View Full Version : Longboards vs. sailboats in light winds

5th May 2010, 12:58 AM
I believed my longboard (Mistral Equipe+10.3 sail) to be definitely faster than a sailboat in all winds.

Reality seems to be, that unless it's really railriding = in winds where formula could take over it's actually having a hard time against normal sail boats of 8 to 12 metres of length.

Is it me??

How do the new longboards like Phantom 380/320 perform in really light stuff against sailboats?

The sailboats seem to have 10 degrees of better pointing and some 20% more speed in non planing conditions due to their longer waterline and taller rigs.

In about 15+ knots of wind the longboard will take over as a higher speed gives the advantage even though pointing up/down is less efficient.

Any experience is appreciated.

5th May 2010, 10:21 PM
Have you thought about division II boards?

6th May 2010, 12:53 AM
What are division II boards? How do they differ from the Equipes or the new Starboard Phantom?

I'm thinking of a Phantom 380/320 but if they don't give me something seriousely faster in low winds I see no need to let the $$$ roll.

And still I'm really divided in between the 380 (fast in light winds boy loooong while maxed and expensive) vs. the 320 (a tad slower in the light stuff but handy while planing and cheaper).

I like my Equipe, but I'm surprised it's not faster than a sailboat in 4-10 knots.


6th May 2010, 01:07 AM

I raced longboard for many years, finishing up with an Mistral Equipe II XR, and I agree with your assessment. It's been at least 8 since I sold the Equipe and have been on Formula ever since.

Although I have never sailed a hybrid (Phantom), I doubt they could better than the old longboards in under 10 knots. The Phantom offers something for everything, but can't compete with Formula in stronger winds or old longboards in light winds.

When I had my Equipe, my largest sail was a 10.6, but it had a very limited range (no twist in the leach). In light winds (under 8-9 knots), the sailboats have the advantage to windward and leeward. In 9-12 knots, the Equipe could do better upwind, but not downwind. In 12 knots+, the Equipe could do better upwind and downwind.

The above are guesses since it has been 8 years, but when I had the board, I had fun trying to chase and pass keel boats, both up and downwind. I even joined in some races (staying out of their way) to see how I could do.

6th May 2010, 06:49 AM
Division II boards were made in the 80ties, they are about 3.90 meter long, 60-70 cm wide, have a round bottom shape and a daggerboard. Mistral use to make one called the M1. See pictures of a few of these boards here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/50004842@N08/sets/72157624001056146/). They are much faster than a sailboat upwind and downwind, very enjoyable in light wind condition, harder to control in wind above 15-20 kts, although they are manageable.

6th May 2010, 06:56 AM
I have been sailing my phantom 320 for a full season (last 9 months) against dinghies. I have found that the 320 gets steadily faster relative to the boats as the wind increases, with a big jump in speed once you get planing. The boats that have huge spinikers are always hard to catch since I am limited to the one sail down wind.

I was mostly the only sailboard in the race, but on the odd occasion I had competition from more experienced sailboarders on mistral equipe or superlite, they have always gone faster than me. Obviously my skill level is a major factor. (my 4 years against their 20)

anyway my personal opinion is that the new raceboards don't offer any quantum leap in performance. They may offer a noticeable advantage in a sailboard fleet but if you are racing against boats, I don't think you will benefit much.

I think the extra width in the 320 makes it easier to sail downwind and gives it better general stability. this is agreat asset for a less experienced sailor like me.

I'm not sure since I have only had a short trial of an equipe but I have felt that the 320 seems to do a better upwind angle. I can do close to 100 degrees tack to tack (measured on GPS)in all but the lightest conditions. I can point at least as high as the boats most of the time and often higher and faster than some of them. It is always difficult to work out the cost benefit of the hight vs speed.

Sailboards Vs boats is realy not a fair contest since their performance parameters change so much over the wind range (as ken pointed out). Do you really want to replace your board just to beat a boat?

If your old board needs replacing and you don't mind the cost of a new board, then I think the new models are worthwhile. Otherwise, My preference is to spend money on new sails that are improving in power handling and wind range every year.

