> I've been windsurfing (actually, you hot-shots might call it windwading)
> for about a year now and was wondering if some of my problems might
> be due to low-end equipment.
> My biggest source of confusion/consternation is that often the wind
> will be blowing OK (at Shoreline Park in Mountain View, CA) and folks
> will be whizzing past me but I'm just bobbing along in the water at
> a ridiculously slow pace, nowhere near planing. I generally use my
> 1986 Mistral Tarifa (10' 10" transition board, 25 lbs) with an old '86 Mistral
> 6.0 3 cambered sail, a 5.0 Neil Pryde Dynamic sail (no cambers) or my new 6.4
> Gastra Power Speed sail (2 cambers). I seem to have the same problem with
> all three. (I weigh 160 lbs.) I try to use my harness lines as much as
> I can.
This will doubtless be soley due to technique. You really can sail almost
any old board/sail/mast/boom quite fast with good technique, and
sail the top of the line equipment slowly with bad technique.
there is a video out called "Beyond the Barrier" (from memory) that really
explains quite a lot about technique for speed, gybes, ...
Also, some of the mags go into this aspect quite a lot. I would try
studying the stance and sail position, ... to see what you can achieve.
Perhaps ask someone who seem to sail well, to look at your style.
As for board, I only sail small boards and don't know a lot about production
boards, but I would be surprised if you would get a Tarifa going as fast
as the custom slalom boys. The tarifa has its place, but probably not on
a flat out reach against the lighter customs.
What do others think?
> I've noticed that you can spend about as much as you want for any kind of
> sail. Some of those popular WindWing jobs seem to go for $600. Would
> spending that kind of money help? Maybe I need a new board. I bought
> a very beat up '86 9' 4" Seatrend that weighs 30 lbs which I'm just now
> starting to sail with. Perhaps I should rent a complete deluxe rig
> and see if it makes a difference.
As I say, you can sail slowly with the best gear, but certainly your gear
may be letting you down a bit, especially if it is obviously blown out.
The newer sails mainly just have better controllablity (mainly). The
designs provide for control for gusts (heads rotate) and so on.
The sails you describe should really be adequate for quite
As for boards, I believe that an 8'9" - 9' slalom would probably be
a good choice at your stage, but then again I have never seen you sail.
Personally I sail a 7'10" wave board, and I certainly wouldn't suggest that.
Fibreglass boards aren't really that fragile (if they are made well).
Ask you local W/S shop for advice here, and scour the beaches to ascertain
what people use. In Melbourne (Australia) we have several board manufacturers,
and personally I believe taht a local manufacturer (Trigger Brothers) really
makes about the perfect type of boards. I have had my last board for over
3 years through 60knt winds, 7metre surf and the works. I sail quite a lot.
> Another thing I'm confused about is masts. Everyone seems to want the
> carbon jobs. Is it because they flex more than aluminum masts? They
> aren't much lighter and are a whole lot more expensive and fragile.
> I bought a used-but-never-used carbon mast from Vela but it's only
> 15' 1" and therefore only long enough for my 5.0 (and just barely) with
> my mast extension fully extended.
Masts should be matched to sails (or vice versa). The newer sails require
stiffness characteristics that you won't get with old, epoxy masts (generally).
It is easy to see on the beach if the mast is inadequate. The rigged
sail should have enough fullness and a nice set, and should have awfull
lines and ridges when tensioned. Similarly during gusts, the sail shouldn't
get horrible horizontal lines from the clew area to the mast. If it does,
the mast is probably too flexible.
Setting sails really takes quite some skill (initially, until you have
got it down pat).
I would really recommend "Beyond the barrier" which explains all this.
Also, W/Surfers love talking/looking and explaining. Try asking
some of the good sailors in your area.
> When I junk my Seatrend, what should I get for a shortboard? I've
> decided against fiberglass jobs because everyone says they don't hold
> up (especially with a klutz like me). Everyone seems to like
> Mistral's Screamer but I've heard people say they hate the
> Shredder. I've heard a lot of good things about the Bic Astro Rock
> except one fellow who says they're not so hot if you're
> a really good windsurfer. Since I'm lousy (I was the remedial student
> in my beginner class) perhaps this is a good choice for me.
I believe that the Astro rock will be about as fragile as a good
fibreglass job, and certainly more expensive. However I believe that they are
quite a good board. Several of my friends have them. The problem with this
type of board is that they aren't as repairable as the glass boards. You
can do an awful amount of damage to a fibreglass custom and get it almost
> Thanks for "listening"; any replies would be appreciated.
> George Skillman
> NEC America
> George Skillman (408) 433-2921
> NEC America
Telecom Research Laboratories Voice: +61 3 541 6179
Melbourne, AUSTRALIA Fax: +61 3 543 8863