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Jay 15th June 2007 11:30 AM

Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
I'm planning on updating my sail quiver of old Retros this month and am struggling to figure out whether to go with all new Retros (ie, 5.0 up to 9.0) or combine some Retros (ie, 8.0 and 9.0) with some Huckers (ie, 6.6, 5.6, 4.8).

I like the idea of getting the power of a 7.0 or 7.5 in the size and weight of a 6.6 but since it was designed for B&J I don't know how well it would work for B&F sailing vs Retros. I'm an early intermediate sailor who sails in both steady and often gusty lake conditions. I don't yet do B&J, and mostly sail on 120 L to 150 L boards. How well would Huckers be suited for B&F sailing by an early intermediate? Are they any better than Retros in this application?

So should I mix Huckers with Retros or just stick with Retros?

Or, are Huckers sufficiently different than Retros that having both in a couple of key sizes I sail most often might make sense (ie, depending on the conditions)?

If I do go with some Huckers, should I space the quiver strictly on sail area like I would with a full Retro quiver or should I "adjust" the spacing between Retros and Huckers based on the higher power per square meter of the Huckers (ie, should I treat a Hucker 6.6 as a 6.6 meter sail or should I treat it as, for example, a 7.0 meter sail?

Thanks so much for your input!


wsurfn 15th June 2007 06:54 PM

RE: Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
Great question for Roger...

Give him your body weight and size as well.

I have not sailed the Hucker yet. My observation from the beach is that many of the flatwater Retro Faithful are switching theirs sails over to Huckers. Most are raving (...many of us do with our new purchases). Many are advanced intermediates though, but ironically often the drag race B&F types, than big air types it was marketed for. They like the powerful feel, and the ability to use a smaller sail area for wind strength. I hear it has plenty of range as well.

I am curious too.
Now, let's hear from someone who actually knows...

Jay 16th June 2007 01:27 AM

RE: Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
Thanks, I forgot to mention that I weigh about 175 dry and am about 5' 9" tall.

jesenko 16th June 2007 03:05 AM

RE: Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
4 Sails: Retro 5.0, 6.0, 7.5, 9.0 (9.5 also fit 490mast)
5 Sails: Hucker 4.8, 5.6, 6.6 Retro 8.0, 9.5

Either combination will work. I have 4 Sails combo, 170/5'8"... No complains

o2bnme 17th June 2007 07:41 AM

RE: Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
I'm a Hucker convert. I have the 6.6, 5.6, & 4.8 and am looking at the 4.2 and 3.7 I'm loving the 4.8 & 5.6 the most. I'm still figuring out the 6.6. I haven't had many 6.6 days yet. Also, I only have one board that I seem to use the 6.6. I have an 8.0 Retro above my 6.6 Hucker and use it all the time. I need to use the 6.6 more to tell you what I like or dislike about it. The others (including the 8.0 Retro) are great sails. I have a cambered 9.8 V8 as my largest sail. I'm on the fence whether I'll replace it with a Retro when it finally runs out of steam.

For starters, I'd get the 5.6 & 4.8 Huckers. They have a great range and handle being overpowered much better than the sails I used before. Then, You need to decide what to do above that. You could continue with the Retros ... get a 6.5, 7.5, 8.5 etc. You'll be happy with them for sure. I'm not trying to steer you away from the 6.6 Hucker, but I'm just not sure enough about it to recommend it. Roger may have more time on the sail to talk to it.

I'm 65kg and 178cm tall, so I'm on the small side of things. I love the Huckers because I can take the sail out where I'm on a smaller sail than fellow sailors but see the same or better performance. I can also take out the same size sail in overpowered conditions and have a bigger sail than my fellow sailors. The 5.6 Hucker, in one local club race, gave me the win (I won only because of how a tie is broken). The other guy was on a Retro and weighed in at 40 pounds more than me. I was able to hold down my 5.6 Hucker while he was on a 6.0 Retro. Usually this guy is consistently faster than me, but not this day.

Based on your last post, I am giving you a different option. Bare in mind that the 5-sail option you list should give you more high-wind potential than the 4-sail option because the Hucker has more high-wind range built into it.

