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Matthew 30th October 2006 09:35 AM

6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
Hi Roger,

My 2nd hand 6.3 Gun X-race sail, that was held together with copious amounts for tape and happy thoughs, had a minor catastrophe this weekend and I have decided to pass it on to some lucky soul more desperate than myself. I had decided to replace it with a 2006 6.5 retro. But my local friendly sailors have been working on me telling me you "need" a camed sail for gusty lake conditions to make the most of the wind here abouts. I have an 2006 11.0 retro that I love. Could it be that I just don't know what I'm missing?

What do you think should I go with my first instinct and get the retro or do you have other suggestions. I weight 215 lbs so I want oodles of low end power to heave me up onto a plain, and it needs to be very robust (x-ply) and easy to rig correctly. I'll be rigging it on an x-9 460 mast, that was a NP prototype.


Roger 30th October 2006 07:02 PM

RE: 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
Hello Matthew,
I think the 6.5 Retro will certainly "do the job" for what you seem to want.
Easy to rig, huge tuning range, lot's of low end power for it's size.
Are there any other sailors on small Retros at your gusty lake?
Bruce P. designs and tests the Retro's in the Columbia River Gorge and that's a very windy but also very gusty place for sure.
Get the Retro, and then see if the guys that weigh the same as you do are faster on their similar sized cammed sails?
I don't think you will see many of them, if any, passing you on the 6.5 Retro.
Only thing I'm wondering about is the NP X9 proto mast.
I'd suggest getting the sail, rigging it on your existing mast, and if it doesn't look right or seems to be lacking in any way, try it on a Sailworks or Powerex mast and see if that doesn't fix any problems.
If you have a mast compatability problem, you can get the correct mast after you've determined that there's a problem with the X9 mast.
Hope this helps,

Matthew 31st October 2006 08:06 AM

RE: 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
Thanks Roger, it's always really nice to hear what you want. I'll test out that x-9 and see if it works...


Roger 31st October 2006 09:22 AM

RE: 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
Hi Matthew,
I just think the 6.5 m2 Retro is a truly great sail.
Hope it works well on your X9 mast

tonyP 11th November 2006 08:48 AM

RE: 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
Hello again Roger,

I have a 6.5 Retro (2003) (love the sail, sadly, don't get enough wind for it all that often). I'm wondering what you would say was the windrange for the sail with the following kit:

Year 2000 GO (190 litres)
Powerex X3 460 mast
Chinook aluminum boom
154 lb (70Kg) 5' 8" rider
No adjustable outhaul

Let me 'fine tune' the question a little if I may. Assume that the sail is correctly rigged for current conditions (say a wind of 17 knots plus or minus a couple. I picked 17 thinking it would be about the mid range for the sail.)

1) How much MORE, or how much LESS wind can the sail handle without having to be re-tuned (ie downhauled)?

2) What would you say would be the maximum and minimum (to plane) winds for this sail and kit

3) Lastly, would you say that most 'current technology' (let's say sails 2001ish and newer - that's 5 years) would have the same range as in the situation I posed in 1) above - ie once set, a current sail will provide acceptable performance within a range of plus or minus 'x' knots of windspeed change? (Where 'x' is the answer that you provide for question 1)

Apologies for the awkwardly phrased questions. As always, thanks for your time.


Roger 11th November 2006 12:24 PM

RE: 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
Hi Tony, original GO! What a classic board!
Mmmm... I'm not sure what an "X3" Powerex mast is.
Normally that would be a Z-Speed (100% carbon); Z-Free (75% carbon); Z-Wave (55% Carbon) or the NRZ (30% carbon).
Powerex masts normally have fairly uniform bend characteristics
throughout their mast line so the significant variables would be the
weight and price.
As to your question, my experience has been that the Retro's can handle about a 5 knot range pretty easily. It will be a little underpowered at 14 knots, and you'll definitely find you have too much sail at 19-20 knots.
But why be "limited"? Get an adjustable outhaul (a simple one was provided with your sail and should be in the pouch in the sail bag. This would allow you to "tune" on the fly and get maybe a knot or 2 on the low wind end of the range (if you slack the adj. outhaul off alot) and maybe a knot or 2 on the top end as well (by simply flattening out your sail by tightening the outhaul.
And, you can add quite a bit more downhaul and increase the range even more.
At 70 Kg,/154 lbs. you should be able to pump the GO onto a plane in 12-14 knots somewhere, depending on your skills and the "consistency" of the wind. I've sailed the 6.5 Retro in gusts over 20 knots, but I have plenty of sails so at around 18 knots steady I get out the 5.5 m2 Retro.
Yes, I think most modern sails can easily handle a 5 knot (maybe even as much as 10 knots in the gusts) range of windspeeds and be comfortably powered throughout that range.
Bigger formula sails, with a flatter entry and more twist dynamics can handle as much as 12-15 knots wind range, but it's not fun to be that far overpowered.
You need to select sails based on the type of sailing you do most often, and the Retro is right there in mid range of this. You have flatter, simpler free ride sails and Freestyle sails that don't have as much range and cannot be tuned through a wide range, and on the other end of the spectrum you have the full race sails that have a tremendous range, and a huge tuning range, but they are more complex and a little heavier, and definitely more difficult to rig.
You are a light weight, so you can get your GO board going pretty early, and with good technique, you can hang on the that same
Retro (make it easy on yourself and do some tuning with the downhaul and an adj. outhaul) up to around 20 knots.
Beyond about 18 knots, your board is going to start getting "too big" and changing down to a smaller fin and rig will allow you to go to maybe 22-24 knots. Beyond that is unrealistic for the GO board.
You can certainly sail the GO in more wind, but it won't be fun and getting a smaller narrower board and smaller rig/fin will bring the fun factor back.
I hope this answers yo9ur question.;)

