Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Last weekend, I was walking along the port of Poros, when an unusual portable road sign caught my eye.

The temporary sign forbidding cars from going down to the port during restricted hours, was using as a base a BBS – Bugatti wheel. What a sad retirement for a glamorously branded , once object of desire…BBS - Bugatti abuseBBS - Bugatti abuse mourningbbs bugatti brochure 1992  p2-3bbs bugatti brochure 1992 - p 4,5

 

You know the feeling: Someone you love, is no longer around. You hear the  name in the street, and you turn to check, partly out of habit and partly in anticipation you may see again the loved face.

It is human, although you know the truth…

 

I progressed riding F2 boards, but then, F2 was at the frontline of the sport both shape wise & competitively. Great shapers were designing the new boards and incredible athletes were riding them to consecutive victories, year after year in all disciplines. The input from such a cooperation, was then filtered down to the end products, sold to mortals like myself.

Like many other historical brands, F2 lost momentum, fought back thanks to the joint forces of the shaping-racing-marketing twin of Patrik Diethelm & Karin Jaggi, but finally took the downhill, directed by the new investor. Patrik says about that:

“The new owner had unfortunately other plans or maybe better said, no plan! For cost reasons and because I just speak my thoughts, I was pushed out. After that, my assistant Daniel Aeberli took over for a while. It didn’t work and he also left. But if you cannot hear and see, it doesn’t seem much better to start running….Also we noticed with horror that friendships are not always as they seem…. I’ve prepared a presentation in which I wanted the owner to clearly understand how to bring the brand back to the top. Marketing, product positioning, business plan – I had everything in the bag, but he laughed at me. Not only did he laugh, but said in fact that I had no idea of the business. Well, I do remember well, when he became the new F2-owner against all present business partners, importers and team riders, in his first presentation he said that he did not know much about windsurfing and generally was not athletic, but that he knows how to manage tax savings…”

Not able to resist, now & then, I check the F2 site. In 2013, the brand in an effort to cash the Sputnik  fame of the legendary Thommen shaped board,  introduced  the new Sputnik range, which represent their Freerace  boards category. Three months ago, I noticed that for the Sputnik they have used a photo of Sputnik 85 , a size that is not included in the 2016 pdf e-brochure (which by the way is the only way you can see the characteristics of each 2016 board).F2 Sutnik 2016

I messaged the company, but no reaction was generated.ScreenHunter_86 Mar. 08 16.45

 

Then I checked a little more, and noticed that for the Rodeo Junior – 116, they have used the photo of the adults Rodeo 96.F2 Rodeo Jr 116 - shown 96

 

I skimmed through the sails section…Gone are the days of the Arrows league – sob, sob.

 

I checked the wetsuits page and I was reminded of the cheap looking suits I spotted two years ago on the hangers of an F2 club.

Finally, I opened the site page F2 Team. This was the coup de grâce. The days of glory are gone forever. Blessed were the talented ones that gathered together & joined their powers to the ultimate achievements of the great era that comes to our mind when we refer to F2 

And I wonder: For how long can just a brand name keep a company in the game?

 

PS  The only positive addition to the F2 windsurfing equipment I have recorded for 2016, is the use of the excellent Maui Ultra Fins.

Bert, a French oldschool believer, send me a message about his vintage equipment he enjoys, mentioning the recent acquisition of an F2 Sputnik 270. The Sputniks, first introduced in 1991, were legendary for their blasting potential under extreme conditions, being Peter Thommen’s civilian versions of Bjorn Dunkerbeck’s World Cup weapons.

I noticed that he was not positively identifying the version of his board, although I have uploaded the official, brochures of F2 that cover these years. I thought, “one more guy who does not search through my precious material…”, but I politely gave him the defining details of the 2 possible versions, asking for a photo to have a look myself. To my surprise, the board of the photos, did not match completely any of the versions!

The best source of information I thought it would be Peter Thommen, and yes, it was thanks to him that the identification was effected. Thanks Peter.

