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Topic: Sail choice and rider weight.

Hi,

I'm interested in your experience regarding sails preferred by heavier riders. There seems to be a common belief that a heavier sailor wants a grunty powerful sail and that a lighter person will tend to prefer a softer sail.

Being 90kg myself I have traditionally followed the power sail route with Naish Nalu / Force's / Ezzy's and similar which worked well for me in cross on conditions. However I now sail in mostly very gusty cross off down the line conditions and am questioning the wisdom of the grunt and go power sail approach because it makes everything such a workout and is very unforgiving in the gusts.

In your experience do heavy people really need/prefer a sail with more torque or is this just an excuse for a lack of finesse? A light guy rigs a "soft" 4.7 and the heavy guy a "soft" 5.0 to compensate for weight or should the heavy guy go simply go for a more powerful 4.7? Is it just a matter of personal preference or do you see a distinct tendency in one direction?

I now have a 5.3 Superfreak (beautiful build quality) which I have used a couple of times in underpowered then highly overpowered side shore conditions and I'm quite impressed so far. I've found that it needs quite a quick gentle kind of pumping to kick it into gear rather than the big heave or two that seems to work with a power sail. Oh and the "ball bearing gybe" description now makes perfect sense, magic.

Thanks

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

Christo wrote:

Hi,

I'm interested in your experience regarding sails preferred by heavier riders. There seems to be a common belief that a heavier sailor wants a grunty powerful sail and that a lighter person will tend to prefer a softer sail.

I am no expert but in my opinion is just a matter of scaling up the volume of the board and sail size.

Volume is easy to scale (1Kg about 1L), but I am not so sure how to precisely scale sail size since it is probably non-linear. There is a web-site that does  that http://videojibe.com/featured/windsurfi … alculator/ and you can put in two sailors and play around.

Anyway, point is that as long as you are using equivalent weight-adjusted equipment (board/sail) I think that it is then a matter of preference, e.g. "grunt" vs "soft".

Christo wrote:

Oh and the "ball bearing gybe" description now makes perfect sense, magic.

and what is that !!!?!!! tongue

Last edited by davide (2009-05-27 09:29:54)

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

Thanks

Christo wrote:

Oh and the "ball bearing gybe" description now makes perfect sense, magic.

davide wrote:

and what is that !!!?!!! tongue

Ah..I saw the "ball bearing gybe" term used somewhere on this forum to describe the super smooth nature of SF transitions and now that I've experienced them the phrase makes perfect sense.

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

davide wrote:

Anyway, point is that as long as you are using equivalent weight-adjusted equipment (board/sail) I think that it is then a matter of preference, e.g. "grunt" vs "soft".

I don,t agree completely with that.
Some sails are that soft and undertensioned that they don,t support a heavier weight. For example: the DD. When i pump it, i almost tear it apart ( my girlfriend ,62kg, bought one i was just curious how it felt).
Besides that, there is a limit of what you can upscale. When a light person sails a 6.0 you can grab a ???
I know that Dolf will throw in his 9.0, but not many people like to wavesail on a 70+wide "waveboard".
So in my opinion a heavyweight have a lot of bennefit with power wavesails from 5.5+.
With smaller sizes upsizing works great for my 88kg

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

too me the heavier sailor will probably be stronger and thus   go for a larger sail.
OTOH I have seen some lightweight trim babes on really small stuff, but in the end they seem to be more in tune with board/sail.

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

Complex question in disguise as a simple one.

Big people need more power than little ones, and yes you can get it with draft and high lift sails, or with more surface area lower lift sails (defining lift = power/surface area).

Bigger person, bigger board, more drag to overcome, needs more lift. Simple so far.

But sails have a range of power (underpowered, in/near the designed power zone, overpowered, WAY overpowered). They don't all handle it the same, and don't all transition from one sub-range to the next smoothly.

I was out last week, without my usual kit but a brand new board (JP FSW 101), and an ancient NP XS Wave 4.7 in 25-35 kt winds. This is a deep draft, 1992-ish vintage sail but in good condition, fabulous sail in it's "zone", but that's 18-25 not 25-35. It's also hard on/off. I was really wishing for my Freaks (I've even used my 5.5 UL in such winds and had a great go of it) because I was getting stomped. Over-finned, over-boarded, over-sailed, getting punished. Same conditions on day 2 and I passed.

But I am fundamentally a long-distance runner type, slow-twitch fibers, sail all day long, and thrive with the smoothness of the Freak. Other sailors more endowed with fast-twitch, quicker reaction times, etc., might well be more naturally suited to the power development curve of deeper draft sails.

So it's not only match the sail to the conditions, it's match the sail to the physiology of the rider. If you've got gear that is powerful and instant-on, but you're more accustomed to gentleness, my advice would be to sail it for what it was built for as best you can. Some gear rewards aggressiveness, and on that stuff you're not gonna fare that well unless you ride it that way.

The Freak, however, is a 100% finesse sail designed for smoothness and impeccable technique. In the long run, I don't think you're gonna sail into your 70s and 80s and 90s unless you switch to such gear. In general, Time favors the softness of the Freak; Youth favors the lightness and colorful gaiety of the Freak; Femininity favors the light gentleness of the Freak. Some of it is mass, some of it is the rate at which it develops power, some is how easily it luffs, some is lightness, some of it is power/surface area; a LOT of it is the aptitudes, passion for specific conditions, and muscle contraction characteristics of the sailor.

