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Importance of Technique on Water

Someone , who will remain unnamed , pointed out - correctly - that this blog and my discussions in general are about "old" equipment and NOT technique. There is a reason for that -  
my technique SUCKS :-)
Somewhere else I wrote about WHY people windsurf. There are many reasons and for me the most important one is - for the FUN of it.

If you are lacking technique completely - then the fun factor drops quickly. Thus , there is a minimum of technique required in order to have fun. NOT everyone has access nor the desire to become a wave windsurfer. THAT is REAL windsurfing. What I do locally is more "boardsailing" - sailing on a "board".

So, what are some of the minimal skills one needs ?
You need to be able to swim = obvious.
You cannot be afraid of deep water = obvious.
You need some balance as you will be standing on a flotation device = obvious.
You need to get that sail out of the water = obvious.
You need to be able steer/ control direction = obvious.
You need to tack/gybe/turn about and get back = seems obvious.

Once one gets past the obvious - what is next ??
The basic "skills" are beach/water starting, stance, harness, footstraps, tacking and gybing - not necessarily in that order ... This site seems to summarize it well:

If one intends to race or sails in stronger winds and/or more difficult conditions, the skill set becomes much more important !! If you are "sailing" on flat water with minimal chop , as I do, you can get away with uphauling, tacking and a minimal set of skills.

How can you best develop the less obvious skills?? One of the most obvious answers is TOW aka time on the water. People here have told me that going to Cape Hatteras or Les Isles de Madeleines is priceless. All the conditions exist for all the skill levels and shallow water can be found so as not to tire you with water starts or other restart methodologies. They tell me this is available for under $900 per person. Nowadays you can even go to Hawaii and get personalized courses from the Pritchards !! Personally, i cannot go on a "vacation" without my better half ... and so, lack the funds...

There are also excellent DVDs by Jem Hall, Guy Cribb, Dasher, Peter Hart and others. Extracts from their teachings can be found on youtube.

Lessons are NOT always available in the area where people live. Just recently i discovered a local school called VOILEOKA {actually spelled VOILOKA} that offers personalized 3 hour courses for about $100. Both Helmut and myself have considered going. Helmut has issues getting the back foot in the footstraps and for me = both :-)

Even with all the skills in the world, if your equipment is not setup properly , you will suffer. Also, the pros can sail anything well - not so, for the average joe. For the less experienced , beginner and intermediate equipment has reached a good state now. Even the older stuff (less than 5 years) is still very good.

My mission is to make windsurfing accessible - regardless of age, cost, athleticism, etc. You do NOT need to be a super athlete in order to be a windsurfer and have fun. You do NOT need to be rich in order to purchase equipment. Locally the APVM rents out stuff. The aforementioned school, VOILOKA sells equipment at the end of the season - about $600 a board.

So, you decide what you want to do, how important technique is to you and how you want to get there. And as I said in the beginning - make sure the FUN FACTOR remains !! i.e. donut get bogged down in technique NOR equipment ... Just go have fun !!

As far as "tricks" go, probably the only one i will ever try is the body drag. Tricks are definitely ALL about technique and things like flaka, volcan, villy skipper, 360, spock, etc will NEVER become part of my vocabulary :-) To each his/her own :-)

It is fairly obvious that technique becomes more important as conditions and/or equipment approach  less than "ideal". If you need to pump to get on a plane rather than passively wait - technique comes into play. If your board volume is less than 1.6 times your weight in kg, well then, once again technique becomes more important. In overpowering conditions on a big board = good luck. Not to discourage - just to be aware - in order to not affect the FUN FACTOR :-)

Ironically I received a Windsurf Mag from the UK for XMAS 2013. Peter Hart is covered in an article and is quoted as saying the BEST session ever is the current one AND the best way to get out of a technique slump is GO in light winds - like with a windsup in 7 knots !!!! Like i said - just go out there and have FUN !!

Addendum: along the lines of what Peter Hart was quoted as saying ...
Just saw or heard an interesting saying on a BBC show called MI-5. The Russian spy and ex-wife told her British spy ex-husband," Happiness is NOT about getting things. It is about being happy with what you have." BE happy with the session you are in.
As Carlos Castaneda said, "Live in the here and now !!"

Windsurf Mast Bases and Extensions

When I went over the parts of a windsurf board/sailboard discussed on this blog, i figured i had covered ALL the parts of the kit.  NOT.  There is always something that eludes us. And so , I discovered that i wrote little or nothing on the subject of mast bases and extensions. I started writing down some ideas and came up with WAY more than expected ... AND in 2017 , this STILL appears to be the MOST popular post on my "blog" !!!!

OK, let's get rollin' ....

