Starboard Forums

Starboard Forums (
-   Windsurfing School (
-   -   Underpowered (

wndsrf48 30th May 2008 03:26 AM

Roger or Ellen,

I have a very bad habit that I need to break. I have a tendency to pick the wrong size sail for conditions.

I think that the wind is stronger than it is, and make the wrong choice. The largest sail I have is a Retro 8.5 and the smallest is a Bic freeride 6.1, and I have a Neil Pryde VS 7.0. I did have a Gaastra 5.2 which I used too much and have broken one of the battens in the sail.

Could you give me an idea what wind range would be good for the sails that I have. I have two boards. One is an F2 phoenix 340 and the other is an Exocet speed slider.

thanks for your help,

Roger 4th June 2008 11:50 AM

Hi Sandy,
I apologize for not answering your question sooner, but I'm on my annual tour of Texas and have been teaching and sailing pretty much all day every day.
We just completed a very successful "A Taste of Windsurfing" event at Windy Point, on Lake Travis, in Austin, TX.
60 new windsurfers in 2 days, and $1400 raised for a local charity.
Anyway, I've thought over your question alot, and I don't have a really solid "solution" for you.
Perhaps get a windmeter of some sort and then begin to learn what the differences (the fudge factors) are for the various places you are sailing (the wind measured on short vs the wind you will get out where you are sailing.
This could get you a little closer to using a size that will have you powered up.
Also, check the local airport's aviation weather reports to see what the wind might be blowing and factor these forcasts into your sail selection.
What you really need is to look over the Beaufort Wind charts and see what the different windspeeds (Force 1-6 Bft) look like on the water and on land.
If you see all the signs that the wind is F4 Bft, then you will know that the wind is around 11-16 knots and you will need your 7.0 m2 rig (something larger would be better).
Here's a link to a very basic Beaufort Wind Speed Chart:
Here's a better link with photos of what the surface of the ocean will look like (far out to sea in a ship) at various Bft force numbers:!OpenDocument
Overall, you just need to rig at least one sail size larger and learn to tune your rigs for the conditions.
Hope this helps,

Roger 4th June 2008 10:02 PM

Hi again Sandy,
OK, I read your questions again and I see I did not really answer them.
As to what windspeeds would be appropriate for your 3 sails (8.5 m2 Sailworks Retro; 7.0 m2 NP VS, and 6.1 m2 Bic Freeride, my best estimate would be this (based on a sailor weight of around 150 lbs.)
Your 8.5 Retro would be good from whatever your personal wind minimum is to about
14 knots (16.1 mph). If you retune the 8.5 you might comfortably get another couple of knots out of it. So, say 8-14 knots for the Retro.
Your 7.0 m2 NP VS will probably get you planing (I'm not real familiar with this sail so I canot be sure how much low end performance it has) in around 13 knots, but maybe as little as 12 knots, and should be OK up to around 16 knots (maybe a little more with some serious downhaul and outhaul adjustments to depower and loosen up the top of the sail).
Your 6.1 Bic Freeride (I have no idea exactly what characteristics this sail may have) should be good to around 20 knots, and you could expect to get planing on it in about 15-16 knots.
So, you have some significant overlap with your sails, but to simplify your selection process I'd say at under 13 knots(14.9 mph) the 8.5 Retro would be my suggestion, then at a solid 14 knots (16 mph), rig the 7.0 m2 NP VS.
When the wind is a solid 16 knots (18.4 mph) you can rig the 6.1 Bic Freeride sail.
This is all a bit theoretical, and you may find that you can use the 7.0 m2 in a little less wind speed, but for Florida conditions, I would think being a little overpowered would be far better than being underpowered.
Remember, if you rig too big (within reason) you can always sail a bit "sheeted out" (don't pull the sail down and in as much when you are hooked in and in the footstraps)
and dump a bit of power. Ease your sheeting angle gradually and you won't upset the balance of the rig or your board.
Hope this helps,

wndsrf48 4th June 2008 10:20 PM

Thanks Roger for the info.

The Bic free ride that I have is an older sail, so is the Neil Pryde VS.

One other question. I have an Exocet speed slider which you help me with
the weed fin down at Sunset Beach. How big of a sail can I put on it, and how
small of a sail. For now I have been using the Phoenix 340.

