Archive for the ‘5. VOYAGES’ Category

I never had a Fanatic board until recently, while if I hadn’t been so closely related to the Greek F2 importers back then, I’m sure I would have sailed a Fanatic sometime.

By mistake the Fanatic 30 years book commemorative anniversary advertisement, used as their first photo (1981),  one that my friend Armando Moustakis took me while I was sailing in Schinias, a 1980 Sordelli board with a storm sail made by Tassos Boudouris (the Olympic games Soling sailing medalist), and that was my only connection with Fanatic until last summer.

Well thanks to my 2 Greece-loving, German windsurfing friends Alex & Markus, I may proudly join the vintage Fanatic owners club. Here is how this happened.

Fanatic Ultra Cat – late ’80’s

I suppose you remember how I got interested about the Ultra Cat from the post Windsurfing season 2015 – part 2.

Thinking I would not find an opportunity to visit Paros again that summer, I had taken the Ultra Cat to Athens. :)25 days later, I returned to Paros, and as soon as Anastasia of the Philoxenia beach shop saw me,  she called me in and gave me a large parcel, telling me that Alex had left there for me. To my great enthusiasm, it contained the Cat’s trousseaux, consisting of 2 expertly hand made wooden daggerboards, 3 different size & material fins and 2 hard to find mast foot joints!ultra-cat-equipment-gift


I asked Anastasia about Alex, and she told me he was in Paros and that he was coming daily to the beach. Not more than  half an hour later, I spotted Alex, rigging a Mistral Pan Am raceboard.

I thanked him warmly for being so kind to give me all the valuable material of the board, but when I asked what was the sum I should give for everything, Alex offered me the Ultra Cat, not accepting any kind of compensation, saying that he was happy someone could appreciate the old Cat which was in need of some rejuvenating care. He had already replaced it with the Pan Am, while he also showed me his smaller, red, old-school Fanatic freeride, both of which he soon sailed in turns, with determination and flair.ultra-cat-attention-spotsI took the board to Kostas @ boardsnwheels. First we dealt with the non fully retracted daggerboard issue, that we solved by altering slightly the pivot point of the custom wooden daggerboard – after Kostas managed to mark the wood with a genius bronze marking button he crafted on his recently acquired lathe. Then he moved on (on a very slow pace, I may say), to fix the 2 holes on the deck, retouch the old repair of the tail – restoring the animal print graphics on plain yellow background (the old repair was covered with blue color, masking also some of the graphics), respray of anti-slip and finally change the rotten footstraps.

Trying to find appropriate footstraps for a board belonging to the funboard period, is not an easy task nowadays. Gone are the colorful choices, and after extensive search, I decided to go for the Dakine turquoise Primos that contain almost the full palette of the Cat’s decoration. Mind you that even knowing what I wanted to buy, it was not easy to get all 8 straps ( I always buy one spare) from one shop! I finally ordered them from France, from a shop that doesn’t even specialize in windsurfing… I believe these straps lifted the the bar of the reconditioning considerably.ultra-cat-reconditioned-2016ultra-cat-dakine-straps-fantasy

To complement the looks, I asked the board’s bottom to be sanded race wise, for less drag. Now, all I need is an experienced raceboard (see ALEX) rider to appreciate it. Alex, although older than me, still competes in tandem (2 riders boards), something I have not even tried in my youth.


Fanatic Ultra Mosquito – early ’90’s

It was last January, that Markus  having visited Hitthewave, left me a kind comment. He also told me, that he is windsurfing in Serifos, where he keeps most of his equipment, including 2 vintage boards, an F2 Sunset Slalom & a Fanatic Ultra Mosquito, that were somehow decorating the resort of his friend Edie, where he stays every year he goes to Serifos. I think you know this F2 is a benchmark in shaping and that it paved the way to the cross type of boards, but you are maybe unaware, that the Fanatic Ultra Mosquito of 1990 – 1991, belongs to a range that I consider as one of the most inspired artwork in the history of production boards.


Not having any board of this range, I asked Markus if I could offer a substitute and get the Mosquito, but he generously told me I could get it outright. Without delay I contacted Edie, who promptly dispatched it to me. It was with great anticipation that I received it, to realize unfortunately, that neither Markus nor Edie had followed the fate of the Mosquito for quite some time and the board had obvious signs of neglect.

