View Full Version : light winds board/sail

14th March 2012, 08:04 AM
Hi guys,

I currently own an isonic 107 wich I use with sails from 6.2 to 8.3 and it works great for winds from 11 knots to 35 knots.

I looking for a new setup for the lighter winds, 6 to 15 knots? I was thinking maybe a Ultra Sonic 147, or a Formula board, or even a larger isonic?

And for sail, 9.5 or 10?

What would you advice?

I am light guy, 60Kg and I don't race, it's just for fun.

Thanks in advance for your help!


14th March 2012, 09:51 AM
you are a lite person at 60 kilos
butt to "sail" in 6 knots ??
i have a racy longboard and usually donut go unless winds are around 10 knots
so, in my book , you are covered :)

14th March 2012, 12:22 PM
Hi costap,
The UltraSonic 147 will get a lightweght planing in 8-9 knots with a good 9.5 m2 free race sail (more draft than a race sail for low wind power).
Below a fairly steady 8 knots, even at your light weight, you will not plane, so the only choices are some sort of longboard or the Serenity for smiply cruising around.
Hope this helps,

14th March 2012, 03:24 PM
Hi guys,
How about a Formula board? Would that give a bit more of early planing?
At my local place we have lots of days (specially in spring/summer time) of 8~12 knots, would be great to find a sail/board for these conditions.
Serenity really looks cool and I am sure is a great board for cruising but not sure if I could manage the storage...

15th March 2012, 02:06 AM
Hi Pedro,
Formula boards are a bit more technical to sail and require larger (longer/deeper) fins to perform well.
They will plane as early if not earlier than the US 147, but may not be as much fun as they are completely designed for upwind downwind racing.
The US 147 is a bit more slalom oriented....better for back and forth reaching.
Won't go upwind as well or as deep downwind, as the formula race board, but unless you are racing,
most sailors never need to go that high or that low, especially in marginal < 10 knot conditions.

15th March 2012, 07:24 AM
Hi Roger,
That helps, thanks. I think I will look to get a US 147 as a complement to my 107.
What sail size would you recommend for this board and my weight, the 9,5m2 (3 battens free race sail)?
Does it worth to go a bit bigger, 10m2 (4 battens full race sail)?

15th March 2012, 09:00 AM
Hi Pedro, I use the 147 from 11m down to 8.5m and that works perfectly. At your weight a 10m sail should be fine as a max size sail. Martin

15th March 2012, 09:49 AM
planing in 11 knots down to 8-9 knots on the US 147
gain of 2 to 3 knots and probably unsteady winds
also, add a large sail with cambers, high carbon mast and perhaps carbon boom
brand new - board, sail, mast, and boom has to be around or more than $3000

is it worth the investment ?? ROI ??

mcross 19 - how "easy" is it to plane in these really lite winds ??
how much pumping ??


15th March 2012, 01:53 PM

This is what I've tested with my 65 kg:

Lower wind range:

1) Formula + soft 70 cm fin + Code Red 11.0 m2 sail : start and sustain planing as of 6 knots.
2) Ultrasonic + 62 cm fin + Code Red/Refelx II 11.0 m2 sail : start and sustain planing as of 7 knots.
3) iSonic 127 + 55 cm fin + Refelx II 11.0 m2 sail : start and sustain planing as of 7 knots.

Upper wind range:

1) + 2) + 3) remain in full control up to 12 knots steady wind. With a narrower board (HS105) + 55 cm fin, it's still under control up to 15 knots peak gusts for my light weight.

The lower wind range between a North S-Type 9.5 and a Severne Code Red/Reflex11.0 m2 sail is quite significant but irrespective of the board + fin size combo : 2 knots later with a 9.5 m2 sail; 3 knots later with an 8.5 m2 sail as compared to that with an 11.0 m2 sail.

The Serenity is quite special as it doesn't plane as a true planing board, i.e., cannot climb over her own bow wave and accelerate further and further (topping speed is about 13.5 knots board speed, not higher). Wind range with an 11.0 sail and the stock stiff Drake 70 cm fin : 2-8 knots wind; board speed is twice that of wind speed. Check following movie of Serenity + 11 m2 sail on a fresh water lake in 3-5 knots wind (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V97ikRFQDdU) and in 5-7 knots wind (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjfmQcSXGRA).

