Most people want to know how much wind need to sail with a wind wing foil. Usually, we have to consider several factors: rider weight, skill level, equipment and water conditions.
The Weight of a Rider
Obviously the lighter the rider, the sooner he can take off, but you still need to have good technique and the right gear. If you want to take advantage of the breeze, you’ll have to use a plank that floats on it when stationary. To know the volume that will allow you to float, take your body weight in kilograms, and add about 15 to this value and you will get the volume you need to stand on the board when stopped (eg for an 85kg rider, 100 litres will be required). It is important to note that rigid, lightweight and compact boards will have better pumping skills and therefore start faster.
The Size of the Wing
The size of the wings is also an important factor, and there are noticeable differences in power even between models of the same size. In general, I prefer the rigid model, which is more efficient at pumping and maintains a more constant power base. 5m² wing is a good choice for an average size, but many brands are developing larger surfaces that may allow them to sail in lighter winds.
Foil is a key element for being able to navigate in light winds. You have to choose foils with good lift (the ability to fly at low speeds). Of course, bulky foils (about 2000cm²) are generally recommended in better conditions, but more effective early takeoff foils are first and foremost those with good pumping capacity, and therefore good lift.
It is also critical for the technology to plan in marginal conditions. An advanced rider who can effectively use the wing and wing pump will start earlier than a beginner. It also takes more energy to take off successfully. Calm water will help with sailing in light winds, pumping in choppy water is more technical.
What winds can we expect to sail with foils?
Everyone has this question: at what winds can we expect to sail with foils? From personal experience, with a weight of 87Kgs, a 100 litre board, a 5m² wing, an 1800cm² foil and a good glide experience, I can successfully start at 10 knots on calm water. At 10 knots, however, the transition isn’t smooth, and you have to put a lot of effort into pumping during the lift. Wind speeds closer to 15 knots provide a better feel and are more suitable for beginners.
With the development of wind wing foil, especially larger wings, we can imagine a better use of breezes in the near future.