View Full Version : Board Selection - Totally Confused

30th July 2007, 10:28 PM
I am totally confused by the number of boards styles and shapes/sizes available on the market today. I have no idea if I should go with a wide board or a narrow one... Would someone PLASE give me a simple recommendation.

For some 2 years now I have been using a 220L HiFly Motion board with a 6.3 m2 sail and I feel it is now too big for me and off course it is also quite heavy to handle. I sail in light to moderate winds (10-25 km/hr) and most of all want to start planning. I have tried an older 190-200L BIC board and it had plenty of buoyancy for me too. My problem is, that because of my location and work schedule I have virtually no opportiunities to try out more boards to see how low I can go before buying and will probably buy online.

I was thinking of getting a BIC Nova or a Starboard Go board, somewhere in the 160-185 L range and a 7.0-9.0 m2 sail. Off course would like to get as light a board as I can that will still support me in light winds (and sometimes 1.0 m or so waves) and allow for easy planning at a slightly stronger winds. Is a smaller and lighter board actually better for early planning? Why do I need all this width ? My board now is 90 cm wide and I do not think I need a wider one... Any recommendations?

31st July 2007, 01:00 AM
Hello ml.
First it seems you are "mixing" the preformance characteristics of your heavy Polypropylene Hi Fly Motion, with a centerboard and using a relatively small sail with the performance characteristics of much lighter sandwich construction (or Tufskin thermoformed PVC in the case of the GO Toughskin).
Width does equal stability in both types of boards, but the weight and hull design of the Hi Fly Motion put it more in the same category as the Starboard Start which is signficantly shorter in length.
Your Hi Fly Motion will plane, but due to it's weight, your small sail size, and perhaps some technique issues you aren't quite there yet.
Both the Nova and the GO are as wide (or wider in the =>180 liter sizes) but weigh less and have a more high performance hull and bottom shape.
The GO and the Nova would be the next level for you, but it sounds like you want a board with even more performance and in a wider range of windspeeds.
You could skip to the next level above the GO/Nova and get a large Carve, but for every upside there's a downside and the problem here is even the largest Carve board (Carve 162 162 liters; 253 cm long; 82.5 cm wide 54.1cm 1'off tail) 9.3 kg. Technora Const.; 8.9 Kg. WOOD Const.; 6.1-10.0 m2 sail range) is 7.5 cm narrower and is not going to plane as early as a 90 cm wide GO or Nova 165.
So, you can have a more advanced board that will cover a bit higher wind range with the Carve 162, but it won't be as good in light winds.
So, if you get windspeeds of <14 knots alot of the time, then the wider GO/Nova will be better.
Are you using your centerboard in the HiFly Motion?
The Motion isn&#39;t going to plane very well with the centerboard deployed as the CB causes alot of drag and will be unstable at planing speeds.
Your stated windspeeds are 10 k/h (5.3 knots)- 25 k/h (13.49 knot) and in this range you will need a really big sail (8.5 m2 or>) to get any real planing performance on any of the boards you suggest you are looking at. 10-25 k/h is really in the realm of the super wide boards like the Apollo (starts planing at around 6 knots with a 10.5 m2 rig) or the Serenity (doesn&#39;t plane at all but goes quite fast very early in like 3-4 knots with a 7.5 m2 rig.).
So unless you can find a windier place to sail, I&#39;m not sure any boards/rigs are going to get you planing reliably with smaller than about 9.0 m2 rigs.
It seems you are stuck at a beginner/early intermediate level by your HiFly and 6.3 m2 rig.
Try a larger (8.5 m2+) rig on your HiFly and it may plane for you when the wind gets up around 11 knots/20 k/h.
What is your weight..... that could be a very important factor as to whether you will plane..... or not.
Hope this helps,

31st July 2007, 01:44 AM
Thank you for a great reply Roger. While still not 100% sure what to do, thanks to you I am at least beginning to understand a few most basing things I should be probably looking for. To answer your question, I am 186 cm tall (ca. 6&#39;-2") and really want to be able to start planning. As far as performance/handling on the water it is really a secondary issue right now. I live in Ontario, near the great lakes, and occcassionally I do get higher winds. However, they typically go along with bigger waves. Being a beginner, I still have major problems with these and often go on smaller lakes which do not develop high waves. Besides, in the warm summer months, the winds are typically not as strong, especially when I happen to go sailing :)

If I understand you correctly, these are the highlights I should keep in mind:

- A wider board will help me start planning faster
- Both the Starboard GO and BIC Nova are probably a good choice for what I am looking for
- I will need a fairly big sail, on the order of 8.5 m2 or greater to start planning in light-moderate winds.