Sam 11th November 2006 09:52 PM

RE: 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
I have 4 Retros - 10.0, 8.0, 6.5 and 5.5. I have sailed the 10. and 8.0 for a couple of years and love them. The 6.5 and 5.5 are newer and I have sailed them about 3 times each. I like them too. It is so nice to have all four sails rig the same way and behave the same on the water. They all work well for me in light and strong wind.

I rig them on 75 % carbon masts that are the recommeded sizes. I have new 430 and 520 Maui Sails masts, a 490 Powerex Zfree and a 460 Joystick. I only use an adjustable outhaul on the 10.0 cause I don't usually need it on the smaller sails.

I think you would be very happy with the 6.5 Retro since you are with your 11.0.


tonyP 13th November 2006 08:03 AM

RE: 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
>>> original GO! What a classic board!
>>> Mmmm... I'm not sure what an "X3" Powerex mast is.

Hi again Roger,

You were correct (again) my "X3 Powerex" mast is in fact a Neil Pryde X3.

I'm interested in your comments on the 2000 Go being too big a board at around 22-24 knots.

>>> Beyond about 18 knots, your board is going to start getting "too >>> big" and changing down to a smaller fin and rig will allow you to go >>> to maybe 22-24 knots. Beyond that is unrealistic for the GO board.
>>> You can certainly sail the GO in more wind, but it won't be fun and >>> getting a smaller narrower board and smaller rig/fin will bring the >>> fun factor back.

I have a 5.5 Retro with suitable NP mast and boom, and various fins down to 28cm. What would you think of one of the smaller Go's - say the 139 (I love the stability that added width brings). Would that combination cover winds from 20 knots up to... what would you say? Or is it the board width that is the factor that hinders control, and the Go 129 at 72 cm wide becomes the higher wind choice?

Appreciate your insights,


Roger 13th November 2006 11:16 AM

RE: 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
Hi Tony,
Yes, you've hit on the main issue. Width!
Up to around 20 knots, boards 75 cm -100 cm wide
work really well, and have actually "opened up" the entire
wind spectrum from around 7-8 knots up to around 12 knots
to windsurfing. Short boards didn't plane much below 12 knots until the wider boards (like your original GO) were designed.
But, at around 20 knots, (unless you are a Formula sailor and racing
or training for races) narrower boards with modern improved rockerlines are so much more versatile and smoother to sail.
The width you like so much soon becomes "the width that makes control a limiting issue.
Sure, if you have 25 knots, on really flat water, or somewhere like the event site in the Gorge where you are just sailing back and forth across the river and only need to go across the river until the chop and swell gets uncomfortable (or unmanageable) your 5.5 m2 rig and a 46-52 cm fin will still be lots of fun.
But if you have to sail in real world 22 knot + conditions, with big chop and large wind driven swells that may not align so that you can sail "across them" sailing a wide board like the original GO (83 cm wide) soon becomes less than fun.
Something smaller and narrower like a small Carve, S-Type, Isonic,
or Kombat just makes things easier and more manageable as well as alot more fun.
If you feel you don't have the skills for such a small board, I think you will find that you actually do have them and that the wider board is really something you no longer "have to have".
The GO 129 is still too wide for 22 knots.
Your "I love the added stability" is not really an issue because at 20+ knots, with a 5.5 or smaller rig, you have plenty of power to make waterstarting really easy, and the modern freeride and slalom boards that are designed for this wind strength have plenty of stability once they are planing.
You will learn the skills you need to sail the smaller board very quickly
and will soon be going faster, jumping higher and working on your carving jibes.
Hope this helps,

Palmer 18th November 2006 01:35 AM

RE: 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing
Hi Roger!
The retro 6.5 is truly a nice sail and also the 5.5 which has been my most frequently used sail this year. For Roger and anyone else who have sailed the retro and hucker I have a question. I'm about to by a smaller sail, was about to buy a retro 4.5 but the salesguy told me to look at the hucker 4.2. This seems like a big step going from 5.5 to 4.2. I could consider the 4.8 but he told me it would overtake the 5.5. Any comments on this? Is the power of the hucker 4.2 to cope with the retro 4.5? I will use the sail for B&J - freeriding!
Best regards

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