The Windsurfer One Design is a classic in many respects: It was the board that launched the sport back in the 1970s & 1980s. It then went on to become the largest One Design Sailing Class of boats in the world. And today some forty years later its legacy has continued thru the years to provide a sailing experience no other board has been able to reproduce. Most modern sailboards are designed for speed, so they need strong winds or large sails to generate enough power to get them onto a plane. They are boat shaped boards. The Original Windsurfer is different in concept. The design criteria for the Original Windsurfer flowed from using sail power to catch a wave or swell and then be able to effectively maneuver and actively maintain this interaction.
The surfboard-inspired design has a flat planing hull, so in light air it can carve efficiently through the water and build up planing speed without the power of a massive rig. This allows the One Design to perform with a small and lightweight sail. The board itself is made of cross-link polyethylene with a polyurethane core that is extremely durable and close to indestructible. The sail is mylar/dacron that can last for years. It is not uncommon to see Windsurfer One Designs from the 1970s & 1980s still in use today. Where most boards rely on their big fins for upwind performance, the Windsurfer One Design uses a centerboard and a small skeg. That allows the Windsurfer to tack and gybe very quickly and it makes the One Design the ideal board for fluky conditions and racing where the sailor can utilize shifts in wind direction to his or her advantage. It also gives the board a sports-car-feel.
The One Design does not have the same top speed as a modern board, but it can frequently keep up with most modern boards. In windy conditions it does well because the smaller sail allows it to continue sailing when many big rigs are over-powered.
The feeling that you experience when you're on a Windsurfer is most similar to that of a surfboard. Read more below.
Windsurfer One Design
The board's design was inspired by a longboard surfboard so it has a lower volume than other longboard windsurfers. It sails more like a surfboard with a sail, and less like a boat. The skeg is moderate in size so the board is eager to take whatever direction you wish to give it. You can use your feet and your weight in conjunction with the sail to maneuver the board as aggressive as want, or don't want. It tacks and jibes quickly if you want it to, you are in control. The board's tail design also contributes to it's ability to turn quickly. It has a square-tail shape, like the surfboard it was designed after, but unlike other square-tailed boards that have an enormous amount of volume and ride above the water, the Windsurfer One Design's tail can be submerged to allow for faster more aggressive power-jibes if you want it to. They say imitation is the higher form of flattery, but other designs that have imitated the Original Windsurfer have lost the purpose and function of the square tail. The square tail has been popular on longboards for surfing because it gives the surfer the ability to turn quickly especially once you've taken off, stood up and need to make a bottom turn to get into the wave. Once on the wave the surfer benefits from the length of the board for speed & stability and also has the ability to make the longboard turn however he or she wants it to. The Windsurfer board is heavier because of its construction materials and it will last decades. Most Windsurfers that were made in the 1970s and 1980s are still being used today.
But the one thing that stands out most about the Windsurfer is its light-weight sail and rig. It is easy to maneuver and control, you don't need to be hooked into a harness to hold up the sail, in fact you can sail without a harness if you want. The sail is simple to rig, and that makes it fast to rig. The light sail also makes it easy to pull out of the water so go ahead and fall, falling or dropping your sail shouldn't be a negative or something to be avoided. As the old adage goes, if you're not falling you're not trying. The sail is a 6.0 and can be sailed in most sailing conditions, there is no re-rigging and changing sails. Too much time can be wasted waiting for the "right wind" and fussing around rigging, re-rigging and changing sails, the Windsurfer keeps is simple and hassle free and allows you more time on the water.