6th May 2010, 10:59 AM
Can anyone compare the pointing ability of a Formula (reputed for great upwind angles) with a sailboat, say and optimist or a lazer?

Would be interesting to know. I reckon over 10 knots the Formula might have a better VMG, though maybe not with a better angle...

6th May 2010, 12:40 PM
If you look at results from recent Raceboard competitions you will find that the old Raceboards are still very competitive with the new breed from Starboard and Exocet. Physics hasn't changed in 15 years...

6th May 2010, 09:35 PM
Formula boards are much faster upwind than keel boats if there is enough wind (over 12 knots). They can't point as high, maybe 15-20 degrees less, but the formula boards easily have double the speed or more. Bottom line is they can easily get to windward faster than almost anything.

To be competitive downwind, a little more wind is necessary, at least 15 knots would be needed for deepest run with max speed. Formula can't run as deep (can't go dead downwind), but the better speed makes the difference.

Two weeks ago, I raced my formula in 26 knot winds and hit a top speed of 25 knots running downwind. I am really conservative when I race Formula since I am an old guy out to have fun, so I was on a Maui Sails TR 4 6.6. Most of the other racers were on 8.5 sails, but they are younger guys. I finished fourth.

There are some sailboat planing hulls that can match formula downwind, but I don't believe they can do as well upwind.

6th May 2010, 10:31 PM
In 10 knots with a 11m2 sail and a skilled sailor af full planing formula will beat an optimist or lazer on any angle.
If the formula is not able to be fully planing the lazer might win.
From + 10 knots formulas are very efficient but huge racing yachts like americas cup 12 metres do upwind angles horribly close to the wind at a steady 12-13 knots of speed.
A formula will have a very hard time in this company, but reaching it will outperform them (I've done 28.5 knots on my F159)
Some multuhulls and skiffs are very serious competitors too.
Normal keelboats of less than 45 feet will not catch a formula in +15 knots of wind. A longboard will outperform them too.

The interesting point is sailing in LESS than 10 knots of wind..
What about Serenity??


10th May 2010, 07:24 PM
"How do the new longboards like Phantom 380/320 perform in really light stuff against sailboats?"
they dont ....
sailed my old F-2 lightning against sailboats on a irregular course quite a few times last summer.
When the wind was light , there was no keeping up.
When the wind got to the point where i could plane on beam reach I could more then make up the time I lost during the windward beat.
BUT these races were not a true windward leeward course. The course was around existing government buoys and there were quite a few reaching legs .

Typically the sailboats will race, three beats to windward with two downwind legs. The downwind legs being straight downwind, no reaching legs.

And its the reaching legs are where a sailboard has an advantage , again in medium to heavy winds.

10th May 2010, 07:27 PM
to add I am 90 kilos and the sail was an 8.5 neil pryde helium bagged out.

But that being said even a lightweight person with a 12 metre sail IMHO, would still not been able to keep up to the boats in the light winds i encountered of 3 to 7 knots.


10th May 2010, 07:50 PM
Thanks for the comparison. I need to get one to shred my younger brother (#1 in Optimist league in Hong Kong) who still believes on a full course he can win in a lazer.... tut tut.

11th May 2010, 01:10 AM
Div II boards will make a difference against sailboats in light wind! there is a group on facebook that is very hot at reviving this class. See for yourself. Group's name is "Open Division II".
With a 10 m2 sail on a lechner (this is the board selected for the 88 and 92 olympic games) you beat any sailboat out there...

12th May 2010, 05:26 PM
With sailboats varying so much in performance its difficult to have any general comparison. I raced in and agianst dinghies (with WS) for years. Even when we beat them the results would come out in favour of when yardstyicks were applied.

Dinghies range from Yardsticks of around 600 (Tornado) to 1200 (ish) for a topper. This means by definition the Tornado has to be twice as quick over a course to win.
We never established any credible ratings to compete with Dinghies.

6.2 Calculation of corrected times for race results:
Corrected Time (C) = Elapsed time x 1000 / Portsmouth Number (N)

ie a Yardstick of 1000 leaves time unchanged.

