View Full Version : Highwind / Lightwind definitions

19th February 2007, 03:11 AM

About "Highwind" and "Lightwind" definitions as used in 2006 Starboard catalog (see image below):


What did they mean with "High" and "Light" ? In other words, what are wind speeds "windows" for both definitions ?

(For example: Light = from xx to yy ; High = from yy to kk).

- Expander.

P.S. By the way: download of 2007 Catalog is not possible due a bad (broken) link (please, check page http://www.star-board.com/infusions/pro_download_panel/download.php?did=37).

19th February 2007, 04:31 AM
While it's possible to surmise this based on personal experience, Expander has raised a very pertinent point. For the potential customer, it allows some categorization strategy that is meaningful. Of course, there is this big guy small guy thing, but if nonimal specifications are used and so noted (ie: the 75kg sailor), most would have some reasonable bearing to make decisions.

mark h
19th February 2007, 05:58 AM
I guess that every one has there own idea of what actually defines "high winds" or "light winds". Maybe in simple terms, force six and above is the start of high winds and force 5 or less is light winds. Personal categorization could be down to what the individual classes as there high wind/light wind gear. A heavy WS might class a 5.5m/90litre board as high wind equipment, a light weight WS may have a 4.5m/75litre board as there high wind kit, so once both heavy & light WS can get it going, they would maybe class this as high wind sailing. By the same token, Guys/girls that use proper formula gear would not class 7.5m as a light wind sail, but I know plenty of WS who's largest sail is a 7.5m and they would class it as a light wind sail. For me, Starboards use of high & light winds is a way to describe the boards ability to handle the rougher conditions as the wind picks up. Would be interesting to here what others think.


19th February 2007, 02:02 PM
I think those definitions are relative, and as such they may result very difficult to describe. Other factors that may get in the way are wind consistency (gusty/patchy 15 knots will require a more powerful sail/board combo than constant 15 knots), water state (heavy chop vs. flat water or long waves) and air "thickness" (15 knots in Maui are probably much different from 15 knots in Silvaplana).
Light wind or high wind are just rough guidances and probably it is better to leave them as they are.

19th February 2007, 02:09 PM

mark h wrote:...maybe in simple terms, force six and above is the start of high winds and force 5 or less is light winds...


So assuming Force FIVE = [from 17 to 21 knots] and Force SIX = [from 22 to 27 knots], a first interpretation could be:

LIGHTWIND = [from 0 to 21 knots] ; HIGHWIND = [from 22 knots to above wind speeds].

Is it correct ?

- Exp.

20th February 2007, 12:41 AM
Yeah, the high / light definition seems strange to me, because I think of light wind as non-planing conditions.

For me it's like this:
0-10 kts = light wind, usually no planing
10-15 kts = moderate wind, planing on big gear
15+ kts = high wind, planing on small gear

That's for freeride. Maybe for slalom it's different, like 12-20 kts is light and 20+ kts is high.

20th February 2007, 02:14 AM

James wrote:...Yeah, the high / light definition seems strange to me... (...) That's for freeride. Maybe for slalom it's different, like 12-20 kts is light and 20+ kts is high...

Hi James,

Starboard wind classification shown in 2006 Catalog sounds really strange...

In my opinion, use of a further class like "Midwind" should have been more appropriate to describe all "intermediate" wind conditions; instead, I think their Lighwind definition is really too wide and can lead to several misinterpretations (and, maybe, to a wrong board choice).

Let's take, for example, this table (extract from 2006 Catalog) :


Question is: referring to S-Type 126 an 137 (as everybody knows, developed for lighter winds), why did both boards receive NO SCORE in Lightwind Freeride field, while they have received a good rating (2 or 3 points) in Lightwind Slalom Racing table row ?

Interesting to know if same board evaluation system has been further used in 2007 Catalog but, as already highlighted above, at present is not possible to download it...

- Expander.

Del Carpenter
20th February 2007, 09:13 AM
I wish everyone would always use numbers and not words to describe wind strength. "Light wind" does not mean the same thing to wave sailors as it does to board sailors. 8-10 knots is understood whether a sailor is 60kg or 100kg, on a Start or an Acid.

20th February 2007, 10:21 AM
In my opinion, both James and Del Carpenter raise interesting concerns. From my perspective, I see things similarly as James, in that I view higher winds starting in the 15-18 knot average range. Of course, some might view high winds in the 25+ knot range, and I really can't disagree. Yet much is grounded in the locale and what's considered normal average conditions.

Overall, I like to consider the leverage angle where somewhat lighter, but consistent average winds in the 15-18 knot range allows one to take advantage of smaller sails. Wave sailors are usually so inclined. This is where Del's point can mix things up a bit. In talking about light or high winds, a well understood guide or perspective makes real good sense, because most everybody can interpret and appreciate average ranges expressed in knots. Much more is communicated this way rather than referring to simply light or high wind conditions.

Lastly, Expander's last point of "mid range wind" is well worth note too, since the real world is always affecting our game. From my experience, there is usually a certain degree of maturation and change to the wind during the day. This includes wind strength and direction, but I believe that there in some real value in weighting the average mid range in the picture. What is "mid range"? That's debatable of course, but using knot averages, it could be easily defined.

20th February 2007, 12:38 PM
Like Expander I simply go by the Beaufort Scale. It is uncanny how this pans out:
1-3 Light winds (under 10knots): dont bother; hybernation mode
4 Moderate (11-16knots): twinge of interest; wish for bigger board
5 Fresh (17-21): sail until I drop
6 Strong (22-27 knots) fun for a bit; wish for smaller board
7 Near Gale (28-33 knots); Hmmm

Ian Fox
20th February 2007, 03:40 PM
Expander presents a very detailed picture of the problem ! ;)

Actually, it's correct the ST126 and ST137 should score one or 2 "points" for "lightwind freeride" when considered that way..

"Mid wind" (or similar) catergory would help resolve that.

The chart is (was) a very macro level (covering "beginner" level thru to "extreme wave" in just a few lines..), so the intention was more general intro/explanation rather than the more specific selection detail contained on the individual pages etc..

But yeah, point(s) well made !

Cheers ~ ian

20th February 2007, 04:17 PM

Hi Ian,

in my opinion, the chart is (was) a really remarkable effort in summarizing and comparing boards performances and (in theory) a very good system to guide all users (from beginners to experts) in board selection.

But, as already said, it should be improved providing for a further wind category, at least; and (perhaps) it should compare boards following a "group principle" instead of grouping all boards together (for example, light-wind boards should be compared only with themselves...).

I hope Starboard doesn't quit this useful comparison system in future.

- Exp.

20th February 2007, 04:36 PM

IMvvvHO the chart was useful just the way it was. A rough guidance for board selection. Of course, one could add as much detail as he wants, but inevitably he will be adding complexity at the same time.
So, I'd leave the chart as it is (only I suspect that in quite a few cases a "consistent/inconsistent wind" guide would be even more useful than the "light/strong wind" one). Rather, I would add detail in the specific pages.

Some time ago I suggested, at least for specialistic boards, to specify in which conditions a board is first choice, and what a given board is best at.