I had looked at a used HSM SpeedDemon at a local shop called 30noeuds (30 knots), but I was not liking the huge amount of monofilm, lack of pocket and unsure about using RDM in such a large sail. I have a Powerex/PX 460/100% mast that I use with my HSM Fire 6.3 and that combination works VERY well. Thus, I have been exposed to HSM and I like the durability of the Fire VERY much. I use that sail in summer higher winds and in the winter on the ice. Geoff E Moore is an active participant on the HSM forum and obviously a big fan of the sails… He has been suggesting I try the HSM SpeedFreak for some time. My issue was PX compatibility AND use of RDM in larger sails for a heavyweight like me… We chatted about this for quite some time – something like six (6) months.
Geoff decided he no longer “needed” his HSM SPF 8.5 and was willing to part with his Niel Pryde /NP 490/100% SDM mast that matched the sail well. Not only that, but the price was right and we could meet at a spot somewhere between Ithica, NY and Montreal, Canada.
So… now I am the proud owner of just such a sail. This one is supposed to be the first production sail in this size. As such, I am surprised it was missing the markings like luff, boom and mast heights as seen on current production sails… (NO biggie) … Geoff suggested what worked for him and that is what I have been using as a starting point …. (Believe Geoff received it late 2011 and did not use it until early 2012)
Why did the two(2) drivers of HSM continue with this sail ? Apparently they were NOT convinced the sail should go into production !! A speedster took a 10-oh in varying conditions and managed to man handle it all the way to 30 knots !! They knew they had a winner. Off to production !!!
What does HSM say about the sail ? --> http://www.hotsailsmaui.com/sail.php?uid=21
The SpeedFreak is a sail which was developed by Jeffrey Henderson in conjunction with our forum participants. The idea was to make a SuperFreak for light wind flat-water sailing in the same style as our Dacron® SuperFreak and we are thrilled with the result.
The SpeedFreak is an amazingly smooth riding sail. It is much easier to sail than a comparable monofilm freeride sail as the Dacron® absorbs the gusts, and the sail can be pumped onto a plane in very little wind. The ride is completely quiet and jibing is so smooth you would never guess you on a speed type sail. The sail is not critical of your sailing style either. If your harness lines are a little out of balance, or your outhaul is slightly to tight or too loose, this sail can work with you. It turns lighter wind sailing into a completely low stress pleasure. It is no slouch for top end speed either, having its outline and shaping based on our universally loved Speed Demon sail.
SpeedFreak Sail Features
The main body of the sail is made of 3 different weight Dacrons with the high-tension downhaul supported with 125 micron Polyant/Dimension X-Ply®. The sail is available with or without a PVC window.
• 7 battens total (no cambers)
• 4 Epoxy tube race sail battens
• Ox-Webbing luff sleeve
• Durable Dacron®, X-Ply® & PVC construction
• Easy rigging and de-rigging
• Extremely crease and wrinkle resistant
• Smooth, and quiet power delivery
The SpeedFreak is available in custom colors, please let us know how you would like your new sail to look, alternatively you can choose one of the production colors.
As you can see here, the recommendation for the 8.5 m² sail is 512 cm luff and 212 cm boom. Based on this, Geoff’s recommendations and our trial setup at exchange time, I have mostly been sailing with 505-507.5 cm luff and 212.5 boom. Since I am using it on a longboard – a Mistral Equipe I LCS-XR, I like to have a tighter leech… In terms of rigging Geoff pointed out the importance of checking batten number 2 from the top – the wrinkle in the luff as an indicator of leech – since Dacron is “hard to read”. He also pointed out the batten in the luff cut out. How close is it to the mast ?? Another important indicator …
Since the HSM forum was so vital in the actual production of the sail, what are they saying about the sail on the forum?
Geoff calls the sail "slippery" and I would tend to call that "smooth". Says the sail is so light that a clew first sail can be held for quite some time !! Actually found what Geoff means by "slippery":
"For me, “slippery” means that the sail doesn’t seem to pull that hard in the schlogging mode, but if a gust or pumping gets it to a plane then it seems light but just pulls harder and harder when the gust fills in. Such sails pull impressively just on apparent wind." - from HSM forum - link is shown above
I still would like to call that "smooth" :-)
Please remember most of these people were already HSM fans :-)
What are others saying about the sail??
