I have had the opportunity to sail quite a few new boards recently and I have consequently changed my views slightly on the ultimate board quiver. I have decided to look at the subject in a slightly different way to the previous approach.
Here we go -
If I was put in a position where I could have only one windsurfing board I would choose a Tabou Rocket Ltd 115.
If I could choose only two boards I would choose Tabou's Manta 116/71 and a 3S Ltd 96.
If I could choose 3 boards my choice would be Tabou Manta 135/85, Manta 116/71 and 3S 96.
Add one more board and depending where I was sailing I would add either a big freeride board like a 3S 116 or, if I wanted to sail often in stronger winds, board number four would be a 3S 75.
The above selections probably give the best bang for your buck assuming that your local winds are not too light. If your average wind is very light you could consider throwing in a formula board with one or two big sails.
I have confined my selection to Tabou boards but people like Starboard, RRD and Patrik all have excellent equivalents which would do equally well.
The sail selection for the above board combinations would come from the following sails:
8.5 Gaastra Phantom
7.8 Gaastra Phantom or Savage
7.0 Severne NCX
6.4 Gaastra Cross or Severne NCX 6.5 or Severne Gator 6.5
6.0 or 5.6 Gaastra Cross/ Severne 6.0 or 5.7 Gator
4.7 Severne Blade
As with the boards I have confined the list to sails I know and have no problem recommending. Guys like North, Ezzy and Avanti will all have great equivalents. The only problem I have with Avanti is that their sail sizes don't seem to fit comfortably into my optimal range. I need to come down from a 6.0 to a 4.7 (not a 5.0 or a 4.5. Their Viper wave sail doesn't come in 4.7 - pity! Likewise their Poweride comes in 5.8, 6.6, 7.4 etc. I suppose the 5.8 Poweride would fit into my scheme in place of the Cross 6.0 but none of the other sizes work.
I rode the new Manta 81 recently but the wind was very light so I can't give you a proper report. I hope to get another ride soon and if I do I will give some feedback. Andy and I have a slight difference of opinion regarding this Manta in one's quiver and I hope to cover this discussion if I get a chance to post the aforementioned feedback.