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johnk
6th October 2008, 04:11 AM
Hi Roger,

I frequently find myself sailing in light winds (10-15 knots) and would like to get some suggestions for an early planning upgrade over my beginner board. I'm an advanced beginner (tacking, gybing, harness, foot straps) at 6'1" and 195 lbs presently using the following:

Mistral N'Trance (199L, 280 x 80 cm, 13.9 KG)
Sailworks Retro 9.5
G-Sport Driver 60 fin

This board has served me really well in both non-planning and planning conditions (I have smaller sails and fins as well). However, I would like to know how much I can lower my planning threshold with a lighter weight/higher performance board? With that in mind, can I get your thoughts on the following boards:

Starboard Furuta 155 - somewhat concerened about the Futura's durability with my learning progression. Need a nose protector for sure.

Fanatic Shark 160 (160L, 268 x 80 cm, 10.3 KG) - read great reviews and could use my existing PowerBox fins.

Bic Techno Formula (165L, 267 x 94 cm, 10.8 KG) - I suspect that the extra width would be ideal for early planning, but I'm not sure if my beginner level skills are ready for a formula type board.

Thanks in advance,
John

Roger
6th October 2008, 04:46 AM
Hi John,
With the 9.5 m2 Retro, you have the power to get going early, and a wider board
would get you the most gain but you will need a really big vertical fin (or a very large weed fin if you use weed fins in your area).
Do the sites you sail have plenty of water depth?
The Futura 155 at 85 cm wide gets my vote as the best compromise here.
I think the Shark at 80 cm wide is going to be an improvement over your nTrance (also 80 cm wide) due to the weight difference, but it may not lower your planing threshold all that much.
The Techno formula at 94 cm wide will definitely get you going the earliest of the 3, but as you suggest, it's a formula board and while I'm sure you can make the transition to the wider footstrap offset (same is true but not to the same degree with the Futura 155)
it's not going to be real comfortable right at first.
You will get a bit more range and an easier to jibe board with the Futura 155 so I guess when you look at things from all angles the Futura would getmy vote.
Durability issues would probably be about the same with all 3 boards.
In any event, you are going to have to get some larger fins whichever board you buy.
What fins are you running on the nTrance?
Wider boards with larger fins, rigs with lots of low end power, and good pumping ability are the keys to really early planing.
Hope this helps,

johnk
6th October 2008, 06:30 PM
Do the sites you sail have plenty of water depth?

Yes, fortunately water depth is not a problem where I sail.

What fins are you running on the nTrance?

I typically use a G-Sport Driver 60 with the Retro 9.5 and Curtis CR-12 51 with a Neil Pryde Solo 7.0.

In general, how much does the weight of the board affect early planning? For example, the Go and Futura are the same wide shape, but in different constructions. Will the heavier Go be slower to get planning?

Thank you,
John

Roger
6th October 2008, 08:57 PM
Hi John,
OK, it's good that you have plenty of water depth!
The 60 cm Driver should be OK on your nTrance, but I'm not
sure that this fin has the flex chracteristics to make it really
good for "fin pumping" to get on plane early.
I'm familiar with the CR-12 and that should be pretty good with your 7.0 Solo.
As far as the weight of the board "affecting" early planing, yes, there is a difference,
and the lighter and wider the board, the more likely it is to plane up very early.
As I suggested earlier, the Bic formula board will be the earliest to plane, but as a
true formula style board, you give up some easy jibing and speed on a beam to close
reach as the formula boards are really designed for formula (upwind/downwind) racing, and while pretty good on more "reaching" points of sail, they are not as easy and forgiving as the Futura.
Also, if you have some chop to deal with as the wind speed increases, the Futura will remain easy to sail where the formula board may become a handful more quickly.
Unfortunately, the only way for you to really figure this out is to spend some time on each of these boards.
It's difficult to suggest "just the right board" as there are so many variables.
I'll stick with my earlier suggestion on the Futura 155 as being the board with the widest range of use for what you have suggested are your conditions.
If early to plane is the "holy grail" here, then look at formula boards or perhaps an Apollo.
If you want reasonably early planing, easy to sail, and very forgiving overall, then the Futura 155.
Whichever you choose you are going to have a short "learning curve" to transition to a bit different way of sailing.
Once past the "getting acquainted" sessions, you can work to advance your pumping skills to bring your planing threshold down even further.
Hope this helps,

bazza
9th October 2008, 10:59 AM
Hello again Roger. You may recall that I have a 2002 Start with 70 and 78 cm fins. The Start is 100 cm wide and weighs 14 kg. Would the Techno Formula at 94 cm wide, 170l of volume, and only 10.8 kg plane sooner than the Start with my 235 lbs onboard?
Is there a better option? Thanks again for your advice.

