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Old 3rd May 2016, 03:12 AM   #1
GregUSA
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Default Returning after 15y and needing gear advice

Hi guys!

Iím an old windsurf addict from a while back: I learned in 1977 (was 13!) on a Windsurfer with a teak boom! This sport was a real passion for me and I sailed in all conditions until about 15 years ago when I took a break because I moved for work in the middle of Ohio, USA! Anyhow, Iím back and really want to enjoy the few years of active life I got left to really have a blast on the water again.

The question is what gear should I get? Everything changed and got more specialized. I read a bunch of the threads in this forum and gathered already some good info. But, thereís nothing better than a chat and some advice based on my particular situation.

I live now in Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan. Iím also 40 minutes away from Lake Winnebago where a few windsurfers are sailing there too. Conditions vary quite a bit: from descent side shore fall winds (15 to 20kn) to summer south-west (5 to 12kn) and the rare Noríeaster on Lake Michigan (20-40kn). This lake can be rough at times and Lake Winnebago is usually quite choppy (Most sailors are doing Bumps and Jumps there, with a few doing racing in more shielded areas).

I want to sail more than 5 or 6 times a year (season here is really May 1st to Oct. 31) so Iím looking for a board that has wide wind range Ė mainly on the light wind side I guess. Iím interested in Racing/Freeride board type mainly to go fast, be scared, jibe and go back and forth!

I have cash for one new board for now and Iím guessing a Futura 124 or maybe 134 or an AtomIQ 130? But I donít really know what volume I should really go for since that wasnít how anyone would select a board in the 80ís! Iím now 86Kg for 187cm. I still have my favorite board from my glorious 1980ís: a 1984 Local Motion custom-made Clark foam/Polyester by Ed Angulo 295cmx58cm pintail with wings in a tri-fin configuration. Still in great shape but I was 10kg lighter and uphauling a 6.0 when the wind died down unexpectedly was already getting my feet up in the water passed my ankles... I just need a bit more comfort now I guess. Also, when I was in my 20s and 75kg, I used to handle a full batten rotational 6.0 sail in 12-16kn if I recall. Looks like nowadays larger sails can be more easily handled in higher wind conditionsÖ So Iím a bit lost as far as the set of sails I need to get me on the water as often as possible!
Iíll take any suggestions and advice. Many thanks!
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Old 4th May 2016, 12:02 AM   #2
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Hi Greg, welcome back! I live in the Chicago area and also sail on lake Michigan and one other small lake. I think you are underestimating the season a bit -I usually start late March /before even all of the ice is gone/ untill late into December some years. You need a drysuit for the early spring; hood; mitts; boots and then a 4/3 smooth skin weatsuit is enough for the spring and fall . I hate cold and usually layer up with neo shorts, shirt, socks etc. As for boards and sails -you can't go wrong with the freemove like the AtomIQ ! They have an insane range and don't let the width intimidate you-it makes the board very stable when not planing and when planing you almost dont feel it. The main difference is that when starting to be overpowered it lifts from the side and not at the nose like the longer narrower boards-which helps with control, because you can apply weight easier by pushing on your heels. I'm ~77kg and my biggest kit is AtomIQ 110 and a Retro 7.5, my smallest is a Kode 86 and Revo 4.2. I guess for your weight the new AtomIQ 124 and a 8.0 sail will be the biggest you'll ever need and you can sail it down to 6.0 with no issues-extremly easy to control board. The freemoves are thinner which make them sit lower in the water and therefore the stability and control and they need to be wider not to loose too much in the early planing department. You can start with this board and then fugure out if you even need another smaller one and what kind. My 110/7.5 combo starts planing in 15 kts and for the lighter days I use a small sail and practice non planing freestyle on the AtomIQ or my Converse Windsup.
We can also chat on our forum windsurfillinois.com which you are welcome to join if you haven't already .
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Old 7th May 2016, 03:15 PM   #3
GregUSA
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Thanks for taking the time.
Taking it all into consideration, and following and other advice, I'm going with:
AtomIQ 124 Carbon (this is super expensive!!!)
Gasastra Savage 8.6
Gaastra Matrix 7.5 and 6.5
Will get a 5.5 when I'll get the extra cash eventually.
And yes, I joined the forum!
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Old 7th May 2016, 04:28 PM   #4
COACHG
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Hi Greg,

With today's sails you could probably save some money by getting a 7.0 & ditching the 7.5 & 6.5 sails.

