Ex World Champion Dave Hackford is one of the first to get his hands on the new Starboard Phantom 377 in the UK.
Dave took the new board out for a thorough test whilst working on new race sail designs with Ken Black using new materials. Starboard have introduced two new stand-out features onto the 2012 Phantom Raceboard – the slanted mast-track and the ‘Batwings’ along the tail edge. According to their design rationale the unlevel mast track allows the board to roll onto the rail much easier when in the elevated position. The Batwings are using rocket air flow theories to help the board’s speed in varying condition.
So what did Dave have to say –
“It’s weird when something new comes along because racers all get super critical. I was. So I went out needing to be convinced rather than believing it would be faster. The elevated mast track theory makes sense and that really did work. In light winds it is normally pretty hard to get the board on the rail and to stay there in chop but with this new track, even in the same mast position as before the board was up railing quicker and happy to stay on the rail. It will however take a little time to get your toes to find the pedal. I have to confess I read the brochure text on the benefits of the batwing after sailing so I was not directed on what should happen. I did not really notice much effect in non planning conditions downwind, however upwind it did seem to help tracking and this was not mentioned. But the biggest improvement was the desire for the board to stay on the plane. It is fantastic. Usually I am pumping like mad in marginal conditions to keep planing downwind. This wide tail meant you could go broader, faster and stay planning. Brilliant, because I hate pumping. It does rider higher in full planning mode so is still ‘fast and free’. The other characteristic I noticed was how the gybe changed. Looking at those wide wings made me think gybing was going to be tough. The board will not let you make a snappy tight turn as before, and it forces a slight wider arc which is easy to control and stay on the plane as you exit. Makes the whole turn very smooth. I am sure there is more to come. It looks super cool – that maybe enough”
If you fancy taking the new Phantom for a test drive then give the guys at Poole Harbour Watersports a call – they will have one for March: Pooleharbour.co.uk