is to sail both of them in comparable conditions. Both the ZX and the Revo are great sails, but there are -- there have to be -- more differences between them than a few ounces of static weight as rigged.

The main thing by far is that you are about to learn how much four-dimensional fun your 5.0-snob buds are missing. Given the right conditions, you're gonna be giggling too much playing on swell or waves to care whether your mast weighs 3.6 or 4.1 pounds, while most of your buds will be on lawn chairs or slalom gear looking for flatter water. I've been trying to tell and demonstrate that to my 5.0-snob buds for 20 years, to little avail.

Their loss.

Mike \m/
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

taller sails allow for more wind range if they spill correctly. shorter sails offer the ability to pop out of the hole shot, but may top out sooner. i've debated with the aerotech designer about the ideal 6.2, 6.8 and 7.5 phantoms for years.

an advantage to longer luffs include better pumping in the lightest of wind, and transitions from heel side to that initial toe side turn from milking the wave to committing to a front side attack DTL. the ability to go from sheet out to sheet back in favors the taller sail to keep the power alive. pretty subtle advantage that's lost with all the media attn that is promoting short squat 4 batten sails. keep in mind 4 batten stuff being shown in promo shots are rarely over 5.2.


more/longer masts required to be prepared for anything. esp if one is like me. i'd rather clutter up my life a bit so if i do break something, i can still keep sailing that day. i can't stand single point failures when i'm up to 2-4 hours away from a shop....

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