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Unregistered 6th January 2010 08:50 AM

High winds novice: what board / sail ?
Hi everybody,

I would like to ask for your opinion and for your advice concerning my latest high winds experience.

I should say I'm not really used to high winds, as I mostly windsurf with sails from 8.0 to 5.3 with average 20-22 knots maximum.

Last January 2, I was in Hyeres-La Mandrague (France) and the wind was 30 knots on-shore mistral with moderate shore break. There was also a weed area near the beach.
I'm a heavyweight (93 kg) and my equipment was the following:
board: Jp x-cite ride 120 lt (2007).
sail: Neil Pryde Core 4.7 (1999) with Pride 400 wave mast (SDM carbon 45%).

My concern is that I couldn't really sail.
I waterstarted several times (with water level to my shoulders).
But as I tried to go upwind, I had balance problems due to the shore break: the board seemed not to start and I also felt like the sail hadn't enough power for my weight (I falled off windward a few times).

Do you think I should look for a 100 liter freestyle-wave board first (could the Kode be right ?), or I shoud better look for a more powerful wave sail - like a Neil Pride Alpha ?

Thank you so much in advance !

Enrico, Milano-Italy

Farlo 6th January 2010 04:14 PM

Salve Enrico,
Most likely 120 Liters would have been too much in 30 Knts. A 105 L board (not much smaller) would better suit your weight in such conditions. Adversely 4.7 mē may be a bit small. Mistral can be quite irregular with lulls at 20 Knts. In this case the 5.3 may be an option. However you may have other problems with too big a sail. Basically the board gets stuck upwind when you sheet in, and you fall off. This happens also when there is too much outhaul. Your sail is completely flat/instable and you don't start. Additionaly the fin shall be consistent with sail size (but I guess it was more than big enough). Ciao

Unregistered 6th January 2010 08:07 PM

Hi Farlo,

my fin was a 30 cm Tribord freeride (from Decathlon).

Your reply seems to confirm to me that the first problem was given by the sail.

My personal opinion is that the 120 lt. board could'nt be considered the main problem in a starting non-planing phase (you can keep it easily down). . on the contrary it should help with the shore break . .

Do you agree ?

Thank you, Enrico

Farlo 6th January 2010 09:26 PM

Hi Enrico, 30 cm is OK for 4.7 mē but may be a bit small with 5.3 at your weight and you may consider 32/33. Anyway both are very small fins for your JP. Most probably the main problem was caused by the sail, but once powered up you may discover that 120 L are quite cumbersome. Wide boards are stable in flat water but in the shore break they waddle here and there and do not help. If you have enough power in the sail you will enjoy a smaller board.

mac33 6th January 2010 10:30 PM

120 litre board in a genuine 30!

Unregistered 7th January 2010 12:21 AM

120 litres ;30knots and 90k + are not that out of ordinary

BelSkorpio 7th January 2010 02:55 AM

Hi "unregistered",

I have been windsurfing a couple of years ago at the "presqu'ile de giens" nearby l'Almanarre & Hyeres, with 35+ wind coming from the east (vent d'est, no Mistral) also on-shore. I'm 87kg and needed a wave board of +/- 86L and a sail of +/- 3.7m2 and a small wave fin of max 25cm. All other equipment was too big to handle that day.
I still remember that I also had problems with the nasty shore break (continuous series with little spacing in between) that kept on sweeping me back onto the beach. Then there came a guy to me, who saw that I was struggling, and told me to swim a couple of meters with my equipment just behind the shore break and waterstart over there. From then on, it went super. With strong on-shore wind and a nasty shore break, you need a little space (especially with small wave sails) to go a little bit down-wind into planing and then point again towards the wind. I've seen experienced wave windsurfers struggling that day as well and doing exactly the same thing.

Hope this helps.

Hot Ice 7th January 2010 04:28 AM

Classic Mistake
Many people buy dirt cheap high wind sails to save money and the fact they will not use them often. That is a mistake and will ruin a high wind days sailing.

The Neil Pryde Core is a very old sail that was Josh Stone’s signature sail. It had four battens and was designed specifically for light weight freestyle sailors and light weight wave sailors. It is totally unsuitable for a heavy weight on a 120 litre board in bump and jump conditions.

The board and fin is fine for now.

Buy an Alpha 5.4 as soon as possible if you want to sail well in 30 knot winds. The difference will be unbelievable. :)

Farlo 7th January 2010 05:08 PM

Vent d'est at l'Almanarre is generally steadier. Mistral can be very strong but with large lulls and all of a sudden you have like nothing in your sail. Not a big issue if you're up and planing but quite annoying when you're struggling in the shore break. Swimming away is a good trick but then you need enough drive to start otherwise you're rolled back to the beach (I'm sure many of us made this horrible experience). So the first thing is to be well powered. Certainly 4,7 mē or less would be OK in a steady 30 Knts but Enrico's description suggests that the sail wasn't big enough, or too flat.

BelSkorpio 7th January 2010 06:13 PM

Well, with 30 knots (7 Bft), I wouldn't like to be with a 5.4m2 sail in on-shore conditions, with waves coming up to you ready to launch you several meters high. Off-shore, yes of course, that's a whole different thing.
I also heard that vent d'est is more stable than Mistral, so perhaps I can't really compare with the conditions I had over there. Anyway, I also felt from time to time underpowered with a 3.7m2 to get into planing (you always have big lulls in these kind of high wind days), but once planing it was no problem at all. Only difficult to go through to the shore break, but like I told, swimming far enough behind the shore break did the trick. I would not advise unexperienced windsurfers to use too big sails in heavy on-shore conditions. Enrico is of course heavier than me, so 4.5m2 would be about right. Just my opinion.

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