Windsurfing just got to be twice as much fun! Come out to our Alameda facility and rent the 2009 Starboard Gemini
. This is a wide style tandem board that allows you to have twice the fun! Now you can have those conversations with someone else while sailing (as opposed to talking to yourself all day!). Rebecca and I tried sailing tandem while down in Mexico, and had a blast. Jibing is a trip without luggage! This is great form of entertainment for beginners, advanced sailors, and families with kids. I plan to sail it with Rebecca and my dog Zoe! I get the back seat Rebecca!!! (we recommend you put the shorter more durable sailor in front).
Here is the review from Windsurfing Magazine
Test date: 9/18
Location: Merritt Island, Florida
Wind: 4-9 mph, 8-14 mph
Water conditions: Mild wind chop
Tester(s): Josh Sampiero, with Eddy Patricelli and Sean Sullivan
Level: Advanced, expert, advanced
Weights: 220 lbs., 180 lbs., 140 lbs.
Yes, it really is that big – the
Starboard Gemini tandem board.
Volume: 350 liters
Length: 372 cm
Width: 101 cm
Fin: 70 cm
Sail size: 2.0-10.0 m
• It’s big. Real big. It dwarfs any other windsurfing board I’ve ever seen – and takes up as much floor space as a small sailboat. There’s no question it’s going to be stable – but can something that big actually be fun to sail?
• It’s a good thing the board is designed for two people – because it almost takes two people just to carry the thing.
• Long Formula-type fin, with a relatively normal-size centerboard. The Gemini has three mast tracks – two for tandem and one in the middle for solo sailors. Full EVA deck is soft and easy on the feet or knees – good for beginners.
First sesh – light winds
I climbed on for my first tandem experience with veteran tandem windsurfer Eddy Patricelli. The first rule of tandem sailing is that the heavier guy always goes in back, so I got in the pilot’s position and Eddy took shotgun. The 70 cm fin made getting away from shore a little tricky, but once we were going, it was easy sailing.
• The board floated our combined 400 pounds of weight with ease – I’m betting it could take more if needed. If there was ever a board made for an NFL offensive lineman, this is it.
• Sailing – In light winds it’s stable, but not a particularly fast light-air cruiser. Just sailing along is no difficult feat, but synchronized pumping definitely requires some practice. We tried kicking the centerboard up to get planing but no luck – there just wasn’t enough wind.
• Headed upwind, then downwind, with no problem. The board turns slowly, as expected, but steering is fairly intuitive – it works just like any other board you’ve ever sailed. Tacking and jibing is a dance that requires communication and timing. The sailor in front leads, and the sailor in back follows. It’s a little tricky at first, but once you’ve got the timing down, it’s a breeze. Remember to duck!
Second sesh – more wind, less weight
When the wind came up later in the afternoon, I grabbed WindSurfing’s featherweight board tester Sean Sullivan to introduce him to the thrills of tandem sailing. With some bigger sails and our reduced combined weight, would we get the big board on a plane? You bet!
• Getting onto a plane is fairly simple. Bear off, kick up the centerboard and away you go. Though the Gemini has Formula board width, its length means it slowly climbs onto a plane, rather than popping up quickly like a shortboard.
• As far as I know, there’s no tonnage rule in windsurfing – but this board might inspire one. Once you’re up and planing, steering is certainly possible, but it didn’t happen fast. Fortunately, other sailors tended to give the Gemini a pretty wide berth.
• After a few runs, Sean and I are in perfect harmony. We bear off onto a plane, then move into the straps at the same time. Transitions are initiated with a simple “1, 2, 3” countdown. Since I’m using a 10-meter sail in the back, we stick mostly to tacks, though jibes – slow, not planing – were possible, too. We’d definitely want some more time sailing the board, preferably with smaller sails, before going for a full-speed jibe. Although I didn’t have a GPS, we were able to attain some pretty impressive speeds, almost keeping up with other sailors on normal windsurfing gear.
Boujmaa Guillol (front) and Eric Girard enjoy having room for two on the Starboard Gemini.
This is serious fun! The best part of sailing a tandem isn’t the actual windsurfing – it’s having company while you’re doing it. Windsurfing can be such a lonely sport when you’re out on the water, you forget how much fun it is to enjoy the company of others. Plus, there’s a thrill to working in concert with another windsurfer – and getting the massive board powered up on a plane is a blast.
Starboard is marketing the Gemini as bringing a wide-board, early planing shape to tandem windsurfing boards – and I think it’s succeeded. With enough sail power and moderately skilled riders, the Gemini will get going in a relatively light breeze – it had Sean and me planing in 10-14 knots.
The biggest drawback to the Gemini is that its sheer size isn’t very practical – it’s not going to fit in most vans, and probably isn’t very easy to get on the roof racks, so it’s not something you just bring along for a day at the beach. Its long fin might be limiting for some locations, but it is offered with a shallow-water fin (we did not have a chance to test the board with it). But as a board for windsurfing schools, or as something to keep at the family lake house, it’s pretty tough to beat – a tandem board will provide hours of endless fun no matter the wind conditions.
The coolest aspect of the Gemini? How quickly it will create new windsurfers. A tandem board allows complete newbies to experience the thrill of sailing without the common frustrations of learning. They can watch and imitate you while getting instant feedback from the board – minus the shouting.