Roger
9th October 2008, 08:12 PM
Hi Bazza,
No, I do not think the Techno Formula will plane any where near as soon as your '02 Start with a 78 cm fin.
Are you pumping the Start to get going early?
Are you pumping the fin a bit to help break your board loose and onto a plane?
What size rig are you using?
Is it a Free Race type sail or a full on formula race rig?
The added width of your Start and the ability to use a 78 cm fin most likely far
out weigh any difference in weight.
Hope this helps,

bazza
10th October 2008, 01:44 AM
Thanks for taking the time Roger. I have an 11.0 Sailworks Retro and have been learning to pump it however, have not pumped the fin (didn't know that this was possible!).
From your comment about the Start being able to take a 78cm fin you believe that the Techno Formula will not. I have been trying to locate a used Starboard formula board for my weight (like the 2002 F-186) but have had no luck. I have found a Techno Formula and just assumed that the 3kg weight saving would make a huge difference. Thanks again.

Roger
10th October 2008, 02:55 AM
Hi bazza,
With large fins, sometimes "pumping the fin" is very effective when you are not quite able to get going, or can pump up onto a plane, but the plane dies off as soon as you stop pumping.
The idea here is to give several quick hard "pushes" on the fin with your back foot (either in the strap, or just in front of the back strap).
Sometimes this seems to "loosen" the board up a little and can be the difference between progressing onto a full plane, or dropping back into "slog" mode.
It also works if the wind dies down a little and you are starting to lose the plane.
2 or 3 quick pumps on the fin and heading a little off the wind (if you are higher than a close reach) can keep you going until the wind comes back.
Hope this helps,

bazza
10th October 2008, 05:19 AM
Thanks again Roger. Your advice is wonderful. You have given me the impression in previous communications that my Start is quite a decent performer even at 14 kg and that to upgrade to a lighter weight formula board might allow me to plane in 2 knots less wind. Do I have that right?

Roger
10th October 2008, 08:36 AM
Hi Bazza,
With the same rig?..... no, I don't think you will find that a formula board (even the higher volume F-186) is going to lower your planing threshold by 2 knots.
Formula boards are 100.5 cm wide, same as your Start.
The extra volume is what's making alot of the additional board weight, and at your size that extra volume is probably a good thing.
Work on your skills to get the most from your Start.
If you can find an F-186 (172 liters volume) give it a try, but I don't think you'll get anything like a 2 knot drop in planing threshold windspeed.
With a different rig (larger).... maybe, but you already have an 11.0 m2 Retro and larger sails don't have alot of low end, so you are pretty much "maxed out" on rig size.
Are you rigging your big Retro for max. early planing....i.e. batten above the boom pulled back 1/2 the mast diameter and tangent to the lee side of the mast?
Do you have an adjustable outhaul so you can really "fatten up" your big Retro for max. light wind "grunt".
Where do you have your footstraps.... all the way back and outboard?
If yes to all of the above, I think you need to work on better pumping skills as that's about the only thing that's not already optimized.
If you have a chance to borrow or rent a formula board, give it a try, but I'll be surprised if you come back and tell me you were planing in less wind.
Be really "active" in your pumping, that's about the only thing that will lower your planing threshold.
A formula board might be better upwind (but not an marginal planing windspeeds) and might be faster on the top end, as well as way off the wind, but it's not going to plane for a big guy a whole lot sooner.
Have you tried a 70 cm fin in your Start to see how much that improves/diminishes your planing threshold? Sometimes the super big fins get you going slightly sooner, but soon become a liability in terms of top end speed.

bazza
10th October 2008, 10:19 AM
Thanks again Roger. I do have an adjustable outhaul and do rig it for maximum power. I do not have the footstraps in the outer positions at the rear but rather a single in the center. I found that if I weight the windward rail I sink the board to that side and everything bogs down. When planing on a broad reach or upwind in heavier winds I just put my back foot on the outside edge of the board.

