Windsurfer Class Launches Renaissance

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Windsurfer Class launches renaissance >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

    Published on February 24th, 2019

    The Windsurfer class, the one from which everything was born in 1968, is back. What began with its first World Championship in 1973, changes in the windsurfing landscape forced a hiatus in 1988 for the title, but a new group has launched a renaissance.

    The explosion of the Class was noticeable in July 2018 at the World Trophy of Torbole where over 100 athletes from 10 nations competed, and with the re-foundation of the Dutch, French and South African national classes, the ball was clearly rolling.

    Such progress was made that the World Sailing in November 2018 awarded International class status again to the International Windsurfer Class Association (IWCA), allowing for the first World Championship of the new era to be held in 2019.
  2. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    I admit I'm very biased, but this is a great design and a great class. There were also 107 entries for the Australian titles, although a couple of the entries didn't arrive. That made it the second biggest sailing nationals of the season, behind only the Opti, although the Radials would probably have had higher numbers but for freight issues. The fleet was also deep in talent, with sailors who had been second in the Youth worlds or world champs in other classes finishing well out of the placings. There were 17 or so Youth sailors, with Techno champion Hamish showing real talent to take out the Lightweights overall and finish second fastest out of the combined Womens/Light/Medium fleet behind Olympian Lanee Beashel, nee Butler.

    The new board was only released at the end of last northern summer and yet with 800 sold it's probably the third highest-selling class in the world and perhaps the top selling windsurfer. Cobra have a fourth mould under construction to keep up demand, with 100 boards going to the USA and now a vendor in England.

    So why is the board doing so well? Partly because of the innovative "white board" concept which allows the board to be built by Cobra but marketed by other brands.
    Mainly of course it is a reaction against the over-emphasis on high-speed high-wind sailing. The Windsurfer will hit 25+ knots quite easily but it's aimed at simplicity and tactical racing across the full wind range. Many of the leaders in windsurfing have realised that extreme sports aren't popular. Accessible sports are the ones that the crowds. There's a lesson there for the rest of sailing, but the chattering classes are often not listening.

    The success of the Windsurfer seems to be a pointer for the true future of sailing - a return to the classes that the typical person can afford and that are designed for the real world's conditions. It's a great sign.
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