View Full Version : What is the best stance for FW upwind

27th October 2010, 10:53 PM
I have formula gear.
I can go upwind but not as good as the other sailors. They really go in a very sharp angle and they do not loose speed. The gain speed.
so my question is:
What is the best stance for this? Should I rake back the sail and lean foward? Should I use both legs straihgt? Should I lean back with the sail? Should I push the fin using my toes?


28th October 2010, 02:08 AM

I have my back leg straight with a lot of pressure on the fin, front leg a little bit bended, body leaning forward. Max outhaul on sail.

Hope this helps.

28th October 2010, 06:13 PM
Mmm, I think that the correct position is completely the opposite!

Back leg slightly bent and front leg straight - this way you can leverage more power from the fin and drive the board more to windward.

Carbonsugar is a good source of information, this article describes some good sailing positions:

28th October 2010, 08:00 PM
Hi Raffing,

So what you are saying is that one has to have the front leg straight with the back leg bent for shox absortion, and my body and the sail leans back? (obviously with the outhaul max)?

mark h
28th October 2010, 10:29 PM
Bel is correct for sure. Raffig describes a downwind stance.

Straight back leg, no pressure through the front leg (only slight pressure if water is rough), lean forward at the waist (almost trying to touch the nose of the board with your chin, back hand a bit further up the boom.

With your adjustable outhaul, flatten the sail on the upwind tack (but remember to let it back out before gybing back down wind), if you have an uphaul rope, try hanging onto it with your front hand, if find I get a few more degrees of upwind angle doing this. Deck plate position depends on the course.

29th October 2010, 03:44 AM
Upright works for me ; well almost. Almost upright that is;just leaning over a bit;not too much though. Keeping upright as long as possible;time wise as long as posible of course.Not upright and long because I`m bent over a bit.Well not bent right over;that just wouldn`t work would it.Sort of bent forward in middle but upright (sort of) and going forward with the board is definitely best.Well actually sideways and forward but upright and bent with straight legs; but bent occasionally.

The coach.

29th October 2010, 03:59 AM
Bel is correct for sure. Raffig describes a downwind stance.

I was actually describing an upwind stance... Sean O'brien describes it perfectly in the carbonsugar link which I sent:

"The best technique involves having a straighter front leg than your back leg....The concept should be to apply more weight to your back leg and lifting your front foot to rail the board, which allows you to power the fin and still rail the board"

29th October 2010, 07:49 PM
As also a begginer, I would pay a bit more attention on your feet than the legs. Both Bel and Raffig are corretc, however that depends on the board that you are using, the sea state and the gusts...
However the idea with your feet is always the same (when going upwind). the front foot you will have to have your toes bent pulling the strap, with the back foot you would press your toe on the board, while kinda moving your heel to the front ,as if your toe was to be pointing to stern. By doing that you will gonna be using the leward rail of your board to get a better angle, not only the fin. Too much pressure on the fin you will have a lot of drag, instead of angle and speed. Too much pressure on the fin and you will also get easyly tired...
Thats only one opynion, please correct me if Im mistaking some here.(sorry 4 bad english)

30th October 2010, 02:36 AM
The leewad sailing tips on carbonsugar.com are for railing the board, not regular upwind stance. unreg ask for upwind stance tips, not railing board. Railing the board is an advanced technic for super high but takes a lot of practise, fun when mastered. unreg says his mates are going quick upwind, i would guess they are not railing board. Regular upwindstance means straight back leg to power fin, light on front foot, hike out board as much as you can, and stay sheeted in. Bent back leg and straight front leg is good windward stace. Dont send this guy downwind when his mates are going upwind:)