Way back when , mast bases and extensions were proprietary. UNFORTUNATELY. I have some old long boards that when the mast base breaks, the board is NO LONGER usable #$%^&*() BIC, Mistral, Fanatic and surely others ALL had their version of the mast base. Many of the early extensions did NOT have pulley systems either.

Here is an example of the original Windsurfer mast base:

from HitTheWave
When the portion on the right ,which inserts into the board, breaks, one can no longer go out on the water. Fortunately this one looks like it is made out of wood and as such, can be replaced by a handyman or workshop. This is NOT always the case, as you will see below ...

Now let me post the pics of my early stuff:

BIC Dufour Wing had two(2) "holes" in the board where the mast base could be inserted. My plastic clips broke and I replaced them with metal cauter pins.

On the right you can see the mast base, extension and how I added the pulleys: I actually figured that part out myself. Local shop used rivets, but that did NOT hold. I use small nuts n bolts instead as seen in the picture below:.

With old mast base proprietary parts it is important to plan for the worst - loss or breakage and often people try to use the old connector with a more modern top connection for a standard mast extension !!!

The Mistral Equipe had a specialized bolt that locked onto the carriage on the mast track, which is depicted on the left. The "bolt" locks by twisting the red TAB. The base and extension are ONE piece which is not practical. At least the idea of a pulley system was started ....

The Fanatic Ultra CAT had a completely different mast track and base.

Once again, I felt I needed standard mast base for standard extensions and made the following adjustments:

Unfortunately this mast base had a "hook" on only one side and as such broke. Naturally I was able to glue it, but confidence was low on durability. 

Here is a picture of my mast base from what i called my BIC Samba. When it broke, i threw it and the water logged board out. At that time it was the best board for newbies up at the lake :-(

And so, the good news was/is that eventually a standard mast track was used on short boards, long boards, etc which allowed for a standard mast base...

from StarBoard
Even as I write this, I realize there are exceptions ... The mast base for sliding or adjustable tracks on racing long boards have a new standard base bottom:
isthmus sailboards

So, you can see that already many different concepts have been discussed here and there are many more to go. The base is NOT a piece to be overlooked. It carries or holds the infamous universal joint - non, not marijuana !! It is the rubber piece that made the mobile sail possible and as such - windsurfing !!!

The mast base has three(3) major parts. The portion that connects to the board - more or less standard now, the universal joint or a variation there-of and the actual base that connects to the mast extension . We have discussed the portion that connects to the board... One thing I have not mentioned yet is that not only is there a single bolt attachment, but there is also a two(2) bolt plate system that is used to attach the base to the board. It is not as flexible in terms of adjusting while out on the water, but never breaks and if one has a plate on each board, the boards can be interchanged very quickly .... Actually I just discovered that the bottom of the top piece in a 2 bolt system can be used to loosen and tighten the hex bolts !! And so, CAN be adjusted when out on the water !!! Also, one puts a plate between the mast base and the board - some plates like Nautix say they act as a shock "absorber". Mostly I guess the plate acts to not scratch the board as one tightens the base to the track...

And now for the universal joint portion. For quite some time it was typically the hour glass solid rubber version:

Not sure when or how it happened, the next step up seemed to be the narrow rubber piece called a tendon. This one seems to need replacement more often than the original hour glass version. It is good for slalom since it is stiff, solid and very mobile. Here is what it looks like.

And then eventually there was a version called the mechanical joint:

Personally I use this one for very wide boards - mine is 93 cm wide. The board can lie flat on the water with the joint angled at 90 degrees. Since typically large sails are used with wide boards, the large sail can lie in the water while the extension is attached to the base. Some people feel these bases lose less energy and may actually be faster !!! I have no data to prove or disprove that..

In the past the extension was often part n parcel of the mast base. Now we need to down-haul with some force and as such it is impractical to have the base attached permanently to the extension. Instead there are various ways of attaching the base to the extension. The two(2) most common are called U.S. and Euro pin connections. Currently it seems the Euro pin is gaining popularity. With cold hands the U.S. cup is often more difficult to remove. Remember , we do NOT want anything to come apart too easily since it MUST all remain together on the water !!!


As you can see in the image on the left, the U.S. system is with two(2) pins that are compressed at the same time in order to release. This connection is solid and has no issues with sand or dirt. What does seem to happen over time is: the "holes" on the extension seem to enlarge over time and allow for some movement. As already mentioned, this connection is sometimes difficult to remove with cold hands. If the two(2) bolt system is used, there is an alternative way to remove the base ...


