Categories
boats

Momentum asymmetric spinnaker review

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If you’re looking for a decent asymmetric spinnaker then you could do a lot worse than the Momentum range of off the shelf sails. They are very well priced, largely one assumes because the sails are of set sizes so you simply choose the one with the luff length that corresponds with that of your boat.

The colours are fixed which is a bit pants really but if you don’t mind the dark blue edges, white interior and red centre section these sails have a lot going for them. I paid about £600 for a sail with a luff of about 33 feet which fits just between the tack fitting on deck and the mast head. It’s important that the sail you buy is as big as possible yet you must be able to get the luff of the sail tight for windward work.

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The sail is very well made with excellent stitching throughout, not one jumped stitch that I can see. Even the webbing that holds the rings at the head, tack and clew have soft fabric sewn over their ends which is a nice touch and better than a sharp cut off edge. The luff and leech have adjuster lines and they are colour coded red and green. The head is white, the clew red and the tack green. So it’s easy to put it up correctly. There’s also the name on the bottom so you have no excuse for getting it wrong!

The sail shape is very good and the sail works very well. With the luff pulled up tight it’s possible to sail to about 60 degrees (apparent wind) which is not bad for a spinnaker although there is quite a lot of heeling moment but this is to be expected. When full of air, there isn’t one crease in the sail.

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When not hard on the wind it pays to let the halyard off a bit. This tips the head of the sail away from the mast where it can catch more wind. The luff has a slight S shape so there’s slightly more area at the top of the sail. With the halyard eased off it’s possible to run downwind at about 150 degrees. Any more than this and the sail becomes blanked by the mainsail. It works best with the wind on the beam.

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Apart from the colour scheme that personally I don’t like (I’d prefer a simple one colour sail) this is an excellent sail at a superb price. It was delivered with a free sac which was elaborately made although much too large for my small boat. I soon gave that away preferring to stuff the sail into a normal sail bag which is much more compact and easy to stow.

Just Google Banks Sails UK sails for a full list of available sizes. or click here: http://www.banks.co.uk/cruisingspin.html

Conclusion: Beautifully made. Good shape. Great price. Recommended.

Categories
Motorbikes

Ducati Desmosedici

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All shots: Leica M9 Elmarit 21mm Asph, 160 ISO.

When Yan turned up on his Desmo I had to take some pics. The light wasn’t too bad and anyway, had it been raining I’d still have tried taking some pics. It’s not often you see a Desmosedici in the flesh after all. The colour pics are cropped slightly but otherwise untouched. I couldn’t decide which of the two pics in black and white I liked best so I posted them both. You decide.

The most amazing thing is the noise it makes, even with standard pipes. They exit at the back of the seat on top and are loud. This is at low revs, I simply cannot imagine the noise when it redlines at 14,000 revs. The engine itself fights for attention and between them the noise it makes hurts. It is quite extraordinary.

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I heard Yan coming from a long way off and the kettle had nearly boiled by the time he actually arrived. If I hadn’t heard him I would surely have seen him. This bike is RED. He tells me that the power it makes is incredible and it spends much of the time pointing at the sky. That must be why the front tyre looks hardly worn compared to the rear. Mind you I have never seen a front tyre with wear marks right down to the edge of the tread before.

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The bike abounds in tasty details, it’s almost a shame it’s faired so comprehensively, I’d like to spend an hour contemplating the engine. I told Yan that even if he offered me a ride on it, I’d refuse. There’s no way someone my small size and weight could use it effectively on the road. A track day would be different but the adage ‘you bend it, you mend it’ would be always be there and if I damaged it even slightly it would no doubt cost an arm and a leg.

He did say I could sit on it. This alone is a mark of trust, even dropping the bike at standstill would probably do expensive damage. It really does seem quite delicate. Even though I’m only 5’4” short it fitted me really well. I could easily touch the ground and bars, pegs and levers all fell into place naturally. ‘It suits you’ says Yan. Yeah right, I’ll just sell my home and buy one tomorrow. Oh, but wait I can’t they only made 1500 so are as rare as rocking horse shit.

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Even if I was rich I just couldn’t see myself owning a Desmo, I really don’t think I’m brave enough to even try and tame it but perhaps it’s the worry that perhaps I could. Anyway it’s academic as I very much doubt I will ever be able to spend £40,000 on two wheels. You can’t take a passenger, or even a spare change of pants so it’s obviously not a very practical bike to own.

Special 16.5 inch tyres are needed. No idea how much they would cost each. Don’t suppose they last long either with nearly 200 horse power on tap. If Yan gave it to me I probably even couldn’t afford to own it let alone ride it! No one in their right mind is going to service it themselves so it needs to go back to Ducati every year although they kindly take care of this for the first three years. The bike also comes with a 3 year warranty such is Ducati’s faith in the robustness of their engine but what about insurance? I’d probably have to sell a kidney. Might be worth it though….

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In many ways it’s the Leica M9 of motorcycles. They are rare and hard to get hold of. They represent the best that money can buy. A no compromise product build to a spec and not a price and not everyone would recognise it for what it is. Serious wealthy loonies only need apply.