View Full Version : Board/sail combo for gusty flat water sailing
12th March 2007, 04:50 AM
Most of my sailing is done in 8 to 12 knots of wind on a small saltwater river on the coast of Georgia. In these light airs (typically in summer), I use a formula board and a Maui Sails MS2 (10.0 meters).
In spring and fall, however, we tend to get northeasters with very gusty winds, made more so by the trees on the shoreline causing eddies of wind. Typically these fronts have winds of 15 to 25 winds, and these conditions are too much for my formula board (Kevin Pritchard I am not).
3 or 4 years ago, I bought a Hypersonic 105, thinking that this would work well for those conditions, but I found that the Hypersonic was too small for these very gusty, on and off again types of wind that I typically get with these fronts. I could never get planing consistently. Just when I was loaded up, on a plane, and in the straps, the wind would die, and I would be flat on by back, waterstarting again.
What board/sail combination would you recommend for these combinations? I'm 44 years old, 75kg, with advanced (but not expert) skills and 30 years of experience. Most of my sailing is BAF, but I do need a board with a large enough fin to drive upwind because the tides are strong enough here that if the wind and tide are the same direction, it can be difficult to get back home.
12th March 2007, 10:08 AM
Your wind conditions of 15-25 on flat water with a current is exactly the same as I sail in. I'm typically 76-80 kg and have found no better board than a Hypersonic 111. From all reports the H111 was far superior than the 105. Anyway what I can say is that with lots of fine tuning you could certainly have a 1 board solution and go from 8-25 knots. An alternative to this board would be a 122 Isonic. In 15-25 I would suggest a good race or freerace sail on either board.
Heres what i typically Use
8.5 / H111 / 48cm fin / 8-15 knots ish
8.5 / H111 / 41cm fin / 13-18 knots ish
6.5 / H111 / 34cm fin / 15-25 knots
6.5 / H111 / 31cm fin / 20-25 knots
Offcourse if you require a little more bottom end, go 51cm and or 9.0m, on the other hand if you have some solid 20 -25 knot days, grab a 5.8. But these 2 sail sizes seem to cover most of it. Just change fins to increase your range. The main thing to realise with gusty conditions is that usually nothing feels right, but of all the boards i have sailed the H111 is as good as it gets.
12th March 2007, 10:32 AM
At 75 kg, I pretty much agree with Maximus that you want a 110-130 L board; bigger won't be that much of a penalty if it's never more than small chop. I never rode a HS, but the size range is right. I also would use a similar size sail - 8.5-9.0 in hard-to-plane conditions; going down to a 6.5 (2 meter interval not a problem from an 8.5 size).
12th March 2007, 02:22 PM
I owned both an HS 105 and a 111. I can confirm that the 111 was overall superior and better from most points of view, but I also reckon that both showed the same kind of behaviour. The HS is actually extremely fast and efficient and probably one of the best possible boards to deal with wind holes (when planing); nevertheless, IMvvvHO it is not a good board for on/off conditions. Point is that the elaborated hull, while extremely efficient once one is going and planing, also shows a lot of drag in pre-planing conditions. This needs to be addressed either with specific planing technique, or with heavy pumping. In both cases one can easily get tired. My guess is that a board with a more traditional hull, with usual slight concaves and a flat(tish) bottom, would make things much easier. Probably an iS would be OK.
I would also suggest not to put an overly big fin under it. In fact big fins, while being more efficient going upwind in lighter winds, also add drag when starting to plane. Smaller fins may require to head for downwind a bit more when starting to plane, but will speed up quicker and ask less of one's resistance in continuated on/off conditions.
12th March 2007, 08:56 PM
I agree with the last poster - the HS is not so good in gusty conditions. Well, that is to say, it is good when its planing because it will keep going for some time in the lulls, but it is harder to get onto the plane is short gusts.
I would suggest you look at the 2007 board range and I think you could do worse than going for an iSonic 122. It will plane earlier than the HS, doesn't get stuck on short chop (less technical to sail) and because its a slalom board will take the heavy gusts with ease.
