Old 28th January 2008, 03:58 PM   #51
Screamer
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Poster 18

You've got a lot of strong arguments there, who would argue with Jim Drake on these points? And the example of Nathalie Le Lievre is really sad, to say the least. That's not the way to go, for sure.

I thought that would be interesting to add another angle: why Olympic windsurfing, for example, has held on to lightwind gear & venues for so long (it still does, today)? Why it does not represent and promote more exciting and attractive side of the sport? While there were industry mistakes you mention, I don't think that this was a good decision either. In winter Olympics, slalom races are held on steep slopes on well prepared snow, to show the pinnacle of the sport. I know a LOT of sailors who refuse such representation of windsurfing, which brings me to another point: maybe ws should be split between displacement and planing "divisions" and I really don't mean anything negative about it (maybe similar to nordic and alpine skiing, I don't see what would be wrong with it). The crowds and kids sailing Lasers that you mention, could be easily attracted to the former, while they may not have sufficiently good conditions to enjoy latter on a regular basis. Maybe then some of them would be prepared to "endure" the (very real) hassles Floyd talks about, and go for high wind sailing sometimes. Good for all.
With regard to marketing driving development and creating demand (or the lack of it), I've had my share of mistakes with ws gear. In other sports, magazines (skiing, mtb, etc) magazines also push extremes, somehow without the ill effects seen in ws. But responsibility is also with sailors (clubs, organizations, etc) evaluating their real needs (and more importantly conditions), not falling for ads blindly. Maybe telling the manufacturers what they DON'T want, over time. That probably happens in the end anyhow.

I somehow believe there are better times ahead.

Fair winds
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Old 28th January 2008, 06:52 PM   #52
Poster 18 (back again)
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Thanks Screamer, and good post.....it dragged me back to the keyboard

I agree that effectively allowing the sport to be sort of fall into fairly separate BUT EQUALLY RESPECTED areas could be quite good. As you say, it could help both sides. I have heard that where Nordic skiing is as respected as downhilling, skiing as a whole is much more popular for the same sort of reasons (but I'm not sure about that).

Re Olympic windsurfing; for a start, presenting the sport's more extreme end may just reinforce the popular image that it is too difficult and elitist. But the question has never seriously gone that far, because Olympics are held in cities and few cities are in particularly windy areas. Secondly, the Olympics are held at times that have to suit the other sports, and few of the athletes etc want to run around in early summer when seabreezes are cranking.

One small sport like windsurfing doesn't have the right to demand that the entire Games and schedule are redesigned around the conditions that windsurfers just happen to prefer, any more than the whitewater kayakers can. We can't demand that a city spend millions on accomodation, press centres, transport, security, spectator facilities, race committees, etc. And having spent many a day waiting for wind on the pro circuit and having shared or monitored many a FW regatta, we know that even at the right time and place we cannot be sure of planing conditions with enough regularity to suit the olympics and the TV schedule we want.

Actually we have had some windy Olympics since windsurfing came in; the Korean Olympics were windy enough to almost sink some of the 27' yachts and break the mast of one of the top 22 footers; in Athens at least one of the 23 footers almost sank. There were good winds in 2000 (ie 470 class medal races) and I think some good days in Barcelona. We still don't get windsurfing on TV, but where I am we don't get to see our FW or wave champs on TV either......we used to get windsurfing on TV years ago but that was because the whole sport was so big that powerful sponsors were into it and TV cameramen loved shots of hundreds of slow-moving but colourful sails.

The final point is that we always tend to assume that other sports are doing it better than we are in the Olympics, but they aren't in all ways. For example, windsurfers who hate one designs often point to the fact that Olympic bikes aren't one design. The underlying assumption is that the bicycle guys have it right and sailors have it wrong.

But in England, the number of bikes sold vastly outweighs the number of boats and boards that are sold - yet a vastly greater number of people compete on boats that on bikes. The UK bike racing association claims 10,000 members, the sailing association estimates there's 600,000 people in sailing associations. The Laser class alone has 20% as many paid-up members as the entire UK bike racing association. Dinghy racing ranks quite high in the list of most popular sports, but bike racing and skiing don't.