As usual, I took it to the repair shop for the bottom, while I dealt myself with the deck artwork (after all, Kostas is too busy to spend long hours in detailing). You see, although I doubt I will ever sail it, I had to restore it so that it will please my eyes.fanatic-ultra-mosquito-markus-board-renewed-2016

And nobody can forget the combined beauty of the girl & the surf – Jenna on the Mosquito, the unsurpassed photo of pro – sports photographer Sylvain Cazenave 🙂jenna-fanatic-ultra-mosquito-wind-magazine-by-s-cazenave

I hope one day, we will sail together with Markus, as we already did with Alex.

Below are some photos of Markus in action, both with the retired Ultra Mosquito and his present Fanatic board, while there is a playful entertaining video showing the good Serifos times.

Once again, I would like to thank my friends Alex and Markus for their gifts, and wish them happy sailings!


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Carampa, the renown contemporary circus school of Madrid, chose the historic PRICE circus theater to present it’s CRECE show, having chosen young artists from all over the world. Greece was represented by our daughter Nina and it was with great pleasure that we attended this modern circus event and enjoyed the company of such talented world artists.

Unfortunately, I was using a non familiar camera, so the photos are not as good as the artist, while I do not have pictures from all of them. Apologies, but I think even these samples are better than nothing…crece-street-adsambidextro-revista-dela-escuelade-circo-carampa-madridcrece-the-party-must-go-on-show-presentationcelinecharlotteandreanina-1-bwnina-3-bwnina-4-jesus-bwp1050718-rtriowisefoolscrece-end-of-show

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Whenever we feel the desire for a short trip abroad, Italy is the first destination that comes to our minds.

People are charming, the country is flooded with antiquities and attractive places that take you back in history, while at the same time it is the birthplace of high automotive technology and unsurpassed design in general.

Considering these, we decided to spend Easter in Trieste.

We have never been in Trieste before, but having heard a lot, we were curious to find out more. Trieste was the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest, and Prague and was a seaside Vienna and a fluid borderland where Italian, Slavic, Jewish, Germanic and Greek culture intermingled, it emerged as an important hub for commerce and arts, while the flourishing Greek community greatly contributed to the glamour of the city. The seafront view and the famous picturesque Piazza dell’Unita, would definitely look poorer if the fabulous palazzo Carciotti & the palazzo Stratti were not erected by these wealthy men of Greek origin. Piazza della Unita - Triestepalazzo CarciottiTrieste became part of the Italian nation just in 1954, having undergone severe population exterminations starting from the rise of fascism, until well after the Second World, as it was an important area of the struggle between the Eastern and Western blocs.

Through my blog, I come in contact with quite a few people, but this was the first time I arranged a meeting  in person.

It was as if Danilo & his wife Doris were friends of ours since many years. The fact that we share common interests, raised the barriers of speaking different languages, and allowed us to enjoy their great hospitality, Danilo’s insatiable mechanical/ electronics projects focused on their 2 well pampered X1/9s, Doris tasty cooking and a wonderful visit to the nearby historic site of the Roman Aquileia, after stopping at the Miramare castle.Miramare castello - TriesteMirabello - our companyAquileia cathedral

Danilo, wishing to prepare his ideal X1/9 versions, goes to extreme modifications, assembling engines and gearboxes, chosing the best possible components the Gruppo has to offer (and in many cases rectifying inherent design weaknesses)- in this last project I saw, the internals of Fiat Tipo/Tempra, doing also of course all proper weight reduction & balancing and upgrading like, wilder camshafts, extra carburation and free flow exhaust systems, topping these with plenty of accurate electronic modifications, like fuel measuring and programmable CDI ignition-all of his own design and construction (after all electronics is his major field)!

In a very modest way, Danilo tried to underrate his work, so he wrote to me:

My tuned engine does not have anything particularly innovative: many manuals contain much higher levels of preparation.

My CDI + static programmable advance, is a project of mine that dates back some 30 years ago: at present it is not very interesting …

Perhaps, noteworthy, may be the Tipo/Tempra gears transfer into the X1/9: but those who are not familiar with these
gearboxes, cannot appreciate the usefulness of such a change.

I, having followed  his laborious and deeply knowledgable projects, I will include some photos, while I’m sure Danilo will not turn down technical requests any of you may have concerning projects similar to his… Impossible to present everything I have seen, but you have to understand that even the absence of a spare part cannot stop our man from achieving his goal!

