View Full Version : Formula technique question for Remi

eli villalabeitia
2nd December 2009, 04:17 AM
Hi Remi I am starting to race FE 10 mts overdrive, 80 kgs and need to get some info on sailing techniques, body possition in different runs, how to use your feets etc. I found that sailing a freeride board seems to me quite different and can not find information or videos on formula technique and sailing strategies, I saw the video prosecrets but found a little advanced for me.
There is some many questions and not much info
Any advice or where to find info is welcome

3rd December 2009, 11:26 PM
Not Remi, but here are a few thoughts. These comments assume that you will be racing.

First, it will be very difficult to detail all of the formula sailing techniques and strategies in this forum.

I have raced/sailed formula for 7 years and as I think about it, it's hard to know where to begin.

The basics are upwind and downwind techniques and learning to point as high/low as possible while not sacrificing speed.

Upwind, keeping the board between flat and railing up about 20 degrees is the goal. Sail outhauled and pretty flat.

Down wind, try staying in the outside straps as much as possible, it's faster but more difficult. Go the the chicken strap when things begin to get out of hand. Sail as full as possible, which adds power and stability. Another serious issue is sailing downwind in 20+ knots in rough water. Maintaining control is difficult and can be quite scary at first, so it takes a lot of practice to become comfortable and to avoid getting tossed over the nose.

On a formula board when fully or over powered, NEVER sheet out to gain control. If you take the pressure off the mast foot by sheeting out, the board may take off and lift out off the water. You MUST keep the sail sheeted in and powered to maintain control.

I don't think there is anything particularly unique about foot or body positions, really no different than any other board pointing high or running deep.

Big sails are required since there is little reaching on a formula board. Primarily upwind and downwind so you need lots of power. If you were free sailing on a 110 liter board with a 7.5 in 15-20 knots, you would likely be on a formula board with a 10.0 in the same wind. This assumes an experienced formula sailor.

Practice, practice and more practice will make you competent. Sailing with other formula sailors will also help.

Adjustable harness lines and outhaul are essential. Short harness lines upwind and long lines downwind. Boom between shoulder to eye high depending on preference.

I am not a great formula sailor, but I have raced with some of the top pro sailors. All things being equal, the guys with the most time on the water and experience go a lot faster.

Race strategies - follow the best sailors, tack and jibe when they do. Starts are important and the secret is just being at the line when the flag comes up. Don't get caught at the end of the train as everyone comes below the committee boat with 10-20 seconds left. Sit on the line if necessary and bear off with 5-10 seconds to go.

When most guys are on their short boards, you have to push yourself to go out on your FE board and practice.

Maybe some other guys can add something to what I have said. Good luck.

eli villalabeitia
4th December 2009, 01:01 AM
<<<<<Thank you Ken; I know the basics of going upwind and downwind though for me I am pointing quite less than the other sailors; I am using a 10 mt overdrive with the outhaul as you said.
There is another thing I got blistered foot since getting on a plane, I think, i am staying a lot of time out of the straps, my technique for getting on planning is like a freeboard, sail in front sheet in, hang from harness then front foot and the rear usually after few pumps and letting the board run downwind, is there a shortest way or different tech to go quick on planning and on the straps. I see the pros not being out of the straps for a second.

4th December 2009, 01:42 AM

The stock fin with the FE board will not perform like the custom fins that most of us have (not sailing FE). Sail trim and maximum power upwind helps too, but you must keep the board flat on the water, not allowing it to slow in the chop. This takes a lot of leg action. Put 95-100% of your foot weight on the back foot and keep the sail as upright as possible (short harness lines). Sometimes when you are trying to get more power, you may sheet in too much and kill your speed. If under powered, hang in the harness lines more.

Getting on plane and pumping - bear off about 100 - 110 degrees. I frequently use the chicken strap for my back foot, which allows me to pump the board and fin more vigorously than if I just have my feet up on the board. Once powered and planing, I take the back foot out, hook in, put the front foot in and then the back foot.

I don't think you can pump vigorously enough while hooked in. There is a lot of arm, body and leg action. I also wear booties all the time for protection and traction. I don't know what to tell you about blisters.

If you are just able to pump on plane, hanging in the harness will help you stay on plane. If you get into the straps and you stall, then you should have pumped more or there may not be enough wind.

4th December 2009, 06:28 PM
Hi Ken...
Iīve been sailing formula for 2 years, always with old gear, and now got a FE gear, with a 11 severne overdrive. I am having some trouble to find tune, so I would like to ask you about your quote:
[QUOTE=Ken;37448]"On a formula board when fully or over powered, NEVER sheet out to gain control. If you take the pressure off the mast foot by sheeting out, the board may take off and lift out off the water. You MUST keep the sail sheeted in and powered to maintain control."

The place that I sail often, can get pretty gusty... so lets say Iīm out on 15k of wind, and when comes a big gust above 18k, I really canīt keep sheeted in... I try to, I really seat on the harness, I put pressure on the front foot, I pull the back hand while pushing the front one but theres no way to keep sheeted in, the sail tends really up wind, as if the wind would go to the leeward side of the sail... then the only way that I can hold it is sheeting out and losing speed and control;
Thatīs not only when is gusty, even if the wind is strong all the time, I feel like the sail is always tending to go upwind and get wind on the leward side, knocking me down...