This one is the Euro or European pin. It snaps onto the mast extension and releases easily with one push on a button. For cold hands some people swear by them. Some people warn about getting sand and/or dirt in the connection. People suggest that the uni MUST be machined from one piece of stainless steel. Names like Chinook, Streamlined and Severne are batted around as being the BEST and most ROBUST. As mentioned earlier - this is NOT a piece of equipment you want to have issues with on the water $%^&*()

Now that we have discussed the "standard" mast bases with some minor exceptions, let's look at the other exceptions !!! Some companies have begun to incorporate more serious shock absorption in their mast extensions!!  The North base is called North SHOX XTR and has been around since about 2009. Naturally it requires its own proprietary base !!!..

North Sails seem to have a few other different connections as well !!!

2013 NorthSails Extensions from mpora

Extension Pins from Boardseeker
The one on the left is the Neil Pryde/NP Power MXT (Mono Button Mast Base System). Again proprietary !!

Why are these companies making so many different options. Once you lock yourself in on one, you are stuck. They better NOT change it afterwards #$%^&*()_

In terms of materials ...  the nut at the base of the mast base is typically made of brass. My understanding is that this is to reduce rust and corrosion potential - especially from salt water... On one of my mast bases the portions that attach to the tendon are made of metal. This should NEVER crack or break. Somewhere in this discussion i mention that the Euro pin should be made from one solid piece of stainless steel. Tendons and parts need to be verified to ensure NO cracks or issues and replace as necessary !!! In case of issues, mast bases have safety lines !!

One company that seems to have very solid mast bases {and extensions} is "Streamlined". Unfortunately they are NOT available in Canada...

So , let us review the modern mast base options before discussing the mast extensions...

Summary: Modern windsurf or sail boards have standard mast tracks with a different standard on the race long boards with sliding mast track. For the standard mast track there are the single bolt and two bolt plate options. With the two bolt plate you lose just a little bit of mast base placement on both ends of the track - about 2 cm. The universal standard is the hourglass, the tendon and the mechanical joint. For an average joe windsurfer like myself,  I feel NO difference on these options. At the top of the mast base the standards are U.S. cup/2 pin and Euro pin. The exceptions in the middle of the mast base and at the top are NP and NorthSails/NS.

...And now on to the mast extension discussion...

Once you have chosen your mast base for your board, you obviously have already made your choice in terms of mast extension connection, as they MUST obviously fit WELL together !!! We have already seen that today NP has their own MXT system and North has their SHOX system. The rest are U.S. cup or Euro pin...

In case you did not know, there are SDM and RDM masts. SDM is standard diameter and RDM is reduced diameter. Luckily the same mast base can be used for either SDM or RDM mast extensions.

Extensions are made of aluminium alloy or carbon. Carbon is obviously more money and actually more fragile. Personally i have rarely seen people use carbon mast extensions !!!

Mast extensions come in various lengths and few are available with zero downhaul. Typical lengths are 12, 28 and 42 cm. Some people say one should use the shortest extension needed and not more. Others like myself, simply purchase the 40 cm extensions and know we are good to go !!! There are some extensions available as long as 48 cm. There are also 40 cm carbon mast extenders. Some people like myself are NOT so sure about such beasts. It changes the mast curve and may place stress on the mast for boom, cambers, etc on areas that were not designed for that !!!

Mpora or boardseeker did a mast extension analysis recently and i will put a link here and use the article as a base for this discussion ... The article has good comparison criteria, butt the link to the test results does NOT work #$%^&*(

The parts of a mast extension are as follows: rope, pulley, extension itself with different length settings, clip or pin to change length, and cap at the top. At the right is a Chinook extension which seems to come with no rope/string. I use the Spectra down-haul rope that costs about $1 per foot and put about 6 feet on each extension. 

Where it says base is where one connects the mast base. One extension i had - the plastic base cracked.I believe the reason for that was the pulleys were incorporated into the plastic base. I put electrical tape around it and keep it as a spare ...

There are variations of the adjustable collar and there used to be versions with a pin. Even if the pin comes attached to a string, it feels impracticable. Now it seems all the companies are going with variations of the clamp-on collar - all in plastic from what i have seen.

One of the issues with extensions is the measurements.The distance from pulley to sail pulley is NOT the same extension to extension. Just as not all 490 cm masts are 490 cm !! It is important to double check the measurements. They used to go in 5 cm increments, but i believe they are practically all in 2 cm increments now.

The biggest differences between extensions seems to be in the pulleys. Streamlined actually offers bearings inside the pulleys - for an extra fee of course. The pulleys vary in alignment , size, etc. Personally there are two(2) extensions i would like to try - the NP UXT and the Streamlined extension with bearings. Both of these are NOT readily available in Montreal, Canada. Since i do not have many videos in this post, I will put one here of Rik with a NP UXT (universal extension)... And now videos are disappearing on the web $%^&*( I download fotos to avoid this issue - now will do the same with videos !!!

Neil Pryde UXT Evo Mast Base System from RiksWS on Vimeo.