VMG ?? My money is on Tornado ? (Against anything in F4)

13th May 2010, 12:36 PM
Div 2 was big in HK and the rest of the world 20 years ago.
You could well find a derelict Mistral M1, Crit D2, Lechner or Layang (made in Malaysia) rotting at the back of a dinghy club.
They would probably pay you to take it away, put a big sail on it and thrash your brother (and everybody else) !
They are an absolute pig going downwind unelss its very flat.

13th May 2010, 12:40 PM
There is still a lot of raceboard sailing in HK, though I'de be completely unable to tell what type of boards they're using.

I think it's some sort of mistral one design racing class, though not sure.

13th May 2010, 11:49 PM
In autumn I had the chance to race against a couple of Europe dinghies (very established class i Scandinavia).
Wind was around 10 to 16 knots. I was on Equipe + 10.3 sail. Upwind the dinghies pointed better than me, but I did +10 knots of speed riding the dagger, so I outraced them quite easily.
On a short course with a lot of tacking a dinghy turns quite fast and so gain an advantage.
On a reach I could keep the dagger down and manage 10 to 13 knots easily. No way they could follow me. Had I sailed my Formula 159 I would have beat them even more. The formula does 25 knots on a reach easily. With an 8.5 rig I have done 26 knots on the longboard in 20 knots of wind. No normal sailing yacht will be able to keep up.

Again in less than 10 knots of wind its a matter of waterline length and rigsize.

I've tried to race against Tornados, Hobies and tris of "normal" size in windy conditions on a reach on Formulas, freerides etc. No way they can keep up with a windsurfer.

A formula 40 cat will beat a Windsurfer though..

Sooo.. What about Serenity in 5 to 10 knots against a sailboat??


14th May 2010, 12:24 AM
I have an old Davidson D-2 board which is very fast upwind in light wind but because it is so narrow I can't sail it directly downwind or jibe it. I have just started sailing a Starboard K-15 and with a 70 cm formula fin it is also very fast upwind and is stable downwind. It is much faster than the keelboats I have sailed against. I may make a bigger fin more like what the D-2 board has which might be even better.


18th May 2010, 11:25 AM
I think you'd be hard pressed to outdo a keelboat for ultimate upwind angle. Once moving big heavy keelboat can keep can chugging upwind in apparently no wind at all.

Dinghies like the laser also point very high.

Their overall vmg is also very good, especially in gusty light wind and constricted waters.

I race against a 3 man racing keelboat every summer and it's always a duel of opposites: I get passed on the upwind he gets passed on the downwind.

Catamarans point about the same as sailboards but have amazing all-points-of-sail vmg and aren't really affected by lulls.

With my current mediocre raceboard setup with a 7.5 I don't have a chance against most boats unless it's at least 10 knots.

The greatest advantage I see versus a similar sail sized dinghy (laser) is ergonomics and ease of use in 12 - 20knots and over when boat handling becomes tougher for an amatuer sailor. You lock into a raceboard and it gets more stable as it goes faster, a laser sailor is always working.

In the right conditions, kiteboard course race boards and formula boards are hard for anything to match.

15th March 2012, 08:42 PM
Sooo.. What about Serenity in 5 to 10 knots against a sailboat??


Serenity + 11 m2 sail will win upwind and reaching against a Toucan sailboat which is still a strong contender when match-racing in light wind on our swiss lakes (http://www.skippers.tv/dossiers/une-serie-mythique-dans-le-match-racing/).

However, the Serenity had no chance against a Psaros 40 sailboat called "Syz & Co" (https://www.syzgroup.com/about-syz-and-co/sponsoring/psaros-40/index.htm).

Serenity + 11 m2 is as fast as a Hobbie Cat 18 in 3-7 knots of wind. Above than 7/8 knots of wind, her board speed is topping out at 12-13 knots, so the Serenity can no longer accelerate further and further and the Hobbie will finally catch her and pass.

A Bladerider when foil-flying as of 4-5 knots of wind is faster than the Serenity but when not foil-flying, the Serenity is way faster. D35, M2 or even a Ventilo cat are all faster than Serenity.