I have always used a 70cm fin and recently purchased the 78cm one that Bill Kline told me you had on demo. I could order an 85cm model but the price is prohibitive.

You have made me realize that I need to practice my pumping technique. Thanks for that. I'd love to meet you at one of your demo sessions. Will you ever make it to the Pacific Northwest? I live in the Vancouver, BC area.

Thanks again Roger. I appreciate your teachings/

marek
10th October 2008, 02:31 PM
Thanks again Roger. I do have an adjustable outhaul and do rig it for maximum power. I do not have the footstraps in the outer positions at the rear but rather a single in the center. I found that if I weight the windward rail I sink the board to that side and everything bogs down.


Ts, tss, tssss I hear Roger coming to teach you know how you should keep you weight on the rig via the harness and why you should move your straps all the way out/back to get better control and upwind performance. :):):)



When planing on a broad reach or upwind in heavier winds I just put my back foot on the outside edge of the board.


Which means you should move your back footstrap right there :D.
Been there, tried that. Sailing in back foot out of the footstrap comparing to being comfortable in both straps is like comparing flying the kite to jet figher ;-). In any wind, being in both straps automatically sets you in a correct position to the board and rig and gives you best control possible.

-marek

Roger
10th October 2008, 08:36 PM
Hi bazza and Marek,
Hey marek, you can have my job as you are almost totaly correct here. (Just kidding).
Only thing is that in bazza's case we have to consider his weight, and even with the
11.0 m2 Retro it's going to be difficult for him to get enough power in the rig to support his weight.
I agree that putting the rear footstrap outboard would improve speed, control, and his ability to stay on plane and gain more speed which ramps up the apparent wind and may result in the rig having the power to support his weight, but he's not there yet.
Placing his back foot out by the rail is a strong step in the right direction.
Maybe the best next move would be to put the footstrap outboard, but learn to keep his back foot a little more inboard and out of the strap while getting on plane, then when everything is fully up to speed slide the back foot out and into the footstrap.
It could simpy be a "patience" issue.
I seem to remember that you (Marek) were super amxious to jump back and into the footstraps on your F-Type when you were first getting going. Do I remember correctly?
So, back to my "lecture" on moving back and then outboard "progressively" at a rate that supports continuous "accelleration" of the board which results in a continuous increase in the rig's power and ability to support the sailor.
So, bazza, it sounds like you are headed in precisely the right direction, but you need to work on "feeling" what the board is telling you (even your large fairly heavy Start) so you can move back to the optimum position to pump onto a plane, then when your board "lights up" begin to move even further back and eventually outboard.
Be patient, especially in marginal planing conditions. Even lightweights (< 80 Kg) have to learn to feel when it's time to move back more and finally outboard more as in really marginal conditions it can be super frustrating because you are right on the bubble to getting fully "lit up" but anything you do seems to slow you back down off the plane.
When you can feel the subtle little differences that the board is telling you, you can use them to gage when to move back more, or outboard more.
It's really an experience and time on the water thing, right Marek?
I'd love to visit Vancouver, BC again, but the only time I was there it was pretty cold.
If you ever get to Cape Hatteras, I'd love to meet you and work with you to get beyond where you seem to be "stuck" right now. Unfortunately I have no plans for demos in your area at the present time.
Hope this helps,

marek
11th October 2008, 03:07 AM
[...]
Only thing is that in bazza's case we have to consider his weight, and even with the 11.0 m2 Retro it's going to be difficult for him to get enough power in the rig to support his weight.
I agree that putting the rear footstrap outboard would improve speed, control, and his ability to stay on plane and gain more speed which ramps up the apparent wind and may result in the rig having the power to support his weight, but he's not there yet.
Placing his back foot out by the rail is a strong step in the right direction.
Maybe the best next move would be to put the footstrap outboard, but learn to keep his back foot a little more inboard and out of the strap while getting on plane, then when everything is fully up to speed slide the back foot out and into the footstrap.
It could simpy be a "patience" issue.
I seem to remember that you (Marek) were super anxious to jump back and into the footstraps on your F-Type when you were first getting going. Do I remember correctly?