Well, here is a photo:
Those pulleys are aligned so as to be as close to the sail pulley alignment as possible. Some pulleys are at 90 degrees to the extension and others are parallel, making it necessary to follow a certain methodology so as NOT to overlap the lines.. They also say bigger pulleys allow more force ...

One thing that is ODD is that most sails rig with the mast on the right. This means the pulley system is set up to rig to this sail. However, there are once again exceptions. I have not yet discussed Severne. Not only do they rig with the mast on the left, butt they also have more pulleys on their race sails. This obliges you to purchase their masts and extensions to match the sail. Personally I find this inconvenient and a deterrent for people to switch to Severne !! Let's try to be consistent brand to brand and universal !!!

In Sept 2014 I managed to take my old Mistral extension apart and this is what it looked like ...

North has about the only system which can be considered adjustable downhaul on the water. You still need to stop and get off, but it is do-able. Also, there is NO muscle or major pulling required whilst cranking the downhaul... Since this is from North-Sails, i anticipate this video will NOT go away !! Personally find all these cranks a bit expensive. Even a manual crank is about $40 +

and here is the North Sails SHOX system which is to be like a shock absorber ...

In terms of threading a mast extension with the sail ....
The post on masts contains my explanation

and here is another:

Have discovered that there is NO RDM 48 cm extension UNLESS one purchases the carbon version. People are saying non-carbon version  is available, but NONE in my town ...

Summary of 2013 Summer Windsurfing

In the title I include the word Summer since I do windsurf in the winter on the ice as well. Snow has NOT been as successful, butt ok in less than 3 inches of snow - especially if snow is on the ice...

It is now November and it is starting to feel like we are between seasons. Unfortunately that also usually means I become aware that i gained weight and the jogging needs to start #$%^&*()

My limit for wind speed is still somewhere just over 20 knots. I do NOT have enough opportunity to practice with my smallest sail , HotSailsMaui 6.3 Fire, on my smallest board, Fanatic BEE LTD 124. On the other hand, I was getting VERY comfortable with the long board, Fanatic Ultra CAT of 210 liters. In fact, I was SO comfortable with that board, that i did NOT use the BIC Techno Formula of 94 cm width. That may also have something to do with the fact that the MauiSails TR-6 10-oh sail needs a repair at the top. I have a work-around, butt never tested it on the water. May actually have found a better fix. Barry Spanier of MauiSails feels this other fix is viable.

A TR-6 8.4 race sail was purchased to replace the defunct MauiSails MS-2 8-oh. This is a GREAT sail, but i have a difficult time uphauling it and so I put the MS-2 back in commission. It has monofilm repairs and no more cambers. When there is a bit too much chop I use the MS-2. I made a good film with the TR-6 and posted it on youtube. Was filmed with the GoPro 1.0 that i purchased end of 2012...

The CAT was so much my favourite GO TO board, that i was extremely disappointed as it got scragglier and scragglier... The mast base was glued and i catapaulted resulting in a hole in the nose. And so , I looked for a replacement and ended up with a Mistral Equipe I LCS-XR. This board has NOT disappointed and so far I almost like it more than the CAT !!!

The AHD FF 160 is still a GREAT board and LOVE it with any 8.x sail in about 16 knots wind !!! Feel like i will never sell it !!!

I now wear shorts over my wetsuit - like a kiter. This holds my van key securely.

My booties for the summer are dead and i use my winter booties... My winter boots are NOT warm enough. Windspirit has some boots that interest me ...

Took four (4) newbies out for sessions this year. Mostly with the BIC Techno Formula. They did NOT like the long weed fin that stuck out the back. Told them they could buy me a shorter one for about 30 bucks since i did not need one :-) Some of them also preferred my North Sails Zeta 4.x over the HSM Fire 6.3. One fellow is stoked for sure and will be back !!! He is planning to practice in Morocco - lucky dog !!

Somehow managed to spend $1100 this year - with the 8.4 race sail, Mistral Equipe, harness lines, mast bases, OKA pass, etc. Was also looking at a Kona ONE in great shape... At $1400 i offered 1200 and was refused. Purchased the Equipe instead. When the KONA was at $850 {even with the Equipe in my quiver}  i tried to sell my BTF , butt fell through. A fellow on iwindsurf has Equipe carbon, BTF and Kona One Carbon !!!

So far this year {will try to go out ONE more time !! } I have windsurfed approximately 68 times. Over 85% of my sessions were with my 8.x square meter sails. From the board perspective, over 65 % of my sessions were on a good longboard - Fanatic Ultra CAT or Mistral Equipe. In terms of sites, 44% of my outings were at OKA Parc where the vast majority were at La CrĂȘtre - which was closed last Sunday %$^&*(

Next year: good life jacket to learn water starts once and for all. Will make NO promises for foot straps. Someday will get a used 8-oh with NO cambers OR learn to deal with the TR-6 8.4 properly !!