You might think an 11.0 sail is too big for a 65 kg, but once sailing, it's no big differenece with say an 9.5 or a 10.5 m2 sail in the hands. As for my home spot where I usually have 2-7 knots almost 3 days a week and 7-12 knots almost 2 days a week between March and November, the addition of an 11.0 sail to my sail quiver has increased the number of planing session by a factor of 2. The addition of the Serenity has increased the number of gliding session by another factor of 2. With that quiver, I can go windsurfing when I have a free time slot, and not when there is wind. That's a huge improvement in quality TOW and efficient time management outside the office: no more wasted time sitting on the beach and waiting for a minimum wind limit to materialize. Sure, the Serenity, 550 cm mast, rolled 11.0 sail and long boom are large items to lugg and carry around, but it has been worth the trouble since 5 years: no pain, no gain.

Cheers !


15th March 2012, 02:17 PM
Different hull geometries for different wind range usage at gliding or planing state:


The Serenity nose pitch when gliding at her topping speed (460 cm long where the second half 230 cm are on the water) :


Compare that with the nose pitch of a true planing hull (227 cm long where only the last 50 cm touch water) :


Cheers !


15th March 2012, 04:49 PM
Hi Jean-Marc,

That's very useful information! Many thanks!



15th March 2012, 05:20 PM
Hi Joe, I can easily get planing in 8-9 knots of wind using my 147 and 11m overdrive with just a couple of pumps although I am using a 62cm fin and I do weigh 89Kgs.

I think that buying second hand you could get yourself a big sail mast and boom for around $1500 and it should still be in good condition for that sort of money.

15th March 2012, 07:29 PM
Another video showing how to foil ride the Serenity to reach her topping speed of ~12 knots in about 7 knots of wind gusts :


Cheers !


16th March 2012, 12:15 AM
you light weights make me sick :o

at 100+ kilos i would need a sheet of plywood to try and plane in 6 knots :-)
i am happy to get going with my MS TR-4 10-oh and Fanatic Cat longboard in 8 knots
planing does not happen until after 10 or 12 knots and then i can already go to the MS-2 8-oh.
By that time you lightweights are FLYING !!

i gotta lose weight !!!:( :(

and ...mcross you confirm what i said - if a used sail, mast, etc cost $1500 , with the new board - we are over $3000

16th March 2012, 10:53 AM

I just discover that table made by pfaffi:


2 points are very interesting to note in order to be able to start and sustain the planing as of 7 knots:

1) for a light weight rider of 65 kg, a fin lenght of 53 cm should suffice according to his theory. That is a correct estimation because what I've found to be a good fin lenght by trial and error is that I have used in the past a 54 cm fin with a 10.6 m2 sail (a 48 cm fin was too small for low wind range).

2) Pfaffi used a Formula HWR board, a 70 cm fin and a Severne Reflex 12 m2 sail to be able to start and sustain the planing as of 7 knots. He weights 92 kg.
If his theory holds true and according to his table, you should be able to do the same with a 75 cm fin for your 100 kg body weight.

However, the important point is that your Fanatic mega cat cannot hold a 75 cm fin. I'm sure that the new Formula 167 Wide can hold a 75 cm fin.

Cheers !


16th March 2012, 11:47 PM
merci Jean-Marc

does a 70 cm carbon centreboard count as a long fin ? :)

17th March 2012, 03:06 AM

I think the comparison is quite interesting.

Have you tried too a 380 or 377 raceboard? I understand it would require maybe 1 or 2 kts more that the Formula. I guess it would be controllable up to 15 kts similar to the HS05? Does this make sense?

17th March 2012, 08:48 PM
merci Jean-Marc

does a 70 cm carbon centreboard count as a long fin ? :)

I don't think so. I surmised that Pfaffi's table relates to planing in low wind with a with a wide planing board ŕ la Formula and what fin lenght can achieve that goal according to what body weight. His table is found for the developpement of his Formula fins.

I don't think his calculations are valid for a narrow raceboard. I suggest you ask him directly by email: pfaffi@pfaffi.at

Cheers !


17th March 2012, 09:35 PM

I think the comparison is quite interesting.

Have you tried too a 380 or 377 raceboard?

