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Hurricane Irene
The storm came through NE USA and Eastern Canada on Sunday the 28th of August. In the morning I actually considered going to Vaudreuils since the wind was from the NE. However, the wind was picking up quickly and people on the quebecwind local website were already chatting about sails in the 4.x range and really small boards. OKAY, i am out of this picture !!!

On Monday, which happened to be a really beautiful sunny day with lite winds, I met a fellow who had gone to St-Zotique on Sunday in the post tropical storm from 8h00 until 12h00. He stopped cuz there was too much rain $%^& He DID admit that he was often "over" with his 3.x sail, there were dangerous moments AND he felt like he did NOT have fun !!! Yeah mann, it is HARD work !!!!

Winds apparently gusted as high as 40 mph where he was and 50 mph at Veaudreuils !!! Here is a histogram of the winds at Dorval areoport that day ...

Clique to enlarge

Then today, I happen upon some posts where a fellow windsurfer DIED on Long Island, NY, USA during the storm - DAMN $%^&*()

You can read about it here:

Unfortunately that is now the 2nd windsurfer to die within a driving radius in the last 2 months :(
Those are NOT good odds.
Please be careful my windsurf friends - it is unsure whether Joe was wearing a helmet or not and he was out in winds up to 50 mph !!!

Another REALLY sad day and soon there will be rules and police chasing windsurfers OFF the water :(

My condolences to the family and all who knew him personally !!!

Update: The service has passed =>

Looks like Hatteras has been battered as well - they cancelled the Wave Jam

Maui Sails Pursuit vs MS-2

At the end of 2008 I purchased a new 2006 Maui Sails Pursuit 8.5. As I could not afford an MS mast and did NOT realize at that time the importance of the exact / correct mast - especially with hard top/head Maui Sails, I purchased an Autima 490/90% mast with this kit.

Clique to enlarge

As I discovered the Autima mast may be a constant curve (rather than hard top), I tried to validate this with the company - to no avail. They did NOT answer e-mails NOR phone-calls. Other people have confirmed that this mast is CC or constant curve. Britt Viehman, an expert trainer and windsurfer, who also happens to use MauiSails, feels that the mast is less critical in the non-race MS sails - like the Pursuit ...

Prior to purchasing my TR-4 10-oh, I purchased an HPL boom, which i later discovered was a full carbon boom and with the carbon reinforcement at the head, as suggested by Bruce Peterson of SailWorks fame, is a solid and very stiff boom. This boom is now used for my sails larger than 7-oh.

In 2011, my Pursuit started to show signs of wear n tear. Asked in forums, including MS , what is the best approach. Some said ditch the sail, others said ride til it dies and some said fix as required. The main issue seemed to be that in general, monofilm will DIE after about 250 hours of UV exposure. I used this sail in 2010 about 20 times with the shortboard and probably as many times on the longboard. That winter I also started using it in 10 kph winds on my snow sailboard. If we say 50 times in one year and over one hour exposure each time, the sail will barely last three(3) years :-( AND guess what, that is where I am. Some have told me of their experiences downhauling and the monofilm just exploding in their faces %^&*() This sounds like an exaggeration to me and i am sure this sail will still last a number of years if used carefully.

So, I decided to wait - until i found an 2007 MS-2 8-oh with MS 490/75 % combo at a decent price. Here is photo of the kit WITH the HPL boom

Clique to enlarge
So now I had the mast that was to go with the Pursuit as well ....

Paul, who sold me the TR-4 10-oh is VERY interested in an analysis/comparison of these two(2) sails in terms of low end, high end, lightness in your hands, stability, etc.

The first thing I did was rig the Pursuit with the MS 490/75 to see how that compared to the Autima 490/90. This is from my journal notes :  

Tried the MS 490/75 on the Pursuit 8.5. First rigged it as i would the Autima 490/90. It felt like it was not enough. Putting 2.5 less cm on the mast base (which i do ONLY with the longboard) - 22.5 rather than 25 did not seem to work - the battens were further on the mast than usual. Is it really an MS mast ? It rigged GREAT on the MS-2.
OK, let's experiment - put 25 cm on the mast base and more outhaul. Sail felt light n lively even on the BIC Dufour longboard ie even when hauled tight. Winds were from the S at about 10 knots and very pleasant...
Maybe i will use the Autima with the Pursuit when on the longboard ...
we will see...

