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Longboard Races in Ottawa end of JULY 2011

Dominique Vallée, Silent Sports, Andrée Gauthier, Suzanne Roberge and MANY others are organizing a longboard event in Ottawa for the 31JUL2011 weekend. Some details can be found here : just need to clique EVENTS and then CMWA 2011 Notice of Race and a PDF will open. Suzanne has explained to me via e-mail that one does NOT need to be a member - just means NO official trophy. Camping is apparently free and they are hoping for a big turnout. As seen in the PDF, one needs to book in advance - food n all.

Kona Ones were purchased through Silent Sports of Toronto and the hope is to have a Kona ONE race. These boards are difficult to get here in Canada.

Here is a quote from one e-mail correspondence that i have had regarding the event:

"Bruce at Silent Sports is a dealer and Kona’s can be purchased through him in the future. The price is going up by a lot but he usually gives good deals. 

By the way, Dominique is officially going to hold the Kona World’s in 2013 at Point du Lac.  That may be the year for you to purchase the left over lease boards.  

She is really planning a big event with long distance, shuttle bus to and from airport and day trip to Quebec city.. 
We would love to have 30 or so Canadians show up at this race

As you can see here, one day I would like to try a Kona ONE and perhaps purchase one to replace and upgrade my current longboard - BIC Dufour Wing from about 1980 !!

Aber Wind Cup 2008 from opop on Vimeo.

I still prefer my longboard on the lake at the chalet due to wind shadows and gusts. It also allows me to windsurf on the local river after work quite regularily. One week I windsurfed six(6) times where only two(2) of those on the AHD FF 160.  I keep wondering when will I actually use the Fanatic BEE LTD as it should be ??

So, if you are in the area - or are interested in supporting or watching Kona's and other longboards, CHECK IT OUT !!

If weather keeps up as it has so far - it should be great. Only today was the FIRST day i have not longboarded in about the last ten(10) days !!!


BAD NEWS - I never made it :-( GOOD NEWS follows :-)
Thirty windsurfers (17 open raceboards and 13 Konas!) converged to Ottawa for the annual CMWA championships. We had gorgeous weather all weekend accompanied by wind on Saturday and Monday. Open class did five races and Kona One Design managed to finish four races on Saturday. The wind arrived a bit late on  Sunday so we just windsurf freely at the end of the day. Monday morning brought some wind so we held a long distance race, followed by lunch and awards and a safe return home for everyone. The results are posted here. We would like to thank everyone involved from the participants to the volunteers to the staff at the Britannia Yacht Club.

Andrée Gauthier is organizing a second Kona One Design group purchase. Find more information here.
The latest CMWA  newsletter is now available

Addendum:  Since July 2011 I have purchased a Fanatic Ultra CAT and met local "Sailboarder"  who has a Kona and RIPs with his Ezzy 7.5 in 25 knot winds !!!

In Ottawa Citizen from the Event

lesson #1 - copy the material - stuff disappears from the bloody internet %^&*()_

I even contacted the Ottawa Citizen and even they were NOT able to pull anything from their archives. If it ain't news, it's history !!!

When is it time to change/replace a windsurf sail ?

As I am working with limited funds, most of my sails are purchased used or received free. The ONLY sail I have purchased NEW to date is the 2006 Maui Sails Pursuit 8.5 which I purchased in FALL 2007 for about $500 with taxes in. I still have the original BIC Dufour sail from 1981 that absolutely sucks, butt is retained JUST for historical value. That sail has NO full battens and obviously NO cambers. The reason it stinks is simply due to its swing weight. The boom length of this sail is phenomenal !!

I still have an NP 7-oh and a Simmer 6-oh from the 90's that are still just OKAY. Both have cambers and mostly suffer from things like broken zippers on cam pockets and batten tensioners that slip over time.

My 1998 Gaastra Flow 3x 7-oh is still going strong and rigs on my current 490 mast. This is a GREAT sail, but was pre-Barry Spanier era with Gaastra.

Also have a 2008 Maui Sails TR-4 10-oh that is also a GREAT sail IF one can handle such large sails. I purchased this sail for light winds and NOT to race. One year I used it almost 45 % of my outings in that summer season. It is too large to use for winter sessions, as these tend to be quite FAST!!

Now we get to the real reason for this post ... my MS Pursuit 8.5 ...

This is my MOST used sail and I use it on my BIC Dufour Wing 200 liter longboard, on my AHD 160 liter shortboard AND in the winter on my snow sled. Donut believe I have used it on the ice sled - again, would be too FAST. This sail has a GREAT deal of range and I rig it tight leech for snow and longboard. It can be downhauled wonderfully for the shortboard and rigged tight all over for some bigger winds around 20 knots and some really decent planing.

