One of the things about lightwind is that you are operating close to where the kite wont relaunch.
That means you could be off the board with the kite down and there isn't enough wind to relaunch the kite and you cant get to your board. The board could be moving one way with the tide and the kite the other way with the wind.
It would be useful in winds where the kite may not be relaunchable to be able to retrieve the board, but because of the speed of raceboards and the potential damage from the fins, any leash would have to be long enough to make an impact unlikely. My current idea of long enough is that it has to be over 30' long.
One other occasion I could have benefitted from using a long leash was in about 12 knots of wind when my big twintip went upwind in a channel faster than I could bodydrag after it in the slower water to either side of the narrow channel.
I have done some experiments with leashes and haven't found one that is practical. I tried fly reel leashes up to 60' and the Oceanus retractable with an 8' extension. 18' was too short and over 30' seemed to be too long and the fly reels tangled too easily and rusted.
My ideal leash would be something like the Oceanus, but with a spring that retracted 8m of floating orange polyethylene webbing, and then a knot in the webbing stopped it from retracting the next 2m of webbing, which had a swivelling plastic clip on the end to leash to the board.
Flexi make the Maxi dog leash, which is a leash with 8m of webbing for dogs over 50 kg. If it had a stainless steel spring, it would be a possibility, but it did show that you could get a small sized leash with 26' of webbing, and with a 5' extension from the leash to the back of the board, you have a 31' leash.
The spring inside the Maxi is not strong enough to rewind and retrieve the board (except maybe the first few feet), but the webbing is taut and in a straight line between you and the board, so if you pull the board back by hand, it packs the tape away neatly.
Unfortunately the Maxi doesn't have a stainless steel spring and it seems you cant buy a stainless steel spring that would fit it.
There is a retractable clothesline that extends 40' and has a stainless steel spring. It is 6 1/2" diameter (17cm) and weighs 1 lb (480 gm). Its called the Sunline R400, made in China, and it seems to also be sold under other names as far as I can tell.
eg. Household Essentials or Whitney.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Whitney-Singl ... r/10309894
I got one of these and had hoped to take it apart and see if the spring would fit the Maxi dogleash, but the body seems to be glued together and with postage to the UK of over £25, its too expensive to gamble on. It is cheap in the USA though, so someone in the US may be interested in trying it out as a board leash.
I will try it out myself, but it may take some time before I have used it enough to know how it lasts, as I dont expect to use the raceboard much in very light winds for a while until I get better at riding it.
Here is a picture of what I modified on the reel.
I cut one of the plastic lugs off and reduced the other and drilled 2 holes in it to connect a ring to with some line. The ring will slide along the handlepass line on the harness.
The line that comes with the reel is a plastic core with a plastic sheath, and I dont know how robust it is. The general impression I have is that the whole thing is not as robust as the Flexi Maxi dog leash and the spring has a weaker return force. I reckon due to the weaker spring, it is probably not going to easily tidy away more than about 30' of line, so I have shortened the line from 40' to 30' and have added a 5' extension to connect the reel to the back of the board. I put a float ball on the line to act as a stopper. There is a small stainless steel fishing swivel (breaking load 90 kg) between the extension and the 30' line.
I drilled some small drain holes in the body at the bottom of the reel.
I have doubts about how long it will last, but thought I would post it up now in case anyone in the US was interested in trying it out.