Here is our message exchange:

I still ride my Tiga wave 250 from 1989, and it works more than fine! Especially in strong winds, when it works more than great, since it’s an heavy board (like, more than 10 kg I guess…) with a fun shape (a big scoop!). I also take it into waves down here (south west of France, 50 km north of Hossegor), and it works great, better in backside surf than frontside, I’d say, but I’m not that good in front side surfing and winds is always onshore anyway!
That is to say that ten years before yours, the tiga wave was already a good board, as far as I can say. I’m no expert for sure!
I just bought a F2 sputnik 270 (I guess 1991), seems like I’m gonna have fun when spring comes!
Love your blog about oldies, I’ll become a regular!

In reply to bert.

Fine boards you have Bert!
The Tiga Wave 250 was measured by Planchemag 9.3kg (1990)
It is easy to identify your Sputnik going through the posted brochures. The 1991 has the funny artwork of M.Gorbachev , while the 1992 is either almost uniquely purple colored, or plain white in the World Cup Edition.
Have great sailings on them.

In reply to zaosan.

Well, it’s definitely not a 91 edition, could be a 92, same artwork as on the brochure, but mine is plain white, while not a world cup edition. Seems like they weren’t all purple colored! I’ve found some North and Gaastra slalom sails from the mid 90s to work with, it will fulfill my dreams of when I was younger, and unable to buy these things! 9.3 kg said planche mag? Without the fin and the straps, then!!!:)
Cheers!

In reply to bert.

Vas-y Bert, fait une photo de ta planche! (now things get tougher for me to go on writing in French)
Let me have a look.

 

Then I got the photos:IMG_1522IMG_1523IMG_1524

In reply to bert.
Well, well, well…
The look of your board is not registered in the F2 brochures!
I think I can ask for Thommen’s assistance.
Anyhow, we may assume it is a quite rare version.*:) χαρούμενος
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               zaosan to Peter Thommen
Dear Peter,
 
I hope you are doing fine with the new semi custom boards (and custom as always)!
 
I have the photos of a mostly white F2 Sputnik a friend recently bought, that is not registered in the F2 brochures. No, it is not a World Cup Edition…
 
Hints:
1991 is the introduction of the Sputniks – with Gorby graphics & A.C. Multiaxial construction.
1992, boards of A.C. Multiaxial  construction with graphics like the unregistered board, but on colored background.
 
1993, we have different graphics and construction – for sure not our board. 
 
Conclusion:
It is either a late 1991 board (maybe dropped Gorby on the way – if it did not appeal to the clientele)
OR
We have an early 1992 board, which was finally considered too austere and next boards turned more colorful.
 
Any comments?
 
Regards                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
The reply from the master shaper himself!
Hi Dimitris,
If my recollection is correct, there were two versions in 91. One with Gorbachev and another, more neutral one. And I believe the later didn’t make any brochure or advertising. 
Best regards,
Peter 

In reply to zaosan

 

It is not a secret, that cooling is not X 1/9’s forte.

The concept itself, does not allow such a thing. We have a mid mounted engine and a front mounted radiator, with a long connection through covered, mostly metal pipes. As a result, the engine  does not get much fresh air, while having the complete exhaust system closely below, does not help cooling either. (the spares image comes from the Danish based Niels Laursen source of X 1/9 spares that unfortunately closed down at the end of 2014)

*:( λυπημένοςNiels Laursen.dk - X19 cooling system

All the above were known parameters the mechanics of the Gruppo had to work with, but being a modestly priced sports car, no expensive solutions were applied, apart from the alloy carter.

The first modification I did, was to make the water-cooling fan switchable from the cockpit, while I had a second original fan on hand, as the car had such a provision for 2 fans, one next to the other.

Back in 1979, I purchased a robust serviceable GT radiator kit from Stand21, which worked flawlessly for ~20 years, but then due to deterioration of the metal it started to leak a bit. vintage GT oil radiator

When my mechanic Dionysis got fed-up trying to seal it, without telling me anything, he came up with a present, a new monoblock alloy oil cooler he fabricated himself, just for my X.X1-9 D.Vourtsis custom made oil cooler - front mounted

This, in addition to the modification my late friend mechanic Panos did in the ’90’s – changing the corroded water refrigerator with a bigger one, together with a stronger fan, helped me not to face any overheating problems.

But you know, I have one more friend insatiably fiddling with the inherent weaknesses of his cars. Danilo has the extra knowledge of electronics, and as such, he fine tunes everything much better. So when a little ago he told me he was working on the cooling system of his car, I could not resist asking him to share. Thanks Danilo & keep us updated on your project.

