View Full Version : 6.5 sail for gusty lake sailing

30th October 2006, 10:35 AM
Hi Roger,

My 2nd hand 6.3 Gun X-race sail, that was held together with copious amounts for tape and happy thoughs, had a minor catastrophe this weekend and I have decided to pass it on to some lucky soul more desperate than myself. I had decided to replace it with a 2006 6.5 retro. But my local friendly sailors have been working on me telling me you "need" a camed sail for gusty lake conditions to make the most of the wind here abouts. I have an 2006 11.0 retro that I love. Could it be that I just don't know what I'm missing?

What do you think should I go with my first instinct and get the retro or do you have other suggestions. I weight 215 lbs so I want oodles of low end power to heave me up onto a plain, and it needs to be very robust (x-ply) and easy to rig correctly. I'll be rigging it on an x-9 460 mast, that was a NP prototype.


30th October 2006, 08:02 PM
Hello Matthew,
I think the 6.5 Retro will certainly "do the job" for what you seem to want.
Easy to rig, huge tuning range, lot's of low end power for it's size.
Are there any other sailors on small Retros at your gusty lake?
Bruce P. designs and tests the Retro's in the Columbia River Gorge and that's a very windy but also very gusty place for sure.
Get the Retro, and then see if the guys that weigh the same as you do are faster on their similar sized cammed sails?
I don't think you will see many of them, if any, passing you on the 6.5 Retro.
Only thing I'm wondering about is the NP X9 proto mast.
I'd suggest getting the sail, rigging it on your existing mast, and if it doesn't look right or seems to be lacking in any way, try it on a Sailworks or Powerex mast and see if that doesn't fix any problems.
If you have a mast compatability problem, you can get the correct mast after you've determined that there's a problem with the X9 mast.
Hope this helps,

31st October 2006, 09:06 AM
Thanks Roger, it's always really nice to hear what you want. I'll test out that x-9 and see if it works...


31st October 2006, 10:22 AM
Hi Matthew,
I just think the 6.5 m2 Retro is a truly great sail.
Hope it works well on your X9 mast

11th November 2006, 09:48 AM
Hello again Roger,

I have a 6.5 Retro (2003) (love the sail, sadly, don't get enough wind for it all that often). I'm wondering what you would say was the windrange for the sail with the following kit:

Year 2000 GO (190 litres)
Powerex X3 460 mast
Chinook aluminum boom
154 lb (70Kg) 5' 8" rider
No adjustable outhaul

Let me 'fine tune' the question a little if I may. Assume that the sail is correctly rigged for current conditions (say a wind of 17 knots plus or minus a couple. I picked 17 thinking it would be about the mid range for the sail.)

1) How much MORE, or how much LESS wind can the sail handle without having to be re-tuned (ie downhauled)?

2) What would you say would be the maximum and minimum (to plane) winds for this sail and kit

3) Lastly, would you say that most 'current technology' (let's say sails 2001ish and newer - that's 5 years) would have the same range as in the situation I posed in 1) above - ie once set, a current sail will provide acceptable performance within a range of plus or minus 'x' knots of windspeed change? (Where 'x' is the answer that you provide for question 1)

Apologies for the awkwardly phrased questions. As always, thanks for your time.


11th November 2006, 01:24 PM
Hi Tony,
Ahhhh....an original GO! What a classic board!
Mmmm... I'm not sure what an "X3" Powerex mast is.
Normally that would be a Z-Speed (100% carbon); Z-Free (75% carbon); Z-Wave (55% Carbon) or the NRZ (30% carbon).
Powerex masts normally have fairly uniform bend characteristics
throughout their mast line so the significant variables would be the
weight and price.
As to your question, my experience has been that the Retro's can handle about a 5 knot range pretty easily. It will be a little underpowered at 14 knots, and you'll definitely find you have too much sail at 19-20 knots.
But why be "limited"? Get an adjustable outhaul (a simple one was provided with your sail and should be in the pouch in the sail bag. This would allow you to "tune" on the fly and get maybe a knot or 2 on the low wind end of the range (if you slack the adj. outhaul off alot) and maybe a knot or 2 on the top end as well (by simply flattening out your sail by tightening the outhaul.
And, you can add quite a bit more downhaul and increase the range even more.
At 70 Kg,/154 lbs. you should be able to pump the GO onto a plane in 12-14 knots somewhere, depending on your skills and the "consistency" of the wind. I've sailed the 6.5 Retro in gusts over 20 knots, but I have plenty of sails so at around 18 knots steady I get out the 5.5 m2 Retro.
Yes, I think most modern sails can easily handle a 5 knot (maybe even as much as 10 knots in the gusts) range of windspeeds and be comfortably powered throughout that range.
Bigger formula sails, with a flatter entry and more twist dynamics can handle as much as 12-15 knots wind range, but it's not fun to be that far overpowered.
You need to select sails based on the type of sailing you do most often, and the Retro is right there in mid range of this. You have flatter, simpler free ride sails and Freestyle sails that don't have as much range and cannot be tuned through a wide range, and on the other end of the spectrum you have the full race sails that have a tremendous range, and a huge tuning range, but they are more complex and a little heavier, and definitely more difficult to rig.
You are a light weight, so you can get your GO board going pretty early, and with good technique, you can hang on the that same
Retro (make it easy on yourself and do some tuning with the downhaul and an adj. outhaul) up to around 20 knots.
Beyond about 18 knots, your board is going to start getting "too big" and changing down to a smaller fin and rig will allow you to go to maybe 22-24 knots. Beyond that is unrealistic for the GO board.
You can certainly sail the GO in more wind, but it won't be fun and getting a smaller narrower board and smaller rig/fin will bring the fun factor back.
I hope this answers yo9ur question.;)

