How To - Learn The Dimensions of a Windsurfing Sail
Knowing the dimensions of a windsurfing sail needed for specific wind conditions is important. Sail size in also determinant on your body weight as well for best result. You will always need to have the ability to control your sail and if your sail size in not correct, this will become an impossibility.
The dimensions is based on the square meters of over-all size of each sail and are sold typically in sizes ranging from three to twelve m2. The strength of the wind will determine the best size to use for the conditions. Before selecting the sail that will be best suited for a beginner windsurfer in lower wind conditions, it is important to understand the anatomy and terminology of a sail.
The Anatomy of a Windsurfing Sail
Before concerning yourself with the windsurfing sails dimensions , you should first learn the materials and key areas of a sail. Today sails are typically made of a clear pvc film that is called monofilm, a woven polyester material called dacron, or mylar. The stress points on a good sail are strengthened with the addition of kevlar mesh material to those areas.
Windsurfing sails have three corners called the head (top), the clew (at boom on opposite side from the mast), and the tack (bottom near mast). Windsurfing sails also have three sides called the foot (side away from mast below the clew), the luff (mast side), and the leech (upper side away from mast and above the clew).
Luff lengths are important dimensions because this measurement must be suitable for your windsurfing rig. To determine luff length you should measure your mast length and your mast extension length, then add the two measurements together. Take this number with you when shopping for a sail.
Choosing the Right Sail
Choosing the right dimensions requires some advance planning. As your skills progress, you will inevitably be purchasing more sails. When you have more than one sail this collection of sail inventory is called a quiver. Remember that the stronger the wind, the smaller the sail. As an adult beginner, your first sail should be between 4-1/2 and 6 m2, dependent upon your height and size for recreational windsurfing.
Your local windsurf shop can help you out because they are typically experienced with local conditions. You will need to get a first sail that does not have cambar inducers. Cambar inducers create sail rigidity but are more difficult to maneuver and usually more difficult to trim. At this point, ease of use is your goal. Also try to get the lightest affordable mast to make thing easier as you learn.
Remember that as you advance you will buy more sails. Adding to your quiver should be in increments of at least 1-m2 to be effective. So if your first sail is a 5.5-m2 for stronger winds your next should be 4.5 or less. The number of different dimensions of windsurfing sails in a more experienced windsurfers' quiver is typically two to four sails. The sail size in these quivers is generally in the 4-m2 to 8-m2 range.
Always take good care of your sail inventory. Do not leave your sail rigged out and in the sun when you come off the water. Your sail will last a lot longer. Always wash the salt off of your sails as soon as possible after use. It is also advisable to never purchase a used monofilm sail until you know what potential problems to look for.
Now get out there to find the best sail for you and have a blasting good time.
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