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Let's Talk Cammed Sails
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Joined: 04 Aug 2016
Posts: 916

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me above 6-6.5m I'd rather have at least 2 cams.
I find they are better on both top and bottom end, especially pumping. Waterstarting one isn't any harder, my 3 cam NX7.2 pops easily in the waterstart position. Just don't screw around letting it fill with water.
Warps depending on the year are a very good sail that uses basically identical mast curves to sailworks stuff.

That said if I lived in the Gorge I wouldn't bother, just like I wouldn't own anything bigger than a 7m or a board over 120L. But Vancouver isn't the Gorge.
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Joined: 28 Sep 1994
Posts: 1356

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you make a living winning races than get a big cambered race sail. Down haul the heck out of it to make the top flat to reduce drag. Rig 2 meters larger than everyone else. Pug it into a hard to control race board and go scary fast. Or use the really great board you already have. Plug in your Retro
that is one of the best sails ever and enjoy the ease of use that the gear you have is designed for. Stick with your Retro sails until your skill level gets to the point that you want to start racing...
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Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 9945

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whether a cambered race sail is more powerful is an arguable point, but they definitely can be if the wind is on the light side or a bit gusty with significant lulls. The thing that I used to really like about race sails is that they are superior moving upwind and hard to weather. Also, they are very stable, especially in more gusty conditions.

As a qualifier though, I haven't been using race sails since 2004-2005, and they weren't the wide luff variety so prominent today. The wide luffs today make inserting the mast super easy, but there's the extra work of popping the cams off and on, and often there are a couple extra steps involved with downhauling and with attaching and adjusting the boom.

With my old race sails, you would lightly pull the downhaul (maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of proper downhaul), and then attach the boom and maximize the outhaul tension to facilitate attaching the cams to the mast. Once that was done, you would loosen the outhaul tension and then reposition the boom in the luff cutout to accommodate the full downhaul tension of the sail. Lastly, you would adjust the outhaul tension to the desired position. I didn't have an adjustable outhaul at the time, but that must be figured into the process if you have one. While all that extra work and fuss might seem a bit too much, once you get the process down, it goes pretty quickly.

Lastly, the de-rigging process mirrors everything in reverse. While there are those that advocate allowing the cambers to pop off the mast themselves, I would avoid doing that kind of thing. If you damage the battens or the cambers derigging, the time, hassles and costs of repairing them can be a pain, if they are even easily available*. Better to be cautious and take the time to do things without undue stress and pressure.

*Often many brands don't not offer much customer support and a ready stock of replacement parts in the US, so you might want to research that a bit before you buy. The good thing about Sailworks is the fact that they offer outstanding customer service and parts availability.
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Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 2371
Location: Killer Sturgeon Cove

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope, the current cammed race sails are designed to be ridden 1 to 2 M bigger than a similar no-cam (like a Retro).

You'd need an 8.5 NX to pull on the low end like a 7.5 Retro. But it'd
stay stable and fast into a lot more wind, than a Retro.


mamero wrote:
Would a cammed sail of similar size produce more power than a non cammed sail? Example. Sailworks makes the 7.5 Retro and a 7.8 NX. Would the NX be closer to an 8.0 or even 8.5 Retro?
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Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Marin County, CA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely agree: race sails are very heavy and only designed to be ridden a good square meter more than you average non cammed sail. or even more if you compare it with wave gear.
When I sail a 7.0 race I would usually be on 4.3 wave.
big cam sail are a handful, almost not fun if you're not racing.
I would advise against as many other are on this thread.

Sell your used gear!
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Joined: 21 Aug 2002
Posts: 3345

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

most everything mentioned above is pretty accurate.

cam sails have more power? not in a hole shot. typically RAF's plane off quicker.

the only truly upsides of cam sails is top end stability, and glide thru lulls

when tuned properly, cam sails are indeed slippery, fast and stable. when tuned wrong, they are heavy and not so great. oh, cam sails do tend to have a more "set it, and forget it," type of tuning with down haul. allows for smoother adjustable out haul sailing.

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Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 1129
Location: Montréal

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

page 36 in the lastest Windsurfing Now MAG has an article

"Wither the cambered sail"

and mentions cambers are coming back in the foil sails...
yes, even the Sailworks Flyer Smile

btw HotSailsMaui has the SpeedFreak which is offered with one camber
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Joined: 23 Aug 2001
Posts: 1245

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a bit silly to treat all cambered sails the same. There are big differences even within 4-cambered race sails. Recent years of some brands can get you planing as quickly as a non-cam sail of the same size; the Loft Racing Blade is an example.