He is definitely interested, but has not tried one ...
nodak says: I sold all my older cambered sails because they were too cumbersome for flat water free sailing. So now my biggest sail is a Hot Sails Speedfreak 8.5, a forgiving dacron sail.
Some Canadians used to get SuperFreaks with the Maple Leaf and it seems the SpeedFreak was an option too:
|from Gord Jones on Lake Ontario - HSM forum & Windsurf Canada|
Not much discussion on the web besides HSM fans... Here are some videos..
SpeedFreak blasting from Hot Sails Maui on Vimeo.
Going to Freakin' Hyper Speed from Surfingsen on Vimeo.
And my analysis so far ??
Please keep in mind that I am Average Joe Windsurfer who has been longboarding for 20 years and shortboarding for about five (5) in a light wind area (plus winter sailboarding for about 5 years as well). I am NO windsurf expert, but do LOVE getting on the water for FUN and TOW (do about 60 sessions on the water each summer). I try to be objective and yet give a perspective from my angle , experience and location ...
The sail is LIGHT and PVC window bulges where my head carried the sail, but bulge seems to go back quickly (i actually suggest AGAINST carrying the sail on your head :-( ). There were NO markings on the sail for luff and boom. Later production sails also have boom height markings. I have tried making the sail have a deep pocket, but feel the sail lacked some “grunt” in the light wind power tractor range. I am used to a two or four camber race sail in these winds. It definitely has a great deal of range and can be downhauled a lot more than I have so far. I have been using it in light winds so far… In all the first outings that I have used the sail – all rated at about 8 outta 10 which is excellent for a first set of rounds…NOT so sure I like the sail in VERY light winds (20 kph / 12 knots and less) due to lack of grunt...
Will continue the analysis when I have hit some bigger winds and have tried the sail on some of my other boards…
For de-rigging (is that an actual word?) Geoff suggests attaching the mast head to something with a rope and then pulling the mast out. I can see why because the mast cap DOES get stuck on the mast ...On the forum another fellow (believe it was rod_r) suggested ensuring battens were under the mast before loosening downhaul. This helps with the folds in the x-ply.
This analysis on my part is still a WHIP = work in progress.. and as such I will ramble on and summarize afterwards...
The sail has two (2) grommets at the luff which is for tightening or loosening the luff - some say top for taller and lower for less tall :-) I always use the top grommet - tall, heavyweight dude = me.
The section where one puts the extra downhaul rope is a flimsy mesh that is already busted up.
I am finding the carrying of the sail ANNOYING since I like to carry sails on my head or back :-( I asked Jeffrey Henderson directly and he responded that the PVC WILL go back to it's original shape !!! Not sure what he means about it having memory back to 300% , but I am sure this has to do with material specifications.
In 16 knots the sail planed and handled well in choppy conditions. Further testing in 16+ knots required. I am still getting used to the sail on the shortboard. Seem to have a handle on it on the longboard now....Like the sail with NO outhaul when using 490+17.5 = 507.5 downhaul - cuz I would like a deeper pocket ...When using 505 cm downhaul , outhaul IS required - to pull battens away from the mast.
Feature not discussed yet is the tack strap. For me this is unusual (and welcome) detail for a sail with no cambers.. Perhaps I can try tightening it more for more pocket...
The sail bag is tapered and sail is inserted clew first - as is my HSM Fire sail bag - seems to be an HSM standard. The bag handle is 6 inches off balance and makes carrying the sail awkward. I find the sail bag material a bit flimsy - i like strong sail bags and the mesh at the top of the sail bag at the clew is the same flimsy mesh used for excess downhaul string on the sail.
Still liking 507.5/212.5 settings the most. Not sure the sail is my go-to longboard sail. Was unable to pump it enough to get back to shore when wind died.