A few more final naive questions..

(1) What volume would you recommend ? A 185L GO will probably have a bigger surface area and therefore should start planning faster than a 170 L GO. Why would I then go with a 170 L board ?

(2) Which one of the two, GO or NOVA is in your opinion better ? (Or is it not a fair question considering the venue ? :) )

(3) Finally, a philosophical one .. You said "You could skip to the next level above the GO/Nova and get a large Carve..." . Maybe it sounds silly, but what is this next level ? :) What is a typical progression? Right now I feel i would be quite happy planning. Once I get there, what will I want ? :)

31st July 2007, 03:56 AM
Hi ml,
How much do you weigh.....?
A ballpark figure is OK here, but if you weigh =< 150 lbs/68 Kg you would need one size board.
If you weigh between 150 lbs/68 Kg. and 180 lbs/81.6 Kg. then a larger wider board is more suitable.
If you weigh => 200 lbs/ 90 Kg. then you could be looking at a "big boys board" with even greater volume and width.
How tall you are is far less important as youi can move your boom up/down and lenghten/shorten your harness lines to accomadate different heights.
Unfortunately it&#39;s not just aobut how much you weigh either.
What size rig you can afford or wish to sail can affect the board choice quite a bit.
Bigger wider boards need larger and more powerful sails, but you can&#39;t just stick a 12.0 m2 race sail on a GO 170 and expect to get the same performance you might with a 10.5 Free Race rig that has more low end power, but less stability.
So, tell me your weight and what size rig you think you might want to get (remembering that going from a 6.3 m2 HiFly "package" rig with very heavy components and not much performance) to a full performance free race rig in the 8.5-10.5 m2 range you are going to spend as much for the rig (mast/ boom/sail) as you would for a new board ....perhaps even more if you get the high carbon light weight components).
You can of course, buy a used rig and same some money, but do you have enough information/knowledge to "piece together" used components to result in a rig that gives you the full performance of all the components?
Question #1 As I said above, it&#39;s not quite this simple.
Gotta have your weight, and an approximate sail size to decide between the GO 170/185.
Question #2 I think the GO is a little more performance oriented than the Nova. Either one will work, but the Nova is basically the entry level board from BIC. The Start/Rio are the Staboard entry level boards, and the GO boards are the next level above.
The will plne at about the same time, due to similar widths, the Nova probably costs less so that can be a factor.

Question #3 The next level (above your beginner/progressing early intermediate skill level..... i.e. uphauling, tacking, non-planing flare jibes) would be when you learn to beachstart, waterstart, plane all the time hooked in an in the footstraps and start working on planing carve jibes.
Only problem is you don&#39;t have enough wind to realistically (at 25 k/h 13.5 knots) do fully planing jibes/waterstarts unless you have a big (8.5 m2 or larger here) sail, and having a big sail makes learning all of these new skills signifcantly more difficult.
Hope this helps,

31st July 2007, 06:30 AM
Thanks again Roger. I feel ambarrassed I did nor mention my weight. I was sure I did but I did not... I am 110 kg / 186 cm (But intend to loose 10 kg soon ;) ) That is a little bit above average, hence my obsesive questions regarding board volume ... Once, I was quite OK on a BIC board, which I think was actually 190 L, however, the conditions were very good that day ... I have tried 130 L board once but was essentially sinking on that and unable to move.. Never tried anything in between.