Quiver Analysis: If I bring the Mistral Equipe I LCS of 210 liters, the AHD FF 160 liters, Gaastra Flow 3X 7.0 & MauiSails TR-6 8.4, I will cover 99.99% of the sessions I had in 2013. That is a two(2) board and two(2) sail quiver. However, did NOT use the BTF/BIC Techno Formula with the 10m sail myself. Hope to remedy that situation in 2014. Even with those two(2), it would be three(3) board and three(3) sail quiver ... Problem: The van is getting older :-(

Summary: NO issues in equipment coverage for the year. Just need to improve the technique !!!

01NOV2013 too much wind ?? 30 to 50 knots !!!

When I saw that there was going to be a rise in temperature on Friday and more wind i became exited. And then I SAW !! They were announcing OVER 30 knot winds ... One of our windsurf buddies said we needed extreme sport diapers to sail in those conditions ...

Naturally power was lost in over 50,000 homes within one hour of the winds starting.

Some of the pros went to SBX/sandbanks and some stayed local at OKA. I stayed home !!

Here are some photos people referred us to from quebec wind...

On one of the forums I felt a fellow windsurfer said it well," Too much wind for us is as bad as not enough!" However, for some, these winds just put a smile on their faces !!!

Naturally there are big waves, and all kinds of antics NOT usually seen in our neck of the woods... People were OVER with sails in the 3.0 to 4.0 range !! FREEWAVE sounds like the name of the game !!!

Photo sources:

Eternal Mast Question(s)

I have reserved myself to pairing MauiSails/MS masts with MS sails
 - NOT that that is a bad thing :)
i.e. proprietary suggested/recommended mast with the sail
others change sail brands and wish to save money
does Maui Sails try other masts with their sails ?? NOT SURE

A friend of mine has a SailWorks/SW 100% LightStick mast 
He is using it with a race sail compatible to MauiSails in terms of mast curve ie Severne and feels it is a great combo
It looks kinda okay, but what are the thoughts on this ??

On the other side of the equation ...
i discussed using a MS 75% 490 mast with a SW Retro 7.5
a reputable SW representative from the company suggested this would be GOOD
i was surprised, but have remained with MS sails
Retros are too expensive and require WAY too much downhaul
masts for sure seem to be a subject of interest for many windsurfers
it is my 3rd most popular post on my BLOG !!!

thanx in advance for any thoughts on this ...

here is what Roger Jackson says on the StarBoard forum - back in March 2008:
on the question of mast compatibility - obviously

"Hi Unregistered,
In some cases there may be no difference, in other cases there may be quite a bit of difference.
Constant curve masts have about a 13% bend ratio.
How/where each loft specifies the top and bottom bends to equal 13% can vary significantly.
Some are softer in the top, but not so soft that the are "flex top".
Some are very constant curve and are as close to 13% throughout their entire length as it's posible to make them.
On the very high end of the spectrum, Powerex makes their own 100% Z-Speed masts.
Severne and Sailworks (and probably some others that I'm not familiar with) have their 100% carbon race masts made by Italica in Italy. Very nice masts but also very costly.
Each loft has masts made to their specifications and they test them to ensure that the company that makes them meets their specs.
Almost all std. dia masts are now constant curve so there may not be too much difference.
I use Powerex Z-Speeds, Sailworks Lightsticks (Itallica), Sailworks Speedsticks (Powerex), and Severne Redline (also Itallica) masts pretty much interchangeably, but there are minor differences in the way the sail looks, but nothing I have been able to detect on the water.
You will always "tune" your rig a bit, and when tuning you will focus on what you want.
More power= less downhaul and less top twist.
Better gust handling = less draft lower in the sail, more top twist.
Better high wind stability= more downhaul, more top twist, more panel tension top to bottom and a bit more outhaul to stabilize things.
So, to get the optimum performance (as designed into the rig by the loft) you probably will not go wrong using the recommended "best" mast, and this will always give you the best "starting point".
If the mast meets the design specs. (not all of them do) you can pretty much rig "by the numbers".
From there you will need to figure out what characteristics are the most important for you, on your boards, in your conditions. Then tune your rig to your personal specifications.
As far as which masts are "better", I would say the Powerex has consistently been the mast that more lofts specify as the "best alternate mast" if the loft has it's own brand.
If you use several different brands of sails and don't want to buy several different masts to go in them, then the Powerex masts seem to have the widest application range.
If you want to "rig by the numbers" then you are better off to buy the mast recommended as "best" from the loft that designed your sail.
The only other way to find out would be to get the "best" mast from the loft that designed your sail, and the "best alternate" mast from wherever, and have one of the high end sail lofts run a series of bend tests between the 2 different masts.
And, the results may vary depending on how the test is performed.
Some lofts run their tests with a simple weight at the 25%/50%/75% test points (with the mast suspended 5 cm from each end. This is the standard "Mast Check System" methodology.
Other lofts have gone to a jig that pulls the bend into the mast from the ends (just as downhauling does) and the results are different from the std. mast check system methodology.
Hope this helps,


Somehow I have the misfortune of having acquired an OLD WindWing sail.
Interestingly enough Dr. Windsurf called it "new" as in not used and i can see why ...
I will let you judge for yourselves...