How does weight affect what size sail to use.

thanks again,

Roger 4th June 2008 10:31 PM

Hi Sandy,
How many liters is your Speed Slider, and how wide is it?
I think there are several models of the Speed Slider (I could be wrong on this)
and the particular size will make quite a bit of difference.
As far as how sailor weight figures into all this, suffice to say that the more you
weigh, the more sail you can hold down (provided you get your harness lines
correctly balanced and can commit your entire upper body weight to the harness).
There is a limit to how many liters you need to support your sailor weight, but if I remember correctly your Speed Slider is probably in the 120-140 liter range, right?
How big is the weed fin we put on your Speed Slider.
I cannot tell you what size sails until I have the volume/width of your board, and the fin size.
Hope this helps,

wndsrf48 4th June 2008 11:42 PM

Hi again Roger,

I will post the information tomorrow about the board.

Also, what would be a good sail quiver if I were to replace any
of my sails.

thanks again,

wndsrf48 5th June 2008 10:05 PM

Hi Roger,

Here are that stats of the exocet.

It is a Exocet speed slider volume 150L width 87cm
The weed fin is an gsport Orca 34cm.

I cannot use the fin it came with because of the weeds at Fred Howard.
The fin box is a deep tuttle. Also, would getting another fin for this board
help with what sails I could use with it.

If I had the opportunity to replace some of my sails what would you recommend.
The ones I would like to replace would be the 6.1 freeride and the 7.0 VS.
The freeride is about 10 years old and VS is around 8 years.

I have no problem hooking in but still have a problem getting into the straps. What do you think about the flotation that you can hook to the boom to help with waterstarting.


Roger 5th June 2008 11:37 PM

Hi Sandy,
OK, that's the info we need to determine the sail range for your Speed Slider.
Here are all the specifications for your board:
The suggested sail sizes are 6.5 m2 to 11.0 m2.
So, your 8.5m2 Retro is right in the middle of this range and this would seem to be
the optimum.
As they suggest, sails smaller than 6.5m2 are getting out side the 150 liter Speed Slider's range, so for smaller sails (and higher winds/bigger chop) you would really want
a smaller board.
Using your 8.5m2 Retro as the largest sail in your quiver, getting a 7.0 Retro and a
5.5 or 6.0 Retro would give you the best quiver spacing.
If you are going to be sailing at Fred Howard and Sunset Beach (very flat water, even when it's windy) you could easily use a 5.5 m2 on your current 150 liter Speed Slider.
If you aren't getting any "spin out" on your 34 cm weed fin with the 8.5, then you probably don't need a larger weed fin.
I've never tried the "boom end floats" so I can't comment, but I know lot's of sailors who have tried them and they seem to work well.
Where are you sailing that you need to do deep water water starts? I thought you could touch bottom almost everywehere at Fred Howard and Sunset?
Hope this helps,

wndsrf48 6th June 2008 12:36 AM

Hi Roger,

Yes, I can touch most everywhere at Fred Howard, and Sunset. But for those occasions that I cannot touch, I have a problem setting up for waterstarting.
Right now I am out of practice doing waterstarts. I always had a problem setting up for the waterstart. Is there a point where a sail gets too big to waterstart. Any suggestions what I can do to help my setting up for a waterstart.

Roger, do you remember what the sail range was for the F2 phoenix 340.

I'm thinking that the reason I cannot get into the straps is my tendency to sail underpowered.


Roger 6th June 2008 01:18 AM

Hi Sandy,
Is your boom height so high that you cannot put the boom arm on the back of the board?
If your boom is off the back of the board, then about the only ption is to grab the back footstrap and rest the boom on your forearm until the wind pick up your sail.
But my guess would be that at your sailing venues, there really isn't enough wind most of the time to get your sail "flying" enough for a waterstart.
So, uphauling is the better option.
Yes, being underpowered and unable to get onto a plane easily would be the primary issue in many of the problems you seem to be having.
What prevents you from sailing powered up to "overpowered"?
Then things like getting into the footstraps, jibing, committing your full weight to the harness, all become easy to do as the sail takes most of your weight and the board doesn't have to support you.
Hope this helps,

All times are GMT +7. The time now is 04:29 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.