So who really has it right? I'd argue that sailing, with its concentration on more equal equipment, is demonstrably vastly better at turning people into competitors (and given the expense and hassle of sailing, probably better at getting people into the whole sport).

I worked in the bicycle and surf industries for a while, as well as in the windsurfing and sailing industries. Those sports all seemed to just be more prepared to promote the practical as well as the spectacular; you never got the same sort of pressure to just push say tow surfing or downhill racing.

I agree there's better times ahead; there are fascinating areas for the sport to move into. We can meet the modern consumers' demands by looking at what has worked and what is currently working in other sports, and by giving them the diversity that people call for these days.

For example, I'd love to see a cruising board like a sea kayak, and that may be a winter project. I don't know if it will work, but it's something new to try and I'd love to be able to cruise my coast and hidden inlets with a combination of sail and paddle, carrying my camping gear. It would have much more range than paddling. I just can't work out why there's so much hostility when we try to present novel variations of the sport like that. Are people so wedded to one or two dimensions that they get scared by other concepts??

Sounds like we both agree that strong wind sailing is great (which is why I did that circuit to the level of being in my national team) and we both think it will thrive, but maybe it will do even better if other forms of the sport are also seen with an open mind and encouraged.
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Old 28th January 2008, 08:41 PM   #53
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Poster 18

We don't agree only that high wind sailing is great, I think we agree on a lot more. As I've said, I don't have to discover displacement windsurfing, I have a few thousand km on Div2/raceboards (although it was a long time ago), and I'm thinking about new lightwind board. I'd like to add a couple of things:
-Olympics. 1. Athletes regularly travel a lot (as in a few hundred kilometres) to different arenas anyway.Not all events are held "in the city" 2. It just doesn't seem right to see them on 15+kg boards, pumping like madmen in 3knots, when there is so much more to the sport. 3. Even though I've stated my opinion, what you say probably make more sense, with regard to wider context of sailing sports.
-Hostility. I've seen it both way, believe me. It makes no sense and nobody should encourage it. This thread has been pretty nice actually , I think

Now with this sorted out, I'd like your thoughts on this: many promote longboards in recent years (which is excellent), and their advantages start to become clear. There are many circumstances when the widest boards with largest rigs won't get you (or keep you) planing, period. What puzzles me, why we don't see more of pure displacement (no planing) hulls, like Olympic Lechner/other Div2 boards (Serenity being the obvious exception)? Has longboarders forgotten that even imco's and similar run out of steam and get their a*s kicked in certain conditions? My guess is that reason for this could be in broader range in which Kona (for example) works, and it's easier to learn on (no balancing nightmare on a barrel bottom LOL) etc. But for really stupidly light winds (gnat's fart as they say; Ian Fox also used an excellent phrase: it goes in NO KNOTS), there's nothing that can come close to Div2 shapes.

Fair winds

PS Hey SteveC has your toy finally arrived? You have no excuses for not sharing the experience here. Let's all see how it goes for a seasoned sinker sailor when he tries to gybe THAT (short video footage preferred )

Last edited by Screamer; 28th January 2008 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 28th January 2008, 08:48 PM   #54
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One of issues you are overlooking Poster 18 is that many WS just hate the idea of clubs. For years I had dinghies(Enterprise.505 and finally Dart) along with all the engulfing rules and regs of this and that. Free sailing was (and still is in many competitive racing clubs) looked down on. (Wasting time our commodore used to say)
Windsurfing brought along a whole new opportunity to get away from clubs /rules/regs and racing rules.Many windsurfers think Starboard is just a manufacturer. They dont know any racing rules.(Rights of way; overlaps etc etc etc)(and long may it last) WS is an escape from constraints.
Anybody who thinks WS is not healthy should look over Leucate Etang on any windy day.There will be hundreds ;outnumbering all other users easily.Virtually none will be affiliated to clubs/ associations and they would not come up on any survey apart from one on kit bought.
Windsurfers I meet dont want to belong to any organisation.They just want to sail(When its windy)
If sailing in light winds meant joining clubs to organise racing I dont think it could ever work.
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Old 28th January 2008, 11:44 PM   #55
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Floyd again spot on. In my ramblings I forgot to add that one of the main reasons I left (longboard) WS club was that I wanted no rules whatsoever. That, and scheduled events. I know that has to be a racing calendar, but I got immeasurably more satisfaction from sailing on my own schedule, in good conditions. The same goes for light air sailing - you don't have to join a club to enjoy it. But some sort of club might be of a great help with the beginners and/or kids.

