View Full Version : Help for a beginner

12th September 2007, 06:46 AM
Hello all....I'm new to the forum and to the sport. I've only windsurfed once about a decade ago in Jamaica. I really didn't understand sailing theory at that time and I almost made it to Cuba (thanks to my rescuers):) In any event I have now become a sailor and really want to start windsurfing. I need help choosing appropriate equipment however. I want a progressive board that won't be outgrown too quickly and I was considering the GO line. I weigh 90 KG so I was thinking a 170 would be most appropriate although I would like to hear what you all think.
A local store has the following special:

Go Deluxe Package $2799 Canadian

* Starboard Go
* Sailworks Retro 6.0m Sail
* Sailworks Joystick 430 Mast (75% carbon)
* Chinook Extension
* Chinook Mast Base
* Chinook Boom
* Chinook Uphaul
* Adjustable Harness Lines

Do you think that the equipment is good stuff that I will enjoy cutting my teeth on and beyond? I'm not so much interested in the price as the equipment in the package.
Thanks for the advice.:D
Best wishes

12th September 2007, 07:05 AM
Hi Randy,
The equipment is all very good quality. Not sure of the exchange rate ($US-$CAN) so I'm not sure how good a value you would be getting.
Might be good to head down to where ever you think you will be sailing the most and see if a 6.0 m2 Retro is going to be enough sail for a fellow your size.
The GO 170 will be good for your size, but you may either want to do some lessons on a Start or other board with a center board, or purchase the optional side fins for your first few times out on the water.
With no centerboard, and no experience, plus maybe some current to deal with (in a river perhaps) you could become very discouraged as you get "downwinded".
Get a few lessons to get you to the point that you can stay upwind on a board with a centerboard, and the transition to the GO would be pretty easy.
Hope this helps,

12th September 2007, 09:33 AM
Hi Roger....thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my question. I do plan on taking lessons but that will have to wait until next summer. Thanks as well for the suggestion on upwind sailing. I am going to likely get the optional side fins to help make things a bit easier for sailing windward. Being downwinded is exactly what happened to me in Jamaica, but at that time I really know nothing about tacking and jibing (ie sailing).
As for sail size, what do think would be reasonable??? I'll likely be doing most of my learning on lakes ( less than 1 ft chop to start) with winds 10-15 knots.
Thanks again for your reply
BTW: I will cross post on school board as per your suggestion. Hopefully there are those there that have something to add.

13th September 2007, 01:12 AM
Hi RandyP,

Roger brought up a good point about sail size, as I was think that in the long run you're going to be more versatile on a larger sail, like maybe a 7.5 or 8.0. However, while you're starting out, a 6.0 would be much easier to develop the basic sail handling skills. The real downside with the 6.0 is that it's quite doubtful that you would able to plane in the 10-15 knot range. Yet, for your size, a 6.0 would ultimately be a good sail in stronger wind.

The thing that you'll find out sooner or later is that one usually needs more than a single sail to get the most out of the sport. Because of this, it's quite important to plan your procurement so that the equipment you buy will cover a few bases and offer some flexibility overall. Really, this is most critical regarding your mast and boom. While you may elect to think about adding sails at a later date, it would be a good idea investigate what your future options might be. This is fairly straight forward, as sail specifications (luff and boom lengths) are readily available online, and it's very likely that your retailer can assist you in this so that you understand your potential. Also, be sure to note the adjustable range of the boom, and keep in mind that most booms, particularly aluminum ones, get more questionable (less stiff) when extended to the extreme, thereby allowing the draft in the sail to move around too much and creating instability.

If you can swing it up front, I would recommend buying two sails, like the 6.0 and a 7.5 or 8.0. Another thing I think it's wise to consider is whether the 6.0 would have an adjustable top allowing for the use of a longer mast. To support the larger sail, it's very likely that a 460cm mast will be needed, and it would be a better value overall than a 430. The cost variance between the two sizes is minimal. Being a heavier sailor, I don't think that the larger mast will be a liability, and it makes much more sense than trying to make a 430cm mast work in a 7.5 or larger sail.

13th September 2007, 04:07 AM
Hi again RandyP,

I did some checking for you regarding some of the recommendations I made above, and the outcome is quite favorable. It appears that the Sailworks Retro 6.0 has an open top, thereby offering an adjustable top configuration. Also, the 6.0 has a 458cm luff, meaning the extension out the top is only 2cm, which is quite viable without really changing the intended character of the sail. Furthermore, the 460cm Joystick mast has been identified as a alternate mast choice. On top of that, the 460cm Joystick is shown as the ideal mast for the 7.5, or an alternate mast for the 8.0 Retros.

With respect to Chinook booms, the aluminum ones come in different length ranges for the same price, so getting the optimum boom sizing is a relative no brainer.

In the long run you should be able to virtually retain the same price overall at your retailer with the larger mast and the appropriate length Chinook boom, especially since you aren't going with any different brand mix than featured.

I guess the only real bump in the road is whether you invest the extra in the 7.5 or 8.0 Retro sail. I'd invest the extra ($400-475 USD) for the bigger sail too, and you'll be comfortably styling for next season.

13th September 2007, 07:35 AM
Wow Steve...thanks a million for the advice and for your research! You answered a question that I had but was hesitant to ask just yet concerning mast length. If a 460 cm is more flexible then I suppose it would make more sense to buy that one. Are there any sails that won't fit that mast, and if so, do mast extensions correct the problem? Also, I kind of figured that more than one sail would be needed. What do you think about a 6.0 and an 8.0 or perhaps a 6.5 and 8.0??
Thanks again for your help.

14th September 2007, 12:46 AM
Hi RandyP,

A 460cm mast will cover you adequately in the 6.0 to 8.0 sail range, and your mast extension will allow you to adjust the mast to obtain the proper height for each sail. But, to ensure that your mast extension is long enough, just make sure it when matched to the mast that it will extend to meet the luff length of your largest sail. Chinook mast extensions, like their booms, come in varying lengths, so you can easily pick the right one. Just be sure that you have approximately 6-8" that will insert inside the mast to provide the needed interface and bearing surface to prevent mast breakage in the bottom section.

Now, will the 460cm mast work in sails smaller or larger than the 6.0-8.0 range? Yes, its possible, particularly in smaller sail sizes, but the stiffness and the mast bend or curve start working against a sail's design and character it things get too out of wack. If you go to the Sailworks website, they've got a mast matrix for each of their sail designs that shows what's workable. If you stick with cited recommendations, you're pretty much guaranteed that you'll have a suitable outcome.

Regarding the best sail sizing, I would think that either a 6.0/8.0 or a 6.5/8.0 combination would pretty good. A 6.0/7.5 combination would also be quite good. However, as sails get larger, they can be a bit more to handle when uphauling, waterstarting, and jibing, especially for a learning windsurfer. To help discern whether a 7.5 or a 8.0 would be best, I would recommend visiting the beach you intend to sail at and talk with some of the locals and see what they think. Just remember, in the beginning you're going to be primarily focused on the smaller sail to develop the needed skills, and that you will eventually expand things to include the larger sail, especially as your desire to be planing in the straps grows.

In the long run, if you become a dedicated windsurfer, it's very likely that you will expand your board and sail quivers, to include added masts and booms of differing lengths, but until that time you'll be set for a sound start with the Go, a couple of sails, the 460cm mast and a single boom.