Dimitri,

Now, I am installing an auxiliary electrical cooling pump (on my X1/9 1500, for now) to eliminate, mainly, the “heat soak” (or “hot spots” or “hot soaking”) after ignition shutdown.

To replace completely the mechanical cooling pump with a electrical one, would require a different configuration of the cooling system, my opinion, of course.

 Heat soak, after switching off the engine, leads, in my opinion, a faster burning of the head gasket and an equally faster formation of cracks in the head itself.

Currently and as aftermarket, it is easier to find electric cooling pumps.

Davies Craig, Australian manufacturer, has a catalog of electric water pumps with flows from 80 to 150 liters/minute. I bought one of 80 liters/minute: 208 Euros, from Italy, including Tax and postage.

As you said, the mechanical pump absorbs a substantial mechanical power, the electric pumps, instead, have a rather low electrical power.

I sensed that the motors designed for electric cooling pumps were different, I got confirmation from an interesting documentation of the Pierburg.

In the link   Pierburg Pump Technology – TEAMLEARN

 on page 8/61, you can see the very low water passage resistance for the engine designed for the electric pump respect to the engine with traditional mechanical pump. 

That is why I chose to leave the mechanic pump and add the electric one.

I will mount the electric pump, at the front, at the exit of the radiator.

The increased passage resistance, due to the electric pump added, should not be too high.

For the management of the electric water pump and radiator fan, I will make use of two
digital thermometers/thermostats.

I bought the electronic thermometers/thermostats from China, just over 3 euro each:
the quality is very good although it is a product from China. It was not worth to design,
from scratch, the electronic thermometer/thermostat.

Attached two pictures of the electronic circuit, still in progress, which I will insert
in place of the ashtray.Mod-engine_112Mod-engine_113

You can see the sensor (NTC), home-made, which will replace the original X1/9
sensor ON / OFF of the radiator fan.

The ON/OFF sensor of the thermostat box (that sensor exist on the X1/9 1500 Bertone,
but not in use, maybe for air conditioning
?) will be replaced by a NTC sensor, home-made, for the management of the electric pump.

The micro-switches, on the front panel, set temperature of intervention and hysteresis.

The circuit of the electric pump and the radiator fan will stay ON 4 minutes after the engine is switched OFF.

Of course, electric pump and radiator fan will only be switched ON if temperature exceed the set temperature, also in normal operation.

Keep in mind that the project is not yet completed.


Mod-engine_114

Photo 114 shows some details of the front panel, already present in the photo of my previous message.

The 3 digit display of the two XH-W1209 thermometer/thermostat were removed and re-soldered on the multi holes board.
Also other functions (micro-switches and LEDs) have been moved on the multi holes board (single layer).

 

Mod-engine_115In Photo 115 some constructive details of the themperature sensor regarding the electrical cooling pump.

The whole device is …”home made”… as well as most of the rest….

The original themperature sensor of the XH-W1209 was too bulky so I replaced it with a much smaller NTC Murata
(same electrical caracteristics).

 One day later UPDATE

Two more photos

Mod-engine_117

The first photo shows the original flow and the modified flow for the coolant.

Mod-engine_118

This second one, is a bottom view of the arrangement of the electric cooling pump. (unmounted the fixing clamps sleeves as also the device for bleed air trapped in the pump).

…..probably (my opinion) the project is too specific so that it can be useful to someone….

Danilo.

APRIL 15, UPDATE 

Danilo’s project has been completed and the resulting cooling improvement and the the extra security manual activation give him an enviable X1/9 upgraded cooling system. Thanks Danilo for sharing!

Ciao Dimitris,

I finally completed the electronic management of electric radiator fan and electric cooling pump. Now the temperatures are measured and controlled much better then before.

For additional security, a special switch can manually turn on electric radiator fan & electric cooling pump.

The attached photo shows the two mounted thermometers/thermostats on the X1/9 Bertone 1500. You can also see the switch panel to witch I added other functions besides the standard ones.

 

Tanti saluti da Trieste.Mod-engine_119

 

The contribution this time, comes from my friend Paul Hourdakis, crowned racer of that era, who was also distributing these items through his company HourSpeed.