BTW, the Phantom 380/Lechner/Fanatic Mega Cat/AHD 380/F2 Lightning Race/etc... are all slower than the Serenity in 2-7 knots of wind. Above 7 knots, the Phantom 380 can transition from the gliding to the planing mode and is therefore faster than the Serenity. Same with a Formula as of 6/7 knots of wind when blasting at planing mode.

If I was to invest into a sailboat without buying a Serenity, a Formula and an iSonic 107 with a 11.0/8.6/7.8/6.6 m2 sail quiver, I would buy a Bladerider for fast sailing in 4/5-20 knots wind range without hesitation. I would keep the wave board + wave sail quiver for those days above 20 knots with yummi swell and wind waves, however.

Cheers !


17th March 2012, 09:33 AM
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26th March 2012, 07:32 PM
Don't know about races, but in 5 knots and 50 cm of water, my feet enjoyed the time on the Serenity

26th March 2012, 07:34 PM
5 knots 50cm of water

27th March 2012, 08:40 AM
no race but in 5 knots and 50 cm of water my feets enjoy the Serenity ride

5th April 2012, 09:06 PM
It seems the RS D2 has most of the Serenity's light wind speed with most of the Phantoms medium wind speed. But now kite course racers are using 'mini windsurfer' style boards (but with 3 fins), I doubt they can be touched by anything , except possibly a Hydro Moth (blade rider). Partly this is because the wind at kite height is stronger than measured at the surface. At the recent Olympic trials they were reported to outperform all the multihulls & skiffs present. However I doubt they would be suitable in inland conditions i.e. with lulls.

7th April 2012, 05:33 PM
true dhat ! the mini formula with kite setup seems to be the next incarnation of light air speed.

the exocet d-2 looks very promising but is a very big board

f-2 lightning world cup race
104 s-type, 94 evo
tiga 168 SLR "the plastic fantastic"

9th April 2012, 08:12 PM
It's been a couple of years since I have seen the "course racing" kites racing, but on the same course, the formula boards were faster. A couple of the best kiters were very quick, but not quite up to the formula boards. Winds were in the 18-22 knot range.

9th April 2012, 09:19 PM
I don't doubt it Ken but a lot has changed in two years Now formula has evolved another minor iteration but the kiteboards have transformed.-with 3 fins they no longer have to constantly 'edge' & so look more fun to sail (actually the stance looks pretty WS like, check Youtube). Still in the stronger winds it could still be close, but the discussion concerned light airs. In 6-8 knots measured by the Olympic trial officials the kiteboards hit 20 knots...... Their other big advantage is that downwind (when una rigged craft are always underpowered if in control upwind) they have the possibility to spin the kite in a loop thus using the kite velocity to increase power.
Still I fancy a RS D2 or maybe a Bat Wing for inland use, but have to admit the Hydro Moths and Kites are now the most 'rad' light wind performance,

10th April 2012, 10:05 AM
I've seen kites fall down in 6-8 knots (surface) conditions, during the lulls (and they are always there).
Me too, I was not planing all the time with my former Formula board in these conditions, but at least I did not have to swim.
According to me, 6-8 knots are perfect long board/sail boat/cat conditions, i.e. gliders with a lot of volume.

I haven't seen the new kite boards you are talking about.
Do they have enough volume to carry a person ?

11th April 2012, 02:48 PM
When I last was racing with the kites, they all had the three fins, but they were all very interested in the formula boards and their fins. The one significant thing that I noticed in the strong winds (25 knots and 4' chop) is that the kites could luff their rigs high above and de-power to stay in control while the formula sailors just had to hang on and hope they didn't blow up. I did on one race and gave up for the day.

The potential for kites to be faster (if they aren't already) than formula boards is high if in the right conditions.

12th April 2012, 04:26 AM
With regards to the sailboat vs sailboard down wind. Interestingly some of the top level dingy sailors and definitely some of the A-Class cat sailors ( fastest of the single handed cats) are now reaching on the square run. It is a very difficult thing to get right as the angles ( distance to sail) vs speed are critical. A sailboard when using this technique would be devastating. A skilled laser sailor is going to out point the sailboard but the extra speed the board can get when sailing just a few points lower is going to really hurt the laser rounding upwind mark. My dingy sailing days are well and truly over.