It is NOT the sail for everyone; it's not for most nu-skool freestylists, not for lots of wave sailors, not for speed sailors, not for slalom/racers, not for those who's physiology matches up with rapid on-off power. But IMO it is the most versatile, best bang for the buck, most durable, all-around best sail on the market. No contest. If you only have ONE, I'd pick a 4.7 or 5.3 - good for teaching, good for pretty windy days, good for longboard / SUP riding.

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

Jeroensurf wrote:

So in my opinion a heavyweight have a lot of bennefit with power wavesails from 5.5+.
With smaller sizes upsizing works great for my 88kg

Good point, it comes to a point when a heavy weight would have to grab a very big sail, and then a smaller sail with stronger low end would make a lot of sense.

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

Geoff wrote:

In the long run, I don't think you're gonna sail into your 70s and 80s and 90s unless you switch to such gear. In general, Time favors the softness of the Freak;

I think you've spotted my situation here, I turn 50 in a few weeks and much as I may wish to deny it my reaction times really aren't quite as they were. I pretty much only wave sail and in intense stormy Atlantic beach break conditions at that. Having recently returned from a couple of weeks in the relative effortless ease of Baja I've become motivated to explore a change in approach at home.

There is a definite appeal to instant grunt for sure at times but is it really the best approach for the ageing heavy weight? I don't plan on retiring to flat water any time soon...

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

I guess Geoff made a good point and I also consider that Super Freak would be the best sails for you

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

I especially like the 'impeccable technique' you supposedly need to have to appreciate the superfreak...
Now i know why i love them so much smile

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

I like that too and I think it's true.
You know those kind of sailors that always go overpowered on a full film sail otherwise they don't have fun? Those guys will never like a SF.

Chris, the earlier you switch completely to the Freaks, the longer your windsurfing carrer will last. Especially now that you sail in gusty conditions.
And if you get into SUP surfing, get a wooden paddle.

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

cammar wrote:

You know those kind of sailors that always go overpowered on a full film sail otherwise they don't have fun? Those guys will never like a SF.

Heila' Cammar,  I must be the exception!   I actually think that the GPS and the SuperFreak make the perfect combo: buttery smooth in very different ways (how's that for a strange take on sails? tongue)

Last edited by davide (2009-05-29 06:40:50)

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

cammar wrote:

You know those kind of sailors that always go overpowered on a full film sail otherwise they don't have fun? Those guys will never like a SF.

I probably count as one of them historically so don't right us all off yet, I may just be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel....fewer chiropractor and massage costs to had as well perhaps?

cammar wrote:

Chris, the earlier you switch completely to the Freaks, the longer your windsurfing carrer will last. Especially now that you sail in gusty conditions.
And if you get into SUP surfing, get a wooden paddle.

Funny you should say that, I do SUP and have been planning on building myself a wooden paddle for a while...

Oh and Cammar I only heard of Freaks due to your blog so Jeff maybe owes you a cappuccino or 2...

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

Thanks for mentioning that, but overall I think I still own him that cappuccino...

Stay tuned on my blog, 'cause I have a paddle test post coming up. Don't go any bigger than 8.5 inches width blade...
No, wait a moment: 90kg? Mmm... how would I throw that in the equation...?

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

Geoff wrote:

It's also hard on/off. I was really wishing for my Freaks (I've even used my 5.5 UL in such winds and had a great go of it) because I was getting stomped. Over-finned, over-boarded, over-sailed, getting punished. Same conditions on day 2 and I passed.

Geoff.. How do you know if your sail has a hard-on?/ get poked in the rib?

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

Ha ha....

Meanwhile on the topic of rider weight, hard on's and flaccidity...

So heavy guy hangs off boom, sail twists, mast bends, de-power occurs and as Jeroen said on a DD this can be a problem. Is there any cut off weight or point when a soft Freaky type sail will always be twisting off excessively in response to the gorilla hanging on the boom and thus not really work that efficiently at all?

I'm just curious because I'd like to understand my sails better, is there a stage where setting the sail fuller with less downhaul simply won't cut it? Do you and indeed can you design sails to work equally well for a 50 to 100+kg rider or is the testing all done with the average 70-80 kg type and the rest left mostly to chance?

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

You guys seem to sail VERY different geAR IN  VERY Different sets of Conditions. WHEN i TELL SOMEONE 'it was bLOWING 4.0 AT kANAHA, I'M SAYING GUYS THAT WEIGH 240 OR ARE STRONG like fred HAYWOOD or CAPTAIN GREGDA0 WERE ON 4.0S. IF MARGIE OR AFRANNY IS ON A 4.0 iMAY STILL BE ABLE TOMUSCLE AROUND MY 5.3 CROSSFIRE ITHOUT GETTING WITHOUT GGETTING SLAMMED TOO OFTEN.

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

True.
I can,t judge a lightpersons sail, and i think thats the very same for lioghtpersons and heavy guys sails.
A pal of my 65-70kg used to sail a Search 5.4, liked it a lot till he tried a Combat..better handeling, power he could manage, control and all of these even on a Pryde big_smile just because he found a sail suiting his weight.

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

As bad as it may be for business, you need to think more about your boards than your sails. That 5.3m will give you 50% of your sailing time if you have 3 different boards to use it on.
Regrading bigger guys on same size sails, the MAST is the critical point. You may consider using a 430 mast with the 5.3 if you wan more low end.

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

You know Jeff one of the things that has drawn me to your sails and this forum is your honest open approach, I can't imagine it's bad for business at all.

I do have three boards and a 5.3 probably covers 70% of my days which is why I chose that size for starters. I'll still want a bunch of other sizes regardless to how often I use them ~ just to be prepared.

Next time out I may try a grey 430 top on my NoLimitz sumo 400 bottom and see the difference.

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Re: Sail choice and rider weight.

Give it a try!

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