|Wait. Wait. What? Du-ude is talking about seaweed? Wait. What. Oh!|
Switching out the side fins first I couldn't get them in the mini-tuttlebox. Oh no! Precious minutes being lost. Digging around in my toolbox I found some sandpaper and got to work, finally getting them in with sunset approaching. I can still get 30 minutes in I thought.
Next the rear fins. And that is where it turned ugly. They didn't fit. The fin base was too long to actually fit inside the mini-US box. I was not a happy bunny.
The next day I trimmed as much excess material off the fin base ends as possible and using a shortened fin box nut managed to squeeze the fins in, just in time for a fun side-on Packery day. The moral of the story? Test your stuff well before you try to use in earnest on the beach and double check that the fin you are buying will fit your box before spending a bunch of money.
So, how do they ride? Really nice actually. Last time I sailed I switched between the 16cm weed fin and the 15cm regular fin and found the difference quite interesting. There are a number differences in the setup, the fins are different sizes obviously, the shape is different (but not that much actually) and due to the rake of the weed fin, I think it is a bit like moving the fin almost an inch further back in the box. Whilst I can comment on the change in feel from all these changes, the engineer in me would like to isolate each variable and figure out which makes the biggest difference. My guess is that the 'effective' fin positioning is the key driver in the differing feel.
|One 16cm weed vs. one 15cm regular - note the perspective over-exaggerates the differences|
Gybing on outside swell I found it more difficult to maintain my speed with the smaller fins and stay with the wave. To be honest, I didn't expect to feel so much difference.
Onto the wave. The smaller fins felt free and loose, quick changes felt much easier. I'm liking this I thought but there was also a feeling that I was pushing the tail out in the bottom turn. And the real negative for side-on conditions was that I was loosing speed. So, whilst my turns were shorter and skatier, they felt slower with less power. In comparison, the bigger more rearward fins would drive me through the turn, keeping speed for the top turn. It would be really interesting to watch some video to see if there was a visual difference.Which is best and why? I'm honestly on the fence. For onshore conditions, I think the weed fin might have it. That said, I will probably ride the 15s unless the weeds come back but only because it's too much work to change them back and Texas side-off conditions are imminent!