View Full Version : Quiver update: Retros vs Huckers for B&F

15th June 2007, 11:30 AM
I'm planning on updating my sail quiver of old Retros this month and am struggling to figure out whether to go with all new Retros (ie, 5.0 up to 9.0) or combine some Retros (ie, 8.0 and 9.0) with some Huckers (ie, 6.6, 5.6, 4.8).

I like the idea of getting the power of a 7.0 or 7.5 in the size and weight of a 6.6 but since it was designed for B&J I don't know how well it would work for B&F sailing vs Retros. I'm an early intermediate sailor who sails in both steady and often gusty lake conditions. I don't yet do B&J, and mostly sail on 120 L to 150 L boards. How well would Huckers be suited for B&F sailing by an early intermediate? Are they any better than Retros in this application?

So should I mix Huckers with Retros or just stick with Retros?

Or, are Huckers sufficiently different than Retros that having both in a couple of key sizes I sail most often might make sense (ie, depending on the conditions)?

If I do go with some Huckers, should I space the quiver strictly on sail area like I would with a full Retro quiver or should I "adjust" the spacing between Retros and Huckers based on the higher power per square meter of the Huckers (ie, should I treat a Hucker 6.6 as a 6.6 meter sail or should I treat it as, for example, a 7.0 meter sail?

Thanks so much for your input!


15th June 2007, 06:54 PM
Great question for Roger...

Give him your body weight and size as well.

I have not sailed the Hucker yet. My observation from the beach is that many of the flatwater Retro Faithful are switching theirs sails over to Huckers. Most are raving (...many of us do with our new purchases). Many are advanced intermediates though, but ironically often the drag race B&F types, than big air types it was marketed for. They like the powerful feel, and the ability to use a smaller sail area for wind strength. I hear it has plenty of range as well.

I am curious too.
Now, let's hear from someone who actually knows...

16th June 2007, 01:27 AM
Thanks, I forgot to mention that I weigh about 175 dry and am about 5' 9" tall.

16th June 2007, 03:05 AM
4 Sails: Retro 5.0, 6.0, 7.5, 9.0 (9.5 also fit 490mast)
5 Sails: Hucker 4.8, 5.6, 6.6 Retro 8.0, 9.5

Either combination will work. I have 4 Sails combo, 170/5'8"... No complains

17th June 2007, 07:41 AM
I'm a Hucker convert. I have the 6.6, 5.6, & 4.8 and am looking at the 4.2 and 3.7 I'm loving the 4.8 & 5.6 the most. I'm still figuring out the 6.6. I haven't had many 6.6 days yet. Also, I only have one board that I seem to use the 6.6. I have an 8.0 Retro above my 6.6 Hucker and use it all the time. I need to use the 6.6 more to tell you what I like or dislike about it. The others (including the 8.0 Retro) are great sails. I have a cambered 9.8 V8 as my largest sail. I'm on the fence whether I'll replace it with a Retro when it finally runs out of steam.

For starters, I'd get the 5.6 & 4.8 Huckers. They have a great range and handle being overpowered much better than the sails I used before. Then, You need to decide what to do above that. You could continue with the Retros ... get a 6.5, 7.5, 8.5 etc. You'll be happy with them for sure. I'm not trying to steer you away from the 6.6 Hucker, but I'm just not sure enough about it to recommend it. Roger may have more time on the sail to talk to it.

I'm 65kg and 178cm tall, so I'm on the small side of things. I love the Huckers because I can take the sail out where I'm on a smaller sail than fellow sailors but see the same or better performance. I can also take out the same size sail in overpowered conditions and have a bigger sail than my fellow sailors. The 5.6 Hucker, in one local club race, gave me the win (I won only because of how a tie is broken). The other guy was on a Retro and weighed in at 40 pounds more than me. I was able to hold down my 5.6 Hucker while he was on a 6.0 Retro. Usually this guy is consistently faster than me, but not this day.

Based on your last post, I am giving you a different option. Bare in mind that the 5-sail option you list should give you more high-wind potential than the 4-sail option because the Hucker has more high-wind range built into it.