11th November 2006, 10:52 PM
I have 4 Retros - 10.0, 8.0, 6.5 and 5.5. I have sailed the 10. and 8.0 for a couple of years and love them. The 6.5 and 5.5 are newer and I have sailed them about 3 times each. I like them too. It is so nice to have all four sails rig the same way and behave the same on the water. They all work well for me in light and strong wind.

I rig them on 75 % carbon masts that are the recommeded sizes. I have new 430 and 520 Maui Sails masts, a 490 Powerex Zfree and a 460 Joystick. I only use an adjustable outhaul on the 10.0 cause I don't usually need it on the smaller sails.

I think you would be very happy with the 6.5 Retro since you are with your 11.0.


13th November 2006, 09:03 AM
>>> Ahhhh....an original GO! What a classic board!
>>> Mmmm... I'm not sure what an "X3" Powerex mast is.

Hi again Roger,

You were correct (again) my "X3 Powerex" mast is in fact a Neil Pryde X3.

I'm interested in your comments on the 2000 Go being too big a board at around 22-24 knots.

>>> Beyond about 18 knots, your board is going to start getting "too >>> big" and changing down to a smaller fin and rig will allow you to go >>> to maybe 22-24 knots. Beyond that is unrealistic for the GO board.
>>> You can certainly sail the GO in more wind, but it won't be fun and >>> getting a smaller narrower board and smaller rig/fin will bring the >>> fun factor back.

I have a 5.5 Retro with suitable NP mast and boom, and various fins down to 28cm. What would you think of one of the smaller Go's - say the 139 (I love the stability that added width brings). Would that combination cover winds from 20 knots up to... what would you say? Or is it the board width that is the factor that hinders control, and the Go 129 at 72 cm wide becomes the higher wind choice?

Appreciate your insights,


13th November 2006, 12:16 PM
Hi Tony,
Yes, you've hit on the main issue. Width!
Up to around 20 knots, boards 75 cm -100 cm wide
work really well, and have actually "opened up" the entire
wind spectrum from around 7-8 knots up to around 12 knots
to windsurfing. Short boards didn't plane much below 12 knots until the wider boards (like your original GO) were designed.
But, at around 20 knots, (unless you are a Formula sailor and racing
or training for races) narrower boards with modern improved rockerlines are so much more versatile and smoother to sail.
The width you like so much soon becomes "the width that makes control a limiting issue.
Sure, if you have 25 knots, on really flat water, or somewhere like the event site in the Gorge where you are just sailing back and forth across the river and only need to go across the river until the chop and swell gets uncomfortable (or unmanageable) your 5.5 m2 rig and a 46-52 cm fin will still be lots of fun.
But if you have to sail in real world 22 knot + conditions, with big chop and large wind driven swells that may not align so that you can sail "across them" sailing a wide board like the original GO (83 cm wide) soon becomes less than fun.
Something smaller and narrower like a small Carve, S-Type, Isonic,
or Kombat just makes things easier and more manageable as well as alot more fun.
If you feel you don't have the skills for such a small board, I think you will find that you actually do have them and that the wider board is really something you no longer "have to have".
The GO 129 is still too wide for 22 knots.
Your "I love the added stability" is not really an issue because at 20+ knots, with a 5.5 or smaller rig, you have plenty of power to make waterstarting really easy, and the modern freeride and slalom boards that are designed for this wind strength have plenty of stability once they are planing.
You will learn the skills you need to sail the smaller board very quickly
and will soon be going faster, jumping higher and working on your carving jibes.
Hope this helps,

