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Ezzy Hydra or Sailworks Flyer?
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Joined: 07 May 1998
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm 150 lbs and sail a JP135 or Wizard 105. I've been foiling on SW Flyers 4.5, 5.2, 6.0 since they first came out in Oct 2017. (I tried the 7.0; it was too big to add any benefit vs. 6.0 - it's for heavier sailors). Bruce's tips by email and even phone were great. I sail SF Bay, so rarely see wind <15 kts. On the light days (10-15) the 6.0 works well and I can hang on at 20 IF the wind is steady. The 4.5 has been my main sail, but even it becomes challenging above 20 in our frequently gusty wind. Typical days are 20-25, w/ gusts to 30, and big chop and swell. Many days have lulls at 15 with gusts to 30. The twin cams make Flyers super-stable, but they don't depower in the gusts. They are indeed light and the only minor durability issue I've found is in nasty shorebreak with rocks - tough on any sail's luff sleeve. They can be super-light because foiling loads are so light on the sails. They are not for wavesailing.

I was overpowered most of the time on the Flyer 4.5 and tried the Hydra 4.0 in late summer 2018. I've sailed only the Hydra 4.0 since then, except for a few light days on the Flyer 5.2 or 6.0. It has tremendous range, depowers gracefully in huge gusts, is extremely stable, and pumps extremely well. The long foot works great by concentrating more power low - that increases stability and promotes pumping. I can pump the 4.0 onto the foil in as little as 15 with a decent swell. It's best at >18, but once flying, can still fly through pretty big holes, especially if you pump it while in the air. It makes the crazy gusty 15-30 days possible to sail. The Hydra 5.0 works well for me in lighter wind 12-18. It's too much at 20+. I've tried the 6.0 Hydra a few times, but hit a wind line within minutes each time and returned quickly for the 4.0.

I haven't had enough experience in <15 to know whether I prefer Hydra or Flyer.

My conclusion: Flyers and Hydras are both great and provide a major advantage in range and stability over a conventional sail. Those advantages are dramatic when learning, but are still there once you get hang of foiling - especially in demanding conditions. Both provide steady mast base pressure when accelerating, sheeting out, or during a gust. Conventional sails don't (except for race sails) and require more aggressive, fast corrective action (tilting mast fore/aft like a joystick and/or leaning your body fore/aft). Flyers are great if you're in steady wind and/or like to be very powered. I've had great sessions on the Flyer 4.5 in steady 18-20, Flyer 5.2 in 12-18, Flyer 6.0 in 10-15, flying for several miles. Hydras don't give up anything in upwind speed or pointing angle at my size and level of ability, but have a wider range of control and are easier to pump. Control translates to longer sustained flight and speed. (More advanced foilers are faster than me, no matter what they are sailing). I prefer to rig the smallest sail that I can pump into the air, since once there you need very little to keep flying. Power-oriented sailors might prefer the Flyers. Both are very easy to rig (Flyer cams are much easier than other cam sails since have so little luff curve) and certainly durable enough. Both gybe just fine. The Flyer cams rotate easily. The Hydra foot batten doesn't ever interfere with gybing. The Hydra is easier to handle foiling straight downwind over-powered, since it can depower. Both sails feel great and light in your hands; the Hydra doesn't feel weird in any way.

The comment about jibing or straight line sailing determining sail type is not so relevant for foiling. Once you're in the air, Flyers and Hydras maneuver just fine and have excellent fore-aft draft stability to keep the sail stable through turns, down swells, straight line sailing, whatever. I'd guess that inverted tricks like Balz' or Wyatt's probably aren't a great idea on Flyers. I won't be trying that experiment. Smile

Foil choice matters. I get that huge range out of the Hydra 4.0 on a Slingshot Infinity 76 or Moses 790.

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Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 4984
Location: East Bay

PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, jibing a no cam vs a 2 cam is no issue.
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Joined: 07 May 1998
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An additional thought: most of my SF Bay sailing is done in conditions over 18. True wind and, especially apparent wind, are greater than board speed (usually 16-19 mph for me). I usually have power in the sail, which becomes a lot of power in big gusts. That translates to immediate acceleration on the Flyer and more gradual, controlled acceleration on the Hydra. A sail that depowers automatically in the gusts is a big advantage; the Hydra's 3/4 batter does just that.

Handling excess power is easier on the Infinity 76/Moses 790 vs. the super-fast F4. But the F4 is much faster if you've got the skill to handle it.

At lower wind speeds, your board speed will be comparable or higher than true wind and very close to apparent wind, so you'll feel very little power, if any, power in the sail. In those conditions, the handling of Flyers and Hydras becomes more and more similar. I find the Hydras are easier to pump onto the foil in these low/underpowered conditions. A Balz Muller-level pumper probably won't notice.

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Joined: 13 Jun 2015
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For better or worse I have taken the SW Flyer 8.2 track. In the end, I could not decide and took the sail brand that I had great experience of using. Conditions are very marginal for me most of the time and my thinking was that I could not be making too serious an error which way I went - I'll let you know how it goes when I get out on it in a couple of weeks. It was a close decision because I like the look of the EZ Hydra I have to say - maybe next time.
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Joined: 28 Sep 1994
Posts: 1362

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Foil wings, sails and boards are sure to change and improve for windsurfing.
Considering were in the fist phase of this sport, the gear works really good...
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