I have rigged the MS-2 twice, both with the MS mast and love the pocket of power and the cam rotation. Cannot wait to try it on my AHD FF 160 in 20 to 40 kph winds. It should just RIP !!! and for me rip does NOT mean rest in peace/pieces :-)
I tend to rig the TR-4 and the MS-2 with a very deep draft or pocket - that is the way I like it !!!

When we compare the MS-2 8-oh and the Pursuit 8.5, they both rig in the 490/75 mast, which is a recommended mast for both. They are made around the same time frame and obviously by the same manufacturer. The MS-2 has seven(7) battens and two(2) cams, whereas the Pursuit has six(6) battens and NO cams. The MS-2 is about 20 cm shorter in luff, 5 cm thinner in the boom and one pound or half a kilo heavier. The MS-2 has a tack strap and the Pursuit does NOT. So, are we comparing apples and oranges here ? I would tend to say NOT. However, it does seem like they are different "breeds" of apples.

Also, will i be able to remain unbiased ?? The Pursuit after all is my favourite sail of my entire quiver !! This is partially due to my weight, which requires bigger sails AND winds tend to be light here in Montreal. There are spring and fall winds, butt i stay away from 25+ knot winds - for now ...

Have not been out on the shortboard since about JULY 23rd - that's about three (3) weeks. :-(

Well, I finally got to take out the MS-2 8-oh sail with the MS 490/75% mast. The Pursuit 8.5 weighs 4.8 kilos and the MS-2 8-oh weighs 5.45 kilos. So, why did the sail feel so light?? I rigged it with a little more outhaul than I prefer since winds were gutsy (my version of gusty) between 16 and 20 knots. Cams flipped like a charm and the sail performed well even when it was overpowered. It felt like there was no end - just keep pushing - or pulling actually. It did not feel like it had low end grunt - instead it just wanted to go. With a smaller board than the AHD 160 I am sure this sail would rip em all up!! The sail also beach started with no issues in terms of cams or luff sleeves. This version still rigs with the cams on. The new Titans now have the luff sleeve like the TR's. When the wind dropped, I released the outhaul and I was the only one going anywhere. Then again, some of the lightweights were rigging 5.x and on really small boards. Is it time for me to lose fifty (50) pounds / 20 kilos ?? In summary the sail was great and I was ashamed that I was falling in love with it. After all, I just celebrated my 25 year wedding anniversary :-)

Next time I am going to have to try both sails on the same day - hopefully with the same conditions. Both riggings will need to be similiar and I will use the same MS mast.
btw the mast stuck today #$%^& had to dry my hands and mast and give it a good twist #$%^&*()

MON 29AUG2011 - took the Pursuit 8.5 out in very lite winds - with the MS 490/75% mast. Paul was correct, the sail does better on the MS mast. For example: I always had problems with the bottom batten sticking. Today, even in lite winds, pulled sail into wind and ALL battens "popped" to the other side. Considering this is an 8.5, it is surprising how much i can throw that sail around. Perhaps not sell it and keep both ??

SAT 03SEPT2011 - went to test the MS-2 with the BIC Dufour on the local river Milles Isles. Winds were quite lite out of the west. I was nervous about rigging it with my retro mast base since the sail calls for 6 cm extension and the minimum i can give here is about 10 cm. Also was worried that the open leech would not work with the long board. I read in some forums including MauiSails that the MS-2 is actually good for longboards. OK, i rigged it with a tight leech and not much outhaul. This created a huge pocket at the mast and the sail pulled like a mother ie more grunt than when i rigged it for higher winds on the shortboard. It was a little difficult to pop the cams to the other side and the bottom batten did not always want to go ...I did try to tighten the outhaul, butt i think a little more downhaul was required too..

TUE 13SEPT2011 - had the MS-2 8-oh out on the AHD FF 160 in 15 to 20 + knots.Was disappointed that i was overwhelmed in gusts, butt investigation showed gusts as high as 30 knots !! The bigger issue was beach starting on this day. Had major difficulties and ended uphauling instead !!

