Pics: James Jagger
Just recently there’s been a resurgence of interest in the lighter wind end of windsurfing’s spectrum. Maybe attributed to windfoiling coming on the scene or maybe it’s because we all just want to get wet and have fun. Whatever the reasons we were stoked when Bruce Wylie from Cobra International (one of the original windsurfers from back in the early 80s) announced the classic windsurfer LT was getting a makeover and would be re-released.
Hands down the Windsurfer LT is one of the most exciting pieces of kit we’ve gotten our hands on here at WSUK. Having not been old enough at windsurfing’s inception we were positively frothing to get a taste of what sailing used to be like, albeit with a modern twist.
First up the board comes out of its wrapping in shimmering white with vivid blue deckpad and vibrant decals. Coming in with increased volume over the original it now packs in 229L. The windsurfer LT’s width has also increased from 66cm to 74cm. Its length remains the same at 366cm.
The version we tested had both the school and race daggerboard included which slots into its box without any hassle. Those from the bygone era may remember issues with the kit which have all but vanished, we’re happy to say. Rounded off with an efficient MFC fin the updated Windsurfer LT is the same but different.
For this test, we were sent the One Design Windsurfer LT 5.7m rig. The big pluses here when compared to its predecessor is inclusion of two piece modern mast and modern boon. We’ve heard all kinds of stories about how booms needed to be tied on and masts were one complete entity. This is no longer the case, and as such the rigging of the sail is pretty easy.
The sail itself offers a large cloth area with leach mounted stabilising battens. A single downhaul eyelet allows for easy tensioning, which is the same with the outhaul.
On the water
The first thing to appreciate is the One Design rig isn’t like fully batten sails we currently use. It’s very much a more bagged out affair and without full battens takes a bit of getting used to (if you haven’t used one before). Its boom is also quite long although due to its full belly the sail powers up quickly and makes use of gusts in the lightest of winds. This transfers directly to forward board momentum.
Surging forward the Windsurfer LT is an efficient cruiser. Whilst not technically planing it moves a lot more purposefully through the brine than modern wind windsurfing boards thereby giving the rider a feeling of speed. Where some boards bog the Windsurf LT’s beauty is cutting through chop and gliding effortlessly thereby engaging the pilot and making the whole experience one of pure fun.
With daggerboard down pointing high upwind is no issue, the Windsurfer LT pinching super close. Heading back down breeze, with daggerboard up, is grin-inducing, the Windsurfer LT catching the merest sniff of a bump.
Round corners, such as tacks and gybes, are easy to accomplish, the Windurfer LT being a good tutor and therefore ideal for newbie windsurfers. If you’ve a penchant for some light wind flick flack then whirling and twirling is certainly doable. That additional stability helping keep sailors dry. Concentration on rig control will be needed, we’ll not lie, as already stated the One Design sail doesn’t behave like more modern battened rigs. That said with a bit of time and perseverance sailors will learn the ways.
We’re super stoked to be given the chance to play with the updated Windsurfer Lt One Design sail and board. Fun is the overriding sense this kit delivers with it being perfect for those lighter air days. Efficiently covering ground, with decent speed, it’s an engaging ride that’ll put a smile on all faces. As an extra bit of versatility, the Windsurfer LT is also SUPable – something we also put to the test. Paddling well it behaves better in stand up paddle board mode than many more dedicated all-round boards. All in we doff our cap to Bruce Wylie and his team for bringing to the fore this newly updated classic bit of gear. If you’re looking to get out afloat whatever the weather then search no further. And don’t forget there’s a healthy scene for those One Design racers among you.
Big thanks to Bruce Wylie at Cobra International and Edoardo Thermes at windsurferclass.com for helping with this test.
2432 Euro (package includes board, sail and all accessories)