First let you show you what my wife saw when i rigged it for the first time:

She says it was all just wrong :-)

and now for my perspective...

It is fairly evident that the main issue is the battens are NOT full battens and as such do NOT give a solid pocket of air and for me just looks wrong. When i pick it up and jank on the sail to see pull, it is not too bad and should be okay for my trainees. What i was hoping for was a fully battened sail about 5-oh. This sail has NO specs written on it !! Must be really old !!!

I unrolled the sail again and looked at the paper from the sail bag...

There is a "paper" saying convert which is short for convertible. Another similiar paper was on the sail stating 4.6. Based on the additional information , it is 5'1" for the boom which is 152.5 cm ie short for me since i use large sails and booms and a luff of 14'3" which translates into 427 cm, which seems long for a small sail to me ...

I will investigate how WindWing is doing now...
They are obviously an American company and proud of it!

Did a quick investigation and seems out of date and the name Hansen and Hansen Sails comes up all over the place. Apparently they both were at Hood River, Oregon for a while and perhaps back to Berkeley , California later. Their ways may have parted and i am unsure of what they are doing now... Both brands are lesser known sails to me - butt what do i know ?? Seems they, Hansen and Sistek formed Windwing somewhere around 1982 and were at one time the largest producers of windsurf sails in North America. Somewhere around 2009 and 2010 i see no more activity on neither the windwing nor the websites. However, there is discussion on the hansen forum about 2013 sails ...

In 2015 I decided to see and record how it looks with the PX RDM 460 mast. The mast extension is set to zero and batten #3 was changed with the FULL batten. Now wish I also had the FULL batten for #4. The boom I have is a bit long, but will do ...
It looks good, but worry about the window. If it is PVC, it is the same situation as the HSM SPF. Will ask on the iwindsurf forum ...

In JAN2016 I used it on the ice

Mistral Equipe I LCS-XR

)-: My CAT is dying :-(

And so, i started looking for a long board replacement.

If you were looking for Mistral Equipe II , I have one of those as well - 2016

I was NOT ready for the KONA ONE nor the new expensive Starboard Phantoms, RS D2's etc ...
Finally found a Mistral Equipe I LCS-XR in Sudbury & Dr.Windsurf was going to Toronto/GTA.
LCS means Light Compound System and I am unsure what XR stands for - so far ...
Perhaps Xtreme Racing ?? :-) Actually found out what XR stands for in my '83 '84 '85 Mistral brochure. They call it "extra reinforced". Apparently it has the lightest components/materials with extra layers of laminate. Carbon fiber, lighter, high resistance, etc, etc :-)

Let's see how they compare before I go into a lengthy analysis and / or comparison ...

--------------Fanatic Ultra CAT --------------------------- Mistral Equipe LCS-XR
--------------374 cm long ----------------------------------------372 cm
---------------66 cm wide -----------------------------------------65 cm
--------------210 litres--------------------------------------------210 litres
--------------13.2 - 16.6 kg --------------------------------------13.5 kg
--------------keel 63 cm carbon --------------------------------62 cm fibreglass ??
--------------fin 30 cm --------------------------------------------32.5 cm
--------------1990 ?? ---------------------------------------------1986
this came after the Equipe I apparently

On paper they look VERY similar. However, everyone feels upon first look that the Mistral looks much smaller. It is definitely lighter - and so, the CAT is closer to the 16 kilo figure. The keel or centre board of the CAT is carbon and much wider chord/width - it sticks out of the board when raised whereas the Mistral does NOT. Here is the Mistral one:

In the next pic we see the Mistral centre board lying on the Fanatic's. This shows the slight difference in length, butt major difference in chord or width ...


The fin that i received with the Equipe is a Tinho Dornellas fin and a profile i have never seen. It is a larger fin that is very light and yet has carbon and fibers ...

Both are supposed to be A-box aka US box and yet the Mistral is different $%^&*(
Zose crazee Germans :-)  {i was born in Hamburg :-) }

The way the mast base attaches and slides is very different also. The Mistral simply pops in and turn the plate - et voilĂ  !!

The CAT has a lock pin and the track locks on one side with a finite number of positions - about five , while the Equipe has ten markings, but with the rope setup seems to stop anywhere you want.