8th May 2012, 09:50 PM
Great vidoe, search
Kite vs Moth vs 49er
on yuoutube.

10th May 2012, 12:44 AM
With regards to the sailboat vs sailboard down wind. Interestingly some of the top level dingy sailors and definitely some of the A-Class cat sailors ( fastest of the single handed cats) are now reaching on the square run. It is a very difficult thing to get right as the angles ( distance to sail) vs speed are critical. A sailboard when using this technique would be devastating. A skilled laser sailor is going to out point the sailboard but the extra speed the board can get when sailing just a few points lower is going to really hurt the laser rounding upwind mark. My dingy sailing days are well and truly over.

Raw, the cats and fast dinghies have been doing that for about 40 years and the windsurfers have been doing that for at least 30! :-)

10th May 2012, 04:00 PM
Great vidoe, search
Kite vs Moth vs 49er
on yuoutube.

Very interesting to see the duel between Moth vs kiteboard racing in winds well above 5 knots :


Below 5 knots of wind, this will be a different story of course with regards to the 49er outcome.

Cheers !


19th May 2012, 09:39 AM
Did another match race between a Serenity and 2 sailboats lately :

Wind : 4-6 knots. Fresh water lake, no chop, swell at 5-8 cm.
Board : Serenity wood mk 1. Drake XXL 70 cm stock fin. Mast track set right in the middle.
Sail : Severne Reflex II 11.0 m2. Mast Severne Enigma 550 cm. Boom Severne Enigma 210-260 cm carbon. Luff set at 561 cm, boom set at 252 cm. Sail is trimmed very deep, draft kept forward with a tight leech, monofilm barely touching the boom's arms up to the harness lines.

GPS readings showed that I was able to point upwind at a 45 angle. Speed upwind was around 6-7 knots.

So, first match racing with the same upwind angle as a Toucan sailboat (and the helmsman was very good), I managed to catch up from behind and pass the sailboat after a 10 min upwind battle because I had a bit better speed upwind than her. I can point a bit higher than the Toucan but then my speed decreased quite a bit at 5-6 knots, similar to that of the Toucan. So I knew my setup was competitive.

Second match racing against a Psaros 33. That racing sailboat is a brand new prototype (April 2012), with canting keel and self-aligning daggerboard, high-modulus carbon mast, a full battened square top kevlar main sail, a light-air designed code 0 jib, total sail area of 87 m2 for just 1950 kg total weight (see specs : http://www.sebschmidt.ch/portfolio/09362/article/09362_dossier_PS%2033_english.pdf). Crew of 5. I sailed upwind and behind her, aligned myself with the same angle upwind and tried to follow. No chance. First, she points 10 higher upwind than me. Second, she was faster, maybe 9-10 knots whereas I was speeding at 7-8 knots at that time. After 20 seconds of match racing, I was done: just impossible to follow.

So, my point of view is that sailing the Serenity + 11 m2 sail in very light wind (2 Bft) can be highly challenging and rewarding against top-class racing sailboats. Costs are 50x less expensive than a Psaros 33 and all the kit can fit on a car/minivan/van's roof top...

Cheers !


1st June 2012, 08:54 PM
Kite report up on isaf.

6-9 knots wind. 15 knots on the beat. 23 knots run; 26 knots reach. Gulp.

12-15 knot Formula should give 'em a race though.

3rd June 2012, 03:04 PM
Kite report up on isaf.

6-9 knots wind. 15 knots on the beat. 23 knots run; 26 knots reach. Gulp.

12-15 knot Formula should give 'em a race though.

Formula in it's current evolutions stage shines way before 12 knots...
What you got is a distorted kite propoganda... Plus, current race kites are a custom/multi fin creations, allow formula boards out of it's class limitions fin/weight and put a top guys
on it, kites would loose so quick...

4th June 2012, 07:11 AM
26 knots reaching with a kite in only 6-9 knots wind ? 3-4x the wind speed ? That's pure BS all the way.