4th December 2009, 11:00 PM

Sounds like you need to balance your harness lines (use the adjustable outhaul) so that the center of force in the sail & your harness lines are balanced. If heading upwind, outhaul the sail to the max, then just hang on.

My comment about "NEVER sheet out" applies only when you have maximum board speed. You can sheet out to de-power the sail while pointing high or on a beam reach if your speed isn't too great. You will know what I am talking about when the wind gets under your board and you take off. This is most likely to happen if you are on a beam reach, at maximum speed and you see a gust coming and try to head upwind to gain control and slow down. If you sheet out as you head up, you will take off. Better to head up before the gust hits you. It can also happen if your are running downwind at full speed and you chicken out and turn up towards a beam reach. When you do this, you will add power to the sail and increase speed, which can cause you to take off if you take the pressure off the mast foot.

I assume that the FE class allows adjustable outhauls. They are essential to formula sailing and should allow you to always keep your harness lines balanced and trim the sail for maximum performance.

I sail in gusty conditions too and constantly watch the water/wind to be ready for the gusts and adjust before I get hit. Yes, I have been backwinded and slammed too, it happens. This is where the big strong guys have an advantage.

I don't know anything about the Severne overdrive sails, but all good formula sails have a lot of twist at the top of the sail when hit by gusts, which makes a huge difference with control. More downhaul will help loosen the leach and allow more twist, but if you over downhaul, you will take too much power out of the sail.

Hope this helps.

4th December 2009, 11:19 PM

Have a look at the Video.

7th December 2009, 06:18 PM
Thanks for the tips Ken... Yes FE allows adjustable outhaul, and I use it... I guess I need some more time on the water... This weekend we had races with pretty weak winds... My problem was not to get backwinded but my upwind angle... It was bad, worst than my old FW147... I guess changing gear happens to cause a lot of changes on sailing technique...
Nice Videos gre-969; Hey do you guys know any topic about upwind technique? Ive been searching but havenīt found anything...

eli villalabeitia
7th December 2009, 10:32 PM
thanks everybody for the mails, although I am still avid for more information, same as Carlosgp5 I guess, I know practice is important but I canīt sail every day at the most once a week, so knowing what to change is very important for me, if there no more info available for this class, then we have to worried, because new people get hooked when they progress and are able to get the most of their time and equipment
thanks again Eli

7th December 2009, 10:43 PM

Upwind in light conditions requires proper sail tuning. I don't know much about the FE sails, so I can't help there much, but be careful not to over downhaul. That will kill your low end power. On the otherhand, too little downhaul, trying to gain power may cause too much drag (deep foil) and hurt you light wind performance too. Somewhere in between is the answer.

However, un-weighting your feet and hanging in the harness will help maintain a higher pointing angle in light winds. This will rail the board a bit more than normal powered upwind sailing, but it will help keep you on plane without losing your upwind angle. Similar to the old longboard technique for upwind performance.

Upwind, keep your harness lines short and keep the sail/mast vertical for more wind power. Don't over sheet. All of this takes practice to find the right combination.

I usually do well in light winds because I normally choose a rig that is smaller than the other racers and I practice on the smaller rigs a lot. Basically, I am becoming more conservative as I get older, not liking to be out on my 11.0 in over 13 knots, my 9.2 over 18 knots or my 8.4 over 21 knots. Last season, I raced with my 6.6 on three occasions and found it too big for me when the wind hit 27-30 knots. Fun and avoiding crashes is becoming more important than winning.

8th December 2009, 05:01 PM
Thanks Ken...
When you say keep your harness lines short, are you talking about the adjustable thing? Or would you use a short one, lets say 24-26cm all the time?
Also when keeping the mast vertical, I understand that I should not to bring it to windward, but to go upwind I have to try to bring it to stern, as almost with the sail touching the chicken strap... isnīt that? Maybe Iīm souding dumb, but just to clarify...

8th December 2009, 10:49 PM

You are not sounding dumb. Asking questions is always good until you understand completely.

Yes, adjustable harness lines. Length depends on your boom height and your physical size (arm length) as well as the type of harness. A seat harness requires longer lines than a waist harness.

Regardless, they should be short for upwind and long for downwind if you stay in the outside straps and don't go to the chicken strap. If you do go to the chicken strap, then short lines will be better. If you try to stay in the outside straps on a fast downwind run (lines long), then chicken out and go the the chicken strap, you will find that your lines will be too long and you will be using your arms 100% with no harness help. It is really hard to shorten your lines once in this situation, so the decision to keep then short or to lengthen them must be made as you round the windward mark before heading downwind. At least this is true for me.

Correct, don't pull the sail to windward while heading upwind (light winds). For heavy winds, you will have to pull that sail to windward to balance the additional force. Raking the sail back to the deck (closing the gap) or sheeting in will give you more power upwind. However, you can over do it and stall. This is where practice comes in, finding the perfect amount of sheeting in to provide maximum power.

Hope this helps.

12th December 2009, 02:01 AM

Ive found this article to be extremely helpful for formula technique.