That said, I remember some long cruises I haven't had for a while. Where I live, there are two large rivers, some lakes, and (further away) a beautiful Adriatic coast, and on light days we used to cover some car-like distances on our light wind gear. That's almost forgotten in a shortboard frenzy.

PS if you have enough time to wade through a lot of posts, some good read here:
http://www.boards.co.uk/forum/search...I=PT&FM=1&OB=1

PPS Poster 18, are you C249 on some other forums? Similarity is striking
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Old 29th January 2008, 01:45 AM   #56
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Hi Screamer,

I was thinking all along here that poster 18 must be C249, and I toyed with the thought of asking. In any case, I'm glad you did.

Regarding my Serenity order, I anticipate receiving it sometime in a March/April timeframe. Although the board is available right now at the distributor's facility, the taylored Starboard Serenity bag is not expected in until March/April. I don't have a garage, so I plan on storing the board outside under my carport. The bag will provide the much needed protection for both storage and transportation.

When I ultimately receive the Serenity, I expect that jibing and tacking it will be a very daunting task. I'm expecting that it will take some time and effort to master it. Yet, I'm thinking that the upside to sailing in minimal winds will be very little wind chop, and that will hopefully make things easier. Without a doubt, I'm going to need an uphaul, as I stopped using one many years ago. In the long run, I'm definitely going to share my experiences here. Although I expect to be the only one out (not even kiters), I'm wondering whether others might find an interest over time and join me.

Hi Floyd,

You're spot on about "no rules". While many racers must delight in rules and regulations as part of fun and challenge of competing, I have to admit that I have no interest in that angle at all. Having come over from surfing to windsurfing, the whole yacht club scene and club racing is totally foreign to me. I respect their focus and interest, but it wouldn't work well with my temperment and nature.
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Old 29th January 2008, 02:34 AM   #57
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Steve
You must let us know how you go on with Serenity.I know I`m contradicting myself a bit (thats nothing new though) after seeing Remi (on YouTube) sailing Serenity made me really want to try one. Who said magazines/advertising doesn`t really affect our behaviour !!!(me !!!)
Dont think it would do 13 knots in 6 with my 103k on it but ????

Wonder how it would cope if wind picked up whilst on a "trip" ?? (Years ago decided to sail around an Island just off Abersoch.(Well not quite just) Had a right job getting back.Wind changed/ picked up a bit.Dead run an a Div 2 in rising swell !!!mmm.Cant remember being glad to get back to Wales !!!

Good sailing
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Old 29th January 2008, 02:47 AM   #58
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I am stoked that people are into windsurfing in light winds. Itís great they enjoy sailing in 4 to 8 knots of wind. Itís just that I donít want to do it.

There are so many other fantastic water sports that I prefer to do when the wind is light. Each to their own.

Oh and the Laser sail, let a few people look at it and draw their own conclusions.
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Old 29th January 2008, 04:45 AM   #59
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I had one of the best windsurfs of my life last night and that's after 25yrs of doing it, I'd say it's very unlikely to die, the feeling is just too good!!!
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Old 29th January 2008, 05:51 AM   #60
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Yep, it's C249; I just didn't bother to put in a name and since I was then referred to as Poster 18 I thought it would be easier to use that as my tag.

Steve, I'm enormously positive - I'd have thought my message, which is that windsurfing in the future can be bigger and can be more accessible and have more fun aspects, was much MORE optimistic than the idea that it's pretty much about a couple of areas, will remain small forever, and is too hard to learn and promote.

Screamer, as you say Olympic sailing often happens away from the main Olympic city, but they can't go to another country or something in search of even better conditions.