Reality check is that nobody is kiting in such low wind except 1 guy with a Speed 3 Flysurfer 22 m2 kite and a raceboard with 4 big fins on my home lake. Truth is that he barely exceeds 2x the wind speed, i.e., 12 knots kite speed in 6 knots wind. That's exactly what I do on Serenity + 11 m2 sail BTW...

Should the wind drop below 5 knots, the kite is swimming while I'm still flying full speed as described above. Should the wind drop down to 0, I can still pump the big sail and reach a top speed of 5-6 knots with the Serenity while the kite is still swimming and calling for the rescue boat.

Time to get to real hard facts and stop the kite fantasy...

Cheers !


Unregistered but nakaniko
4th June 2012, 11:21 AM
Absolutely agree, being the lucky and jealous owner of a Serenity MKII down here in Venice, Italy. Best board I've ever choosen and bought (and I currently own 10 boards of various types, 5 in Venice and 5 outside).
BTW in my home spot SE of Venice airport kites are forbidden, as in many other places.

4th June 2012, 03:23 PM
Here is the link to the report that "unregistered" was kindly talking about :


ISAF Kiteboarding Format Trials Santander, Spain, March 21-25
Technical Report

Page 5 of 33:


Equipment can be launched in app. 3-4 knots of wind, depending on current, wind variety and surf.

Kiteboards can sail and be immediately on the plan from 4-5 knots.

GPS analysis showed the following speeds and angles in 6-9 knots:

Speed on the Beat: 15 knots or 8 1⁄2 minutes /nm
Speed on the Run: 23 knots or 4 minutes /nm
Speed on the Reach: 26 knots or 3 1⁄4 minutes /nm"

On the GPS recording shown as "proof", there is only 1 event with a Vmax peaking at 26 knots and maybe another one at Vmax 24 knots over a period of 2 hrs. Was the wind gusting at more than 9 knots during those 2 Vmax peaks? Where was the wind being measured : on the beach, on the course or at a nearby airport weather station ?

The "proofs" shown in the report are highly questionable to me simply because some of my kitesurf friends are unable to reproduce some of the miraculous claims made in this report on our home lake.

1) "Kiteboards can sail and be immediately on the plan from 4-5 knots". Yes, that is correct but only in true 5 knots winds with a Speed 3 Flysurf 21 m2 kite and a XXL Flydoor board (170cm x 50 cm) or a tube 22 m2 kite and a custom Kite Race board equipped with 2x 40 cm long race fins forward and 2x 36 cm long race fins on the back. Below 5 knots, it's swimming time and rescue boat help on our lake.
With a standard equipment (a basic twintip board), the wind limit is more like 7 knots with an 18 m2 kite or 10 knots with a 12-14 m2 kite. On par with a standard Formula Windsurfing equipment.

2) None of our group of 20+ kiters can reach a board speed that is equal to 3-4x that of the wind speed in winds below 9 knots. Only specifically designed large cats can do that on our lake, as explained below.

Furthermore, to claim that "The class polars show that kiteboarding is one of the most performant of all sailing classes, including the AC 45 and Extreme 40s" is overly measleading and represents a gross oversimplification of what the reality is on the water.

In 7 knots wind, a Decision 35 cat can reach a sustainable speed that is equal to 3x the wind speed on our home lake. In that same wind speed, the defunct Alinghi 5 mega cat was reaching a sustainable speed of 28-30 knots, i.e., 4x that of the wind speed. Sorry, I just don't buy that silly argument that "kiteboarding is one of the most performant of all sailing classes". Not true.

No wonders why windsurfing is out of the olympic games with such a blown-up-on-steroid report. Go figure...!

Cheers !


