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Starboard SLR wings review

Author

Marco Boone

Published

19/06/2022

The line up of Starboard foils with wings, masts and fuselages is very extensive but missed a series of high end slalom front and back wings. At the beginning of 2022, Starboard introduced the SLR series of front wings and back wings. Finally, the first shipments of SLRs have been delivered. Time to test them out. Since it is now summer in the Netherlands, it is necessary to look for the right conditions. That is why we are constantly updating and adjusting this review.

Update 1: 20-6-2022 – Light wind 10 – 14 knots

How to test?

We know all too well that if you are going to test or tune material, it is important to adjust only 1 variable each time and also compare it directly with the old setting or the reference material. Because the SLR front wings and SLR back wings differ in all areas compared to the now well-known Starboard front and back wings, we work step by step. Let’s talk about us. We weigh around 80 kg, with a more than average pumping technique and a lot of racing experience on the wind foil. We use the IQfoil men set up (IQfoil carbon 95, with IQfoil carbon foil and HGO 9.0m2) and the Starboard Foil Slalom 81 with the Severne Hyper Glide 4 in sizes 7.0m2 and 6.0m2.

The specs of the Starboard SLR wings in outline

Starboard SLR back wing 255 in light weather with race set up

We start with the Starboard SLR back wing 255. There is little wind, about 8 to a maximum of 12 to 13 knots and we foil with the IQfoil senior set up. In these conditions we always sail the IQfoil with a back wing spacer of + 0.5m2 and the standard mast rake of +/- 1.5 degrees. We replace the standard 255 -2 back wing (so no thin!) for the SLR back wing 255. We get away just as easily as with the standard 255 -2 back wing, but we immediately notice upwind that the lift is slightly less than standard 255 -2. But not much difference. Certainly in fits and starts we have the strong impression that the final speed upwind is higher. If we then go half wind and down wind then we are more controlled than with the 255-2 and we go faster. It even seems that the higher the speed, the less lift the back wing gives. This makes it easier to keep control of the set at high speeds. It is strange to notice that we lift almost as much in the lower wind range as with the standard back wing, so that we also stay in the dips in the air. The feeling we have while flying is confirmed on the GPS after the session. The upwind speed was not higher, but the half wind and downwind speed was over 3 km/h faster (with similar conditions and setup) than with the standard 255 -2! In addition, we had the impression that the SLR provided better stability and balance. It felt very forgiving and gave confidence.

It pleasantly surprised us how well the SLR 255 fits into the light weather race setup. Only in the up wind we are slightly short of lift below +/- 10 knots so we could push just a little less high on the wind, but above that and certainly half and wide wind the SLR is better than the back wing 255-2.

Then also the comparison with the Starboard back wing 255-2 thin. We tried these several times in both the slalom set up and the race set up, but each time we felt that we had too little lift. This made the set quite nervous and the board was pressed on the water much faster with the tip of the board in a gust of wind. We also pulled the under part of the sail over the deck every time (and stuck behind the rear foot strap). The set sufficiently unbalanced. The SLR 255 gives clearly more lift compared to the 255 -2 thin!

Starboard SLR front wing 560 with back wing 255 in slalom set up

In somewhat challenging conditions with choppy waves up to about 3/4 meters we will test the ‘light wind set up’ with the Starboard Foil slalom 81 and the Severne HG4 7.0m2. The foilset up we use for this: IQfoil C400 carbon mast, 105 cm Evo fuselage, SLR front wing 560 and SLR back wing 255 with the + 0.5 degree spacer. Rake of the mast +/- 1.5 degrees.

The wind is in the beginning about 12 to 16 knots. On the side the wind is about 10 to 12 knots and with the 7.0m2 we notice that we clearly have to make more speed to get (and stay) in the air than with the Starboard EVO 575 front wing. Initially, we ‘fall’ back into the water a number of times. Only when we have really good pressure to make enough speed, we remain stable in the air. Once up to speed, the foil set up is remarkably stable and feels very well balanced. Where with the EVO front wing 575 we sometimes have the feeling that the foil does not want to go faster, we absolutely do not have that feeling now. The blades glide through the water with much less resistance.

Even with the first jibes we notice that SLR wings lose lift faster. At first we really struggled to stay in the air when the jibe came out. With the EVO 575 front wing, this is done with less effort. Over time, we did get the hang of it again, simply by jibing with more speed and conviction. During the session, our average speed also went up more and more.

As written, the conditions were quite tough, but on the sparse flatter parts, we could and dared to run the set. And then we really notice that there is a lot of potential in these wings (which we do not yet get out of it). The acceleration is phenomenal and also the control despite the choppy waves was better than with the EVO 575 front wing. When the wind increased a little further to about 16 to 20 knots, we were rigged to the Severne HG4 6.0m2. Then we had the impression that the SLR 210 as a smaller back wing was better (we didn’t have it with us to try), but the set up was still good to handle. Even now that the wind was blowing harder, the foil behaved very stable with a predictable behavior. With the EVO 575 and 255 -2 back wing, the foil could sometimes give an unguarded tug under water. Now almost not, despite the choppy waves.

Starboard SLR 560 with 255 no light weather set up! [Update 20-6-22]

Starboard indicates that the SLR setup with the front wing 560 and back wing 255 can already be used between 8 and 12 knots with an 8 or 9 meters. But given the fact that your ‘initial speed’ really has to be considerably higher to stay in the air at all and also the necessarily higher speed that is needed to stay in the air during hijacking, it does not seem likely to us that this set up can really be used effectively under the 12 knots of wind. Also the PWA hot shot like Jordy Vonk, slalom foils with little wind also with bigger front wings!!

We sail the SLR 560 with the 255 on the IQfoil 95 with the HGO 8.0m2 in light weather conditions of around 9 to about 14 knots of wind. In the lower wind range we do get into plane with many pumps, but as soon as we pop the board up, the board immediately falls back. Only when we get a good flurry of more than 10 knots, we have enough speed and lift to stay in the air. Up to about 12 knots of wind we also have the continuous feeling with this set up we actually have too little lift to really go fast. We also drop back every time with the jibing. Only around 12 knots of wind do we keep enough speed to get out of the jibe foiling. We swap the SLR 560 for the 650 EVO and immediately it is clearer that it gives more lift and also stays in the air longer in wind dips. Also, the jibing is clearly easier and we are ultimately also faster on the reaches

For us it is clear that the SLR 560 under 12 knots of wind is not really effective. You may be able to fly, but with larger front wings you are guaranteed to be faster!

Starboard advice setup SLR wings for slalom vs experience Windfoilen Netherlands set up

Below left the table of Starboard with the advice set up of the SLR wings. On the right side the set up as we recommend it o.b.v. our findings. Our overview is therefore work in progress (oh how annoying we have to do this ;))