In the final analysis , i will use boardseeker tests as a template:
Performance - power , sail pull, responsiveness, blasting , maneuvers, top end, bottom end, speed and tuning
Sail Size - how does it compare
Materials - important subject due to dacron
Overall Impression + on the water
Since wind has been light lately, I have been concentrating on using the FreeFormula and 10-oh race sail. However, just the other day I saw a glimpse of the range that this SpeedFreak sail has. Winds were about 12 knots gusting to 20 knots sporadically. As we were at the chalet , the only board I had was the Fanatic Ultra CAT and minimal sails. I rigged this sail as I have been liking it - 507.5/212.5 and the sail handled it fine. For this I would give this sail a 9+/10 !! Excellent range on the higher end of the scale.... I am still NOT convinced it is a light wind sail, but as said before... this is NOT what the sail was purchased for and probably not designed for either !!! Note that I rigged this 8.5 rather than using my patched up MS-2 8-oh , which i knew would be over-powered in the gusts !!
Some items i do NOT want to forget to discuss are the excellent mast base pad, the line that runs along the perimeter of the sail on the outside - believe it is kevlar - read something about this on SuperFreaks and also the shaping of the sail is pleasing to the eye - almost like a wing - not sure what this does to performance or efficiency, but definitely nice.
GaleForce8 is loving his HSM SPF 8.5 http://www.hotsailsmaui.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=3845
Geoff had suggested I purchase some material to repair the dacron - in case it is ever cut. He has cut the dacron sail by hitting a fence post. HSM sells the repair material, but shipping to Canada is too much versus cost on the repair tape itself ... HSM informed me that the marine shops may have it as TEAR-AID type A and the A is VERY important. I found some at amazon.ca and ordered it. It was inexpensive, but also more costly to ship than the box itself and gave me about one foot of repair tape. For now, I will stick with this and hope i never need it !!
Nico on the HSM forum has a SpeedFreak 10-oh that he loves and is able to water start it NO problem. Geoff is trying to convince me to get one as well - the current NP 490 mast will work with that sail too !!
Just had my first setback with this sail ^&*() Posted on the forum about using the sail in the winter. Had NEVER anticipated issues with the PVC in the cold. Someone mentioned that even cold water created issues with holes in the PVC. The fellow said even temps as high as 10-12 degrees C could cause teardrop holes. That's ONLY 50 degrees. I go MUCH colder than that. I go down to 5 degrees C easily. NOT with this sail I guess. It just lost 2 points - 7 outta 10 !!!
Perhaps I was hasty ?? There was another post on HSM forum where fellow goes out in close to freezing temps and had NO issues besides the PVC is stiffer and harder to get rig just right
In November 2014 I purchased a 2007 SailWorks Retro 8.0 for winter sailing. Only cost me about $200. This is a sail I always wanted to try and if i bust it up in the winter - NO great loss. I use a large sail on snow and when wind is really light - on ice too ...
If sail lasts until next summer, I can pit it against the HSM SPF8.5 and the MauiSails TR-6 8.4 !!!
It did NOT last :-( split at the seams in the summer of 2015 while at the lake with the BIC Dufour Wing ...No longer will be used for longboarding - hopefully get one more winter out of it !!!
Videos are starting to show up on the spider web with the SpeedFreak now !!
Here's one showing that not only are the large sizes used, but also sizes like 6.5 !!!
Stay Clear - of that sandbar from Surfingsen on Vimeo.
As discussed, Geoff was my influence in getting to try this sail from this company ...
This is Geoff aka GEM in studio discussing windsurfing
It is now spring 2016 and I am testing a Mistral Equipe II/2. Ideally I would like to do this with the HSM SPF because it is light with a big range. Then I can concentrate on how the board does. My concern, as noted above/earlier, is the effect of cold on the PVC window. People have said it becomes brittle with the cold ... So, when the air temperature is over 10 degrees C and the water free of ice, is it "good to go" ?? Here I found an interesting graph of PVC impact strength over temperature:
They state: "The impact strength is 4x less at -10 degrees C than at 20 degrees C"
Just went through this post quickly. Is there NO video of myself enjoying this sail ?? WTH. Okay, here's one :-)
2017: Still have NOT given up on the SPF 10-oh with the one