So, back to my "lecture" on moving back and then outboard "progressively" at a rate that supports continuous "accelleration" of the board which results in a continuous increase in the rig's power and ability to support the sailor.
So, bazza, it sounds like you are headed in precisely the right direction, but you need to work on "feeling" what the board is telling you (even your large fairly heavy Start) so you can move back to the optimum position to pump onto a plane, then when your board "lights up" begin to move even further back and eventually outboard.
Be patient, especially in marginal planing conditions. Even lightweights (< 80 Kg) have to learn to feel when it's time to move back more and finally outboard more as in really marginal conditions it can be super frustrating because you are right on the bubble to getting fully "lit up" but anything you do seems to slow you back down off the plane.
When you can feel the subtle little differences that the board is telling you, you can use them to gage when to move back more, or outboard more.
It's really an experience and time on the water thing, right Marek?



Hi guys.

I was thinking about this post quite for a while (I really enjoy this forum I must say) and I'll try to give you my point of view (as an intermediate beginner now and total beginner back in the days):

- yes, I was anxious to get into both straps and the reason number one was: catapults. I don't know if bazza has this problem, but for me riding the board with my back foot out of the strap and on the rail (thus gaining more and more speed rapidly) and then fighting to get it into the back strap was a stressful time with a lot of violent flights over the handlebars.
TOW (time on water) partially solved this problem like Roger predicted, but also tunning my straps as they were twisted.

- since now I am way more accustomed to the speed I can stay longer out of the back strap without fear of being catapulted, which is a good thing in marginal (low) winds as (just like Roger sais) you need the board to really get on plane before jumping into the back FS. (I agree it is easy to ruin everything if you jump back to early)

- I was using the back FS very occasionally when I moved straps from their middle to outboard/back position and it did not make it really easier nor more difficult to get into the straps. But the difference in control was huge - the back foot was finally not sliding deeper and deeper into the strap when I was pushing the fin - instead I was really pushing the rail and the fin which felt great!

I sail a lot in light winds with my 9.8 and for me crucial things are:
- keeping the board flat at all cost (using the harness to transfer the weight onto the rig and back foot to help keeping the board flat)
- having the boom high (almost as high as the cut in the sail allows [i am 186 cm]) - this help to keep your weight off the board
- having proper (not too small) downhaul and almost zero outhaul (I experimented and less then proper downhaul does not do any good to me in light winds) which maximizes you rig's power
- when on plane and in both straps try to keep the windward rail slightly higher (lift with your front foot), also control the wind and bear off in the luls to stay on plane (also bear off to get on plane in the first place)
- combine all of this with pumping (which I am still not good at, but I find that pums must be done together with sliding the board forward with my feet)

From my observations technique is the key to everything; I often see people on plane on smaller rigs, older, narrower boards and some of them are heavier than me, and even then they are planing and I am still shlogging :D. Oh well, I'll learn one day, too.

Good luck bazza and thanks for your help Roger.

-marek

bazza
12th October 2008, 05:39 AM
At this point I only have 3 straps insalled on my Start. One in the center rear and 2 front ones that are mounted at the "beginner" position. When I'm in them and planing I have only once not been able to keep the board level by lifting my toes upward, and hold the windward rail down, and that is when I moved my back foot out of the strap and to the edge of the board. I have thought that I am just too heavy to use the outside strap positions. I see now that I will need to sit in my harness better to take the weight off my feet.
Maybe I should keep the 3 straps where they are and mount 4 new ones in the outboard positions so that I'll have the best of all worlds!!!!
Thanks again for all of your teachings.

Roger
12th October 2008, 06:12 AM
Hi Bazza,
I must have been doing these forums for too long or something....duh!
If you have your footstraps that far forward (the beginner positions) or even the intermediate positions, it's no wonder you are having issues with getting on plane.
I never thought to ask.....double duh!
Just 4 footstraps is plenty, having them forward gets you nothing.
If you stay that far forward, your board can never really free up and plane.
Look at where the water exits from under the board when you do plane.
It should be well behind the the beginner footstrap positions approaching the advanced
footstrap positions.
Where do you run your mast foot?
Hope this helps,

bazza
12th October 2008, 06:56 AM
My mast is about center in the track. I used to think that heavy guys should have it further forward but I was told that center was better.