The Equipe has four concaves and the literature boasts that only two touch when planing making this a really early planer - around 10 to 12 knots.

The CAT has a double Vee with concaves and planes well also.

The CAT does NOT tack well - will see how the Equipe goes ...

Received the Equipe yesterday and so far ...
have sealed the front of the board and the seam using Sikaflex 291 marine sealant

sanded the keel/centre board
started putting new foot straps on ... RRD - sorry Mistral AND RRD :-)

tried to figure out what to do with mast foot - or make a board with a hole to push against for downhauling
the extension does NOT easily come apart
Windance sells this "sliding bolt" that fits under the sliding track to take a Chinook base
obviously reduces the adjustment on the fly :-)

the board looks and feels good and i cannot wait to try it - in light and mid winds :-)


I started looking for where i could get that nut for the track and costs thereof ... It was about $16 everywhere and about $20 shipping $%^&*( And so, I analysed WHAT could i do myself instead !! Why was the nut 2.5 cm wide when my track is 1.5 cm wide?? Made a steel plate with a hole with dimensions of 1.5 cm by 4 cm and checked for fit. It was OKAY,


butt how to turn it under the mast base AND in the track  ??

My finger would NOT fit under the mast base in the narrow track #$%^&*(  and THEN i realized why and how the nut could be 2.5 cm with a 1.5 cm track #$%^&*()_ Ocean Air Sports warned me that i had to take the track out. Well, that is NOT what i wish to do... I would like to keep the track as is AND have the option of using a "modern" mast base ...

And SO, i came up with a new design... I made a steel plate of 3 cm by 17.5 cm / 7 inches with a hole to accept the mast base bolt. So, now how to get the nut under the plate ?? AND ensure it did not turn during tightening ?? Well, i DID it !!!

Put two(2) popsicle sticks together with electric tape. Put that at the bottom of the track using needle nose pliers. Placed the nut on the sticks using the pliers. Then pressed the plate on top of the nut in order that it would NOT move. The mast base bolt was screwed into the nut and the popsicle sticks removed. To be able to tighten it properly, electrical tape was placed on the plate around the hole to keep the nut from turning. Naturally, the board HAD to be level !!!

And now the board is ready to test with a properly downhauled sail !!
All i need now is some wind - 20 kph would be GR8...

Also, the fin was such a strange design i actually wondered which side was front :-) It seemed logical and yet the shape is just so weird for me !!! In any case , it went on the logical way and is really far back on the board !!! Should be great for manoeuvring ... Dr Windsurf had said he used tape to tighten the fin in the box. There was enough crap left in the fin box to keep it tight now !!! Will leave it as is for now ...


Before I forget ... Dr. Windsurf gave me the original pamphlet from Mistral with many of their products including the Equipe... Here are some snappies:

Let's see if zooming and turning lets us read it a bit better !!

SUN 29SEPT2013 - finally took my Mistral Equipe out on her maiden voyage - for me that is ... Weather had potential for winds up to 20 kph, butt was NOT even close. The road to OKA had two(2) major traffic jams and just as many major accidents - it was apple pickin' season after all !! 
As usual, I used my MS-oh 8-oh. Winds were way too light - well under 10 knots ... The board glides well and i needed some time to adjust to a differently cluttered deck - as opposed to the CAT. Also was NOT used to the way the board bobbed when chop and swell came from the side. It did NOT take long and i was used to it and was doing light wind jibes and tacks with NO issues. The mast track slid once - will have to check that out. Bad traffic, light wind, mast track slid - cannot give the session more than a 7 outta 10 - even IF it was a beautiful day !!! I cannot wait to try the board in mid winds - around 10 to 12 knots - compared to today's 3 to 5 @#$%^&*(

As i was finding the board crowded while getting used to it, I have removed the two side foot straps - the ones for upwind tilting. Once i get more comfortable with the board they will be put back ...

SUN 06OCT 2013 - winds were to be from the NE at 20 to 40 kph. Rain was to happen in the afternoon. Where and when to go ?? Decided to go to OKA at the main beach in the morning bringing both the Mistral Equipe longboard and the AHD. Wanted to test the Mistral and so rigged the MS-oh 8-oh to go with the long board. The board goes upwind well with that fin - like Tinho Dornellas alluded.. The board planes very well and going downwind with the waves and current gave a very special feeling. I had difficulties tacking and actually had better luck gibing !! Tacking was somewhat better when i dropped the centre board. The issue was waves, current and wind all from the same direction - like what happens at Pointe-Claire. This board planing does NOT feel like a freight engine planing - like the Fanatic Ultra CAT does and i would say i like the Mistral better in such winds. I stayed closer to shore to stay out of the bigger winds and to test the long board - as Georges said. 
Others were out with 8.x sails too, butt with 130 to 140 liter boards. Pierre was the exception with a 98 litre board and a 6.5 Ezzy wave sail !!
Session was a 7.5 outta 10 -NOT bad for 2nd time out on the board !! in less than ideal conditions ...

