Join Date: Aug 2009
Design suggestion : one board and rig for all
I have been a windsurfer for almost 30 years, and a Starboard fan for a while. I would like to propose a general design suggestion. Idea would be "one board for all" as follows :
A long time ago, windsurf was a sport for everyone. Accessible and affordable boards and rigs made it attractive for a large numbers of persons, young or old, casual or enthusiasts, to practise this simplest form of sailing.
Later, when funboard developed, practise evolved towards more sophistication, less accessibility, resulting in a much smaller number of windsurfers practising what had become a discipline of specialists. We gained extreme sensations, but lost the pleasure of simplicity and accessibility.
Idea would be to try and revive windsurf as a large audience sport through introduction of an adapted board design : accessible, performing, affordable, versatile, durable, one-design accross windsurf companies.
Main windsurf companies would agree on one board and rig design, then would allow any windsurf company to manufacture and sell it under its own brand, provided design is not modified, except for sail colors, board colors, or similar minor elements not affecting the board and rig performance (to preserve performance equality of models).
Design main features could be :
- accessible and versatile : enough volume, enough lenght for beginners, including reasonably heavy adults, so around 350 cm, 230 liters, 70 cm wide. Rig would be made of one sail with largest range : around 6.5 meters, narrow mast panel, not too flat, no cambers, perfectly stable profile, to be sailable in top range by enthusiasts. Board would also come with four inserts to install a kayak seat, simple and good idea of Bic with the Jungle.
- performing : needs to be pleasant and interesting to sail in light wind, again to be accessible to all (retractable daggerboard), and also to complete usefully quivers of enthusiasts, generally currently made of small boards for relatively strong winds only. Needs also to be performing, controllable and pleasant upwind and downwind in moderatly strong winds (up to force 6 included) to please enthusiasts (needs a mast foot rail).
- affordable and durable : simple equipment, three footstraps, not more, everything simple and robust, no need of high tech stuff, but no poor quality, only balanced, reasonable quality. Board and rig together should not cost more than 1800-2000 EUR.
- one design across windsurf companies : everybody could choose the brand of its preference, but buy the same board and rig. I could buy a Starboard or a Mistral, but buy the same board and rig with only color or minor differences (Starboard could do it with an irresistible wood deck). This would allow windsurfers to revive one of the best parts of old-school windsurfing : easily improvised regattas. Everybody has a chance, and the same pleasure, even if not a top sailor.
Such "one board and rig for all" approach would be a possibility to revive windsurf as a large audience sport, to have again beginners sailing with enthusiasts, and people on the beach looking at windsurfers not as elitist acrobats, but as people practising a beautiful sport they think they would like to try.
There were in the past certain attemps of one-design boards, but none across all windsurf companies, and none with all the qualities of the design generally described above. For example the Tiga Aloha had a too poor general quality, board and rig, to attract enthusiasts. Mistral One Design was not affordable, did not have simple enough equipement (12 straps ...), was not accessible enough (heavy rig 7.5 meters).
Hoping to read your opinion on this,