Oh, and don't worry about the B&J nature of the sails. They are very easy to control and keep on the water. But when you are ready to jump, you'll love that aspect too.

17th June 2007, 02:07 PM
o2bnme, thanks for sharing your experience.

I'm surprised the 6.6 Hucker might have a different feel than the others (I agree you may need more time on it to decide if that's true). Maybe it's harder to keep the same amount of rig stability (even with the Hucker's higher rig tension) in the larger size.

If you had both a 5.6 Hucker and a 5.5 (or 6.0) Retro, would you always use the Hucker instead of the Retro or are there circumstances when the Retro would get used instead (ie, gusty conditions)? Do the Huckers feel good in gusts (ie, do they accelerate or want to throw you)?

I am also looking forward to Roger's input when he gets the time from his busy schedule as I know he's had a lot of experience comparing these sails.


Team Roper
18th June 2007, 12:47 PM
Jay, if i were you i would ask the question directly to the boys at sailworks. I just got back from the gorge and they were more than happy to take 5 minutes in person and discuss additions to my existing retro quiver. I find them to be a very customer service oriented company and that's why i will continue to purchase their products in the future...

my .2 cents

19th June 2007, 09:13 PM
Hi Jay,
I think I'd suggest trying a 5.6 or 6.6 Hucker before you buy a whole quiver of them.
The Huckers are indeed a bit more powerful than an equivalent size Retro, but the power is placed a little differently in the Huckers.
And, when you learn to tune the Huckers, perhaps using different masts to get different results, you may end up loving them, and then again, as some sailors have found, the Huckers just don't "feel" the same and for this reason these same sailors choose the Retro.
So, demo a Hucker, or buy one, than see how it feels to you.
My take is that the extra power one feels is a bit higher up (due to less twist at the top of the sail (which is the Huckers primary characteristic when compared to other modern sails the same size).
Once you "adjust" to this, the Huckers are super wide range, very tuenable sails.
At first, you may find that compared to your Retro's the Huckers seem to want to toss you over the front of the board.
This is pretty easy to adjust to, just don't sheet in so quickly and let the power build at a rate you can handle, but it will feel different.
So, in summary, I think you need to try one first, then decide if you want to get an entire quiver.
And, as the previous poster suggests, you will get super service from the guys and gal at the Sailworks loft, and they can suggest many different little "tweaks" that can make your "Hucker Experience" a good one.
Hope this helps,

20th June 2007, 03:00 PM
Roger, thanks for your input.
I think I'll take your advice and try one before going whole hog.

21st June 2007, 09:14 PM
Well, I managed to get a quick sail in this morning from 8am to 9:30am. It was pretty gusty, but the gusts were big enough to get me across the lake where I would wait for the next gust. I had the 6.6 Hucker on my iSonic 105. I think I (finally) figured out the right tuning. For starters, I realize that I have a tendency to go down to a smaller sail size sooner than I should. I stuck with the 6.6 and had a blast. I found it to be a very smooth sail for the conditions. The wind was switching from northeast to northwest to west on me, so that definitely made it interesting. When a west wind, the waves would disappear and I'd get an amazing run down the lake. When a northerly wind, I'd get some fetch and have to deal with chop. All-in-all, I found the 6.6 easiest to handle when fully powered up. It is bordering on a large sail and as such feels large when you have to hold it up. But it is silky smooth when the wind really powers up the sail.

I was using the 40cm fin because the wind started out lighter than at the end. I'll hopefully get out in a bit with my 34cm fin to see how that does. Then, I'll pull out my 91L freeride board and see how that does. We're forecast to have three days of good northerly winds, so I should get more testing time.

Still, I have realized that I can go from my 8.0 Retro on my F-Type 148 to my 5.6 Hucker on my 91L board more often than I would have expected. I think that's a testament to the range of the Retro and Hucker.

Oh, and on heading home, I did some fun broadreaches. I got up to 29.6mph without really trying. I've gone faster on this board in more ideal conditions, but this felt VERY easy to control.

22nd June 2007, 02:44 AM
o2bnme - good stuff. Glad to hear the 6.6 Hucker is feeling good.
Did you tune it any differently?

