Windsurfing sail: rigging is the secret to performance

Rigging a windsurf sail properly is a very important task. Whether you're hitting the waves, going freestyle or speeding upwind, it is crucial to get your sail fine-tuned. You'll only need an average time of five minutes to get your sail rigged, after the initial experiences.


Modern windsurfing kits offer customized settings and preferences for sizes and types of wind to help you get the most out of your equipment and experience. Stability, control and lightness in the hands can only be felt when a sail is properly rigged.

First of all, you'll need to gather the mast, the boom and the sail. Your mast length should be shorter than the luff length, so that with the mast extension you match both sizes.

Unfold your sail downwind in a gentle surface, like grass or sand. Then, slide your mast up the luff channel with both hands up and help it pass the middle section of the sail. Put the mast extension and tension the sail using the downhaul rope.

You can do this by pushing your foot against the mast base or even with a bar, grunt, wood stick or harness. Leave a couple of inches for future fine-tuning.

Now, attach your boom's frontend, shoulder-high, on the mast. The clamp should be tight and well positioned in the boom cut-out. Thread the outhaul rope at the end of the sail through the cringle.

Take a look at the sail battens. Are they tight? Can you spot crinkles along the batten pockets? If you need to correct it, use the batten tensioners so that more strength is applied along the batten's length.

A correctly rigged windsurfing sail is easily spotted. The entire sail structure is tight, not baggy, there aren't horizontal creases, the sail doesn't touch the boom's sides and the clew reaches the end. Always get the sail bottom as close as possible to the mast base. The boom should be tight to the mast and set between your shoulder and chin.

You're ready to sail away in up to medium-force winds. If you're experiencing stronger winds, the sail should be set flatter so that you don't get overpowered. If the sail is too big for the wind strength change it down. Enjoy windsurfing with a finely tuned sail.

Watch a video to learn how to rig a windsurf sail.
Also, discover how to fine-tune a windsurf batten and slalom sails for speed windsurfing.
Learn how to windsurf in two hours.