How to carry your rig in mast-to-wind position

Carrying your rig: a risky technique | Photo: PWA/Carter

After rigging your windsurfing sail, it's time to take it to the water, but in medium-to-strong wind conditions, you should definitely master the art of sail transportation. Otherwise, someone can get hurt.

Carrying your rig can be uncomfortable, especially if wind gusts try to blow your windsurfing sail away.

Additionally, it will drain your energy before touching the water.

So, whether getting ready to carry your rig, leaving it unattended on the beach, or near the water's edge, you've got to be sure it is lying in the mast-to-wind position.

But what exactly means the mast-to-wind position?

Basically, it means lifting and carrying the rig so that the length of the mast is across the wind, the front end is pointing into the wind, and the sail is leeward (downwind).

Carrying Board and Sail 101

The lifting sequence is simple:

  1. Determine the wind direction and make sure the rig is in the mast-to-wind position;
  2. With your back-to-wind, grab the mast above the boom with one hand and the wide part of the boom with the other hand and lift the sail so the mast rests on your hip;
  3. Move under the sail until you can grab the boom two feet from the mast, and then raise the rig above your head, remembering to keep the mast lengthwise across the wind;
  4. If you want to turn, simply pivot your body beneath the rig, but keep the mast facing across the wind;
  5. In gusty or high-wind conditions, rotating the mast foot slightly toward the wind will make it easier to control the rig;

Mast-to-wind position: check the wind direction on his hair | PWA/Carter

Remember that if you don't leave your rig in a mast-to-wind position, it may end up flying across the beach and hitting someone.

If you're carrying your sail on your head in lighter winds, make sure the mast faces the wind, with the mast base facing forward.

Are you taking the board too? Carry it downwind of your body, with the mast base in front of you.

"Start Windsurfing Right!", a book by James Coutts and US Sailing, has plenty of windsurfing tips and techniques for beginners and intermediate windsurfers.

  • Dutch environmental activist and windsurfer Merijn Tinga, also known as the "Plastic Soup Surfer," has made an audacious journey from Oslo to London, braving the North Sea's currents and winds, to call attention to the pervasive problem of plastic pollution.