Coachg
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Old 8th May 2016, 12:20 PM   #5
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I would side with Coachg and from the Gaastra /or is it Ga Sails now?/ lineup I would choose a 8.5 Cosmic and 7.0 Matrix . The 6es and especially the 5s belong to a board with 20L less volume IMO.
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Old 8th May 2016, 03:41 PM   #6
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...or 8.6 and 7.2 Savage for more slalom feel especially supplemented with a 48 and 42 MFC RC fins . And you can actually put the carriage in front of the horse /anything goes with the freemove boards/ and get a 6.0 and 5.2 Cross and use them on the AtomIQ untill you get a 105 FSW board one day. Something may be wrong with the new Ultracore construction btw. , folks are having issues with their Futuras of the same construction!!
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Old 8th May 2016, 04:20 PM   #7
Jean-Marc
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Greg,

Agree as well that you could cover a wide range with only 2 sails : Ga Savage 7.2 and 8.6 m2 (range about 12-25 knots) with one 460 cm mast and one high quality and stiff 170-220 cm carbon boom (this could be used later with smaller sails).
You can have a wider gap between sail sizes when the wind gets lighter. In medium winds, you can go as 0.7-1 m2 sail size gap whereas in stronger winds, gap in sail sizes can go as 0.5-0.7 m2.

I just wonder how nasty the chop can be at your sailing spots when the winds is blowing above 25 knots and how to keep control of a +80 cm wide board such as Atom 120 in this kind of chop ? A second narrower board would be better in strong wind up to 40 kts with say 4.2/4.7/5.4 and 6.2 sail sizes.
However, I don't know whether your 1984-old custom board might fit that bill with modern cut sails and fins. The mast track, footstraps plugs and maximum width were set well forward on those oldies as compared to today's standards. I still have a 1989-old 8'6" x 22" Hi-Tech custom and the mast base recommended setting has been moved 40 cm further to the back nowadays on say a Kode 81 Freewave for example, i.e., from 170 down to 130 cm or even less.

Cheers !

JM

Last edited by Jean-Marc; 8th May 2016 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 9th May 2016, 04:17 AM   #8
GregUSA
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Thx for the sail size advice but too late! I got everything in Saturday. I got a really good deal on the Gaastra sails and the shop didn't had the 6.0 or the 7.0 in stock. So, I agree that a 15% to 17% gap between size is a bit overkill for my needs and skill level but it's done anyway!

And in fact I got a single 460 80% carbon mast, a single 160-226 carbon boom and 48 carbon extension and I can rig all 3 sails with that setup.

Would love a narrower board for more demanding wind and water conditions. Honestly, it's been so long since I sailed and boards have changed so much that I think I'm up for a surprise with that 120l - hopefully a good one!

And yeah, I'll get the old 9'6" custom on the water in windy conditions with a modern 6:5 or less to see what that does. It used to be an awesome and lively narrow but long board in heavy choppy waters back then...

This afternoon, I rigged all 3 sails and I can't believe how big the 8.6 is. I never sailed anything bigger than a 6.0 when I was in Europe in the 80's and 90's. I have a hard time seeing how this massive 8.6m2 can be handled on the 120 AtomIQ! I will post my experience! Thx
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Old 9th May 2016, 11:41 AM   #9
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You may want to take it easy on yourself at first, increasing the duration of your sessions and the sail size gradually giving time to your windsurfing muscles to recover and grow stronger. Also if you havent set foot on a windsurfing kit in the last 15 years you will find that a lot has changed not only in how things look, but how they are tuned and sailed, so take your time and get to know your equipment preferably starting with the smallest sail in lighter winds and flat water. Keep in mind that nowadays our front limbs are the leading and the back ones have more or less a support role , so be light with your back foot and try to keep it bent most of the time and keep your front arm staright and holding close to the harness line as much as possible, closing and oppening the sail to break or accelerate and dont pull too much with your back arm because oversheeting will only slow you down.
You may want to install some kind of a board nose protection, either by glueing a foam protector on the nose or attaching a removable protector on the mast /your boom shouldnt be able to reach neither the nose nor the tail of your board/- todays short boards are not as directionally stable as the boards of the past and crashes/catapults are very common until you get used to the reactivity.
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