Yes, I tried a Phantom 380 carbon with a North S-Type 9.5 m2 sail in 2-7 knots winds. I was not able to start the planing as of 7 knots with that gear whereas I have no difficulties to achieve that with my HS105 + 55 cm fin + 11 m2 sail. I did not tried the Phantom 380 + 11 m2 sail yet, sorry. However, I'm able to start and sustain the planing as of 7 knots with a narrow board such as an Ace 309 + 54 cm fin + NP RX2 10.6 sail (all with active pumping).
So for my 65 kg light weight, a Formula or an Ultrasonic is basically useless because any board wider than 70 cm is plenty enough for my light weight to achieve my goal. Sure I can plane earlier at 6 knots with a Formula but the upper wind range is becoming too limited for my light weight with say an 8.2 m2 sail in 10-15 knots wind range, so it's not worth the investment. So far, my 10 years-old HS105 has been the best board for the 7-20 knots wind range and it will be replaced by an iSonic 117 wide or iSonic 128 in the future, depending on which wind range I want to emphasize the most with a 3 or 2 sails quiver, respectively.

I understand it would require maybe 1 or 2 kts more that the Formula. I guess it would be controllable up to 15 kts similar to the HS05? Does this make sense?

Again, I did not tried the Phantom 380 + 11 m2 sail yet, so I cannot comment on the lower/upper wind range for my 65 kg body weight. What is for sure is that the 75 kg owner of the Phantom 380 + 9.5 sail combo is planing much later than me on HS105 + 11 m2, something around 9/10 knots. However, he's way faster when gliding below 7 knots of wind while I'm struggling to keep schlogging like a slime.

My friend did not want to have 2 boards like me to cover the wind range 2-15 knots, so he chooses the Phantom + 9.5 and he's very happy with that. Below 2 knots, he even uses his Phantom as a SUP. Above 15 knots, he jumps on a medium slalom board + 7.8 m2 sail.

Another friend has a Serenity + 8.4 m2 sail and he used that combo for 2-12 knots wind range. He recently bought a Phantom because he wanted to be able to ride again in planing mode, which was strongly missing on his Serenity. He's very happy with his choice now on the Phantom.

In summ, there is no unique choice. All are valid options, depending on what you want to do and on where do you accept to make compromises.
- If you want a board to do both gliding and planing, get a Phantom.
- If you want only earliest planing, get a Formula or an Ultrasonic.
- If you want the ultimate performance in both gliding/planing world, get a Serenity and a wide planing board with a big sail.

Cheers !


17th March 2012, 09:52 PM

Here is an old post from Rémi making comparison between a Serenity, a Phantom Race or an Apollo, all rigged with an 11.0 m2 sail.


Results in speed ranking :

5th August 2007, 09:48 PM

Hi Jean-Marc,

In speed only :

In 5 knots : Serenity > Phantom Race > Apollo
In 7 knots : Apollo > Serenity > Phantom Race
In 10 Knots : Apollo > Phantom Race > Serenity

All the best"

Hope this helps to answer your question about Phantom/Formula earliest planing threshold with a big sail.

Cheers !


18th March 2012, 01:03 AM
Thanks again,

I also wonder about planing performance. Once planning is clearly established, maybe at 12 kts, is there a big speed difference between FW and Phantom?

19th March 2012, 06:02 PM
I can't comment because I don't have a FW myself and I've not ridden yet the Phantom in the upper wind range at full planing speed.

When doing drag racing between a slalom and a 2010 Phantom 380 Race carbon, however, I'm always faster on my HS105 than my pal on his Phantom + 9.5/7.8 m2 sail combo when we are fully lit (I'm overpowered at about 12 knots constant wind with my 11 m2 sail or at about 15/16 knots with my 8.2 sail). Keep in mind that I'm 10 kg lighter than my pal, that I always ride larger sails than most anybody else on my home spot and that I have a 10 years training experience with my board and sail quiver combo while my pal has only a 2 years training experience with his board + sail quiver combo. Also keep in mind that the Phantom 380 is a true raceboard, so it does take quite a lot of TOW to train and to acquire higher and highers skills with such a board, especially in the upper wind range. So, my home spot comparison should be taken with a large grain of salt to be fair and honest and may be Rémi can beat me with his superior raceboard skills.

I'll leave that to other experienced Phantom 380 + FW riders to tell us what their experience has been so far.