Conclusions: The Pursuit 8.5 is easier to beach start than the MS-2 8-oh. This is a cam "issue". The Pursuit works very well with a constant curve mast and PERHAPS a little better with the hard top MS mast, I now use the MS-2 with the Fanatic Ultra Cat and that will be my favourite combo in light winds. I am still contemplating selling the TR-4 10-oh since the MS2 and CAT combination is SO good. I have NOT tried the Pursuit with the CAT. As i am a cam fan, this discussion may be a little biased. I prefer the MS-2 over the Pursuit in terms of retaining shape, grunt, actually feels lighter and am VERY comfortable with it. I WILL try the Pursuit with the CAT and put comments here. In terms of cost, I believe the Pursuit 8.5 is much less than the MS-2 8-oh.
Found a Titan GS at $730 and Pursuit 8.5 at $625 - both at WorldWinds. Thus the difference is less than I thought. Both rig on the same mast and boom. Note: May be difficult to find a mast base with only 6 cm for the MS-2 8-oh. That is only an issue if you like to rig the lines all the way down to the pulley...

Disclaimer: This analysis was done with an MS-2 and NOT a Titan GS. The ONLY reason i say this is: there are people out there that were big fans of the MS-2 and are NOT fans of the Titan GS. No explanations are given and are basing their opinions on feeling. In the sail world this means everything.
For 2012 MS is supposed to come out with a sail called Blaze that seems like the MS-2 and Titan were.

Followup: I sold my Pursuit which was "well used", butt NO issues.
2012 - The MS-2 now has tears in it and unless I have panels repaired, will NOT sell. IF i have panels repaired, i will keep the sail. I do NOT like the wrinkles n crinkles that form on the MS-2. I have already reserved a TR-6 8.4 for next year. This is the first time I have issues with monofilm. My TR-4 10-oh is still going strong and that is why i was already looking to replace the MS-2. My MS-2 sail may have been a prototype. It definitely was not a production sail ... This is my second bad experience with the MS-2 and as such I will stay away from this sail. I like the TR sails better any way ...

MAY 2013 - I have picked up my TR-6 8.4 sail that has the wide luff and 4 cambers - and due to light winds have been using it mainly with the Fanatic Ultra CAT longboard. It is a lovely combination. I love the fact that the mast slides straight up the luff sleeve and have had only minor issues with cam rotations and the such. So, for me personally I am not a fan of the free-race sail. My sails in the 8-10 square meter size will remain as race sails and anything smaller will be free-ride or wave.

24JUNE2013 - having said all that ... We went to the country/chalet and i was anticipating the typical lake winds... gusts, wind shadows and change of wind direction. And so, i asked myself and i said ... why not try the MS-2 8-oh with the FUC/Fanatic Ultra CAT ?? and so i did... It was quite PLEASANT. The cambers rotate much more easily, the sail is lighter and so, easier to uphaul and handle when there is NO wind... than the MS TR-6 8.4...
Georges of OKA had asked me if i would suggest free-race or race to someone like himself. I had suggested free-race and i stand by that. When winds are good, and not so lake-like, i prefer the TR race sails. On the lake with my FUC, i actually think i prefer the patched MS-2 8-oh. I think I will leave that sail with the FUC board - wherever it  be .... And someone coming from RAF sails may find the transition to freerace sail so much easier ... than going directly to race. I had had my Gaastra Flow 3x for many years before and learned to like cambers ....
Perhaps the MS BLAZE will be my next 8.x sail ?? This is my most used sail size in my quiver ... due to my weight and lighter winds in the area...
Freerace = TRY IT, you'll like it :-)

JULY 2013 - since then I have busted my batten on the top camber of the MS-2 again $%^&* I wrote an entire post on this...

I was able to sell my Pursuit 8-oh, but the MS-2 now has had too many panels broken and too many cambers. If one was to consider ROI/return on investment - I would say, go for the Pursuit. On the other hand, I am now sailing the MS-2 with NO cambers and calling it the MS-OH. It is patched up, looks ugly and yet i use it with the CAT in light winds and even with the 160 liter board in 20 to 40 kph winds. Am I going back to free-ride sails ?? I do have enough sails to keep me going in < 12 knot winds all the way up to about 25 knot winds. On the other hand, the CAT has had some serious repairs and worries me a little !!! The issue is - there are few modern boards to replace it and i keep missing out on the used ones #$%^&

Windsurfer dies after Windsurf Session in Quebec

Just a few days ago, in early August 2011, a well known windsurfer died after a windsurf session on the Island of St-Jean de l'isle d'Orléans - near Quebec City. Information was posted on a kiteboard/windsurf site in French:

Basically Marc Munro was coming off the water, had severe chest pains, and collapsed. Fellow windsurfers performed the appropriate first aid until the ambulance arrived, but all to no avail. His wife has expressed a hope that as many kite and windsurfers as possible show up at the ceremonies.