But the bigger issue is that different cam sails are made for very different goals. 4-cam race sails are on one end of the spectrum. They are made to wind races, and/or to get top GPS speeds. If that's what you want, get one. Since it's not, forget about them for now.

There are several other cambered sail lines that differ a lot from pure race sails: longboard sails, 3-cam freerace sails, and 2-cam freeride/freerace sails.

Longboard sails are made specifically for raceboards like the Starboard Phantom, and for longboard racing. They have deep profiles and can be trimmed with a very tight leech, which gives them maximum power in light to medium wind. I recently compared a 9.5 m raceboard sail to a 7.8 m 3-cam freerace sail; the 9.5 seemed to have about twice as much power, way more than I would have expected from the size difference. But using longboard sails on a shortboard tends to be a bad idea.

That leaves 2 and 3-cam freerace sails. As you go from 2 cams to 4 cams, the mast pocket becomes wider, and cam rotation often becomes harder. Some 2-came sails have mast sleeves that are not much larger than those of no-cam sails; these are reasonably easy to waterstart even if the mast sleeve is full. In contrast, if the mast sleeve of a large 4-cam sail fills up, you need a lot of technique and patience (and hopefully a PFD or similar) to waterstart. 3-cam sails tend to be in the middle.

Two cams are enough to give a sail a lot of profile, which helps in light wind and lulls. I have a 2-cam NP V8. It delivers an amazing amount of low-end power and gets me planing quite early. The drawback of the 2-cams is less stability that a 3-cam or especially a 4-cam sail offers, so you need to rig down sooner if the wind picks up.

Three cams can be a good compromise for someone who wants more stability and top-end, but a sail that is easier to handle than a full (4-cam) race sail. One of my friends is on the lighter side, and he prefers 3-cam sails.

For a step up from a Retro 7.5 while still learning carve jibes, a good 2-cam 8.5 to 9.0 m sail would be a good choice.
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Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 430

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I love my 7.5 twin-cam Ezzy Lion3 sail. I had a 7.5 twin cam Sailworld sail before that and really enjoyed it, too. I find them great for wind that is up and down, like others have said. They do a great job getting you through lulls and can handle some big puffs, too. If the wind is expected to gradually increase through the day, say from 15mph to 25 mph; I will start with a 7.5 cammed sail ... These seem to provide great power at the low speed and handle the faster wind speeds better than the flat sails, so I can drop all the way down to 5m when finally overpowered on the 7.5. I would probably go 7.5 to 6.2 to 5 if all sails were flat (curious if others feel similarly). With a newer twin-cam sail, adjusted correctly, the cams rotate easily (like the Lion 3). I still feel the pop, when they flip, but it is pretty darn easy. Cammed sails feel real good to me, or at least different, than non-cammed sails. I love the different feel. I switch back and forth between cammed and non-cammed to experience this variety.

I think the complaint that they are hard to water start is overdone. At least with a 7.5m, I find it pretty easy to waterstart, unless you are in crashing waves. If you pop the cams up with your hand, head, or foot while in the water, the wind can get under and lift the sail perhaps even more easily than a flat sail. So, that is a trick that helps quite a bit at the expense of maybe only 10 additional seconds in the water. If you are in rougher water, and you are really not worried about top-speed, attaching a waterstarter noodle to the clew all but eliminates a sinking clue and the need to leg kick as much. If you are really gassed, you can lower the boom so that you can rest the boom on the back of the board ... With the camed profile, the sail almost gets into neutral itself when you do that (I know, then the boom isn't in an ideal sailing position). I realize these last two points aren't for the purests out there.

I'd say setting up a cammed sail takes 60 seconds longer ... to tension the clew before downhauling, popping the cams on the mast, releasing the clew tension, and then returning to setting the downhaul.

I found an 8.3 cam sail was getting heavy, so I start pulling them up much above that size.

You can easily jibe a cammed sail. Though, I would say that an imperfect jibe, where you need to sail out clew-first for a bit, the reverse cam profile makes clew-first sailing less stable. If you wave sail, well, I think cams are not as flipable.

I think a twin cam 7.5 has more umph that a 7.5 non-cam, for lighter wind, but the more expert sailors above me should be trusted more here, where they say I am incorrect.

If you get one ... Let us know what you think!
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Joined: 19 Sep 2008
Posts: 144
Location: Sarasota, FL

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And cammed sails can be pickier about masts. My Ezzy Lion comes with an excellent set of cams and instructions for different mast diameters, so I can use RDM or SDM from different manufacturers.

I think most cammed sails won't pull more than a Retro, given the same size. 8.5 would be the bare minimum jump up from your 7.5 Retro. Assuming you are after earlier planing, you might want to first try an earlier planing board with your 7.5 Retro rigged full.
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