View Full Version : Waterstarting for tall sailors...

Tom Aylott
11th August 2008, 02:44 PM

I was out at the weekend on my Carve 145 and decided to try and learn waterstarting as I was completely over powered with my 5.5

For the most part I am ok i.e. getting the rig to fly, controlling the direction of the board and powering the rig up. Problem comes when I'm trying to get up onto the board. I'm 6'7" and weigh about 95kg so I find myself so far away from the board that when I've got my back foot on the board the sail is still struggling to pull me up.

I'm sure there is a simple link that I need to learn to complete the waterstarts but can't work it out! Any ideas??

Many thanks

11th August 2008, 08:25 PM
Hi Tom,
I have 2 suggestions, one is pretty "off the wall" but it works well for me in powered up and overpowered conditions, just not so good when there's barely enough wind to waterstart.
Instead of putting my back leg or foot up on the board, I stay in the water so I can move in really close to the tail of the board.
Then really stretch your arms up tall and kinda "throw" the rig to give it some inertia.
Let the rig pull you up from the water and land you on the board (almost anywhere on the back of the board will do) then sheet out momentarily, get your feet in the right places and sheet in/sail off.
Works for me, as I'm pretty short (5'6") and I guess I'm not all that "flexible".
If I put a foot on the back of the board I fall back and get water up my nose/my head wet/ push the back of the board away/ etc. so I learned to waterstart this alternative way.
The 2nd suggestion is similar but has to do with the technique you are using (back foot on the board).
Try to stay low and then when you are sure you are ready, "throw" the rig up to give it as much inertia as possible, kick you feet, any thing you can think of to "launch" your body up and over the tail of the board.
Are you sure you are extending your arms as long as possible when flying your sail and just at the moment you want to launch out of the water?
Hope this helps,

12th August 2008, 01:59 AM
Here is another off the wall method, or not. I always put both feet on the board, that way I can pull my butt up close to the board keeping the center of gravity very close to the board. It works well for light wind, and for heavy wind, I just keep my by butt further away for the board (legs straighter). You can do the same with one leg, but using the strength from both legs from a deep squat is easier than one. I never did buy using the free leg to kick the water to get up on the board.

I am 6' 1" and 173.
Since my front foot is further up the board, I don't have any issues with rounding up.

12th August 2008, 09:21 PM
I'm not flexible and use Ken's method as well. It's important to get your abs and head involved. Do a crunch and tuck you head (chin to chest). It's good to do these things all at once to let momentum help you. Someone suggested the concept "head butt the mast foot". It helps me.

Tom Aylott
13th August 2008, 02:10 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, will give them a go and report back


Roly Gardner
14th August 2008, 08:43 PM
Hi Roger,

Waterstarts are one of the techniques on my list for this year. I have been reading previous posts and watching the dvds etc. I have progressed to deep water beach starts which I can more or less do. It is a bit hit and miss though.

My main confusion revolves around the positioning of the board after the rig is flying. I think I get the mast across the wind initially and then get it flying. Generally for me this means that the board is facing directly into wind. Am I meant to then swim it round so my back is to wind and the board is off on a broad reach or keep the mast in the same position but get the board to turn off the wind a bit?



14th August 2008, 11:39 PM
Hi Roly,
Have you done the shallow water board alignment drills I've suggested?
Practice in water just deep enough to clear the fin....
You can learn to steer your board, from the mast foot, by pushing/pulling on the boom and inclining the sail in different ways.
After some practice you will be able to turn your board 360 deg. in either direction and stop it at the direction you want to go (slightly below a beam reach) in your water start.
When you can "steer" your board by rig pressure/boom pressure and rig inclinaton, then when you are in deeper water you do exactly the same things while flying your rig.
Now you can set the direction easily for your water start.
Get things all lined up, show a bit of the sail to the wind, push/throw your rig up and follow it onto the board.
I know, much easier said than done!
Hope this helps,

24th August 2008, 11:20 AM
Roly, your description is the same way I do it. when flying the rig, the board is pointing straight into wind. I sometimes sit the foot of the sail on the board between the back footstraps and wait. I can hold this position flying the rig, with the board stopping the clew from sinking. Then, the process of getting up (I do what Roger says above, throw rig up and land my back foot on) turns the board off the wind. By the time both feet are on and I'm sailing away the board is 90 deg to the wind, on a reach.