The WAVE HOBBIT Corner: Why have so many sail sizes in a range?Russell Grooves is windsurfing. Able to discuss any windsurfing discipline and at any level. Working at the Windsurfing Club Las Cucharas, if you have been to Lanzarote for sure you have met him. We are happy that he is part of our windsurfing brainstorming bringing back to us also a lot of important feedback. On todays menu:
Why have so many sail sizes in a range? In racing it is obvious. The sizes reflect the boards you use.
In normal sailing most people have 1 or 2 boards and have a range of sails to cover the wind strengths they sail in. Most spots have a wind pattern and water state, you choose a range of sails that you use the most.On Lanzarote most people have a 5.3m, 4.7m and then a sail around 4.0m for the occasional strong wind day. On Grand Canaria in Pozo, the largest sail most people have is a 4.7m and then it will be 3.7m and down.
The stronger the wind is, the more unstable it will be. When you add waves into the equation, the problem increases.
So, let’s have a look at the range of sails in the P-7 SALT range.
There are two schools of thought for wave sailing. The classic is 5m, 4.5m and 4.0m. With the newer school higher volume boards, it is more, 5.3m, 4.7m and 4.2m.
The 5.6m is for light winds and large wave boards. It is for early planning and floaty jumps. Due to its size, it is not so easy for riding. the turns will be longer. Heavy riders may have a quiver of 5.6m, 5m and 4.5m, very rarely using the 4.5m.
When your wave board is between 85L to 90L, a 5.3m will be your largest sail. So, your quiver would be 5.3m, 4.7m and 4.2m, especially if it is a fast wave board. This is also a great quiver for onshore wave conditions.
When you are sailing more cross offshore conditions, your wave board will be between 80L to 85L. Your largest sail could be as small as 5.0m. This then would make a quiver of, 5.0m, 4.5m and 4.0m.
Do you need to have all sizes of sails, or is there a large enough difference between sizes? This is a good question. If money or space is not a question, then I suppose you could have all but choosing which sail to use becomes difficult.
In the larger sizes, the difference is ridiculously small. It is more about the largest sail you are comfortable with and then change by half a meter.
Once you get below 5.0m, the difference becomes more noticeable. Two of the sizes that can be together is 5.0m to 4.7m. Often this is done to then go 4.7 to 4.2m, or 4.7m to 4.5m and then go 4.0m.
Another reason to have two sizes close together is to do with the wind orientation to the wave.
In high winds and sails below 4.0m, there is a significant difference between sizes. In the Salt, the sizes are 4.0m, 3.7m and 3.3m. Your choice of sizes will depend on how you sail in those conditions. You could have all but mostly you only have one, you are in survival mode. Or you sit on the beach and watch.
I always recommend you stay with the same brand with your sails, and it is a clever idea to stay with the same range. However, in the club we have both Salt and Spy. We have all the sizes in the Salt and in the Spy, we have 6.4m, 5.9m, 54.m, 5.0m and 4.5m. Depending on how people sail in certain conditions, I sometimes put people on the Spy rather than the Salt.
Whenever you can, visit one of our test centres or go to one of our test days and check the sizes that are best for you.