22nd June 2007, 02:56 AM
I have it downhauled to the mark on the sail. I switched to the zFree 460. This truly feels much better than the Backbone 460 with this sail. The big thing is not trying to go out in 7.5 conditions with the 6.6 Hucker. You'll get on a plane if you rig the sail for the conditions, but you'll feel very sluggish. My 8.0 Retro is a better fit.

Also, I think if I had a chance to redo my board quiver, I would have purchased the iSonic 115 instead of the 105. The iS105 is great for me when the wind kicks up but I don't get steady enough conditions. I really should have a little more volume. It is perfect in salt water even with an 8.0 Retro onboard. Part of the reason I'm saying this probably has to do with the amount of time I'm finding I spend on my F-Type 148 and 8.0 Retro. There is a drastic difference between these two boards, but I go to the FT148 more often because it will get me on a plane sooner and upwind faster. I'll readily admit that I'm nowhere near as fast with the FT148 as I am with the iS105, but it is more about time on a plane and in the footstraps for me these days. Of course, when I get back to NC and start participating in the club races we hold down there, I'll be glad I have the iSonic for its speed. For me, it truly shines when I'm on my 5.6 Hucker. That's the combo I love it for.

I think I'm going to pull my AHD GT Special 73 out of the closet and go play on it. It has a little more volume, so should be a good fit for the wind I'm seeing right now.

22nd June 2007, 12:11 PM
o2bnme, it sounds like the 6.6 Hucker, when rigged for 7.5 conditions, is a bit sluggish due the the increased drag from maxing out the foil's draft. I had been thinking that it may be possbile to get decent performance of 6.6 Hucker in 7.5 conditions (as well as a 5.6 Hucker in 6.5 conditions). But maybe that's a bit optimistic. Would I be better off assuming the sails can generate only about 1/2 m2 effective power than a comparable Retro across the board, even for the smaller Huckers?

22nd June 2007, 07:22 PM
That's probably a good guess, but don't forget that you can continue to use the sail in higher winds than you would expect... just downhaul the sail more.

My afternoon session yesterday turned into a 9.8 day. I took my 9.8 V8 out on my F-Type 148 and played around in ~15+mph winds. I'm getting more comfortable going out in strong winds with this combination. The FT148 really shines for me on days like yesterday.

I haven't figured out the forecasts for this area yet. Yesterday we were supposed to get 10mph winds and we got 15. Today, we are supposed to see 14mph winds with gusts to 20-23mph... we'll see what we end up getting!

27th June 2007, 10:10 PM
My Quiver:
Retro 9.0 and 7.0
Hucker 5.6 and 4.8
Old Sailworks Cam 1+1 4.0 and 3.5

I have it all covered. the 4.0 and 3.5 are for the really silly days. Very few days they will be used.

The four new Sailwork sails is all I really need. I weigh 168lbs and I used the 4.8 on a 30knot day. When it blows 30, I should be on my 4.0.

The hucker has a huge range. It is not hype. Technically it has less twist than the retro but I gotta tell you; you can downhaul the crap out of it. It handled the high wind with my weight no problem. As a matter of fact, it was so stable that it actually scared me. I was looking for a throttle to slow the freakin' thing down.

The difference between the Hucker and the Retro? In my opinion, the Retro has give so you can throttle it down. The Hucker just wants to go faster when the wind cranks.

I like the Retro in the larger sizes due to the 2meter jump I have in my larger sizes. They are more forgiving and allow me to hang on by using the adjustable outhaul when wind the wind picks up. Once its windy though, I really like the locked in feeling of the Huckers.

That is one rookies eval of the Sailworks line.


28th June 2007, 04:36 AM
Petrek, thanks for sharing your experience, good stuff!
I've not heard it put that way, about the throttle on the Hucker vs the Retro, but it makes sense. The Huckers sound great but there are times I want to throttle down when overpowered instead of throttle up, particularly if the board I'm on is big for the conditions and I'm having trouble controlling it over the chop.