18th November 2006, 02:35 AM
Hi Roger!
The retro 6.5 is truly a nice sail and also the 5.5 which has been my most frequently used sail this year. For Roger and anyone else who have sailed the retro and hucker I have a question. I'm about to by a smaller sail, was about to buy a retro 4.5 but the salesguy told me to look at the hucker 4.2. This seems like a big step going from 5.5 to 4.2. I could consider the 4.8 but he told me it would overtake the 5.5. Any comments on this? Is the power of the hucker 4.2 to cope with the retro 4.5? I will use the sail for B&J - freeriding!
Best regards

18th November 2006, 03:44 AM
Hello PB,
This is a pretty "tough to answer" question.
If I was going to buy a "next size smaller" than the 5.5 Retro, it would be the 4.8 Hucker.
I can't really give you "first hand" advice on the Hucker 4.2m2 as I haven't sailed the one I have yet.
The 6.6, 5.6, and 4.8 Huckers have been my "go to" sails for the last several months. There were a couple of days (before I had the Hucker 4.2 m2) where I used a 4.2 Revo as the 4.8 Hucker was just a bit too much.
I do not have a 4.5 Retro (been using Revos and Huckers below 5.0 m2) for the last couple of years so I'm not able to make a "first hand" comparison.
If you have any smaller rigs (in the 3.8-4.2 m2 range) then I'd suggest the 4.8 Hucker.
If the 4.5 Retro was going to be your smallest sail, then either the 4.5 Retro or the 4.2 Hucker would pretty much cover the same range.
If you have a selection of 400-430 std. and RDM masts, you can tune the 4.2 Hucker through a huge range. If you want power and a tight leech use a 400 std. dia. mast. If you want power with a little looser leech, use an RDM 400.
The 4.5 Retro needs a 400 Std. dia. mast. Not sure how the little Retro would work on an RDM.
I think you can easily "juice up" the 4.2 Hucker to give you about the same power as the 4.5 Retro, and you can probably tune the Hucker down almost to 3.8-4.0 with an RDM and lots of downhaul.
So, the sales guy is not very far off the mark, but I would agree with you that 5.5 m2 Retro to 4.2m2 Hucker is too large a gap.
I'd suggest the 4.8 Hucker first, and if you really like it (I'm reasonably sure you will as it suits your B&J Freeride sailing almost better than the 4.5 Retro) then look at the 4.2 m2 Hucker.
Hope this helps,

19th November 2006, 11:19 AM
Hey Roger... I was using my 4.8 Hucker this week when those crazy winds blew through. I used my 5.6 Hucker until the winds filled in. People were out with 7.0 & 8.0's while I was on the 5.6. I think I was ITFS 50% of the time while they were ITFS at least 80% of the time. I was about to get in the car to head home when the winds picked up more. In 5 minutes, (I timed myself) I rigged up the 4.8 and pulled out my 91L board.

The winds were perfect for the 4.8. I'd never felt that powered up with the sail.

I'd have trouble telling Palmer what sail to get too. I've been so happy with the high wind capabilities of the 4.8 Hucker, I can't picture myself needing a 4.2 very much.

The thing that amazes me about the Huckers most recently? That I can waterstart them with almost no wind. Even when I'm wet in a lull, I seem to be able to pop out of the water without too much effort.

21st November 2006, 02:13 PM
Thanks a lot guys!
I will look at the 4.8 then. This will be the smallest sail in my quiver but occasions are so rare you need a smaller sail at my place. I also think the 4.8 will work great on my tapered powerex z-free 430.
Best regards

25th November 2006, 09:36 AM
H Roger,

I just wanted to say thanks for the advice, I've had my 6.5 retro out a couple of time now in really perfect condition for it to show it's range and I'm loving it. With the adjustable outhaul I really can change it from, having heft to pull me onto a plane in marginal conditions, to, pulling it flat to get in "some how" when the wind really picked up. A really great sail that my prototype X-9 mast works great with.


25th November 2006, 08:49 PM
Hi Matthew,
Glad to hear the Retro 6.5 m2 is working well with your NP X3 460 cm
Also very glad to hear that you've been able to "discover" how your Retro can be tuned with an adjustable outhaul.
Have you done any additional tuning with the downhaul?
That's another "feature" of the Retro.
If you need a sail that's a little less powerful, add a little downhaul and you can extend the range even further, then do the "fine tuning" with the adj. outhaul.
Hope this helps,