No.1 Choose your discipline!
Slalom: Slalom is all about speed and gybing. The race course is always downwind or across the wind so no tacking upwind! Slalom events in the UK have a minimum wind speed of 11 knots which means if it’s below that, you don’t go out!
Raceboard: Raceboard is an open sailing class and means that everyone or any kit can compete. But unlike slalom, they course race which means they have part of the race sailing upwind and the other half sailing downwind!
Formula: This is the fast course racing option which is great to watch, especially in high winds. A formula board is one metre wide with a 70cm long fin but no daggerboard like the rest of us. They are quite technical to sail and therefore is a class youth sailors graduate to after the Techno phase!
Techno One Design: This fleet is for non-adults! You are either on a 7.8m or 6.8m metre sail depending on whether you are competing in the under-17 (Youths) or under-15 class (Juniors). Although you can choose, for example, I sail in the under 17 Youth Class even though I am only 13 because I use a 7.8 metre sail. The fleet follows the course racing format like the Formula and Raceboard sailors.
RS:X: This is the new Olympic board. This ‘one design’ means that everyone is on the same kit; either an 8.5m or a 9.5m sail. It is for quite experienced sailors as there is no change down to a smaller sail when the wind get’s up! In the UKWA set up there is a youth class and an adult class and most Techno sailors graduate to this or the Formula class.
Although not covered in this mini-guide, let’s not forget the wave and freestyle option.
Freestyle & Waves: There is a freestyle circuit and a wave circuit which the Pro riders go to as well as Amateurs, Youths and Juniors. However for the Youth fleets and Amateurs there is Freewave events usually run alongside the Cup Racing events. If it’s flat and windy a freestyle competition is run. If there are waves, a wave contest is run. These events are a good place to start if you are into freestyle and/or waves.
Waves. PHOTO BY: Simon Crowther
Race boards. PHOTO BY: Simon Crowther
Formula. PHOTO BY: Simon Crowther
Techno one design
Slalom. PHOTO BY: Simon Crowther
The RSX discipline