7th June 2012, 09:18 PM
Hi again JM. Thanks for your local experience, interesting perspective. As you say that is the offical ISAF trial report on which the decision was based. Now I'm a WS, but in fairness the report states the wind was measured from a drifiting boat. They had the worlds top guys too, and from eye wtiness reports they beat all other craft on the water, including the Tornado, on all pionts of sail, in all winds experienced. Tornados aren't slow, take alook at the Youtube of Xtreme40 v Skiff 18 youtube.com/watch?v=KjQpB-Snyr8. I agree all your points on practicalities, too numerous to list, and the GPS analysis is interesting. Where were the WSer's to point this out? Should have had the lightweight RSX to demo. Should have pointed out the perils of teaching kids kitesurfing on inland venues etc etc

Agree that Formula is actually quite a techncially regulated class, no protos allowed. I based my 12-15 knot guess for parity on the testing that KA did between their Formula & Moth riders: that crossed over around that range, and the Kite v Moth videos. Would love Ross Williams to go out and prove it was lower, but I still doubt under 12 knots Formula would get the angles.

Whatever it's not all about speed and the Div 2 video was nice, now a RS D2 with 9.5 demon VG7 would be perfect for summer...


13th June 2012, 01:57 PM

Thanks for the link to the video. Yes, Tornados are fast, but not the fastest in light wind. Sorry, I've never seen an AC45 nor Extreme 40 cats on our swiss lake as yet but I have the chance to sail against quite a number of fast sailboats in light wind on Geneva lake. One of the fastest so far that I met is a Decision 35 cat : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9cision_35.

In less than 7 knots wind, a D35 is faster than anything else on our lake, including Tornadoes, Ventilos, 49er, or even my Serenity + 11 m2 : no chance to match their speed on a beam reach. Even a foiler such as the exotic LX Mirabaud or the Pi28 Gonet have no chance :


In 7-12 knots wind, a D35 is still faster than anything else. I tried many times just to follow them on a deep reach with a large slalom board + 11 m2 sail. While I was speeding at Vmax 25-26 knots, they are doing 30+ knots easily. In those same conditions, I'm on par with a Bladerider whereas a Hobbie cat 18 is left behind very quickly.

Yesterday was a very interesting match race against the hydroptere.ch cat. In 10-16+ knots winds on a deep reach with iSonic 117 Wide + Reflex III 8.6 m2, I was speeding at Vmax 27-29 knots while they were doing 35 knots easily. Just amazing to see from behind how fast they are going over their 2 leeward foils...!

So again, I'd love to see a kite doing 3-4x the wind speed and beating either a D35, hydroptere.ch or even the defunct Alinghi 5 in less than 10 knots winds :


Cheers !


13th June 2012, 03:04 PM
AC45 versus kite duel : 2 sides of the same coin ?

1) the "fantastic" kite movie:

2) the full lenght uncut movie:

The kite was trailing behind the AC45 for quite a long time. Only at the very end can the kite overtake the AC45. Please, note that both AC45s did have their gennakers deployed, but were they reaching their top speed that is 3x that of wind speed (similar to that of a D35 by the way) during these moments while exiting the San Diego harbour? I don't think so. Was it blowing less than 10 knots ? Hard to say, but I doubt it... Note the color of water at the end of the movie: darker blue usually means windier.

Fair enough. That video doesn't constitute a proof by itself that a kite is faster than an AC45 and I hope that folks at the ISAF did reach that very same conclusion. Hope to see a match race conducted in proper conditions one day to settle the question once and for all.

Cheers !


14th June 2012, 09:42 PM
And the AC45's were going deeper, I don't think the kite had more VMG. Overall you make a strong argument that the ISAF cliam is exaggerated. Still whilst your Lake Geneva exotics may be faster, I guess if the kites prove the fastest Olympic class then they will get some cache from that. If we don't get them thrown out before that happens....heh heh. I think boats like the 49'er are kings of most lakes in light winds though, and the kind of performance target WS have in mind.

ps what a shame Alinghi didn't look so good at the Cup. Looked like they had an amateur at the helm. :-)

15th June 2012, 08:00 AM
An interesting interview of assisting ISAF advisor was Johnny Heineken, who is the current Kite Course Racing World Champion:

"While we were there to test racing formats, on a basic level we needed to prove how high performance we really are.

Most people still think of kiteboarding as a sport that needs 15kts and up just to sail upwind, and many of the ISAF folk and sailors were of this mindset. In our own little world we know that we are some of the fastest craft on the water. If I am close to keeping up with Jimmy Spithill and the boys on their AC45 on San Francisco Bay, I can sure as hell knock the socks off the 49ers and Tornados.