Obviously, the heart is considered the culprit. At work a "young" executive also just recently died from a heart attack while out jogging. And people are always quick to remind us of some infamous athlete, who died while performing their favourite sport.

What I do not understand is: how is it these people have no inkling or warning ? They just have massive attacks and die ? Perhaps there was a genetic predisposition ?

There is some interesting information here where they speak/write about sudden death and athletes ...

"The most common causes of sudden death are congenital abnormalities of the heart and blood vessels, or those that are present at birth."

"The second most common cause of sudden death in athletes is abnormal coronary arteries (the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart muscle)."

"Another cause of sudden death among athletes is Marfan syndrome"

"Athletes who are older than 30 are at increased risk for heart attack if they smoke, have high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated abnormal lipids, or a strong family history of heart disease."

Obviously this does NOT mean we should stop the sports we are already doing, nor stop venturing into new sports. Over 30 (which i think is VERY young) is when one is to start carefully and discuss with doctor if there are medical issues like blood pressure, genetic predisposition to heart attacks, etc.

One colleague of mine summed it up: "The windsurfer died doing what he loves the most. I hope i go the same way!"

Buying a Windsurf Sail?

This is a kind of continuation of my post called
When is it time to change a windsurf sail ?

If this is the first sail you have EVER purchased, you are in for a big task. I hope you at least have some experience windsurfing because if you do not, then the task becomes even more difficult !! Not to despair though.

There are many questions to be answered.
1) What size sail are you looking for?
2) Do you already possess a mast and/or boom?
3) Are cambers to be considered?
4) What type of sailing is the sail meant for?

The first question depends on your size, your board, your experience and what you want to do with the sail. In other words, the above questions are NOT mutually exclusive... James Douglass has a sail calculator spread sheet that can be used as a “rule”. The reason I call it a “rule” is I developed a strange quote one time that has some truth in it: “Rules are meant to be broken and guidelines are meant to be followed!” In other words, take these numbers with a grain of salt. They are merely a starting point. This “calculator” can be found at : If it is your first sail, you will need to downsize since you are NOT accustomed to the power of the appropriate sail for your weight in the related wind speed. Hopefully a local shop or on-line forum will be able to help you!

A couple more questions I neglected to list above which are equally important are:
1) Do you really need that sail? I have issues “stopping the shopping
2) Are you inclined towards certain materials – example: monofilm okay or not?

Okay, back to the original discussion – sorry, I do get side tracked -  even in my own mind ...
The mast and boom question ...  The boom just needs to fit with the least extension if possible; and on larger sails, for racing and/or heavyweights some people consider carbon booms. With the word carbon in them, you got it, it gets expensive. There are booms approaching carbon stiffness for less money. Believe they are the “Aeron” booms with a special triangular shape on top making them stiffer.

Now masts on the other hand .. “buying a Mast is a joyless purchase, a boom or a sail is a great feeling” . People say one must or should buy the mast with the manufacturer’s brand stamp on it. This may be the “ideal”, but nowadays there are charts and measurements showing you which brands are in which category ie hard top (Maui Sails, Gaastra, Severne) , constant curve (majority of the sails/masts) or flex top (Neil Pryde, Tushingham). There is a company called UNIFIBER that makes masts in the various categories and has a grid of the various well-known sail producers and where they fall. Their grid can be found here: So, if you already have a mast, then ideally you need to find the sail that works best with that mast. If you have the money and no mast on hand, purchase the mast with the manufacturer’s brand stamp. Of course carbon content becomes another item to consider. Unless you are made of dough, usually 55% and 75% is as far as you will need to go. Even the race sails like the MS TR-7 has been shown to work fine with the 75% carbon masts.

