I've been giving this matter quite a bit of thought and it can be a big topic if one wants to present all of one's thoughts and philosophy on each size. I don't want to bore anyone so I am going to keep my commentary and reasoning as concise as possible. I have just had a phone message from Christiaan from Stellenbosch saying that he is looking forward to the sail articles. When readers have to resort to phone messages to get you to move your ass, you know you have been delaying for too long so here is the first article.
Remember what I stated at the start of the board articles - these recommendations are aimed at the advanced recreational windsurfer who enjoys dicing his or her mates over a wide range of conditions. They are not aimed at racers, wave guys or freestylers. Further, I am going to push camless sails as much as possible because I believe that for most of us these sails provide better speed, superior control and much, much more fun in real world conditions than race sails.
In this article I am going to list the sizes that I will be discussing in coming articles. Here they are :
- 9.0m with narrow sleeve and the only sail in the range where cams may be an advantage.
- 7.8m no cam high performance sail
- 6.5m freeride sail
- 5.5m freeride sail
- 4.7m wave sail
I will be naming the specific brands for each size which I believe offer the best performance on the market today. I may well miss your favorite brand and leave out some particularly good sail and if I do I apologize in advance but the suggestions made will be good.
If you recall the boards suggested, you will be able to match the 2 or 3 of the above sail sizes with each of the boards. Overlaps are essential in our sport and I hope that the sails I am going to suggest, together with the board/fin combinations, will provide some optimal overlaps to keep you blasting at your preferred level of intensity on any windy sailing day.
On the subject of ease of use and comfort, another belief of mine is that any sail which is smaller than 7.0m should have no more than 6 battens. I find that this construction allows the sail to breathe more freely in strong winds allowing you to keep the board under control far more effectively than with a harder sail. There are exceptions to this rule of course and if you have a 7 batten sail which is smaller than 7m you can still tame it with a carefully selected, soft mast.
OK so there are the points around which the next few articles are going to revolve. I will start with the actual recommendations in the next article.