28th June 2007, 04:44 AM
Hi Jay,
The Huckers respond to adj. outhauls, just like the Retros.
If you want to "throttle down" add more downhaul or change to a softer tipped mast.
Hope this helps,

28th June 2007, 06:41 AM
Roger is right, I have the adjustable outhaul set up on my smaller booms as well. With that said, I still find the hucker has less give when you get hit with the gusts. It is hard to explain. I accelerate very quickly. It probably has to do with the fact that it twists off less at the top than the retro. It is very controlled, nothing like my old rigs, which just want to throw me over the handlebars if I am not paying attention. It is a great ride, trust me.

28th June 2007, 07:07 AM
Hi Jay,
And then there's the "universal to all sails" throttle.
Ease your sheeting angle a little and you get less power.
If you "sheet out" suddenly, this upsets the balance of everything (rig, sailor, board, fin), often resulting in a "yard sale".:o
However "easing" your sheeting angle slightly just reduces the power.
Set your harness lines up so that the rig "eases" automatically by placing the rear harness line attachment slightly forward of truly neutral and you get this "easing" just by releasing a little with your back hand.
I don't think you need to worry about the Hucker taking you into unwanted orbit somewhere high above the water, or taking you on a magic carpet ride to some speed never before attained on a windsurfer.
I can assure you that you will either ease the sheeting angle, or bail out, long before either of the above hypothetical eventualities.:)
Hope this helps,

28th June 2007, 03:01 PM
Roger & Petrek, thanks for the additional input.
OK Roger, no accidental jumping for me on a Hucker!
Damn, I was hoping I would my first jump would be an accident just like the first time I planed it wasn't planned...
Good tip about tuning the back harness line for a bit of auto depower...

28th June 2007, 07:10 PM
Hi Jay,
Well, I guess you could set up your harness lines to sheet in a bit, find a boat wake or something kinda wet and steep, turn a bit to hit it as square as you can
and...and... see how high you get.;)
Whether you end up a hero or having a minor yard sale is up to you.
Once you get into the air, the Hucker probably won't care.
I'm sure you'll get somewhere between having the fin clear the water, and Dale Cook flying above the truck (SW cover photo). :D
Hope this helps,

29th June 2007, 01:29 PM
Roger, funny you should say that - there was a post just today on rec.ws of a guy who did that - got his friend to take out the Mastercraft on his local lake in flat water and jumped the wake while windsurfing behind the boat. Photos in the post, check it out. He did say it was a bit tricky getting the timing right. With all the weight people are adding to boats these days to surf behind the boats the wakes are getting bigger and bigger. That plus you can get them to line up the wave in the ideal direction relative to the wind. Somehow I think if I try that at my current skill level I'd be having a yard sale...

3rd October 2007, 09:48 PM

I´ve been sailing with Sailworks Retros since 2000. Currently I have 8.0, 7.5, 6.5 and 5.5 Retros. I keep them at different locations, therefore the close gap between the 7.5 and 8.0.

Recently I bought a 5.6 Hucker and I really like it. I like it so much that I´m thinking of replacing my 6.5 Retro with a 6.6 Hucker.

I´ve been reading this thread and I´m curious to know what You, who have written in this thread (o2bnme, Jay), and others!, think about the 6.6 Hucker.

Does it feel like a "bigger version" of the 5.6 Hucker?

Is it any ways different in feels and performance to the smaller Huckers?

Do Roger, or someone else, know if there will be any changes in the Huckers for 2008?


4th October 2007, 01:50 AM
Hi Filip,
I just got off the phone with Bruce Peterson (owner/designer @ Sailworks) and there will be only a few detail changes between the '07 and '08 Huckers.
Very small details (reinforcements; etc.) that you probably won't be able to notice at all.
So, pretty much 98% of what we have discussed here is directly applicable to the '08 Huckers.
Hope this helps,

4th October 2007, 02:49 AM
Thanks Roger!

What is Your experience of the Hucker 6.6?

Does it feel like a scaled up version of the 5.6?