I disagree on the fin choice as I think its overplayed. In the light gusts you need something to push against and the earlier you can do this the earlier you will plane. It does add a little drag, but since (I guess) you are not a pro-sailor I don't think this matters too much. Don't get caught up in the 'whole smaller is better' idea that too many people peddle on these sites. What is better will always be what works in the conditions presented to you, plus the iSonic comes with two fins anyway so you'll always be a winner
12th March 2007, 10:55 PM
I suggested a "not overly big fin", not a "small fin". In other terms, I don't think a huge fin is "the" solution for easy early planing. At least, this is my experience: board, fin and sail must to be in tune between each other; pushing one of the factors too far off balance respect the others results anyhow in worse performances.
Of course, to have something to push against facilitates planing; but on the other hand to have something to push very hard against many many times in "stop/go" conditions will fatigue the sailor earlier and in the end give him troubles in getting to plane.
13th March 2007, 01:20 AM
Not to really counter the many useful comments offered above, I think that it's important to recognize different personalities and preferences when making decisions of this nature. Yet, without a doubt, I have to agree wholeheartedly with geo regarding the need for balance and tune between the board, fin and sail. Still, with that said, I think that what might ideal for one person wouldn't necessarily be the same for another, even if they might be in the same general size range.
I know from experience that I like somewhat bigger fins, especially if I'm working with very light winds. If stronger currents come into play, the path kind of goes in two directions. If the wind and current are opposite of each other, my call is the smaller fin size. Conversely, if the wind and current are moving in the same direction, my call is the larger fin size.
One thing I think is important to recognize is that the formula for absolute top speed can sometimes have different attributes, especially if control factors become an issue. In a fair amount of wind, the length of the fetch can have a massive affect on the water state. In my local conditions, the solid 20-25 knots winds that Maximus refers to, I wouldn't go any bigger than a 5.0 sail, and I wouldn't even consider a 111 liter board because the sea state would make things too crazy. Yet, on a lake or protected venue with a relatively short fetch, it's a whole different ballgame.
When considering Foulweather Jack's predicament, what kind and size of board would be best? Given fairly flat conditions, I think a slalom board would an excellent choice due to the straighter/quicker rockerline. The real question would be how much volume would be appropriate. Although it would be quite possible to go up to 122 liters, I would tend to recommend something in the 101-111 liter range. With gusty conditions, I think the scale tips towards the 111. Still plenty of float for a 75kg sailor and a suitable platform for sails in the 5.8-9.0 range.
13th March 2007, 03:48 PM
Sorry to have to disagree again, but I do so on the basis of having a iSonic 111
The iSonics are not as early planing as other slalom boards. For instance, the Fanatic Falcon gets going much earlier and the F2 SX a little earlier. The iSonics, need a little bit of power to get going but really come into their own at the top end. In other words it will be more controllable in higher winds.
Having tried the Fanatic Falcon 131 and 111 against the SB iSonic 133 and 111 I KNOW this to be true. Both Falcons got going earlier, both StarBoards could be kept on the water much longer. My choice for the StarBoards was based on this, and my choice for a 133 (over a 122) was based on the ability to stick it down on the water in heavier winds.
For foulwater jack, the choice of the iS111 would IMHO be wrong. You will end up floundering a lot of the time and a slalom board is not a pleasure to schlog around on - in those conditions its uncomfortable and incredibly frustrating. In addition, whatever anyone says, sticking a 9m on the iS111 is more than possible, but that doesn't mean you should do it more than you need to. In marginal (non planing) conditions you will never have experienced something quite so uncomfortable, and because the iS (like many slalom boards) has no volume in the nose at all (it sinks as soon as you look at it) uphauling anything on it is quite a chore.
In other words, go for the 122! Time on the water is what we need, and time planing is the alhambra of windsurfing. There is no doubt you will do more of this on the iS122 than you will on the 111. In heavier winds you can stick a smaller fin on it and manage to keep it on the water. It will take a 9m sail much easier than the 111 and what's more you will be able to comfortably uphaul it should you need to.
14th March 2007, 12:35 AM
A note about the sail...more downhaul! If you're getting pounded by gusts, having whatever sail you're using rigged with more downhaul should help you convert those gusts into speed as opposed to abuse. All other things being equal in "on-off" conditions, I prefer to rig a little larger, and then rig that sail for overpowered sailing. Adjust the outhaul accordingly.
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