1st November 2010, 06:06 AM
Try a new fin

3rd November 2010, 06:48 PM
Speed is the keyword here.The faster you go,the higher you climb.So simple :)
Therefore forget moving whole your body to the front,forget a more upright stance,forget straight back leg and bent front leg,forget getting close to the sail...
Lay back as much as possible,but the sail upright.Longer harness lines even better to keep away from the sail while keeping the sail upright.
Bear off downwind slightly and gain more speed.Then assume super 7 stance like you are sailing across the wind.
Pull the outhaul to the max and lean the sail to the deck as much as possible and sheet in full.
Keep your stance and speed.This is crucial.
Try to lift and turn the nose of the board into the wind by using your front foot in the front strap.Do this by lifting up your front foot fingers and toe, and turning your whole leg to the nose.Tight straps will help a lot.You can't do it with loose straps.
Don't bend your front leg.Keep it straight and strong.
Keep your stance as if you sail across!!! Chest parallel to the sail.No twisting to the front.
SLIGHTLY bend your rear leg.
Press down the back foot fingers and toes.Lift up the rear heel.The rear heel barely touching or not touching at all to the deck.Maintain adequate constant lateral pressure to the fin by pushing.However this pressure is not as big as before naturally since your rear leg is bent.But this is OK.

This is the best upwind stance to climb high and fast.Albeau himself had explained to me a few years back.
You can try and perfect this technics on the land in a couple of minutes.Put your board on the grass and find a low chair around 40 cm.Wear the straps and and sit on the chair.Then turn the board as explained above.
To cilmb higher you can use bigger fin also.

3rd November 2010, 09:15 PM
The original question pertained to upwind on a formula board. Bel had it correct, but as post #11 said, speed is the key. However, railing a formula board more than 10-20 degrees is counter productive. The idea is to keep it as flat as you can, but it will rail up some anyway.

Upwind takes SHORT harness lines and a flat sail - downwind takes LONG harness lines and a full sail. All formula racers have adjustable harness lines so they can lengthen the lines as they round the upwind mark and shorten the lines as they head back upwind. Outhaul gets the same adjustments at the marks - flat upwind and full downwind.

Almost all your weight on the back leg going upwind and it should be straight. However, both legs may need to bend if you are going over large chop to keep the board down on the water. If you get any air, it can spell disaster. You curl you toes up in the front strap just to keep your foot from coming out, no need to lift anything.

4th November 2010, 12:52 AM
I (the author of message #11) am totally agree with you.The stance you described here is the best known upwind stance and assumed by all sailors time to time and it definitely works.BUT......
This stance is generally good for surviving overpowering conditions and indeed the angle of climb is higher than any other stance.But the problem is speed.It is not as fast as railing the board.
By the way,Albeau's technic was for FW but it works equally for slalom too.You are right,railing a FW board is no easy but it can be railed some anyway and the FW sailors who can rail better are better racers.
The main difference with the classical stance and the stance I described is the power factor.Long harness lines keep sailor away from the sail therefore more upright sail and more power in the sail.Since the sailor lays extremely back,no weight on the board and therefore faster.

Also the courses of these two technics are different.Classical stance gives a more linear course while railing is more arch-like providing more clean air and water away from the fleet.

Stance I explained here may work perfect for Albeau and some, and classical may work perfect for others.
I beleive both stances are OK and have usages in different race and sea conditions.
The good thing is to discuss and share such valuable information here.

4th November 2010, 09:01 PM
Nice one from unregistered, in that way is easy to understand why I have been seing a lot of people holding the front hand on the uphaul line, instead of the boom, to keep the mast upright I believe.
Ken, how do you manage to adjust the harnesse lines while planing? I dont use those adjustable ones, and I am just curious to imagine how it would work while planning full speed.

4th November 2010, 09:07 PM
For some of us, longer lines spell disaster going up wind. Where I race, S.F. Bay, long lines on FW will get you washed off the board by the swells. My lines have to be short and upright stance going up wind to avoid getting hammered.


4th November 2010, 09:39 PM
Starting from the last year I adopted the stance unreg described here.It is really much faster than the classical stance and much less tiring.Though unreg says classical stance gives higher climbing angle,I found out that with the extra speed I can climb even higher for there is less or no drifting factor at higher speeds.
The longer lines were problem at the beginning.Extreme laying back caused spins and washing offs when hitting big swells as coachg said.However 2 cm bigger fin and sliding the lines 2 cm to the front solved everything.Also longer lines helped a lot to avoid downwind catapults at real high speeds.