Cheers !


27th March 2012, 12:20 PM
My experience in Venice downtown (lagoon).
With the camless 8,5 Serenity up to about 12 knots, then the wideboard (Fanatic Sting Ray).
When (in spring) I carry in Venice the camless 9,5 the limit is about 9-10 knots.
Obviously over 15-16 knots I step on a 98 litres shortboard.
Imho the cheapest solution, avoinding pricy race sails.

28th April 2012, 05:13 PM
Hello Jean-Marc
I did what you did and to cover the no wind season which is very long in Boston, bought a used Serenity which is just like new and beautiful. I do have a 10 meter sail if I need it. Liked your pictures a lot.

The questions is I found 2 holes on the back part of the stern towards the end ( over the word "...windsurfing"), they look like they were drilled into the board. The previous owner does not know what the heck they are for?
They pobably cause no harm but I worry they could leak. Any idea why they are there?

3rd May 2012, 05:08 PM

Sorry for my late reply. I'm sure you will rock in Boston with your combo Serenity + 10 m2 sail.

As for the 2 holes above the Serenity *windsurfing* logo on *top* of the stern's deck, there are indeed 2 holes (at 55 cm and at 65.5 cm from the stern of my Serenity mk I wood) with plugs to let you screw in 2 screws and washers to attach the Starboard rolling trolley called the "Clipper Wheels" (http://2007.star-board.com/viewpage.php?page_id=11). These 2 holes are perfectly normal and watertight, no worries.

Cheers & enjoy your new ultralight wind weapon !


PS : for the Clipper Wheel description, please see : http://2006.star-board.com/products/accessories.asp

3rd May 2012, 08:55 PM
hi pedro,

formula is very bad in reaching, so ultraSonic is much bigger fun for freeride. similar planningability and US much more comfortable. as roger said, a good freerace sail gives you better low end power than a top race sail.

so the best combo for your weight what i would prefer for you to catch the best lowend of your gear is ultraSonic/Severne Overdrive 9,5.


4th May 2012, 01:03 AM
At your weight, I would suggest that you can go just as fast (if not faster) on a 7.5-8.5m2 rig which will be sooooooo much easier for you to handle vs the 10.0 m2.
I did alot of "serenity sailing" a few years ago and found that smaller rigs get you going and keep you
going really well.

4th May 2012, 07:30 PM

I also agree with Roger. For your 162 cm x 54 kg, a full-on 10 m2 racing sail will be quite heavy to handle. Such a big sail will be a real nightmare upon uphauling, especially when the wide luff is full of water.

Now, choosing a big sail depends on what wind range and what gear to use :

1) to match your Serenity quite nicely, I would suggest you to consider the Severne Raceboard 8.5 m2 sail. This sail is ultra-light, has only 3 cambers in a narrow luff pocket, rigs on a 490 cm mast. The big advantage is that you can fine tune the sail for non-planing conditions very efficiently : tight leech and a deep draft forward to get maximum power in light winds. Should the wind increase significantly, you can fine tune the sail for high wind : floppy leech and a flatter draft forward.

Another alternative would be a Raceboard 9.5 m2 sail, lighter and more powerfull in non-planing conditions than your Sailworks Retro 10 m2 that you got in 2007 (http://www.star-board.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1762)

2) if you want a sail to match your Serenity in non-planing conditions + another wide planing board when wind is stronger, better consider an Overdrive 8.5 or 9.5 m2. Howerver, I fear that an Overdrive 9.5 m2 is quite big and heavy for your body IMHO and might weight more than your current Sailworks Retro 10 m2 (5.4 kg in 2007 according to specs: http://sailworks.com/previous/2007_Specs.cfm#anchorretro05).

3) if you want a wide planing board to be able to start and sustain the planing as early as possible (7-9 knots), I'm pretty sure you don't need a Formula + 10 m2 sail. For ultra-light weight rider like you, I've found that too wide a board doesn't bring any advantages in term of super early planing. Something 70-75 cm wide + 8.5-9.0 sail is plenty enough for example IMHO.

What are your gear other than the Serenity? Boards (still with Mistral Malibu and Flow?) and sail size (still 6.5/7.5/8.5/10 m2) and model (still Sailworks Retro) ?

Cheers !