Easy Uphaul

The Easy-Uphaul
Uphauling a sail used to be a serious obstacle in the way of many windsurfing girls and women in the past. Both beginners AND pro racers using big sails were affected.

A new product now promises to end all the struggle. windgirls magazine has been testing the so called Easy-Uphaul during the last weeks. And here is our story:

Anouk Raaphorst testing the Easy-Uphaul in Aruba
"I use an Easy-Uphaul. It's brilliant. It saves my back."
(Lucy Horwood, British Formula Windsurfing champion)
"Just 3 words:
Easier than ever."
(Karin, windgirls magazine tester)

New Jersey, 1996. Completely exhausted he was. Arms trembling, back aching, and in a desparate state of mind. Just a few seconds ago Mac Barnes from the US had been about 100 meters ahead of the fleet, had been in the lead of the whole pack. But as it still was only his second windsurfing season, the ambitious sailor fell when he had to turn. With not enough power left in his arms to uphaul the heavy, 7.4 meter race sail again quickly, the whole fleet of 25 sailors took the unexpected chance and passed the poor, exhausted guy. After only two races the early end had come for Mac and he had to throw in the towel, whilst everybody else completed three more races: Mac: "It bothered me, not being able to compete."

As we learn from history frustration may sometimes be a perfect midwife for new ideas. And that's exactly what happened those days on New Jersey beaches, producing another "juvenile" inventor in the adult sport of windsurfing. 2004: 8 years later Mac Barnes' baby already has a lot of friends all over the world. Eg. US womens windsurfing Olympic sailor Lanee Butler, who uses an Easy-Uphaul and recommends it to others, just as did French association "windsurfilles". Or Beth Powell, who runs the Florida based Banana River Windsurfing resort and Olympic windsurfing training center, and has put an Easy-Uphaul on every single sail at her windsurfing center. Not to speak of the windsurf instructor from New Jersey, who was told by his doctor that one of the vertebra in his back had totally disintegrated. Thank to Easy-Uphaul he was able to keep his beloved sport despite his distressing medical report.

First day on the water with the Easy-Uphaul: It takes us just 2 minutes to rig the Easy-Uphaul and set the apt length for our tester. 5 minutes later: The 5,5 sail floats downwind in choppy conditions, with winds around 15 knots. Karin is an intermediate sailor, perhaps not too athletic, but enthusiastic with her sport. She hooks in and leans back. Everybody is surprised: The sail rises immediately, everything looks really easy, instinctively Karin finishes the raising by hand. Note: It is the very first time Karin tries the Easy-Uphaul! 5 seconds later the sail is in an upright position, our tester grabs the boom and sails away with a smile! By the way: The Easy-Uphaul has fallen off her harness hook by itself! Mac Barnes explains: "The windsurfer does not need to detach the Easy-Uphaul, it self-detaches." After two hours and a significant number of uphaul procedures Karin returns to the beach. Smiling. What about her judgement? "Just 3 words: Easier than ever," she says. No wonder curious sailors, both women and men, try the Easy-Uphaul this afternoon, without a single tester not praising the innovative little tool...

Three days later: Sunshine, a light breeze over the lake, and 11 year old Konstantin carries his gear into the water. Without any use of the attached instructions (although they are really clear and helpful) the young boy had been able to rig the Easy-Uphaul within a few minutes. "It is self-explaining", he states proudly. (although we have to mention that we had set the correct length for him in advance :-)) After having convinced the lightweight that even for a pro sailor there might be situations where beach- and waterstarts might NOT work, he finally drops the sail. And uphauls the rig again effortlessly, grinning from ear to ear and – of course – always uphauling without the use of hands. No-handed uphauling. Cool, it works...

How to use? Where to buy? Next page!

"I envision the Easy-Uphaul becoming standard issue uphaul of the future."
(Mike Gebhardt, US Olympic medalist)
The Easy-Uphaul in action

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windgirls 2004