I have gotten into the habit of getting into the rear strap early (even when not planing) because it is in the center of the board and gives me a secure feeling. My front foot is in front of the strap (I am 6'4" with 36" pant inseam so this is not a "stretch" for me). When I do get going I then slip my front foot into the strap. I believe that the common practice is to get into the front strap first but because my technique hasn't been proper that tends to have the board head up into the wind and/or stall.

Roger
12th October 2008, 10:34 AM
Hi Bazza,
OK, now we are getting into the real issues here.
I'll "sleep on it" and give you a better answer in the morning.
Yes, I can see some real technique issues here that are stalling you at your
current level.
Weight too far forward on the board, getting into the back footstrap first.....
yep, we have some work to do!
Roger

johnk
12th October 2008, 09:01 PM
Hi Roger,

As you are responding to Bazza's inquiry, could you please elaborate further on foot strap position relative to early planning? On my N'Trance, I have been sailing with them in the intermediate position (mounted near the tail of the board, but further inboard). I'm guessing that moving the straps and subsequently our stance further outboard will power up the sail greater than with the inboard straps.

Thanks,
John

bazza
13th October 2008, 10:48 AM
Hi Bazza,
OK, now we are getting into the real issues here.
I'll "sleep on it" and give you a better answer in the morning.
Yes, I can see some real technique issues here that are stalling you at your
current level.
Weight too far forward on the board, getting into the back footstrap first.....
yep, we have some work to do!
Roger

Hello again Roger. I should rectify an error. Yesterday I said that I have the front straps in the beginner position. I checked my board and found that they are in the "intermediate position" which is about 4 inches further forward from the outboard position and slightly further inboard. I'm looking forward to your advice.

Roger
14th October 2008, 09:11 AM
Hi JohnK and Bazza,
OK, I'd like both of you to get a piece of string a bit longer than your board, and put some sort of light weight on one end.
Now stretch the string along the fore and aft centerline of the bottom of your boards
(2002 Start for Bazza.... Mistral nTrance for JohnK) with the weight hanging off the tail.
Notice how the board is basically flat (front to back) near the tail and then somewhere around the front footstraps in their back and outboard positons, the string no longer touches your board because you have reached the "rocker transition" in your board.
Take a little electrical tape (bright red or yellow is the most visible) and put a little tape
"arrow" near the top of each rail at this "rocker transition" point in the bottom of your board.
So, if you keep your weight far enough forward that the "rocker transition" (RT) never gets up and clears the water, you aren't getting the nose up and the Angle of Attack (AOA) of the bottom of your board will not promote easy planing because the RT (and any part of the board forward of the RT that's in contact with the water) is causing an immense amount of drag.
This is why it's so important to get your weight all the way back on the board so you can set the AOA at the optimum angle to promote early planing.
Can I tell you what that angle is...... no, sorry, I've never made a "test fixture" to discover that.
Probably between 1 and 5 deg. and it probably varies with different board designs.
How do you "set" the AOA
Move the mast foot forward and back until you find yourself back in the rearmost and outboard footstraps and the board planes really fast and is easy to control.
So, if you don't move back enough, you won't get the AOA you need to plane early.
If you use the tape "indicators" I suggested above, you can look at the water coming out from under your board and know if you need to have the nose higher to plane off.
If the water comes out significantly "ahead" or forward of your marks you need to move back further and or move the mast foot futher back.
If the water comes out just behind the rocker transition (about under the front footstraps and front foot) you will feel your board "light up" like never before.
Getting on plane will become far easier.
Hope this helps,

bazza
14th October 2008, 10:08 AM
So I've checked my rocker line and although my intermediate strap settings are inboard they are still on the flat part of the board. This seems to be good! I will need to move them to the outboard positions and practice with them there until I get comfortable.

I will move the mast further aft also and work on my sail and fin pumping. I suspect that I'll need to adjust my harness lines so that I'm not raking the mast back too far.

Thanks again Roger!

johnk
15th October 2008, 03:51 AM
So I've checked my rocker line and although my intermediate strap settings are inboard they are still on the flat part of the board.

I've found the same with the intermediate strap position on my NTrance as well.

Roger, thanks for helpping us get the most out of our existing equipment!

