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Per 5th May 2010 12:58 AM

Longboards vs. sailboats in light winds
I believed my longboard (Mistral Equipe+10.3 sail) to be definitely faster than a sailboat in all winds.

Reality seems to be, that unless it's really railriding = in winds where formula could take over it's actually having a hard time against normal sail boats of 8 to 12 metres of length.

Is it me??

How do the new longboards like Phantom 380/320 perform in really light stuff against sailboats?

The sailboats seem to have 10 degrees of better pointing and some 20% more speed in non planing conditions due to their longer waterline and taller rigs.

In about 15+ knots of wind the longboard will take over as a higher speed gives the advantage even though pointing up/down is less efficient.

Any experience is appreciated.

Meric 5th May 2010 10:21 PM

Have you thought about division II boards?

Per 6th May 2010 12:53 AM

What are division II boards? How do they differ from the Equipes or the new Starboard Phantom?

I'm thinking of a Phantom 380/320 but if they don't give me something seriousely faster in low winds I see no need to let the $$$ roll.

And still I'm really divided in between the 380 (fast in light winds boy loooong while maxed and expensive) vs. the 320 (a tad slower in the light stuff but handy while planing and cheaper).

I like my Equipe, but I'm surprised it's not faster than a sailboat in 4-10 knots.


Ken 6th May 2010 01:07 AM


I raced longboard for many years, finishing up with an Mistral Equipe II XR, and I agree with your assessment. It's been at least 8 since I sold the Equipe and have been on Formula ever since.

Although I have never sailed a hybrid (Phantom), I doubt they could better than the old longboards in under 10 knots. The Phantom offers something for everything, but can't compete with Formula in stronger winds or old longboards in light winds.

When I had my Equipe, my largest sail was a 10.6, but it had a very limited range (no twist in the leach). In light winds (under 8-9 knots), the sailboats have the advantage to windward and leeward. In 9-12 knots, the Equipe could do better upwind, but not downwind. In 12 knots+, the Equipe could do better upwind and downwind.

The above are guesses since it has been 8 years, but when I had the board, I had fun trying to chase and pass keel boats, both up and downwind. I even joined in some races (staying out of their way) to see how I could do.

Meric 6th May 2010 06:49 AM

Division II boards were made in the 80ties, they are about 3.90 meter long, 60-70 cm wide, have a round bottom shape and a daggerboard. Mistral use to make one called the M1. See pictures of a few of these boards here. They are much faster than a sailboat upwind and downwind, very enjoyable in light wind condition, harder to control in wind above 15-20 kts, although they are manageable.

tonymatta 6th May 2010 06:56 AM

I have been sailing my phantom 320 for a full season (last 9 months) against dinghies. I have found that the 320 gets steadily faster relative to the boats as the wind increases, with a big jump in speed once you get planing. The boats that have huge spinikers are always hard to catch since I am limited to the one sail down wind.

I was mostly the only sailboard in the race, but on the odd occasion I had competition from more experienced sailboarders on mistral equipe or superlite, they have always gone faster than me. Obviously my skill level is a major factor. (my 4 years against their 20)

anyway my personal opinion is that the new raceboards don't offer any quantum leap in performance. They may offer a noticeable advantage in a sailboard fleet but if you are racing against boats, I don't think you will benefit much.

I think the extra width in the 320 makes it easier to sail downwind and gives it better general stability. this is agreat asset for a less experienced sailor like me.

I'm not sure since I have only had a short trial of an equipe but I have felt that the 320 seems to do a better upwind angle. I can do close to 100 degrees tack to tack (measured on GPS)in all but the lightest conditions. I can point at least as high as the boats most of the time and often higher and faster than some of them. It is always difficult to work out the cost benefit of the hight vs speed.

Sailboards Vs boats is realy not a fair contest since their performance parameters change so much over the wind range (as ken pointed out). Do you really want to replace your board just to beat a boat?

If your old board needs replacing and you don't mind the cost of a new board, then I think the new models are worthwhile. Otherwise, My preference is to spend money on new sails that are improving in power handling and wind range every year.

agrelon 6th May 2010 10:59 AM

Can anyone compare the pointing ability of a Formula (reputed for great upwind angles) with a sailboat, say and optimist or a lazer?

Would be interesting to know. I reckon over 10 knots the Formula might have a better VMG, though maybe not with a better angle...

PG 6th May 2010 12:40 PM

If you look at results from recent Raceboard competitions you will find that the old Raceboards are still very competitive with the new breed from Starboard and Exocet. Physics hasn't changed in 15 years...

Ken 6th May 2010 09:35 PM

Formula boards are much faster upwind than keel boats if there is enough wind (over 12 knots). They can't point as high, maybe 15-20 degrees less, but the formula boards easily have double the speed or more. Bottom line is they can easily get to windward faster than almost anything.

To be competitive downwind, a little more wind is necessary, at least 15 knots would be needed for deepest run with max speed. Formula can't run as deep (can't go dead downwind), but the better speed makes the difference.

Two weeks ago, I raced my formula in 26 knot winds and hit a top speed of 25 knots running downwind. I am really conservative when I race Formula since I am an old guy out to have fun, so I was on a Maui Sails TR 4 6.6. Most of the other racers were on 8.5 sails, but they are younger guys. I finished fourth.

There are some sailboat planing hulls that can match formula downwind, but I don't believe they can do as well upwind.

Per 6th May 2010 10:31 PM

In 10 knots with a 11m2 sail and a skilled sailor af full planing formula will beat an optimist or lazer on any angle.
If the formula is not able to be fully planing the lazer might win.
From + 10 knots formulas are very efficient but huge racing yachts like americas cup 12 metres do upwind angles horribly close to the wind at a steady 12-13 knots of speed.
A formula will have a very hard time in this company, but reaching it will outperform them (I've done 28.5 knots on my F159)
Some multuhulls and skiffs are very serious competitors too.
Normal keelboats of less than 45 feet will not catch a formula in +15 knots of wind. A longboard will outperform them too.

The interesting point is sailing in LESS than 10 knots of wind..
What about Serenity??


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