The Christmas and New Year holiday season were very busy, but activity, as usual, has tapered off for a couple of weeks. The Vela staff has taken advantage of the time by better organizing boards, putting on new foot straps, rigging additional 2013 sails, cleaning up the beach and huts, and generally getting ready for things to pick up by the end of the month. We just received a shipment of more 2013 sails! Guests have been blessed by good winds up until the last couple days when either big sail/board (7.2 to 8.2) were needed for consistent planing… or we just went out to work on light wind tricks. The 10-foot SUPs have been working great with a 5.0-meter range sail for light wind fun or for some small wave sailing.
Setup of the new location has started. Last Saturday we hired a tow truck and moved the Vela container from the current site up to the new spot north of the Ritz Hotel.
Planning and material acquisition is being finalized for a roof/sun structure extending from the container toward the beach, and hangers for sails to be stored there. This location will initially be used as an easy-access location with better winds near the beach for leaving gear during lunch or a break and a spot for switching sails. The great sailing mural done by Brian McCann on our container looks really cool at the new site.
I’ve taken advantage of some sailing time to check out the new 2013 Neil Pryde H2 7.2 paired with the Starboard iSonic 117 carbon. The H2 has definitely been upgraded this year with a medium depth race-like luff sleeve with a fairly deep profile near the boom in a user-friendly 2-cam configuration. Sure, it’s heavier than a no-cam freeride sail, but offers good acceleration and a very good top end. Control through gusts is really smooth with little backhand pressure, and jibing is again easy for a performance sail, and has easy cam rotation. The sail matches really well with the performance characteristics of our carbon iSonics speeding out on the blue highway. Pierre, one of our regular guests and speed sailors from Canada, reached a top speed of 37.5 mph on the H2/iSonic combo.
One of the most fun days I’ve had so far this year was blasting fully powered on the new JP FreestyleWave 111 with a NP Atlas 5.8. The board was fast and really smooth through the chop, with a very comfortable stance, but to me the best feeling was its ‘knife through butter’ jibing ability. It was really cool to look for and accelerate into a gust and immediately roll into a jibe, oversheet the sail and feel the board rip through the chop and plane out! Changing the arc mid-turn was very easy. Come down and try all the new gear out!
Looking for a change of pace? New on Aruba this year is Red Sail Sports’ Jet Lev. A jet-ski type, no rider water craft directs water under pressure through a large hose-like tube into a ‘jet pack’-style back pack (remember James Bond???). The rider straps on the back pack and controllable pressure nozzles on the back lift you out of the water and provide steering. Jet Lev advertises the ability to fly ‘up to 30 feet in the air or hover and walk on water. Our friend Walt from Delaware gave it a try and had a blast. The staff (Ozzy) was very professional, and did a great job of explaining and controlling the entire process.
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