We proved this in all wind conditions, sailing laps around the skiffs and multihulls at the trials in everything from 6kts and up (to give you an idea, we were reaching at over 25kts in 7-9ks of breeze). Higher and faster was the name of the game, and everyone noticed, including the ISAF president who spent much of his single day on the water learning about the gear and tactical side of kite racing."

Source : http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/12/0403/

So, it looks like that racing kites are indeed capable of doing almost 3x the wind speed and can challenge an AC45. Hats off, that's quite impressive I reck'on.

Cheers !


PS: the Swiss won the cup twice but made a wrong choice at the end and lose it. Fair enough. I'm thrilled to see the R&D going on about rigid sails and foils and very pleased to see the action and drama with the AC45 world series. So, I'm sure the AC72 match racing in the San Francisco bay will be fantastic to watch from 5 to 35 knots of wind !

16th June 2012, 09:18 PM
An interesting read.
it will be interesting to see when the olympics come , the practical aspect of kiting at the games.

More specifically how an olympic incarnation of kiting ie: a four finned mini formula board if that be the choice ( the 2x 40 cm long race fins forward and 2x 36 cm long race fins on the back) will relate to the "all around recreational kiter"

Now specifically I say board versus the kite, as i think the kite technology will trickle down , theres still gains to be made , but I dont think the much if any aspect of the board will.
It could be possible that the olympic kit will be so outside what a regular kiters does it will be almost alien. Will that matter....time will tell, i dunno.

Now one could argue the RSX did not translate to the "all around windsurfer" . But an RSX was aspects of what was already on the market. Big rigs, cambers , high aspect deep fins, high carbon components and wide style boards have a place in many recreational quivers.
An RSX while not ideal or affordable represented aspects of "all around windsurfing" in many peoples kit.

But what is "All around recreational windsurfing". Better yet what conditions does one need to have to do it, and how accesseble is it . Well lets look at an ideal sailing craft.
1. moving in any wind strength. 0 to max wind ( there is an upper limit to any craft)
2. in any wind direction.
3.in any area with water depth , shallow is the limit here.
4. easy to transport, and rig and launch.and can launch anywhere.
5, self rescue at any time.
6 relatively affordable

So how does windsurfing fit in the above criteria? I would say it is the best of any sailing craft i can think of . It fits all the criteria 1,2,
3 fin depth minimum,
Kiters do not satisfy
1, zero wind to ?
2 is very problematic
4 cannot launch or recover in confned area..
5 nope ..very bad..
Windsurfers have one , ONE limit, water depth deeper the fin or semi retracted centreboard but how much of a limit is this?
how many dingies, foilers , catamarans, keelboats or specailty cats can fullfill the criteria and be inexpensive and yet can go relatively fast. Even a starbaord start can hit speeds many olympic craft cannot!!!
. This means a windsurfer is the easiest best simplest sailing craft to execute sailing , almost anywhere ,anyplace, anytime!

and the IOC drops it......

good luck to kiting , I do wish them well ( yes even after my long diatribe ) lets hope the wind blows above 6 knots, it probably will , lets hope its doesnt then die mid race, or worse yet before the a start ...if so mayhem...
and perhaps olympic embarrasment.

but be proud to windsurf!! not everyone agrees thats OK.
but look at the above its the best all around, go anywhere anywind any direction , any water, bang for the buck adrenaline wind powered safe sport going.


19th June 2012, 09:59 PM

would be nice to have two windsurf, two kite and six sailing classes... but this is absolutly irrealistic, the "sailing" give up another two classes for kite.

the selection of all the olimpic sailing classes show the sailors and the future of the sailing sport is NOT important for the decision makers. only politics, which classes have the best lobby. windsurfing lobby is catastrophy. who let to drop out windsurfing??? someone responsible for that...

rs:x was happy, they did not have to fight with any other windsurf aspirant in 2012 only against kite. (in 2004 11 boards fight for the olimpic class.) i think rs:x class though they dont have to do anything for keep the olimpic status.