I have a M Rio and I weigh 79 Kg. On a 1-10 scale I am probably 3. I usually sail with light winds ( 10-12 knts) and I am not a speed buff. Far from it! I have an old Neil Pryde RAF 5.9 sail and a brand new Severne Focus 8.5. When I read suggestions in this Forum to use a 10.5 or even a 12 (!?) for planing, I get confused, because I already find the 8.5 overpowering. Actually, my old 5.9 ( 1999, don't laugh!) is quite O.K ! Definitely, it is bringing me everyday closer and closer to planing and I have already enjoyed a few fleeting moments of fast planing, ! It is only a question of some more practice and honing my technique, but I am getting there!
All this to say, folks, that those of you who suggest a 10.5 or larger , sound somewhat delirious, unless you are thinking about racing and/or extreme speeds, which is not necessarily what the majority of surfers have in mind!
All this hype about larger and larger sails and newer and newer equipment serves only one purpose: to feed the sales of windsurfing equipment. I may be a Flintstone, windsurfing-wise, but honest to God, I see only a marginal difference, if at all, between a 1999 sail and a 2008 sail. Only advertising says the contrary, of course! I am quite willing to be proven wrong, though!
I'd appreciate your comments
Good to see you are enjoying your windsurfing. That is the most important thing. You will find that as you lear to better control your small sail, you will look for new challanges.
It is normal that you wouldn't notice the difference between the old and new sails in light winds. They show their quality and best characteristics when pushed to the limits.
I also love sailing in light winds on my Phantom 320. I don't mind the low speed. I do race usually with a 8.5 or 9.5 sail and I have a 10.5 as well. Larger equipment is more expensive, especially with carbon mast and boom. I do find that I take a little time to get used to a sail and prefer not to change too much.
I no longer use any of my small sails since I am able to handle the 8.5 in strong conditions. You will know when you are ready to progress to larger sails, and if you never want to then thats OK.
Improving windsurfing skills is a slow progression. Your time on the water and willingness to push your limits will determing how fast you progress. I understand where you are coming from and in time, you will likely have at least 3-5 sails in your quiver.
The jump from a 5.9 to an 8.5 is a BIG jump in size. Finding the 8.5 too big at this point is understandable. The next size up from a 5.9 should be somewhere between a 6.5 and 7.5. Usually, a one meter jump in size is about right with the mid range sails. If I were you, I would look for a 7.0 to fill the gap. When you get used to the 7.0, then start on the 8.5.
One day you may want to work up to a 9 or 10 meter sail, but don't rush it. You will know when it's time.
Soon you will probably want move up to a higher performance board without a dagger board, possibly the Futura 122, 133 or 144. Once you get your Rio up on plane (dagger board all the way up) and are moving along at 20 + knots of board speed, you will understand what it's all about.
Regardless, your next purchase should be a 6.8 - 7.5 sail. Also, if you aren't yet using a harness, you should buy one and start getting used to it. This alone will allow you to progress much faster because you will be able to spend a lot more time on the water.
Think you have hit the nail on the head.
Windsurfing HAS NOT PROGRESSED it has changed.
A sail from 99 (and before) is more than capable of offering 99% of sailors all they require.(Sailors were sailing in massive waves and speed kit had broken 40k)
If sails had developed at rate claimed the 1 metre difference in size;quoted in previous post somewhere; would be much larger.
I`ve said it before but way back in 87 I went to canaries for first time. Took one board and 3 sails. (I think Tushingham Concepts); one mast; one boom and sailed everyday and loved it.
If I go now I take at least 2 boards; 5 sails ; a comprimised 2 masts and 2 booms.
We knock old gear to sell the new stuff. In the long run its why the sport has dropped in popularity. Manufacturers and magazines are to blame. Keep on using the old kit. Its just as good.
Its high time for an atmosphere of truthfullness and openess especially from manufacturers.
Drop the BS.
Good you're enjoying it, as #2 said - that's the most important. I'd like to add a couple of things:
-1999 sail is not stone age (if it's still in one piece), I remember my North Spectros from '97-'98. They were not far behind modern day sails - proper twisting leech, stable, easily tuned, etc. I would say board design has changed more in the last ten years then sail design.
-You sail in 10/12 knots winds and you have enjoyed a few moments of planing so far. No offence, but you probably need some more experience and skill to appreciate finer points of gear choice, tuning, etc.
-8.5 shouldn't be uncomfortable or overpowering in these winds. In fact it would be close to ideal, enabling you to plane constantly (in steady 10/12 knots). From my experience, most recreational sailors choose between 8 and 9 square meters as their largest lightwind sail, UNLESS they use formula and/or they are very heavy. A 2/3 cam freerace sail of 9sq. m. will plane in about the same winds as a 5 cam 11m race sail, but it won't have up/down angles and the speed of a race sail (that's why formula guys use sails so big, not because they plane in proportionally less wind). Agree with Ken, your next step should be around 7.0-7.5.
-When you have some experience you will learn what works for you and your conditions, and you will make better more informed choices (but it takes some time and some gear testing/buying). It doesn't have to be a truckload of new expensive gear, and I won't tell you what to buy. Maybe you'll go wide/shortboard route, maybe you'll opt for a proper longboard for even lighter winds.
But I doubt you'll be content with a Rio + raf5.9 five years from now ;-)
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