Side windows rebuilt

Corrosion worn-out glass supportsrebuilt X19 glass system ready to fit again

Digital dashboard display & electronically measured data upgradeDig_Instr & LightingMod_tach_elettr_digitRinvii & Trasmett_cambio_2rev-counter digitalizationDanilo & Doris X_1_9_1500Tempra 1.6 engine transplantcamshaft housing & upper engine support modification to fit Tempra engine 1.6home-made programmable electronic ignitionMod_motore_73

Gearbox upgrade with Tempra parts (too many modifications to list & show!)Mod_cambio_45Mod_cambio_6Mod_cambio_41_b

The beginning of an ongoing story of love X1_9_USA_74_1.3

We were lucky the weather was fine during our visit, because the BORA freezing stormy wind of the place is no joke.bora

Not forgetting my sailing interest, I learned that Trieste hosts every October the famous Barcolana sailing gathering & regatta.Barcolana race

And of course, windsurfing is great in Trieste as you can see from this photo just in front of the Greek church!

windsurfing in front Greek church

As you understand, we look forward to our next visit to D & D’s Trieste.departing Trieste 2015

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Our friend Arnaud, who spends all-year-long testing windsurfing equipment around the world, when asked where we should go for windsurfing, he replies blandly: “to Paros”…

Well, putting aside the various problems of our disorganized country, we are considered spoiled, being blessed with the fascinating combination of crystal clear sea & plenty of wind, in an attractive environment full of antiquities, not forgetting the mouthwatering Greek cuisine.

As years go by, less and less we enjoy cold weather, so a week ago, we decided to try Mauritius – Indian Ocean, East of Madagascar, at the Capricorn Tropic level.

This tiny nation is just 10 times the size of Paros island.Mauritious mapParos island - Cyclades - Greece

The best windsurfing/kite spot is considered Le Morne peninsula, at the SW of the island. Conditions differ dramatically from the ones we are used to in Paros, due to the very different environment. There is a good description by Buzz, which will help first time visitors.

aerial photo Le Morne - Mauritius

The Indian Resort that was housing the Watersports station Mistral Club (MC), was under renovation and according to plans, 3 new hotels will start operating at the site by February 2015. In the meantime the closer you can lodge is St Regis resort.

Before going to the MC, I decided to check the windsurfing facilities of Lux resort and the Pryde Club just next to it, on the public beach between Lux and Dinarobin resorts.Le Morne - Pryde club

Lux beach

The Lux material was in a rather poor condition, with very basic sails – equipment good just for beginners.Lux Le Morne windsurfing equipmentLux Le Morne windsurfing equipment close-up

The Pryde Club is focused on kite & sup, no windsurfing, so there in no real option but the MC further down the beach.SUPing @ Le Morne

The first day I visited the Mistral Club, was windy alright, but rainy…There was no securely dry place to leave my backpack & camera (no lockers), and my non windsurfing company had nowhere to lay down not getting wet. We walked away looking for a better chance to return.
Le Morne windsurfing spot on rainy day

MC sailing plan postkiting at the Le Morne reefwindsurfing @Mistral club Le Morne

4 days later, weather conditions looking more favorable, plenty of sunshine and just OK wind ~17 – 19 knots, we went back.Mistral club beach area

MC & waves

In search of an average-Joe experience, I did not inform the staff about my blog, but just asked for a 120l Gecko board and a large sail, having agreed to book for 1 hour including 10 euros damages insurance – a total of 1,680 rupies (1 euro= 38 rupies).Mistral club Le Morne windsurfing equipment

I got a pair of shoes from the club and started sailing. I familiarized myself with the terrain, always staying within safe limits, as I realized that the waves area was quite far away (1,5 km from shore) with no rescue watch on duty. Although conditions were not thrilling, I tried to get the maximum from my equipment, speeding on the flat water. I soon realized the board was missing punch, and went back to check.zaosan @ MC Mauritius 2014

I noticed the fin was relatively small for such a board, and in poor condition,while the 6.9 sail had a torn luff and some patching tape, so I asked for what I thought was the easiest fix – a bigger sail. Surprise, surprise, I had already taken the biggest size of sail the club has. I say surprise, because they do carry several larger boards that actually demand larger sails to do what they are designed to do…As a remedy I trimmed the sail less flat, reducing the boom’s length by 1 click. I completed my sailing on this tired equipment and upon paying, I pointed out that since I was not a novice and having asked for a freeride board (not a wave or a freestyle that are prone to maneuvers damages), under conditions so calm, by asking for an insurance coverage I was expecting to get mint condition equipment. The girl at the desk gave me an unprofessional reply, that I should have told them before getting in the water, as if it wasn’t them who handed me the board & sail.Mistral Club North sail 6.9 conditionMistral Club Mauritius fin on Fanatic Gecko 120