This sail is made with monofilm and i had some discussions on durability of the material when i first purchased it. I was re-assured and it seems true - it is slightly cloudy, the logos are peeling, butt the monofilm seems FINE. The stitching on the other hand seems to be wearing out at the batten pockets.

I posted some questions regarding this on the MS forum and the Auzzie forum. Barry has asked for some more info and I posted this photo:

On the Auzzie forum some folks said ride the sail until the end and even put mylar tape or duct tape until it dies. Others said chuck it and replace it and comedians that they think they are, posted the following pic of a sail they say they had to throw away !!

I have ridden some sails until the end and they looked NOTHING like the sail above :-)

The sails I consider my GOOD sails are ALL in GREAT shape and I hope to keep em as such. My question on the forums was to determine whether people replaced panels and/or stitching on their most-used sails. I did NOT get a clear definitive answer. One answer that did surprise me was: someone mentioned that North Sails had an excellent five(5) year warranty and they had used it successfully with some monofilm issue. In other words they said - the extra money for the North was well worth it. I donut know the warranty policy from MS and would be surprised if they paid for a stitching repair. Such things can be blamed on usage and/or poor rigging...

I did a calculation or estimate and came up with a figure of $5 per outing with the 8.5. This seems VERY acceptable !!

New sails in the 8.0 to 8.5 m² range all seem to be well over $600 now.
Found an almost new Maui Sails TR-6 8.4 for $800 asking. That seems expensive.
AuVentFou has a used MS Titan 8.0 for $650 - no negotiation for items on consignment.
Found a 2009 Severne Overdrive 8.0 asking $450, butt is about a 3 hour drive away.
Decisions, decisions ...

Followup: In the end, I decided to keep the sail and ride it until it dies.THEN I saw a used MS-2 8-oh with the MS 490/75% mast !!! Well, I purchased it. So now I am trying to sell the Pursuit 8.5 and the Autima 490 mast. So far only had a few nibbles. My w/s buddy suggests I sell them separately cuz the mast it still very good to go and the sail is B material - with lotsa life ...
See my post about MS-2 and Pursuit: maui-sails-pursuit-vs-ms-2.html

This discussion is about replacing sails and NOT changing sails.
For me - changing a sail means the sail is NOT performing as expected or one is using a sail in conditions it was not meant to be used. That is a different discussion entirely. When you are on the water - how to know it is time to change the sail ??  

Continued.... The MS-2 always got crinkles whenever I rigged it. There did NOT seem to be any solution for this on a free-race sail with the two(2) cambers. In DEC 2012 it was cold and the crinkles formed into a hole. I repaired this with mono-film tape. This is okay for the winter usage, butt NOT summer. This has convinced me that I do NOT like free-race mono-film sails. I prefer to have a wide luff that does NOT crinkle. Unfortunately some people speak against the free-race MauiSails Titan GS. Thus I have put a down payment on a TR-6 8.4 which still fits on a MS 490 mast. Even with mono-film tape , it seems a sail can last a long time ... I just do NOT want to go through the rigging hassle any more $%^&*(
I also changed my 6-oh cuz a "kid" wanted a full kit when he purchased my F2 Comet 330. This sail has only been used once in the summer and not yet this winter - for when it was purchased... Do I sell it?? The session I did have with it on the Fanatic BEE LTD was magnificent though :) Will make my decision after this winter and summer. If not used = FOR SALE...

Spring 2015 UPDATE: Just to continue the story until the current situation ...
Started with the MauiSails Pursuit 8.5.
Went to the MS-2 8-oh
Replaced with the TR-6 8.4
So, went from free-ride, to free-race to race...
I liked all three sails ....
The issue with the current TR race sail is it is difficult to water start (for me). When riding in chop and overwhelming conditions, I tend to drop the sail more often - as an amateur windsurfer ... And so, I also purchased a HotSailsMaui SpeedFreak 8.5 in 2014. Going back to free-ride basically. However, I still DO have the race sail. When winds are solid and water not too choppy in the 16 knot range, I LOVE the TR race sail ... Here is a clip from 2013:

The unfortunate thing with the HSM SPF is that the window is made with PVC and this could be sensitive to COLD. I do windsurf on the ice in the winter and depending on conditions use an 8.x sail. Seems insane to use the TR race sail on ice n snow and so purchased a used SailWorks Retro 8-oh in 2015 as well.

Yes, this means I currently have MANY 8.x sails... This is also my MOST used sail range. This summer I intend to try the Retro on my longboards... The HSM SPF has GREAT range, but lacks a little grunt.