31st July 2007, 07:23 AM
Hi ml,
OK, now we can get somewhere.
At 110 kg./242.5 lbs you definitely need the "big boys board"
So, now we need to decide if you want a centerboard or not.
There are a number of boards with adequate float that have centerboards, but maybe it would be better to get a much larger rig go try out your HiFly Motion in some windier places.
Then, when you are planing nicely on the Motion, look for a GO 185
(GO 185 185 liters; 253 cm long; 99.0 cm wide; 67.5 cm 1&#39;off tail
Weight ? 6.5-11.0 m2 sail size range).
At your weight I&#39;d suggest you look for at least a 9.5 m2 rig.
The main things that keep you from planing are you size vs the tiny sail size you are using on your Motion. I&#39;m sure the board is up for it, you just need to get the power to get it all moving faster, in less wind.
Even very experienced sailors that weigh 110 Kg don&#39;t get planing much before 12 knots with jumbo sized sails and you have about "half a jumbo" with your 6.3 m2 rig.
You can get a larger wider more floaty and high performance board, but you need the big rig first.
Get the big rig, get comfortable on it with the Motion, then go looking for a ligher more hi-performane board.
When you are hooked in and in the footstraps with the center board full retracted and planing along, then go look for a different board.
The HiFly will plane, even for a guy your size, you just need a big rig or alot more wind.
Sorry, I know this isn&#39;t the answer you probably wanted, but it&#39;s the facts.
Hope this helps,

31st July 2007, 07:03 PM
Thank you Roger. I am releaved to hear that I am not a total planning failure, just somewhat underequipped ... :) And do not worry about my disappointment. If it were easy it would not be as much fun for me :)

You suggestion to get a bigger rig first and try it out sounds good and that is probably what I am going to do this year. It will also allow me to spread the expenses over a 2 year period, which I am sure my wife will be relieved to hear ;)

I generally do not use the centerboard. Sometimes, since I already have it, I will deploy it when the wind conditions are far from perfect to stablizie my upwind direction, however, I can almost certainly do without it.

What I hate about the Motion the most is its nasty weight (close to 20 kg). When I am alone, moving this monster through dunes or loading it onto the roof of my car seems like an unnecessary energy drain. I envy guys with smaller and lightweight boards. Plus, I am not sure if it is related to the surface properties of Polypropylene, or what, but I get the sense of excessive drag, especially when the winds pick-up a little and I am just about raising my hopes of picking up the speed. Off course I do, but not as much as I would like to and it is always accompanied by a lot of turbulence and noise.. I am neither gliding nor cutting through water, I am dragging my board through it. I know that my posture, foot position, and mast presusre are very important here, but no matter what I do, I steel feel like big slow cow on the water :)

Another thing is the responsivness in turns, the ease of handling on the water when attempting a beach start, etc. The board feels like a big dead whale sometimes :)

Just to close my questions on the board volume. Is 170 L likely not enough, or there is not simply a compelling reason for me to try a lower volume ?

31st July 2007, 08:01 PM
Hi ml,
Yes, the Motion is heavy, so why not build a beach cart to transport your board from the car to the water?
Perhaps part of the reason your board feels like a "dead whale" is because you don&#39;t have the wind speed and sail size to gt the Motion to perform.
You do @ 110 Kg.) have a lot of drag, but you don&#39;t currently have very much power to overcome all that drag.
Get the bigger rig an I think you will see that with enough power, the Motion will "get into motion" and the drag factor will fade away.
Perhaps the reason you can&#39;t get your Motion to turn is the way in which you are trying to make it turn.
Do you "rail" your board going into your tacks and jibes?
Do you move your weight slightly forward and back to get your board to sail more upwind or downwind?
170 liters would certainly be enough volume to float you, that&#39;s not the problem here.
Your skill level and conditions simply don&#39;t support getting a smaller board.
You may have great "slogging" skills, but with < 14 knots of wind, at your size, with your 6.3 m2 rig there&#39;s very little possibility for you to progress to the stage where you can make a < 170 liter board work.
As soon as you get enough power to plane, you will be learning a whole new set of skills.
As I said, when you get a rig that will have you hooked in to your harness, fully back in the footstraps, with the rig supporting your weight and the board planing nicely (and fast!) THEN you can start looking for a smaller lighter board.
Perhaps it would be good for you to take a vacation in some warm and windy place as then you could rent gear and try out a lot of different boards, get some accellerated lessons and learn in a few days what it&#39;s going to take years for you to learn in your home conditions.
The bottom line is that a < 170 liter board simply won&#39;t work for a guy your size in < 14 knots.
Hope this helps,

31st July 2007, 08:25 PM
Thank you Roger. I think I now have a pretty clear picture of my next steps and a much better understanding of the "why&#39;s".

You have a great ability to understand people&#39;s problems and communicate the solutions clearly and effectively. I appreciate that and one more time really want to thank you for your help.