Physiological demands of different sailing techniques of the new Olympic windsurfing class

Olivier Castagna, Jeanick Brisswalter, Jean-Rene Lacour, Ioannis Vogiatzis

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23 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of the new Olympic class windsurf-board has prompted sailors to develop a new technique of sail “pumping” (rhythmically pulling the sail so that it acts as a wing). Contrary to the old technique that mainly involved upper body activity, the new one requires both upper and lower body muscle activity. Accordingly, the aim of the present study was to compare the performance characteristics of the board (speed and pointing angle ability relative to the direction of the wind) as well as the sailors’ physiological demands during sail pumping with the old and new pumping techniques. Nineteen male, highly-trained ( V˙V˙ O2max: 65.1 ± 5.9 ml min−1 kg−1), international level windsurfers from six different countries underwent two testing sessions on-water in a balanced order. Compared to the old pumping technique the mean distance sailed with the new technique (1,872 ± 15 and 1,764 ± 13 m, respectively) and the board speed (3.42 ± 0.49 and 3.81 ± 0.28 m s−1, respectively) were significantly (P < 0.05) shorter and greater, respectively. Consequently, the time taken to sail the testing course was significantly shorter with the new compared to the old technique (390 ± 8 vs. 420 ± 16 s). Despite the finding that the new technique was sustained at a significantly higher fraction of V˙V˙ O2max (80.5 ± 5.2 and 72.7 ± 4.5%, respectively) compared to the old technique, total energy expenditure (130.7 ± 11.3 and 128.1 ± 9.2 Kcal, respectively) and blood lactate concentration 3 min into recovery (9.4 ± 2.2 and 8.5 ± 1.7 mmol l−1, respectively) were not different. It is concluded that application of the new sail pumping technique improves the performance characteristics of the board without increasing the sailors’ total metabolic requirement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1067
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Olympic class windsurfing
  • Sailing
  • Energy cost
  • Physiological demands
  • Sail pumping
  • Blood lactate concentration


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