Every now and then, we have to accept that some things haven’t worked. Such is the case of the photos I was trying to get in high-resolution, to post this 2nd part of my 2015 windsurfing review, but today, with freezing temperatures & sleet downpour, my friend George came all the way to my place holding a memory stick with the outstanding photos from the first outing of the Patrik F-ride 125! Thanks George and apologies both to you and the Patrik brand for the delay…

Patrik f-ride 125

Early spring,as soon as the thermometer read 20degC, I loaded the board on the car and went down to Schinias  to get a first impression. Having bought the board without a fin, I took the large extra fin I use on the T1 eXperience 165, the G10 RRD 1st generation Freemove 40. I knew it was a noisy fin at speed, but for a first impression it would be ok. The forecast was for ~20km/h on-shore (S ) wind, so I took along the large Ka Koyote 7.4 sailhitthewave surf car.

Upon arriving, conditions were as foreseen, but while rigging, the wind started to increase – quite usual in the area when blowing from South, so I ended sailing overpowered a new board, with wind of 38+km/h…not exactly relaxing*[]==[] άσκηση.

The board had a tendency to keep its nose high, and I moved the mast full to the front, although such a board is designed to use sails up to 8.5. With the footstraps positions, there was not much I could improve. You see, I like a wide stance, so at least the front footstrap could not be placed any further front.

First feedback was good. The board  plane soon, gaining speed fast and went lightly over the chop, but of course the main testing of the boards I use, takes place in Paros, so that would happen 2 months later.

As Arnauld had advised me, the 7.4 being my largest sail and myself weighting 70kg, I would need a slightly smaller fin.

 

I started working on the fin, because the first generation RRD Freemove was rather thick, not slimming down to the tip as I would expect. Taking the words of the friend importer Thodoris Sfikas @(Glaridis Sport), the long-delayed 2nd generation fins would be more streamlined, and this combined with a very attractive price, made me place an order for a Freemove 38.RRD fins 2015-16

The fin was not yet available and the time for Paros was approaching, so I started checking alternatives. An effort to find a 38 fin as fitted on the Exocet S-Cross, was looking a good choice, but failed. So I decided not to spend the 100+ euros on any fin before some testing in Paros, using existing & borrowed fins.scross-fin

Upon arrival in Paros, I started using the board as much as possible and the feedback was really good, while the compliments were coming from all different riders, starting with my new friend and long board racer Alex, and ending with my sister- in- law Dimitra, who after a first ride, she asked me to sell her the board or at least find her a second one! Due to various obligations she is not sailing as much as she used to in the past, so a more relaxing session is the kind of sailing she is after. The wind was ~30km/h and I gave her a 5.7 sail. Although this was her first sailing of the season, she stayed out for plenty of time and on her way back she said with a big smile “Hey! With a board like this, you can even tack at ease! This is something I hadn’t done for too long, riding the smaller boards…” Dimitra & F-ride 125

Since I do not consider myself a qualified tester, I will reproduce the PlancheMag review.PM test Patrik F-ride 125

The ordered RRD fin arrived much later, early winter. Yes, it was more streamlined -RRD states that their fins are handfoiled,but the attention to the finish needs plenty of improvement. The fin I received did not have a perfectly parallel leading area at the base (which I fixed myself), while there was a deep sanding indent on the same flat area, just in front of the spot where the top leading edge integrates with the fin base (This has to be fixed with some filler).Finally, the fancy stripy decoration, is felt to the touch and for me, anything I can feel with my fingers, does not help the hydrodynamics of this part. Anyhow the real world test for this fin, will take place the coming season…

 

Naish STARSHIP 90

The board comes with only 3 footstraps, which is totally unacceptable, and I state this although I always opt for single rear footstrap setup on small and narrow-tailed boards. Starship has both single center AND double rear footstrap positions. The manufacturer may suggest what is considered an ideal setup, but CANNOT prohibit the choice of the 2 rear straps. Considering these, the absence of a fourth strap from the fittings parcel, I repeat, is unacceptable. Mind you, that whenever I buy a new board, I ask for at least one extra strap just in case – you see the design of the staps often change and you may have difficulty to find a same looking strap  few years later.

The detailing to the decor finish of the board is average and I include 2 photos of the nose, before & after my retouch.