Oh, and don't worry about the B&J nature of the sails. They are very easy to control and keep on the water. But when you are ready to jump, you'll love that aspect too.

Jay 17th June 2007 02:07 PM

RE: Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
o2bnme, thanks for sharing your experience.

I'm surprised the 6.6 Hucker might have a different feel than the others (I agree you may need more time on it to decide if that's true). Maybe it's harder to keep the same amount of rig stability (even with the Hucker's higher rig tension) in the larger size.

If you had both a 5.6 Hucker and a 5.5 (or 6.0) Retro, would you always use the Hucker instead of the Retro or are there circumstances when the Retro would get used instead (ie, gusty conditions)? Do the Huckers feel good in gusts (ie, do they accelerate or want to throw you)?

I am also looking forward to Roger's input when he gets the time from his busy schedule as I know he's had a lot of experience comparing these sails.


Team Roper 18th June 2007 12:47 PM

RE: Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
Jay, if i were you i would ask the question directly to the boys at sailworks. I just got back from the gorge and they were more than happy to take 5 minutes in person and discuss additions to my existing retro quiver. I find them to be a very customer service oriented company and that's why i will continue to purchase their products in the future...

my .2 cents

Roger 19th June 2007 09:13 PM

RE: Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
Hi Jay,
I think I'd suggest trying a 5.6 or 6.6 Hucker before you buy a whole quiver of them.
The Huckers are indeed a bit more powerful than an equivalent size Retro, but the power is placed a little differently in the Huckers.
And, when you learn to tune the Huckers, perhaps using different masts to get different results, you may end up loving them, and then again, as some sailors have found, the Huckers just don't "feel" the same and for this reason these same sailors choose the Retro.
So, demo a Hucker, or buy one, than see how it feels to you.
My take is that the extra power one feels is a bit higher up (due to less twist at the top of the sail (which is the Huckers primary characteristic when compared to other modern sails the same size).
Once you "adjust" to this, the Huckers are super wide range, very tuenable sails.
At first, you may find that compared to your Retro's the Huckers seem to want to toss you over the front of the board.
This is pretty easy to adjust to, just don't sheet in so quickly and let the power build at a rate you can handle, but it will feel different.
So, in summary, I think you need to try one first, then decide if you want to get an entire quiver.
And, as the previous poster suggests, you will get super service from the guys and gal at the Sailworks loft, and they can suggest many different little "tweaks" that can make your "Hucker Experience" a good one.
Hope this helps,

Jay 20th June 2007 03:00 PM

RE: Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
Roger, thanks for your input.
I think I'll take your advice and try one before going whole hog.

o2bnme 21st June 2007 09:14 PM

RE: Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F
Well, I managed to get a quick sail in this morning from 8am to 9:30am. It was pretty gusty, but the gusts were big enough to get me across the lake where I would wait for the next gust. I had the 6.6 Hucker on my iSonic 105. I think I (finally) figured out the right tuning. For starters, I realize that I have a tendency to go down to a smaller sail size sooner than I should. I stuck with the 6.6 and had a blast. I found it to be a very smooth sail for the conditions. The wind was switching from northeast to northwest to west on me, so that definitely made it interesting. When a west wind, the waves would disappear and I'd get an amazing run down the lake. When a northerly wind, I'd get some fetch and have to deal with chop. All-in-all, I found the 6.6 easiest to handle when fully powered up. It is bordering on a large sail and as such feels large when you have to hold it up. But it is silky smooth when the wind really powers up the sail.

I was using the 40cm fin because the wind started out lighter than at the end. I'll hopefully get out in a bit with my 34cm fin to see how that does. Then, I'll pull out my 91L freeride board and see how that does. We're forecast to have three days of good northerly winds, so I should get more testing time.

Still, I have realized that I can go from my 8.0 Retro on my F-Type 148 to my 5.6 Hucker on my 91L board more often than I would have expected. I think that's a testament to the range of the Retro and Hucker.

Oh, and on heading home, I did some fun broadreaches. I got up to 29.6mph without really trying. I've gone faster on this board in more ideal conditions, but this felt VERY easy to control.

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