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Mistral Equipe II / Mistral Equipe 2
In March of 2016 by chance I wandered through the back of the local windsurf shop called auventfou (means wild/crazy winds in English). The back of the store is where the used equipment is stored. Found two(2) Mistral Equipe II's that both needed a new gasket. Chatted with René about them and later sent an e-mail asking if they were replacing the gaskets - non. So, told them I was interested, but needed to find a way to properly fix the gasket. By chance buddy in Toronto, who I will call CAN322 in case he does not want to be identified was offering to sell gaskets. In the end he took one of the boards and I the other. He picked it up in MTL from Toronto on his way to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina...
I called them board #1 and board # 2 in the beginning ... Here are the initial photos:
taken at auventfou
and this is board #2
Told CAN322 that I seemed to prefer board #2 and he had no issues with that. Once I got the boards home, I took some pictures of board #1 for him ...
As you can see, the boards came with fin, centreboard and bag. The only issue on quick view is the gasket. Board #1 seems to be the CHS model which is more sturdy and seemed to be in good shape. Board #2 is the XR model which is lighter and more fragile. There was a nose repair - that seemed well done and under the gasket the plastic cover broke up requiring epoxy repair before one could even think about putting a new gasket.
put the Nikon cap so camera could focus
Once the board seemed water proofed I took it for a spin, but winds were < 20 kph and race sail with cambers was giving me issues. The board was NO trouble @ all - I had duct taped the slot and put the centreboard in - in case I needed it - but did NOT...
Before I stop for today , it is very important to have an idea of the specifications:
Length: 375 cm
Width: 66 cm
Volume: 258 liters CHS / 260 liters XR
Weight: 13.7 kg CHS and 12.6 kg for the XR
Fin: PowerBox 38 cm slalom fin G10 for CHS and carbon 4 XR
Centreboard: 69 cm at first measurement
OFO is actually 38 cm also !!
Asked on iwindsurf what people were using to glue the gasket on...
Two people suggested epoxy, two suggested crazy glue and two suggested marine glue/polyurethane... CAN322 will get back to me with his results. Has been glued on and now just needs to slice it down the middle and test !!
Here is a video of James Douglass rockin on a MEQ II !!!
since March to April I managed to get the board out about three(3) times. Now put gorilla water proof tape on top of centreboard slot for water not to come out. CAN322 is still doing experiments with glue and may be going towards crazy glue... So far have not had the board out in 20 + kph winds... Am still loathe to sell my Mistral Equipe One ...
Update: The MEQ One has been sold and I will deliver it to Ontario for a small fee...
Had the MEQ Two out in some overpowering conditions @ OKA with the HSM SPF 8.5 and it was GREAT !!! Hope I look as good at it as James does in the video above !! My only concern is how well does the MEQ II do with a 7 m² sail ?? The MEQ I / one was great with this combo ...
The benchmark board, especially on the sea. It flies upwind on its sharp rails, has great reaching speed. Downwind there's enough volume to at least 'hang in there'. It was available with strong wind and lightwind daggerboards (though one was a bit small and the other a bit chunky). The slot flushers need replacing regularly (easily obtained, but hard work). Price range £250 - £500 second hand.
clique to enlarge
Found my June 1999 copy of WindSurfing Magazine where there is a small paragraph about the MEQ II and I quote:
The Equipe II is for the competitive full-length longboard racer who sails and races in solid breeze (12 mph or more) or who is slightly on the lighter side on the scale. The non-racer will still enjoy this board, but remember, it's the more fragile full-length board in Mistral's line. This is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys high-performance longboard sailing, not necessarily racing (regardless of your weight). Its lightweight makes light-air days a pleasure for cruising, reaching and making long upwind treks.
This board used to be the board to beat in light air on the open class racing circuit. Its shape is slightly outdated now for light-air racing compared to some of the latest full-length boards available.
Originally, it had the widest tail, a flat bottom shape and was very light to promote early planing and carry speed deep off the breeze. These attributes still make it a winner around the course, but lighter sailors (160 pounds and less) will be the most successful.
Heavier riders may look for a larger board, both in width and volume. The centreboard is a good shape, but feels small for heavyweights in light air when going upwind and trying to stay on the rail through the holes.
Some of that article felt right on and some surprised me.
How much bigger of a board did a heavyweight need back then ??
There was the F2 Race 380 which was 290 liters and a Fanatic CAT 380 that was 280 liters...