Patched MS-2 8-oh whenever
TR-4 8.4 in perfect summer conditions
HSM SPF 8.5 in uncertain and wilder conditions
Retro 8-oh in the winter and try with longboard

The Retro was a GREAT sail on both longboard and winter sailing.
It popped at the seams one day ...
My buddy told me he stopped using Retros due to cost, did not like the new cutouts at outhaul and popped at the seams.
My Retro will thus be used in the winter ONLY and the HSM SPF 8.5 became my most used sail.
Another sail known for durability seems to be Ezzy.
Personally never tried one ...

So, all the race sails with wide luff never needed replacement - lasted longer.

Formula Boards and Longboards

Sometimes this discussion is called Formula vs. Longboards. I do not consider this a competition nor do I consider these board types to be mutually exclusive. It should be a symbiotic relationship in terms of helping windsurfing. Both are meant for the lighter to mid winds and start to be beyond their means when one speaks of 25 + knot winds.

Before I get too deep into discussion, perhaps I should briefly describe what these board types are, generally speaking.  I will assume that the name Formula was derived from Formula car racing :-) These boards are typically low rider , wide boards – somewhat similar to the Formula I racing car. Nowadays Formula boards are typically one meter wide and shorter than they used to be and not nearly as long as a longboard.  They usually have very long fins – around 70 cm and use very large sails – from 10-oh to 12-oh. The longboard, as the name implies, is a longer windsurf or sailboard – typically over 11 feet. Measures are relative and it is a simple measure to say that both Formula and Longboards will not fit into the average North American motor vehicle. The Formula boards are really wide and the Longboards really long. Longboards typically have what one calls dagger boards or centre boards. These act like a keel and help the board go upwind. Both boards work well with 8.5’s and I am unsure how large a sail a longboard can handle – probably depends on the board - in races it seems 9.5 is the max.

This discussion of "Formula Boards vs Longboards" is found in windsurf magazines, forums and at the local beach. Interestingly enough, locally there is more discussion and evidence of formula boards than longboards.  Just as I met a fellow who wants to be considered an ambassador of SUP {stand up paddling} in the province of Québec,  I wish to become an ambassador and advocate of longboarding in Montréal !!

I believe longboarding is less about racing than formula. Formula requires a certain amount of wind because it is very inefficient when there is almost no wind – like fewer than 10 knots (i say 10 knots cuz i am a heavyweight of close to 100 kilos). Longboards are fine in light to mid winds and the centre board helps when it comes to those lighter winds. People discuss what happens when longboards and formula boards race and it seems the results are extremely dependent on the course and the conditions. At a certain point, the formula board will just blow the doors off the longboard and other times the longboard will be the predominant winner. This is why I say they are NOT mutually exclusive AND as such I am surprised there are not more people or racers doing both. Perhaps it comes down to cost... Formula boards, sails and masts are extremely expensive. A race longboard is also extremely expensive. Interestingly enough, there are older race longboards that DO show up in the used market OCCASIONALLY.

A bit of history ... The earliest sailboards were longboards. They were long, heavy, had small fins, a centre board and no footstraps. Apparently the first world championships were in 1973. The International Mistral Class Organization/IMCO started in 1976. In 1984 windsurfing became part of the Olympics for men. Board choice has been an issue ever since and there was talk of removing the event from 2012 Olympics.  Early longboards had boat like hulls, but flattened out quickly ... The most famous longboard of today has to be the Kona ONE and perhaps the Starboard Phantom. In the early race days, there were boards like the Mistral Equipe, Mistral Superlight, Fanatic Mega Cat, Tiga Race, the One Designs and F2 Lightning. Today’s longboards are still over 180 litres in volume and usually more than 11 feet.

Racing example:

The Starboard company was infamous (and still is) for coming out with new and innovative concepts when it comes to sailboards. They recovered the industry with the wide GO board and also started the Formula line in about 1999. In around 2002 the boards hit the one meter width and it has stayed there since. Other companies like AHD, BIC, Exocet, F2, Mistral and others have tried to keep with up with Starboard in the Formula arena, but have had difficulty.

Racing example: 

In general people are saying that a Formula board will require about 2 knots less wind than a modern longboard in order to plane – when using the same sail for the same person. This is an interesting idea because typically people say one cannot use the same sail on these different boards since the formula prefers a sail with a loose leech and the longboard prefers a sail with a tighter leech.

So, the longboard can handle lighter winds more readily. The formula does not schlogg well. The formula board can be faster in planing. Both can go upwind quite well. Apparently it takes some getting used to when getting in the footstraps on the formula for the first time – due to board width. The formula has quite a long fin and as such has issues with shallow waters and rocks. They say formula boards are fragile. If you are not racing, one board and two(2) sails should be adequate in either of these disciplines. Both board types get you on the water earlier and both can handle quite decent winds – to about 25 knots.