Now that I’m back to my computer, I checked the Gecko 120 specs and verify my impression that the board I was given was fitted with a too small fin. The worn – out fin was 36, when the standard is 39…Fanatic Gecko specifications

My brief experience from Le Morne, is that if you do not have your own equipment, Mistral Club is the only realistic option, but check well what you will get to ride. Demand standard board fittings, otherwise you will get a wrong idea about the board you will ride!

If you wish to hit the waves, do it in company preferably with some locals and definitely not alone!

As shoes are a must, try to find some ankle-high, so that when stepping on the sand, no sand will get into your shoes. It is very annoying.

On the beach, stay away from the coconut trees, because falling cocos are dangerous. One fell less than a meter away from me, while I was taking the photos!Mistral Club Mauritius - coconuts danger zone

In the public beaches areas, you have the option of food & beverages at a fraction of the resorts prices. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to operate in the evening.Public beach @ Le Morne between Lux & DinarobinPublic beach resto @ Le Morne between Lux & Dinarobin

Point public beachPoint public beach - fresh fruits shop

In Le Morne we had the company of some very cute feathered friends, like this one, who was posing for me at the Point beach.Mauritius orange birdie


Sunsets were spectacular, but I’m looking forward to sail in Paros again.

And a sentimental remark: When talking about a PRYDE club, I would expect to find arrays of Neil Pryde sails, rigged to rocket me away, while at a ºMISTRAL club, I would love to have the choice of the complete boards range of the historic brand, not to sail on a Fanatic board rigged with a North sail bearing the Mistral logo…Le Morne low tide sunset

December  2016

I just came across an interesting windsurfing Mauritius review in Windsurf magazine, complemented with nice video filming.

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I regularly check the classified used boards for sale, and in June I spotted an F2 Ride 274 (mod.2000). It was located less than a 10 minute ride from my place, the seller was a guy I meet often down the beach of Shinias, the board in good condition supplied with both the original swept back 30 Concrete Wave fin, plus a more powerful upright 36 Ciessevi fin, so I handed over 200 euros and took it home. Such board sell for 150 euros, but mine had also the original foot straps OK, plus a historic Drops board bag, which although hardly presentable, it would serve to safely transport the recently renovated F2 Thommen Slalom Small down to Paros.

I know I don’t really need that board, but it will be a favorite among my windsurfing progressing friends and you should know by now, I have a soft spot for F2 boards of the Thommen era.F2 Ride 274 mod. 2000F2 Rde 274 finsF2 Ride Range 2000

In the meantime, I sold the T1 FreeX 130 bamboo Thommen board to a nice heavy guy who usually sails in Golden beach-Paros, so now I’m left with 2 boards of this line, the RS 59 and the eXperience 165, that I have already reviewed in the past.T1 mk4 RS 59-FreeX 130-eXperience 165sale photo of T1 FreeX 130


This year we arrived in New Golden Beach a little earlier, with good wind to sail all 4 boards I brought along, 2 F2 classics – the Wave 254 & the Thommen Slalom Small and 2 modern, the Exocet Cross IV 84 pro & the RRD Firemove 100.

The big news this year, is that in addition to the long established Paros Surf Club Station (Taboo/Gaastra) that belongs to Philoxenia hotel, and run by Kostas,Paros Surf Club @ N.G Paros Surf Club manager - Kostas 2010 - RRDa new sports center affiliated to Aqua  Marina resort has opened: The  Goya Center Paros, run by the renowned windsurfing athlete & experienced trainer John Xefteris.Goya windsurfing center ParosGoya windsurfing center Paros - stationJohn Xefteris @ Goya Center ParosEfinha StreetDancer

The good news, is that now we have more friends running their businesses in N.G. beach, greater choice of equipment offered & more rescue boats.

The not so good news, is that the space is limited, parking is less easy, more people are both on the beach & sailing…

This July, there were fewer windy days, while there were some days of S & SW wind, rather unusual for this time of the year. Still, the windy days of meltemi wind, created a great terrain.