I have had a MEQ I/one and feel I would not want to go much floatier than this board. The Fanatic Ultra CAT/FUC actually felt more bouyant than the MEQ II/2, but my FUC board was dying and was sold.
Ironically in the same edition of the WindSurfing Magazine, there was an article about early planing. They were comparing a full on race longboard, a transition longboard (like the MEQ I/one) and a wider shortboard. Believe the AHD 299 was about 80 cm wide, which was wide for then. They used a 10 m² sail for their tests and around 10 mph which is about 10 knots, all boards did fairly well. ( I prefer an 8 square meter sail on my longboards in really light winds ...) It is under 10 knots (or 20 kph for me) that a full on race board narrowly edges out a transition longboard. As I write elsewhere on this blog, in today's world, it is like comparing a SB Phantom 377 with a SB Phantom 320 and a JP SLW92/SB US147. In my case this is comparing a MEQ II with a MEQ I and my JP SLW92. In 8-12 mph or knots, there are conditions where I might prefer one over the other. It also basically means with a longboard and a wide freeride , light winds are your friend !!
Ironically they were "speaking" about the importance of width and reduced wetted surface in this article of many years ago ...
Don't have any better videos and so, am posting this one for now !!
Got a "better" video on Lac Deux Montagnes last Friday. Still need to move mast track back, harness lines too (even if I can ride hands free) and start to use footstraps and sliding track. Almost at that point where I have to fix the gasket !!
Later in the month I had an even better run with the setup. I had moved the mast track back to about 3/4 (don't do it on the fly YET) and cut the safety bungee rope that just kept getting in the way. In order to get to the straps I will have to move mast all the way back and lean sail back more. Am getting there slowly - still loving the board - was hitting 20 knot winds that day ...
I still have not attempted to attach the gasket to the bottom of the board and put gorilla tape on the top of the board and keep the centreboard down just under the top of the board. On James Douglass' blog he suggests putting the gorilla tape AS the gasket !!
As you can see ... I did a messy job and also had the misfortune of denting the bottom when the cement blocks slid off the board. All this does NOT matter as it does NOT affect performance. For now I will put tape over the top and see how i like it with NO dagger at all Too bad the 2016 season is over ... Went to local river to see about just trying it out today SUN 05NOV2016 and the water was low and the place is just a mess ... NO GO there any more $%^&*())
DID manage to test the above setup on SUN 13NOV, but at La Crête , OKA with some decent winds - this board with NO dagger and NorthSails Duke 6.9. It was a riot until I found the submerged rock. My fin came off with NO damage to the fin box. Busted at the bolt. Was doing full blast runs parallel to the beach since wind was on-shore. Tried to find the fin, but was NOT sure about using a repaired fin ... Instead in early 2017 purchased a Makani Kauila 32 cm fin at half price - clear-out from the manufacturer. The fin did NOT fit well and did NOT align with screw 😞 After about 2 hours futzing about, managed to make it look decent enough ... Supposed to be a slalom fin capable of screaming in BIG winds.Will see how it does in light and bigger winds ...
It is now 2017 and I am loving this board. Sometimes people ask me if I would be interested to sell it. For me , if the price is right and delivery\carry is NOT too complicated, why not ?? Always looking to try Kona ONE or SB Phantom or Exocet RSD2 or AHD SeaLion or FOIL for that matter. The problem is : one does NOT get a lot of money for these great , old boards and there are fewer and fewer on the used market. One just sold on e-Bay for 400 US$. Looked like the CHS model ...
My board is XR carbon version and ...
The board has NO soft spots and is air tight. The fin that was broken and lost was a Fanatic Hawk 34 freeride fin that I liked to use in shallow waters. The board did well with it and tried to replace it with a Makani, but had some issues ... NOT tried yet... Still have the original Mistral fin with the Mistral screw + handle & has some MarineTex repairs, but requires more
The dagger is in excellent shape and NOT used by yours truly. In same pic, there are some pocks from previous owner(s)
Have the Mistral mast base and extension, but board takes Chinook screw too
The mast track is already here in this post and works fine -
I don't use it on the fly - usually having too much fun ...
Q) When does one know one has a board that should NEVER be sold ??
Have tried BIC Dufour (still have 2) , Fanatic Ultra CAT/FUC board, Mistral Equipe One XR, this Mistral Equipe 2 XR and a Kona One once. Not tried an RSD2 nor Phantom. So far this one is the BEST of what I have tried. Is it a keeper ??