Roger
15th October 2008, 08:15 AM
Hi Bazza and johnk,
Guys, have fun, and work your way all the way back and out at your own comfort level.
No way I can describe for you the improvments in performance and control you'll get when you get all the way back on the board, get the rig to support your weight and get the power directed through the mast foot.
For Bazza, yes, be careful not to rake the rig back too far as this can turn you upwind so some degree.
Remember, you can keep your rig failry open and not raked back much to get the max. power to get going.
Be sure you aren't raking back and sheeting in too soon.
This is a case where later and less is usually better.
At some point this will all come together and you will simply "flow" through all these little
nuance "steps" and it will look like you just slide back on the board and onto a plane.
Hope this helps,

johnk
13th July 2009, 10:01 PM
Hi Roger,

Just wanted to provide an update on my quest for early planning. I ended up picking up a lightly used 2006 Bic Techno Formula 170 with 70 cm fin for $450 over the past winter. I have been on the water blasting around as much as time will allow.

Two Saturdays ago I went out in a gusty breeze... winds were 10-15 mph with gusts 20-25 mph as measured at the local iwindsurf station. I rigged my 2000 Retro 9.5 which became unwieldy in the gusts and made it extremely difficult to get back upwind. This past Saturday, I rigged up my 2006 Retro 9.0 in similar conditions and found the newer sail less powerful in the low end, but much more stable in the upper end. So, while the sails are only 1/2 meter apart in size they obviously favor different conditions.

At my weight of 185 - 190 pounds, it seems like I need a 15 mph breeze to get planning with my current gear, which is a big improvement over my previous Mistral N'Trance. As 10+ mph winds are more common around here then 15+ mph conditions, I'm questioning the need/benefit of a larger rig to drop that planning threshold even further. Seeing how stable/controlled my 2006 Retro is, I was thinking about getting a newer 11.0 Retro to boost the lower end. Do you think a larger sail would do much to lower my planning threshold?

Thanks as always for your invaluable advice.
JohnK

Roger
14th July 2009, 06:52 AM
Hi John,
How much you gain by increasing your rig size is always a bit puzzling.
If you have an older 9.5 Retro, you may not find a huge gain by going to an
11.0.
Are you using an adjustable outhaul on your 9.0 and 9.5 m2 Retros?
That could do alot to "power up" the low end on both sails, but allow you to
trim them a bit flatter once you are planing.
Part of what makes this difficult to predict is that you will increase the weight
when you go bigger.
The 11.0 m2 Retro needs a 520 or 550 mast. Your 9.5 rigs on a 490 I believe.
So combine the 520/550 mast with a longer heavier boom and you gain a few pounds in the rig.
Also, I think one reason you aren't planing earlier is the Bic Techno formula is only 94 cm wide.
That's a really good width, but unless you have mastered pumping, giving up the 6 cm between the '06 Techno Formula and a full on 100.5 cm wide formula board can really move the planing threshold up a bit.
At 185 lbs. I'd think you should be planing (with pumping) in 10-12 knots(11.5-14 mph).
What fin are you using..... not enough fin could be really keeping you from planing super early.
So, I do not have a definitive answer.
The 11.0 might be a really good thing and get you planing a couple of knots earlier, but learning to efficiently pump onto plane on your older 9.5 Retro might get you to the same place.
The 11.0 Retro is kinda FE/Formula racing oriented, so I'm not sure it has the basic "grunt" that your older 9.5 has.
Hope this helps,

johnk
15th July 2009, 05:55 AM
Are you using an adjustable outhaul on your 9.0 and 9.5 m2 Retros?
That could do alot to "power up" the low end on both sails, but allow you to
trim them a bit flatter once you are planing.


Yes, I've been using the strap/buckle style adjustable outhaul from Sailworks. I am likely sailing with too much outhaul tension in the light breezes. How do you gauge the outhal trim for maximum power... should the sail be so soft that it touches the booms?


What fin are you using..... not enough fin could be really keeping you from planing super early.


I'm using the supplied fin which is a 70 CM Select.


Hope this helps,

I really appreciate your advice and suggestions.

Roger
15th July 2009, 09:47 AM
Hi Johnk,
Retro's need a little outhaul (perimeter tension) but when you want the max. low end
it's OK for the sail to touch the boom a little.
The best gauge is the positon of the front of the batten above the boom
For max. power you need to set that batten at the midpoint (front to back)
of the mast or even slighty ahead of the middle.
Then just a couple of cm's of outhaul to just tighten things a little.
Hope this helps,