SUN 13OCT2013 - had decided the next outing would be with the sliding mast track ie original mast base and i was hoping for wind today...I cannot believe i was gonna figure out how to rig the base at the site !!! I tried rigging the MS-oh 8-oh in the back yard and i had misery - translated from french :-) I could not haul it down further than this:

which left the leech tight, but worse than that, the battens stuck out past the mast :-(

and the nice straight lines in the downhaul belie the issues i had getting the cleat to hold the line. Also, the wood piece with the hole was used against the base in order to have something to push against without breaking the universal joint or base "/$%?&*() And so, i decided to try and move the slider up the extension and see what we come up with. The downhaul was much better for the battens and i even managed to pull too much in terms of the leech and next time will add the blue collar that i had removed in order to be closer to the bottom for 6 cm extension.

and here is the loose leech

this may be okay for gusty winds and control, but with the long board one prefers a little less leech. With less downhaul, that is how i busted my battens that ride with the cambers :-( I think I now like better sails with no cambers when i ride a long board. So far my favourite size is 8-oh cuz that is what i have. However, in KONA class the size is 9-oh for heavy weights and so, i imagine one day i will be riding my long boards with a 9-oh ... However, besides the SW Retro , i would be surprised if there are many windsurf sails with 9.0 square meters and NO cambers !!! Maybe go back to the MS Pursuit 8.5 one day... 

I also just discovered that the KONA class allows 9.8 sails for riders over 98 kilos. 
My weight is usually 95 to 100 kilos !!!
I have used the TR-4 10-oh with the CAT and enjoyed it, but NOT in bigger winds !!!

With the Equipe I received an old booklet on windsurfing and my middle son recently found one for free in French too. In one of these books or on the web, I saw a pic of someone downhauling with the mast base attached to the board. Perhaps i will try that one day ... 
The season is pretty much over for the warm days and who wants to longboard in the cold ??

Oddly enough, I could find NO videos with the Equipe I LCS-XR. There are some with the Equipe II and the Equipe RACE LCS One Design. Will post some here and eventually make my own. What i am pondering now is: how to get the mast attachment working !!!

Mistral Equipe Windsurfing 7-29-11 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

This one looks like the MOD - Mistral One Design RACE. On this one you can see how much the board could ride OUT of the water. Both show decent speed in light winds...

Since there are NOT very many videos about this Mistral Equipe board, I will make some.. Here is my first attempt at describing the board. I will redo it in daylight. The GoPro seems to prefer bright daylight ...When i tried one in the evening under artificial light, it did NOT come out at all !!!

And now in morning light - attempt number 3 - also changed saturation using youtube.

In May 2014 I finally ran my first clip of the board in action. Here it is light wind - around 10 to 12 knots with an 8-oh. In just a little more wind, like 12 to 15 knots, this board is supposed to be in its element. I will try document what works best with the MEQ...

Took the MEQ out at OKA Parc north of Montreal. The water was really HIGH and so there was NO beach and DEEP. This means less room for error. Especially when the water was "wavy". Should not have tried the race sail with the MEQ on such a day. Here is a clip of the best 8 minutes. Sucky session with bad tacks - gotta get out there more. These videos help me see where to stress improvement. Move back, etc..

Update SEPT 2014:
I have always avoided rigging the original mast extension because i thought the base would not come off. Some images on iwindsurf gave me some courage and so I made some attempts at taking the bottom apart. The screws seems to do nothing because the pulley held it together. What about the cauter pin? Well, that DOES separate the mast base from the extension and NOW i can rig it with my foot applying downhaul in the standard fashion. This gives me more courage to try the sliding track ... Here is the pic:

An anonymous commenter gave this GREAT link with photos of the different Equipes:

Think this is the better windsurfing clip with this board - need to push the skills !!
Move mast track back and get in straps !!!
Use videos for self analysis:

In 2016 I also purchased a Mistral Equipe II/2
Here is the discussion / link:

and am trying to sell the MEQ One for a mere $300 after getting the original centreboard back from Franco... This board is too good to sell 

Sold BOTH the Mistral Equipe One and the Fanatic Ultra CAT in early 2016. These were my two favourite longboards to date. Let's see how the MEQ II does ... on the water that is !!

In the same year, there is a fellow out of Ottawa selling a MEQ One with 372 length and 235 liters. He calls it the XR version ONLY - no LCS and from 1993. What surprises me is the bottom shape:

Not four concaves like my MEQ One nor vee like my MEQ 2. How many different Mistral Equipe's are there then ??