NGB Paros July 2014 - big wavesVergos wave riding NGBDuring my stay, I spotted 2 broken Taboo fins and I wonder if there was a production butch of inferior construction…broken Taboo finbroken Taboo fin -2

Talking about questionable material quality, I have to protest for the Dakine gloves I bought in Paros. These gloves started coming apart just the 4th day of use!Dakine glove 2014 RDakine glove 2014 L

It is a pity, because the 2011 Dakine gloves I had were very good – unfortunately I lost them. The Gull gloves I had last year, were also up to the job – again I managed to lose them…

Dakine sailing gloves 2011 – GOOD

Dakine sailing gloves 2011 - GOOD

Now I just received a pair of MacWet gloves which look promising. I will report in due time.MacWet watersports glovesThere were no friends photographers around this year, so it was thanks to Arnaud Dechamps, who in between shooting  the equipment on test for Planchemag, took 2 photos of me on the Exocet, where you can see the incomparable clarity of the water we are blessed to sail on!

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 To be continued

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Τώρα ξέρω γιατί έχει αεράκι σήμερα.
Είναι για να ταξιδέψει καλά με τα πανιά του ο φίλος μας.
Καλό σου ταξίδι και σ’ευχαριστούμε για την φιλία σου και τις συγκινήσεις που μας έδωσες. Ώρα σου καλή.

Agora eu sei porque ventoso hoje.
É bom viajar com velas nosso amigo.

Tenha uma boa viagem e obrigado por sua amizade e emoções que você ofereceu. Boa viagem.

Fernando De Noronha Race- Brazil

           Leonidas Renos Zerboulis ∞

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Last week, while in the center of Madrid, I spotted a nice looking classic BMW motorcycle with a sidecar, that brought back memories of my childhood. I took a photo and continued my walk.Z-tours Madrid

The same afternoon , we saw this moto carrying a couple that were obviously tourists.  Back at our hotel, we asked the reception if they had any information about this kind of touring, but they could not help, so blowing up the photo I took in the morning, I read the name of the touring company. Soon after an internet search, I called David, the person behind the Z-tours company and at the same time driver & personal guide for the rides. We arranged for the half hour tour, and headed to the Grand Via spot that I had photographed the beautiful 1961 BMW.

We found David encircled by admirers taking turns to be photographed next to the shiny black beauty. We put on the appropriate era style helmets and set off.  Reaching the other end of Grand Via, we found the street closed by the police because of a demonstration of unhappy people, due to the economic crisis and the resulting high unemployment. As there were no alternatives for our tour, we took a break and  strolled about, waiting David to call us for the opening of the traffic.

Madrid demonstration May 2013Madrid street closing due to demonstration May 2013

One hour later, we were riding again with David, crossing Madrid up & down at a relaxed pace,  seeing monuments & neighborhoods, taking pictures while cordially greeted by many on our way.

We ended at a cafe, where David offered us a coffee, while we had a chat about how he started this unique classic motorcycle city touring business, after he lost his job some months ago, while working at the same time as a scooter-taxi driver. After our drink, David dropped us at our hotel and next time we visit Madrid, we will book him for a different route.

Z-tours Madrid May 2013 Z-tours Madrid information - classic sidecar moto rides


Although we have visited Rome many times, this city has a special appeal to us. During the spring of 2011, while waiting for some friends to join us for a trip in Tuscany, we noticed a cycle rickshaw strolling in Piazza de Spagna. I asked at the reception of our hotel, and they had all the details we needed to arrange our tour. Ecotaxi/Ecotour was a new combined project, under the auspices of the Municipality of Rome & the Ministry of Justice, which had been active since the summer of 2010 and aims to contribute reducing the noise and air pollution in the historic center, as well as the reintegration of socially disadvantaged  persons, who drive the vehicles.ROMA risco 2011

Our driver who’s name I apologize I do not remember, was right on time to pick us up from our hotel, and then a revelation tour started, with our cart going to places only pedestrians could reach, but covering the distance between sightseeing faster than a runner would, without sweat and under the protective shade of the tent. Just incredible!

At some point the gentle driver offered us a gelato Siciliano, and led us back to our hotel. We will absolutely repeat it next time in Rome. My only regret derives from the fact that the electrically assisted rickshaws are made in Great Britten and not in Italy which has such a great tradition both for bicycles  and coachbuilding…

Roma ricsoesAs I have found a facebook link with different Ecotour contact numbers, I’m including them without knowing if they correspond to the same scheme.

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