With the 2015 change of the Starship construction from visible wood to semi-finished custom carbon look, Naish gets away with the need for attention to the finish of these boards, saving at the same some weight.

The fin also is painted (something I discuss further on about the Exocet) and not perfectly finished, having chippings both on the leading edge and the tip. Photos again – below.

Not unaware of the so-so quality of the fins provided, Naish delivers the new carbon Starships with MFC fins.

I would love to share the enthusiasm of the Windsurf Mag upon testing the Starship – after all, I bought the board and Robby is my hero, but:

Everything I did with this board, was lacking compared to my Exocet CROSS IV 84 PRO.  I dare to say, the only time I enjoyed a ride, was when I fitted a 6.5 sail and a CW slalom TBT34 fin… I need to spend more time on it – the problem is, time is limited and I try to get maximum enjoyment out of it, so equipment performing outright get full marks!

 

Exocet CROSS IV 84 PRO  update

As I said this is my favorite high wind board. The problem was, that I had no smaller fin to fit when using my 3.7 & 4.7 sails, ending-up to ride over-finned in marginal conditions. The standard fin is a 28 painted item, that worked perfectly with the board for the past 2 seasons, until the day that rinsing the board, I noticed the crack around the base. I took it out for closer inspection, showed it to the pros, send photos to the importer.

Verdict: Nobody could say for sure if it was structurally affected or the crack was only of the superficial layer of color.

Thoughts: Why on earth should a manufacturer cover the most critical part of a fin, when this single item gets most of the riding stress and should be easily inspected for possible deterioration! Exposed – one piece – CNC formed  fins should be the norm for non specific applications.

Decision: Never buy again anything else, but what I consider to be the norm.

Now, since in order to be on the safe side, I need a replacement 28 Freewave fin (which is also the fin my Starship 90 uses), plus the second – smaller one I’ve been missing all this time, I decided to get two such fins from Black Project of Maui. I had spotted their stylish G10 fins some years ago, but didn’t have the opportunity. Now I saw I could get them at a small discount from  Dave @ windsurfingfins.co.uk and ordered both a 28 & a 24. The 28 obviouly has mor area than either the Exocet or even the Naish, which is desirable as I felt the need for more fin power for the Starship, while the small 24, will dial-in to perform in heavy weather. Stay tuned for the 2016 hitthewave report.

VINTAGE  STUFF – Fanatic Ultra Cat & Tiga Wave 251

All the above talking has to do with modern equipment, but as I always keep an eye for past prides, checking the bottom beach rack of the Philoxenia Paros Surf Club, I realized that the Fanatic Ultra Cat laying there, had deteriorated since last year, with 2 small holes on the deck, surely from heavy fin contact from some voluminous boards just above. The U.Cat is a champion vintage raceboard, which even today, with the right sailor may put to shame modern long boards.1988 Fanatic ULTRA line i

Without any hesitation I went to Niko’s office to ask about it. I learned it belonged to Alex, an experienced German competitive rider who was using it when coming to Paros, but that the board had been idle for more than a year. I immediately asked Niko to contact Alex and ask if the board was for sale. During my whole stay in Paros I was asking Niko whether he got a reply from Alex. Nothing. Not wishing to see the wreck of the board on my next visit, I arranged the day of my departure to take the board to Athens to be safe and depending to the response of the owner to either bring it back, or pay the price to keep it.Fanatic U.Cat

While talking to my mate Costas Vergos about the finding of the Ultra Cat, I asked him what he had done with his old Tiga Wave. He said “Ask our friend Paolo, as he is the one who borrowed it some time ago when his wave board broke”. Two days later, meeting Paolo, I asked him and he said he would bring it down the beach next time around, reminding us that when Costas lend it to him it had a taped damage on the nose, something Paolo had sealed with putty, making sure it would be watertight. The very next day, the Tiga was waiting for me at the Xefteris Goya center. It is a legendary board shaped by Marco Copello for Tiga in 1999. Apart from the needed nose job, it was in good condition, but we are talking about a board at least 10 years younger than the Ultra Cat. Tiga's nose

So the 2 vintage boards plus my modern equipment, all loaded on Dora’s car, took the boat back to Athens.Ultra Cat & Tiga Wave on the way to Athens

Kostas of Boards&Wheels did a nose reconditioning, and here is the result:

The full story of the Ultra Cat , will appear in a new post. Stay tuned as always.

