Everything You Need to Know Equipment
EVERY LEVEL REQUIRES QUALITY EQUIPMENT
Equipment is provided to beginner sailors. This includes board and sails. Families must provide appropriate life jackets. Beginner boards are wider and heavier, providing more flotation and stability for learners. Unlike many learn-to-windsurf schools, BBYC uses quality equipment designed specifically for children who are not as tall and strong as adults and who have smaller hands. Better quality sails allow our sailors to learn proper technique faster and enjoy learning at all stages. Our masts and booms are lightweight, making pulling up the sail easier.
BIC Techno 293
Once sailors reach the novice level, they start using the BIC Techno board. It is 9 feet 7 inches (293cm) long and weighs 27.5 lbs. The Techno is the International Youth Windsurfing Class. It is sailed in 50 countries across 5 continents. There has been a World Championship for kids under 17 since 2007 and annually, there are 300 - 400 sailors at the Worlds.
There are four sail sizes - 5.8, 6.8, 7.8, 8.5. The 8.5 sail is used up to 19 years of age. The Techno is considered a One Design Class, meaning that all the equipment is manufactured according to strict regulations, so that all equipment is equal in material, weight, length,and width. This creates a much fairer playing field.
The club provides boards and sails to sailors in their first year of the program. Sailors are not assigned equipment and share with other kids also using club provided equipment.
Families are expected to invest in equipment once their sailor begins to race or has been in the novice or advanced programs for a year. Sailors will use different size sails depending on their size, ability, and wind conditions. In most cases, a sailor who owns their own sail can size down to a smaller club sail when windy conditions require it. We don't expect families to buy a complete quiver of Techno sails for their children.
The Techno has two mast and two boom sizes that can be used across the four sail sizes. A complete rig package costs around $1,200. This includes a sail, mast, boom, and mast extension. Sails alone cost around $600 new.
SEAT HARNESSES MADE FOR SMALLER SAILORS
Once sailors progress to the novice level they begin to use a harness. Harness lines extend off the boom. Harnesses have hooks and sailors hook onto the lines, allowing them to balance and hold up their sail using their weight. This takes pressure off their arms. With a harness, they can sail for longer periods of time without tiring.
BBYC and most youth programs with a race team, use seat harnesses. These are different from waist and kite-surfing harnesses. Our harnesses come from specific manufacturers that make harnesses small enough for children. They are durable, but lightweight and less expensive than other brands. We recommend Sailing For Gold (Spain) and Tunafish (Italy). The Dakine Race Seat Harness and Neil Pryde RS Race Seat are also good, but difficult to find and expensive.
Lifejackets are specific to each watersport. Life jackets must fit properly to be effective. Due to the nature of windsurfing, wearing a harness and crawling onto a board from in the water, life jackets need to be short cut. Lightweight materials are also a prerequisite for sailing in Miami. Not only does lighter mean greater comfort, but it also means cooler. Below are our recommendations for life jackets. All offer youth sizes and most offer multiple colors.
Neil Pryde High Hook
Neil Pryde Raceline
GO FAST NECESSITIES FOR RACERS
When buying your own sail, you will also need to order proper adjustable harness lines from Maksior, Tunafish, or Sailing For Gold.
By the time sailors start to race, the first investment should be a Timex Ironman watch with a countdown timer. Men's size watches are better, because the numbers are easier to see. Later, sailors should have an Optimum mast timer.
Sailors should also invest in adjustable outhaul and adjustable downhaul systems which allow sailors to optimally power up and depower their sails on the water as conditions change.