When looking at the center of the board, you will note two main elements. First is the mast track, a linear slot that runs lengthwise where in a mast base is fixed. The mast base, also known as the mast foot, serves as a connector between the board and the sail. The mast base can travel across the mast track to adjust the position of the sail on the board. The position of the sail relative to the board affects how the force from the wind is delivered to the board, which in turn affects the movement of the entire rig. The other protruding element on top of the board will be the lever that extends or retracts the daggerboard. The daggerboard is a long central fin that is located at the bottom of the board and serves as a stabilising component. The reason why it is retractable, and not fixed, is to allow the surfer to choose what kind of experience they want to have. When the daggerboard is retracted, the board becomes faster. Beginners, however, are advised to have the daggerboard extended for greater control. The back of the board also has a fin, which is fixed.
To begin assembling your windsurfing kit, begin by attaching to mast base to the board. The mast base is normally made of highly durable rubber, as it needs to have a significant amount of flex in it. Try flexing the mast base in your hands to check for any visible cracks in the rubber. You don’t want the base to break in the middle of the water. At the bottom of the mast base will be a long metal bolt, with a nut on the end. To mount the base to the board you need to undo the nut until it sits at the end of the bolt. Insert the bolt into the wider end of the mast track slot, and move it to the center of the mast track. Your instructor will know which position is best for the specific board, but the center is usually a safe bet for beginners. Once you have the base in the mast track, twist it until the base is tightly fixed to the board.
Now that you have the mast base in place, you can attach the sail itself. Technically, you’ll be attaching the board to the sail, not the other way around. The sale must be on the ground, with the mast side of the sail facing the wind. Do not try to attach the sail to the board like you would a table umbrella into the table. Not only are you almost certain to fail, you might get injured if the wind is strong. With the sail on the ground, tilt the board on its side and slot the bottom of the sale into a special pin on the mast base. The pin should easily click into place, which means the mast is securely fixed. It works similar to a seatbelt in that respect, as to disconnect the sail from the board, you need to just push a button at the bottom of the mast.