> I am a beginner (one time windsurfer, had to walk back from
> the corner of a lake!) who needs to know what to look
> for in an inexpensive used windsurfer.
This subject does not come up frequently in this group. There is not a
regularly posted FAQ and the information that is available through FTP
is mostly about sailing sites and advanced stuff. I get the impression
that the typical poster to this group feels that $800 boards and $300
sails are bargain prices.
Since I was recently a beginner and still have most of my beginner
equipment, I would like to make an attempt to answer your request.
I have less than $1500 invested in my equipment including 3 boards,
9 sails, wetsuit, roof rack and other assorted stuff, so at least I
might qualify as someone who pays attention to "inexpensive".
I've watched prices of used equipment around the San Francisco Bay
Area and it seems that a good price for a complete beginner board
that is 5 or more years old is around $200. This is usually a 12
foot board with retractable centerboard that weighs around 40 pounds
and includes mast, boom and sail. The sail is typically around 5.5
Make sure the board is complete, with no broken parts. It is hard
enough to find replacement parts for more recent equipment in an
area with lots of windsurf shops. It is very difficult to find
parts for old equipment. I've had to fabricate a few things for
two of my older boards.
Look for cracks in the board or other damage. You don't want to get
a board that lets water in. Simple scrapes can be easily repaired.
I would avoid boards that are old enough that the centerboard does
not retract into the board or that attach the mast base by expanding
a piece of ***. Such boards are usually too old to get parts for
or to use newer sails with.
Check that the fin is not damaged. I don't know the names of the
different fin mounting systems, but it is a good idea to look for a
board that uses a method that is still in use today so that you can
get replacement fins. All of my boards use the type with a pin at
the back of the fin and one***that holds the front in place.
(Is this a Tuttle fin box?)
Clamp-on booms are significantly better than tie-on booms.
Adjustable-length booms are generally better than fixed length long
booms. If you're buying older equipment, you can add a clamp-on
head to many round booms. I changed two sets of O'Brien booms to
use a Chinook clamp on head for $25.00 each. It made rigging
faster and eliminated the "floppy boom" problem. With tie-on booms
I often had to go back and tighten it up again after sailing for a
Check that the mast has an end-cap so that it doesn't let water in
at the top. Check for mast damage.
Make sure the sail is not ripped or otherwise damaged and watch out
for transparent sections that are scratched so badly that you can't
see through them.
All modern sails have multiple battens to help keep the shape.
O'Brien beginner boards still come with a 5.4 sail with one batten
at the top. Sails without battens are easier for beginners to use
because you don't have to worry about popping the battens to the
correct side of the mast when you turn around. Sails with battens
are easier to use when you are moving.
It's a definite plus if you can get both a big sail and a small sail
with the board, although once you get really hooked, you'll end up
with a bunch of sails anyway. :-)
I would appreciate it if those more knowledgeable than me would
correct any misleading information in the above, or elaborate an any
areas where I didn't provide enough information.
A "progressing intermediate" according to Windsurfing Magazine.