Not everyone likes cambers and they are NOT just for racing. They lock the sail shape better and thus help retain shape as one “glides” through wind lulls. They are typically found on larger sails ie larger than say 7.5 and on race/slalom sails. This is a personal choice. I like them and have them on my 6.0, 7.0 and 10.0. I do not have them on my 8.5, but am reconsidering at this time of sail re-evaluation. {Actually in 2011, I purchased a used MS-2 8-oh with matching 490/75% mast. This sail has two(2) cams and works well on my longboards too}

There are many styles of windsurfing such as formula, slalom/racing, freeride, wave, bump n jump and longboard. Each discipline requires a different type of sails and these often are in a size range as well.

Do you really need that sail? The reason I ask this is I analyzed the sails I used the most and discovered that I did NOT really need a 7.5 sail – for now. My most used sails are the MS Pursuit 8.5 and the MS TR-4 10.0. Sometimes I use the Gaastra Flow 3X 7.0. There does NOT seem to be any hole in my sail quiver.

The whole reason I started this discussion is more about monofilm versus X-ply. I have a 2006 MS Pursuit 8.5 that I purchased at the end of 2008 for a reasonable price – about $500 with taxes in. This sail has been used in the summer of 2009 and 2010. This is ONLY two (2) seasons. Before I purchased it, I asked many questions about monofilm because it has been quite some time that Ezzy Sails has bragged that their sails are NO longer containing ANY monofilm. Everyone seemed to console me that monofilm was okay and durable. The monofilm has gone milky, has some heavy creases and even the stitching around some battens – like #2 – does not look too good.

After sending the question out to several forums and receiving different answers like: use it until it breaks, trash it and repair it yourself; I decided to keep using it until it breaks.

Okay, I did use the sail in the winter as well, but even that was “okayed” by Barry Spanier of Maui Sails. So, when does it come time to replace the sail, what do I intend to do ??

Locally it feels like the sails are just way too expensive – from new to used. People do not seem to use 8.5 much here. As a heavyweight I love this sail in 10+ knot winds on the snow, 10 to 15 knot winds on the longboard and 15 to 20 knots on the AHD FF 160liter/79cm shortboard. If I do not buy locally, it seems the best option is internet in the USA where shipping within the 48 States in usually FREE.

What about monofilm? Do I buy a 2009 MS Pursuit 8.5 or go for something like a 2009 Severne Elelment 8.5 with 2 cams and apparently NO monofilm?

I found a used 2009 Severne Overdrive 8.0. What disappointed me was: the owner was three(3) hours away and did not know that Severne is hard top flex. He was using a NP mast which is flex top and was satisfied with the results. What does that do to a sail when rigged incorrectly on the wrong mast?

As I have already stated, I will continue to use the 2006 MS Pursuit 8.5 until it dies. At that time I will make a decision. If it is sooner than later, it is VERY likely that I will NOT replace it with the same sail and instead get the X-ply Severne.
If it does last another season or two(2) , the likelihood that it is replaced with the same sail goes up !!

Follow-up: Found a set that a fellow did NOT want to split - MS mast 490/75 + MS-2 8-oh prototype. The mast was like NEW and the sail slightly used. This way I can see if the Autima constant curve is really as good as the mast that was meant for the MS Pursuit... and i have a spare when the Pursuit dies. Not sure how the MS-2 will go with a longboard or in the snow - butt i will definitely have fun trying !!

Since it was a prototype sample, i asked about it on the MS forum:
what i do find interesting is:
the sail seems to be a PP sample / pre-production signed by Barry
the mast ? it is like a "no-name" from Phil ie NO MS markings and came in a NP bag with a 490 marking
Barry replied:
not bizarre at all. we sell protos, photo shoot sails, team stuff, and sometimes pretty much anything that someone else (the odd mast in the odd bag) that anyone wants sold. the marked up sail is something we used and it may or may not be a final design, and the way it works is also possibly not production worthy, the chance that comes with buying the non production gear. most things are not far off, or they could even be 'the one', but definitely not the same as when you get the real thing from a dealer.
all that said it probably still works reasonably well.

conclusion: for me $600 + for a new sail is out of my budget. Especially if a boom and/or mast are required. I will be only buying used or end of season specials from now on !! MauiSails often puts stuff on e-bay and i may try that next time i really need a sail. For now I am all set !!! For a new buyer - this is NOT easy. And I am having issues selling my Pursuit 8.5 and Autima 490. Both are good to go for a few seasons !!!