Sail Quiver Rant/Lighthouse Radness

***update*** Bill posted some pictures on his site, you can check them out here. Click on the photo of the lighthouse, and a little slideshow will pop up!

Bill and I scored a sweet sesh at the Lighthouse yesterday afternoon! The wind was almost perfect sideshore (due North, maybe a tiny touch NNE), but when factoring in the way the waves wrap around the jetty and get a bit pulled in towards the beach there, on the face itself it was side off. That’s a fun setup, because sneaking off the beach is usually pretty easy (unless you get stuck in a lull, which were all too frequent), the jumps can be fun, and the waves rides can be epic! We both caught some great waves today, and we both got worked super hard as well….

Begin sail quiver rant:

I’m telling ya, folks… the range of modern gear is just unbelievable… I started off yesterday with a perfectly powered 5.2- it wasn’t overpowered at all, it just felt nice and light in the hands, easy to handle, and dialed in. But, as happens a lot at the Lighthouse, I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and snapped a mast. Bill was just 20 yards behind me, and he snuck out no problem with dry hair… Just bad luck for me…

So, my only option, without going back up to the shop to get a new mast, was to rig the next best sail. In this case, I also had a 4.2, a full meter smaller than I had just been on! Furthermore, this is in the smaller sizes that everyone swears you need to space no further than .5 meter apart… I rigged it up, just a tiny bit light on the downhaul (maybe 1 cm less than normal, if that), and definitely light on the outhaul (about 2 cm less than normal). This gave the sail a nice deep pocket, but kept almost all of the normal stability. If anything, the slightly lighter downhaul tension allowed the mast to respond to pumping a little better, too.

On the water, there was virtually no noticeable difference between the two sails, 5.2 and 4.2. Sure, the 4.2 took a bit of pumping to get up and running. But once planing, all the speed and stability were still there. The lighter weight of the 4.2 probably factored in a bit, as well- helping the board float just that tiny bit higher in the water, making planing a bit easier than with the bigger, heavier sail… regardless of having less power.

So the verdict is- don’t stress about what size sail to rig!! If a 5.2 and 4.2 can work equally as well in the exact same wind and water conditions… well, what the heck do you need both of them for? So, minimize already!!!

Get yourself a few key, widely spaced sizes, ditch the mega-oversized van, and cart your two or three sails around in a honda civic. It’s better for the environment, its better for your checkbook, and it’s better for your sailing. At least this way, newB’s looking into the sport won’t think they have to change their whole way of life to start sailing. One board, one sail can work perfectly well for 75% of days on the water. Add another sail, and maybe another board, and you’re covered for 98% of days on the water. That’s a beautiful thing.

The only caveat: This philosophy only works with modern gear (younger than 2005 or 6… and there’s even a noticeable difference between ’06 and ’09).

OK, the rant’s over. Thanks for reading.

Anyway, Bill took a few minutes to snap some pictures yesterday, you can check them out here. Click on the photo of the lighthouse, and a little slideshow will pop up!