4th October 2007, 07:07 AM
I'd thought I'd post my experiences with my 6.6 hucker. I've used the sail with my Serenity, Madd 135 and Max2Air 264 (115 liters). I've found in light air it feels more powerful and does require a little pull to sheet in and start planing, but once it gets going it acts just like my 6.5 retro. I've installed one of Roger's pulley setups with an AO and probably have been over using it, but with our up and down wind it has saved me from the 25 mph gusts that roll thru. On the 135 I can keep up with the 8.0 people when the winds picks up. So my 8.0 is taking a well deserved rest as is my back. Basically I'm glad I've got it and cannot wait for my fall trip to Hatteras to try it in some steadier winds. (Roger- next week with BABA, yes the Serenity is making the trip.)

4th October 2007, 01:31 PM
vikingsail (or Roger) -
Do you have a link to the "Roger's pulley setups with an AO" that you described?

4th October 2007, 02:28 PM

My impression is that the 5.6 Hucker has about as much low-end power as my 6.5 Retro.

What is Your impression of the 6.6 Hucker? Does it feel like it has the power of a 7.0-7.5 sail?

One thing that I like with my 6.5 Retro is that it feels so smooth and well-balanced when powered up. Does the 6.6 Hucker feel the same when powered up?



4th October 2007, 08:44 PM
Hi Tom and Filippi,
For Tom: What "Roger's Adj. OH system" parts are you using..... just the Harken blocks on the clew of the sail, or the whole set up with Harken blocks on the boom as well.
I have some photos of the 623 blocks setup for the clew that I can send off to Filippi.
As far as the power of the 6.6 Hucker, again I submit that it makes alot of difference what mast you use and what your goal is.
Use a SW Backbone RDM, and you get max power. Use a Powerex 460 RDM and you get almost as much power but the upper leech twists off a little more.
Use the recommended 460 SW Joystick and you get slightly less overall power, with very limited twist.
How much you downhaul and outhaul can really change the overall available power.
Do I think the 6.6 Hucker makes as much power as a 7.5 Retro?...... close, but as Tom (Viking Sail) suggests, if you take the 6.6 Hucker out when it's really 7.5 m2 conditions (i.e. < 14 knots probably) you can probably get going, but you could probably get going a little easier on the 7.5 Retro, simply due to the larger size/area of the 7.5m2.
If you have alot of 7.5 conditions, then I'd stay with the 7.5 Retro and trade in the 6.5 Retro on the 6.6 Hucker. If you are almost powered up on the 6.5 Retro a lot of the time then sell the 7.5 and get the 6.6 Hucker.
Yes, the Hucker will feel nicely balanced and smooth (even slippery with enough downhaul) in a slightly wider range of conditions than the 6.5 Retro.
Right at first (like the first few minutes) the Hucker may feel a little more powerful in the top of the sail (pitchy feeling) but you will adjust to that almost immediately and then the sail feels powerful, balanced, and slippery.
Hope this helps,

4th October 2007, 11:28 PM
I just have the clew pulleys with the harken's. I using the standard HPL tailstock on my new boom and one sailworks formula outhaul strap. I have yet to get pitched but I have scrambled upwind when a big gust hit. As always the sail politely sheets itself out.

5th October 2007, 01:24 AM
Thanks Roger!

My next size up from the 6.6 Hucker will be my 8.0 Retro, and i will use them on my JP X-cite Ride 145 and Fanatic Hawks 123 and 108.

The nice thing about the Hucker 6.6 will be that I will be able to go out on a relatively small sail more often than before. The 8.0 Retro and the 6.6 Hucker will be my most used sails. I also have the 5.6 Hucker and I have just ordered the 4.8 Hucker.

I have quiver of masts that I look forward to test them with: 430, 460 and 490 Speedsticks and the older 460 and 490 Sailworks XR masts.

I have sailed the 5.6 Hucker a few times since I bought it, both with the Speedstick 430 and Speedstick 460. My first impressions are that the 5.6 Hucker feels even more stable and powerful with the Speedstick 460 than with the Speedstick 430, so I prefer the longer mast sofar (I weigh 78 kg).

Do You have any guess about how the Huckers will behave with the XR masts?

Could it be worth trying the Hucker 6.6 with at 490 mast?