Sure, downhill skiing is held where there's good snow - but while that's obviously better in many ways, maybe it's not so good in other ways. For example, only 2/3 as many countries have won downhill medals as sailing medals since 1936 (when the Winter Games started).....many countries probably see it as largely irrelevant since they don't get that sort of ideal conditions themselves. Downhilling gets fewer medals than cross country. Sure there are other factors, but is there really much evidence that they are doing it all that much better than sailing?????

Why did D2s die? Like you and Floyd, I sailed them and where I was they were just too hard for the average sailor to handle, but too fast for them to beat. They were then banned from most races. It would have been good if there had been a bigger move to create a detuned D2 type for the average sailor, but it never happened.....maybe that would have demanded restrictions that windsurfers supposedly hate (although they have little problem with them in the case of FW).

It was also a bit strange that the rules for the Raceboard class, conceived for offshore racing in 15 (then 12) knots +, became used for club racing. We ended up with most manufacturers building pretty similar Raceboards that (as you say) didn't sail as well as they could have in the lightish winds most places normally get. I still think the ideal messing around longboard and the ideal club longboard have yet to be created or even conceived.

Floyd, I never said the typical windsurfer would get into club racing; in light winds I imagine they would potter about like they used to, or get more into cruising like the 8 million kayaks sold each year in the USA do. Modern designs could be used to create brilliant cruising windsurfers with range and speed sea kayakers could not even conceive.....perfect for exploring and picnicking. I plan to use my first D2 (still around) as the basis for a trial cruising windsurfer because it's hollow, capacious and would paddle well. BTW having sailed the Serenity, I do have reservations about the points you and Steve identified but it's a cool board.

I have never said that the sport is dead or close to it - all I have said is that it's not as big as it used to be. That's very different.

Sure, if you go to some places, perhaps at the right time of year, there's hundreds of people windsurfing, which is great. But around here there used to be 300 people windsurfing every day of each summer weekend in several different beaches. We get 300+ people to many other sailing events each week (or 10,000+ to some annual yacht races). Sure, the sport's not about the kark it, but maybe in the grand scheme of things it's not so huge.

BTW, our club has very little organisation for our main events.

Bill, it's cool that you have other sports for light winds. All I'm trying to say is what you did - each to his own.

About the Laser sail. I've done a lot of research for work about sail design; everything from the classic sources (Marchaj, Doerner etc) to discussions with aerodynamacists and physicists working in the area, with many of the top boat sail designers (ie America's Cup winners, skiff world champs, the holder of the world sailing speed record and the owner of the fastest small cat, etc) and the head or head designers of Neil Pryde, KA Sails, Gaastra, The Loft, and Maui Sails.

For a variety of reasons; usability, the ability to generate elliptical span loading (which is after all what we want in real-world non-uniform inviscid flow, not elliptical outline), scrubbing effect of leading edge vortices on the low-aspect rig sailed by the lee, lower heeling moment/root loading, ease of use ashore, lasting power, the Laser sail's good for what it does. When I really started research I thought the Laser sail was a bit of a dog, but after getting into it with Boeing aeros etc I can see its advantages.

Sure, it would be a dog in many other craft - but for a boat with a Laser's righting moment, basic speed capacity, weight, and (most importantly) style of use the rig's not bad. The "baby Laser", the Byte dinghy, was designed with a Laser type rig but has now adopted a new carbon-sparred fully-battened film sail. It's bigger but is rated only 2% faster. If the Laser type sail is so dreadful IN THIS TYPE OF BOAT why is a bigger carbon-sparred film and fully battened roachy flextip rig only 2% quicker?

There is an idea that windsurfing always leads the way, but it's just not true. Windsurfing does lots of things very well but they tend to concentrate in just a couple of areas. Dinghy sailors were into advanced rigs many years before windsurfing even came about. The sailing canoes of the 1880s had hollow masts, full battens and big roaches. By the '40s there were solid wing masts. By the '60s, Moths had wide luff pockets on flex-tip masts with full battens and big roaches. Monofilm was used in yachts and dinghies before the first Windsurfer hit the water; carbon spars were 'round in the late '70s. It's just that much of this stuff doesn't really add much to the joy of sailing for various reasons.
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