I posted something yesterday, on this topic but somehow it never made it onto the forum.
I agree with Ken and CC.
They make very good points that were part of what I was saying.
One point they didn't cover, that I feel is primary to this issue is windspeed.
Do you have an accurate windspeed meter of some sort?
Many windsurfers have learned to "look at the water" and the surrounding trees, etc
and are able to judge the windspeed fairly accurately, but most do not have any
sort of accurate windspeed information.
So, using your example, if the windspeed is 30 knots and they are perfectly powered on a 5.4 m2 rig how do they know it's actually 30 knots?
My answer is that they do not know.
Windspeed in the 5-10 knot range we can fairly accurately judge.
Windspeed in the 10-15 knot range is pretty easy to judge also.
15-20 knots is more difficult, and over 20 knots becomes very hard
to tell as once the chop starts (at around 12-14 knots) it does indeed
get larger, but geography and fetch (the distance the wind has to act on the surface
of the water) really affect our ability to judge true windspeed.
I only know one guy who wears a wrist mounted wind meter (anemometer) and stops out on the water while sailing to check what wind speed he's sailing in.
So, most of the rest of us are stuck with onshore handheld anemometer information,
information from the nearest weather station or airport, or perhaps information from an onsite service like I-Windsurf that provides pagers that give windspeed and can give you an alarm when the windspeed gets up to your personal minimum.
Nice, but none of this actually measures the windspeed out on the water where we are sailing.
So, having real time accurate windspeed information is very sketchy at best.
There are sailors who would be perfectly powered on 5.4 m2 wave sails in 25 knots, and there are other sailors who are going for slalom speed who might be perfectly powered on a 5.4 m2 race sail at around 30 knots (that's alot of wind), but you might find that 30 knots is better on a 3.8-4.2 m2 rig.
Sail design has changed in the last 12 years and most of us use about 0.5-1 m2 larger modern sails than say we would have used in late 80's early to mid 90's sail designs.
So, as suggested by the others, we could state that we felt perfectly powered in X knots of wind on an X.X m2 rig, but having others take the same combination of sail size and windspeed would probably have them feeling overpowered or underpowered.
Hope this helps,
Last edited by Roger; 30th December 2008 at 08:47 PM.