So, it is just a matter of personal choice !! Since I like to go on the water and almost drift about and explore, I use an old longboard for now (BIC Dufour Wing) . I hope to try a Kona ONE end of July 2011 in Ottawa. These longboards are quite capable of planing and fast...Perhaps one day I will manage to purchase a used one...

For me it is all about TOW aka time on water. This week I sailed every day so far. My w/s buddy, who is selling his 160 and will have only a 130 liter board, would not even consider going out unless steady 16 knot winds. However, he too is considering the possibility of a Kona ONE. Some people "argue" that a large freeride board with larger sails is the "way to go" - rather than formula. I have a 160 liter/79 cm board that i use with an 8.5 and 10-oh. With my weight, the starting point is 12 knots. Under that, I go for the longboard. With a formula i might gain 2 knots ie be able to start planing at 10 knots. I have determined that i can do the same thing much more cheaply - just lose some more weight !! {Allison Shreeve of Australia says she can plane in 6 knots on a Formula board !!}

My motto: Get out there and ride. You're gonna like it :-)
Unfortunately, my skills stop me around the 25 knot mark - also when waves get over about one foot... {for now !!}

Follow-up: Re-discovered a piece on James Douglass' blog: In this post it discusses and shows on the graph that longboards can reach planing thresholds around 12 knots whereas Formula boards do this around 8 knots. However, it is NOT until 12 knots in the Formula arena when pumping is no longer required. Personally, I have never been a fan of pumping and use it sparingly. Have NO idea how the Olympic RSX folks do it cuz it is TIRING !!

For me the issues for Formula are cost and pumping. For the longboard the issue is availability !! Cannot easily find Phantoms or Kona ONEs !!! Will check out the Konas in Ottawa the weekend of 31JUL2011 and go from there - will probably stay with what i have since sails are starting to need replacement...

Update:  Since the original post, I have purchased an MS-2 8-oh with matching 490/75 mast and a Fanatic Ultra CAT, a classique longboard. This CAT can plane when even the kiters got off the water at OKA Park and it can handle the 10-oh. The Formula solution for me was too $$$, too specialized, too long a fin and too sensitive. The longboard was inexpensive, can go in 7 knots, has a short 12 inch/30 cm fin and fully retractable centreboard and can handle any abuse. This was a NO brainer for me and it gets chuckles or comments wherever i go :-)

2012 update: Since the CAT, I was nervous about the shape it was in - too many soft spots on deck and most repair actions were unsuccessful.  I was unable to find another decent inexpensive Ultra or Mega CAT in the area. And then by chance I discovered a BIC Techno Formula at the local windsurf shop for a decent price - with NO fin, but they had one - not too $$ either. Since then I have been planing with this FreeFormula board instead of with the CAT. It too seems to plane up at around 10 knots and is also smoooother - almost like a Cadillac on the water :-) May seem not too exciting, butt it get s me on the water AND practicing things like jibes/gybes !!! At this point I like it more than the older CAT. It actually seems less technical than a racy funboard like the Ultra CAT with it's mast track et al. The CAT is more FUN than the BIC Dufour for me and as such has found a home at the outlaw's chalet :-) All I need to bring up is my favourite MS-2 8-oh :-)

2015 update: The CAT was "hurt"/damaged in 2014 and as such I purchased a Mistral Equipe I. The CAT has since been repaired and so , I now have two(2) classiques. Also, the BIC Techno Formula was sold and on the same day I purchased a used JP SLW 92 PRO. In other words, I kinda have a longboard and I kinda have a Formula-like board :-)

2016 update: The CAT was sold and so was the Mistral Equipe I. From this time until 2018 I was using the Mistral Equipe 2 XR aka MEQ and the BIC SL200. Still have the JP SLW92. With foiling gaining popularity larger freerace sails are no longer available. Even the SailWorks Retro now stops at 9.5 m². People foil with Formula boards (racers), but not so much with longboards.

2018: After a very poor season, I have been looking at getting more good longboards like an Exocet 380 or perhaps a cheap Formula like a BIC Daytona. The BIC is the cheaper option... At this point in time I have decided that a board purchase also means I need to sell one. If I purchase the BIC Formula, the JP SLW92 goes. If I purchase the Exocet, the SL200 goes, but there is a BIG price difference - so, this option is costly. AND my van is shot with NO roof rack for the car. Makes it difficult to pick up from Quebec City or Toronto :-(

some interesting Formula links:

the one i used the most for longboarding WAS, butt they kept updating it, having issues and NOT answering my questions = VERY disappointing :-(

Here is a link with longboard raceboards discussed in 1991