4th November 2010, 09:39 PM

There are a few different types of adjustable lines, some with plastic buckles and a finger loop for release, and others with metal cleats. Basically, lines are lengthened when rounding the upwind mark, usually just before heading downwind. It's easier to let go with the back hand and release the line if you are slowing down to round or if you are about to tack. If you have to gybe on the downwind run, then you either have to lengthen the other line just after gybing or stay with the short line until you hit the mark. Depends on how much wind and how far you have to go to the mark.

I usually shorten the line just before rounding the downwind mark if alone (no traffic) by sheeting out and slowing up a bit. If crowded, then I will do it after rounding the mark and begin heading back upwind.

Since I am not a great formula racer, I frequently go into the chicken strap when heading downwind when the wind is over 20 knots. If using the chicken strap, then short lines work best and no adjustment has to be made when rounding the mark. However, it's rare for a top sailor to use a chicken strap and some don't have them.

A few formula racers have two sets of harness lines on their booms, one short and one long. They just hook on to the one they need. I once saw a single harness line with two loops. Same deal as two lines, but you only have one to attach to the boom.

I am not a great formula sailor and others like COACHG may have some other suggestions.

I don't recall any top racers holding on to an uphaul line while racing Formula. Many don't even take an uphaul when racing. Standard formula technique means you are overpowered upwind and you better have both hands on the boom. I agree with Coachg on the issue with long harness lines upwind. Even with short lines in strong winds, I have been slammed by waves while heading upwind a few times in Corpus Christi Bay. You can't lean back much in 1 meter chop.

Phil McGain is the one that once told me to keep the board as flat as possible heading upwind, but when fully powered, it does rail up a little. I have watched a lot of top formula sailors ahead of me, going faster and pointing higher with their boards railed no more than 15 degrees.

5th November 2010, 12:17 AM
Some great responses here about the finer techniques of upwind formula racing.
I dont think there 1 steadfast way of achieving the best vmg. It varies according to your weight, equipment and conditions.
The best way to determine what works for you is to try various techniques.

What works in SF may not work else where and vise versa.
In general, however, I have found- the big rig, wide board and soft fins of a modern formula set up allow you to add power and increase lift until a certain point where you need to start reducing power. One common success technique is to pinch to bleed the power off. Its a fine line of determining the best vmg but longer harness lines do allow you to sit down and bring the rig to windward to depower. Some guys to it with short lines- all personal preference.

In general if you are fighting or struggling with the rig and board, it's usually time to size down either fin or sail or both (or de power by moving your boom down and/or mast position forward)
The best techniques- keep the foot of the sail over the center line of the board and subtle adjustments are made to adjust the trim of the rig and the board.

On the opposite spectrum- in light winds- railing the board upwind with a softer more powerful wide fin and holding the rig more upright with the uphaul adds a lot of power to your setup. If you can successfully turn this into lift and better upwind performance- bravo!

What may work for a big powerful 200lb + sailor like Albeau may not work for a smaller 150lb Sylvester type sailor but that not to say either is wrong- just different in their approach.

9th November 2010, 12:02 AM
To me, this thing down below, just worker too good. Really, last weekend races I got a very good 3rd place because of that in my mind:
Speed is the keyword here.The faster you go,the higher you climb.So simple :)
...Don't bend your front leg.Keep it straight and strong.
Keep your stance as if you sail across!!! Chest parallel to the sail.No twisting to the front.
SLIGHTLY bend your rear leg
Press down the back foot fingers and toes.Lift up the rear heel.The rear heel barely touching or not touching at all to the deck.Maintain adequate constant lateral pressure to the fin by pushing.However this pressure is not as big as before naturally since your rear leg is bent.But this is OK...

Cheers unreg, ken and everybodyelse, sometimes I pick up a lot of good and productive stuff from these forums, cheers;

18th November 2010, 06:36 PM
Do any of you lot use waist harnesses - and do you change technique at all if you do ??

Carlos fandango