View Full Version : From an FType owner: in really low winds a longboard is the way to go!

15th July 2007, 03:27 AM
Hey there Starboarders,

Today it was a really, really light day over here, you know, sometimes even the sailing boats would stop. But I couldn't just stay at home and came over to the spot with my FT 148 and 10m NS Daytona.
When I saw how hopeless it looks like, I thought - let's rent an old-school longboard and see what's it like. So I got BIC Calypso 320, rigged my super-cool Daytona smiley and in a few minutes I was literally BLASTING.

Every gust was just fun. The board didn't want to stop, and for the first time I was faster than many sailng boats when non-plannning.
Jibes were kind of challenge, but all my skills I got with FT somehow transfered to the longboard (or so I think). Also, for the first time when non planning I had to actually go really downwind when I was coming back - the board was just so good in going upwind.
Point and go + amazing, slick sensation of speed with every little gust, no pumping, just pure fun. In stronger gusts it would semi-plane, I wonder what it feels like when the wind gets stronger, but I'm guessing the transformation is way more gentle, not like on/off with my F-type.

Anyway, it was fun and I can't wait to try it again tomorrow.

P.S. The guy wants $200 for it....

15th July 2007, 06:00 AM
Not to question your experience/enjoyment, but in really really light winds try a div2 board or a Serenity. It will run circles around any longboard in displacement mode.

15th July 2007, 05:25 PM
Too bad nobody ever made any comparative data: Same sail, same light wind, 3 different boards 1)formula 2)old style longboard like the phantom race and 3) serenety just to see what the speed difference is expressed in numbers. Then you mesure in different windspeed, always using the same sailsize so we can convince everyone why longboards are making a comeback

15th July 2007, 05:41 PM
In really low winds, the way to go is perhaps to do something else than windsurfing? ;)

15th July 2007, 07:38 PM
Maybe Viking is right (that's what I've been doing for the last few years). However, if you do want to sail light winds, it seems that equipment choice is increasing (again).
approximately 20 years ago, we've compared longboard (Mistral Imco & Equipe, F2 Lightning, Fanatic Megacat, etc) performance to Div2 boards (such as Olympic Lechner & some unknown brands). Inland lakes, very light & gusty winds, lots of sailors included. Although there is no hard data from these sessions (exact numbers, wind/board speeds, gps, etc), it was simply NO CONTEST in displacement sailing.
I welcome the comeback of the longboards, I think it's good for the sport and maybe it will attract more people. They are versatile enough for both displacement and planing mode, and cover huge wind range (as opposed to most shortboards today). But if you really want to sail in 2-7 knots as efficiently as possible (and even have fun), there are better choices. In these conditions only, of the 3 choices you suggest, I'd bet everything I've got on the Serenity.

15th July 2007, 10:26 PM
In these conditions only, of the 3 choices you suggest, I'd bet everything I've got on the Serenity.
Same, without hesitation. But then you go into a new windrange: 7-12 knots , where i think planning longboards will beat the serenity ... but as you say, no data to confirm. Would be cool though. + nice idea if anyone wants to do some research rather then 'just surf' though that more fun :p
Viking: no all ppl have the opportunity to surf in propper conditions very often, so yeah, in really light winds i don't go in (up to 8 knots) but once i have 8 knots or so i take out my longboard and 7.6 (i'd take a bigger sail but i don't have one) and start surfing on that one. And i get 10 knot conditions often enough to know why longboards are still with us. I can only get my Go going (lol) in 12 knots or so (again with 7.6) and even then the longboard is faster. It takes 14 knots for the go to beat the longboard, luckily i get those conditions enough to satisfy my planning needs.

16th July 2007, 06:06 AM
Hey Crazychemical! I may be in a good position to answer some of your questions comparing speed of old longboards vs. formula boards. I've been going to about 20-25 races a year in which there are often both formula and old longboards, and NO wind minimums. These races are normally triangles or upwind/downwind.

We got to the point that we could pretty much tell how people were going to finish when the courses were announced at the skippers meeting. The top sailors were on formula boards with 12's and old IMCO's with 7.4's. At about 10 or 11 knots, the top formula guys would win. Below 9, the longboards would win. In the 9-11 range, it would be course dependent. A reachy course would favor the formula guys, windward/leeward would favor the IMCO's.

Of course, the Equipe II is much faster, but our top longboarders don't race them. Also, no comparisons were done with longboards using sails bigger than 7.4 because, well, none of the sailmakers have been making sails that work in non-planing conditions. When a Formula board crossed the finish line at the same time as a longboard, everyone recognized that the person on the formula board probably had more fun because their speed through the water was much higher.

The formula guys didn't cope with the "no wind minimum rule" very well, since no matter how good they were, sometimes they just couldn't make it around the course. The longboards never had that problem. We also observed that there was a relatively low percentage of formula racers that could get around courses in 8-11 knots. The manufacturers' claims and magazine article claims of how much wind it takes seem to be very exagerrated except for the top guys. The longboarders have won many a beer bet from average formula sailors having unrealistic expectations about how much wind they needed.

16th July 2007, 07:26 AM
I agree completely with your findings. Yes the hype about Formula (wrt to min wind strength) led many sailors to a false belief they'll plane in anything (I'm guilty of that myself ;)). Yes I have measured wind speeds of 5-6 knots (in the lulls) when Formula guys were on the plane, but .... there's a difference between barely planing and fully powered/going around a race course.

Wrt to mixed classes racing format, I've seen a race where Div2 boards were allowed alongside longboards, in winds averaging much less than 10 knots. Needles to say, a guy on a Lechner obliterated everyone, all better sailors than him.