I owe you an update of the last summer hitthewave windsurfing.

I never had any Naish board, and being a great fan of  Robby, I was keeping an eye on the Naish models coming up the last few seasons. In 2011, I spotted the nice crossover KONCEPT 90 with its wooden deck, that was being offered with 2 fins, depending on the mood and the conditions, and an eco-bag. The reviews were favorable, but I didn’t want to spend on a new board I didn’t’ really need, so I waited for 2 seasons, till I saw one advertised at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, the second fin was not included, and this stopped me from buying it.

Then, having tried the Exocet CROSS IV 84 PRO in Paros while PM was testing the 2012 material, I got one brand new, but at a discount, since it was a previous year model. I know that trying a board rigged & set-up  by Arnauld gives this board a great advantage to reveal all the performance it carries, but nevertheless this Exocet  offered me a marvelous ride and became my small board choice for the last 2 seasons (although aesthetically it is overloaded for my taste).

 

Naish STARSHIP 90

For 2014 Naish launched a new crossover line, the STARSHIP, with visible wood on the deck and quite tasty tribal graphics. Just one fin as standard this time.

I was impressed by the overwhelming review of the Naish STARSHIP 90 by the Windsurf Mag, while the description of it as the modern incarnation of Sunset Slalom on steroids, sealed the fate of a perspective acquisition. (You all know I appreciate the great boards Thommen shaped for F2 and Sunset Slalom is considered as a benchmark). Once again, not actually needing such a board I followed closely both European & Greek offers. The best appeared around Christmas ’14, by the Greek importer and I took it home, with great expectations for the coming season.

 

Patrik f-ride 125

As July 2014 was not very windy in Paros, I decided to add a larger board to my quiver for such occasions and although I inconsiderately refused a test ride of the PATRIK  f-ride 125 Arnauld offered to me, when I sat down to study the choices, I ended up with the choice of this smallest freeride board Patrik has created.

Patrik Diethlem SUI-20 is a nice guy and pro level windsurfer of many disciplines including speed record sailing. He took over the shaping department of F2 when Thommen left, got involved with the management of F2 together with his wife & legendary multichampion Karin Jaggi SUI-14 and a few years ago started their own “no compromises” brand, which soon stood out. Apart from the renown quality & sailing characteristics, the f-ride 125, being quite long and narrow for a recently shaped board, suits me better as I dislike the trendy wide shapes. At the same time, PATRIK boards were introduced with a very discrete and sophisticated decoration, miles better taste than the patchwork artworks of most brands.

I started checking the cost and as the end of the year was approaching, I asked Karin if there would be any changes to the Freeride range, Karin replied that no changes were underway  as far as the shapes were concerned, but some minor review of the artwork. As I was attracted by their darker speed boards, I asked to be updated in order to decide my version.  Just for Christmas, I received the Patrik family wishing card, were the 2015 artwork was visible. Yes it was a minor change, but to a more complex design.

If there was any doubt about Patrik boards becoming classic designs from the beginning, when they adopted their Bionic – Design graphics( inspired by the Nautilus shell), now with the introduction of the 2015 more complex look, the matter is considered closed.

Although I do not sail my boards earlier than April, I rushed to secure one of the last Patrik f-ride 125 classics. Rides were a late addition to the brand’s range, available since the summer 2012. They are the boards with the minimum contrasting pattern and my absolute taste would have been for something darker, like the Speed boards, but of course Speed boards are the loved toys of the Diethelm boys – understandably the more forceful look has been used on them.

Upon further thought, on the basis of the color hues of the first generation, I would say that these classic Patrik boards draw from the egg laying shell of Argonauta, and to support my claim I include some pictures of this cute sailing octopus. After all, Argonauta (Paper Nautilus) can be seen sailing on the sea surface, while Nautilus stays submerged.

I received  my board by the Greek representative Thomas (STO NERO) on time as indicated, without a fin – in order to reduce cost and try some fins of my choice.

With the addition of the 2 new boards, I was looking forward to an exiting 2015 sailing season.

TO BE CONTINUED  IN PART  2

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers