Yet another begginners board question, but slightly different.
Total novice here! Im 6ft 4, 95kgs reasonable balance (can stand up onskis, skateboard etc)
I have had 2 lessons in the past using a BIC board - dont know the size but quite wide and was able to stay on my feet - but lots of falling off!
However I the bought an old HI Fly superfun 330 with a 5 m sail which I find totally imposible to use. I can just about stand up and somtimes pull up the sail but the fall straight off.
Is it just me being incompetant? or should I change boards for a more modern begginner outfit?
If so what one/size is best for me.
Ps I live near Southend UK for anyone who knows the conditions.
At 95 Kg, in any sort or rough or choppy water the best board to learn on would be a Start Large.
It is by far the most stable.
But, it usually only takes a few sessions on the Start Large (100 cm 39.3" wide) for new sailors to
develop the techniques to be able to sail a much narrower board.
So, some of your issue is the narrow HiFly board, and some of is you haven't learned to correct uphauling and where to stand techniques yet.
You can make it much easier and pick up a used Start Large (this will become a great board for early planing once your skills improve (with large sails of course).
Or you can carry on with the HiFly and give your self some time to learn the board.
Wish you were here in the USA as I love to work with new sailors with exactly this sort of issue.
It almost always ends up being a "how to you uphaul and get under way sequencing issue with
a good bit of incorrect foot placement.
Have you been taught to sheet the sail in and add power AFTER you have both feet behind the mast foot.... or before you have your front foot behind the mast foot? This is usually the biggest issue.
You have very poor balance if your front foot stays in front of the mast foot when you are getting underway. If you do not add any power until after you have both feet behind the mast foot and are balanced over the fore/aft centerline of the board you don't fall in as much.
Also the manner in which you add the power of the sail can be very upsetting to your carefully acheved
balance. Try sheeting in with one finger on you back hand on the boom. This will get the board moving, and a board that's moving is much more stable than a board that's stationary.
Add the power of the sail very slowly and gently. This is not a full hand strength thing.
Roger (and Chrystal)
I have just got back from Fuerteventura where I signed up for a course. In fact I went to Fuerte rather than anywhere else because of its reputation as a windsurfing centre par excellence.
I have to confess I was a bit disappointed with the degree of supervision (pretty near zero to begin with) and the venue (an extremely rocky tidal pool) but maybe they aren't equipped for the older beginner.
I thought I was pretty fit but I have to admit that I'm heavy (160 pounds - more when wet!) and I found it really hard to push the sail forward to initiate a downwind turn without submerging the front of the board.
At one point the instructor, seeing my difficulty, stepped the mast forward, but that had no effect on not submerging the front end.
I was pretty sore at the end of day 2 (day 1 had been theory) so I didn't manage day 3.
I felt that I needed a bigger, more stable board and a longer length in front to add buoyancy to that end.
Now I appreciate I'm a complete beginner who knows less than nothing but I AM enthusiastic and I'm pretty determined so I'm not giving up.
I have good balance; I cycle and I ski. I ride horses. I scuba. I really want to get into this because when I got the board moving I really enjoyed. I'm not posting to complain; rather to seek suggestions as to where I go from here.
And I was told to keep my front foot in front of the mast at all times.
Mind you I don't see how I could have done anything else because the mast wasn't happy about going forward far enough even then!
Hi Crafty Fox,
160 lbs. is not HEAVY!..... in fact it's very light for an adult male windsurfer.
The average is normally around 180 lbs-185 lbs. (81-84 Kg.)
So, the issue is not your weight.
What board did they put you on?
I would have to say that their technique is realy not good.
If you need to get the nose of the board downwind, to get underway, that is something you
do with sail angle....not tipping the rig forward.
As far as your front foot, yes, you need to have it in front of the mast foot, but ONLY when you are in the process of uphauling.
Once the sail is uphauled and and you mast is held in your front hand, you need to get your front froot behind the mast foot BEFORE you even put your back hand on the boom to begin to sheet in.
Try bringing the mast across the board in front of your front shoulder (AFTER you have moved your front foot behind the mast foot) until it balances on the mast foot.
THEN sheet in very slowly and gently.
Your board will move off nicely straight across the wind if you pay attention to your "T" position alignnment.
You CANNOT really sail a windsurfer very successfully with your front foot IN FRONT of the mast foot.
You front leg and the mast will always be vying for the same space.
Move your front foot back BEFORE you even think about adding any power to the sail.
Let me say first of all that I got my weight wrong. I wish I was 160 pounds and if there were 10 pounds to a stone I would be! In fact I'm 16 stones which is 224 pounds. Good job I'm a lawyer not an accountant!
I've no idea what board I was put on but if it helps it was made of a "squidgy" material. It was very stable in fact and I could manage to turn it around without any problem.
No one ever suggested I should move my front foot backwards on the board to behind the mast area, so that would explain the front's tendency to dip I guess.
What do you mean by sail angle? I was told specifically to move the whole rig forward - obviously the mast remains on the deck - in order to initiate a turn away from the wind, and that must necessarily involve tipping the whole lot forward. The sail at that point is depowered and I had hold of the mast or the uphaul with my front hand and my back hand doing nothing whatever except get ready to get hold of the boom ready to sheet in, but once I did that I turned into the wind again.
What is the T position alignment?
I'm afraid none of that was explained.
OK 16 stone...this makes quite a difference and explains some of the issues you are having!
OK we'll go through the whole sequence:
1/ Place your feet with your arches directly over the fore and aft centerline of the board.
The front foot goes slightly (due to your weight) in front of the mast foot (place the mast foot in the
middle or behind the middle please to keep your mass over the widest and most buoyant area of the board).
The rear foot goes somewhere behind the mast foot... about a shoulders width behind the front foot.
At 16 stone, you will need to manage the fore and aft balance of the board as much or more than the side to side (rail to rail) balance.
Your back needs to be directly toward the wind with your board lying directly accross the wind with the mast down wind and perpendicular to the boards fore/aft centerline.
2/ When you have your feet placed correctly and you can stand up straight, with one hand on the
uphaul line (rig lying in the water downwind of the board).
Pull the rig so the mast is perpendicular "T" to the board.
Squat down and move your hand further out the uphaul.
3/ Slowly stand up from the squatting positon and bring the mast out of the water.
Continure to bring the mast up out of the water until you can grasp the mast (below the boom) with your
new front hand (the hand that will be nearest the front of the board).
4/ Hold the mast directly in front of your body with the end of the boom straight out (T position alignment again). If the board begins to turn nose into the wind, lean the sail towards the rear to stop the turning and return the board to directly across the wind (T positon).
If the board begins to turn nose downwind, lean the mast toeards the front of the board to return it to the
perpendicular "T" position.
5/ Move your rear foot a bit further behind the mast so that your rear foot is about a full shoulder width behind the mast.
Bring your front foot from ahead of the mast to just behind the mast.
BE SURE TO LEAVE THE SAIL/BOOM PERPENDICULAR TO THE BOARDS CENTERLINE.
DO NOT MOVE THE MAST BACK AS YOU STEP BACK!!!
6/ Position your front foot about 4-6" off center of the fore/aft centerline and slightly behind the mast foot
with your toes pointing forward toward the front of the board.
Place your rear foot so you heel is on the boards fore/aft centerline with the toes pointing about 45 deg. foreward of straight across the board.
Feet need to be about the width of your shoulders apart.;
This will put your center of mass directly over the boards fore and aft center of buoyancy.
RESIST ALL TEMPTATION TO GRAB THE BOOM WITH YOUR BACK HAND!!!
Ok, now you almost in sailing position..... check your alignment to the wind and the "T" position.
If you are not standing steady, with both feet behind the mast foot, with the end of the boom pointing straight down wind and perpendicular ("T" position) to the F/A centerline of the board, you need to correct your alignment!
If the board has turned upwind, this means you brought the mast back as you stepped back. Lean the mast/sai forward slightly and the board will correct back to the "T" positon.
If your board has turned downwind, this means you have allowed the mast to fall toward the front of your boars some. Correct this by leaning the righ slightly to the rear.
7/ Now bring your front hand (holding the mast under the head of the boom) across in front of your front shoulder.
Try to bring it across to the point that the rig balances on the mast foot. You can check this by letting go of the mast momentarily. If the rig tends to fall back toward downwind (leeward side) you haven't brought it far enough across to the balance point.
If the rig wants to fall towards the upwind side, you have brought it too far upwund....correct for this until your rig "balances" on the mast foot.
Again...RESIST ALL TEMPTATION TO TOUCH THE BOOM WITH EITHER HAND.
GRABBING/TOUCHING THE BOOM WILL SCREW UP YOUR ALIGNMENT ("T" POSITION HERE AGAIN)!
8/ Now you are ready to place one or two fingers of your back hand on the boom. about a soulders width
behind the mast and right in front of your rear shoulder.
9/ Move your front hand from the mast up onto the boom very near the juncture of the mast and the boom.
You still have not moved even one inch (perhaps a slight drift downwind, but no movement forward or back.
Your board is still pointing directly across the wind (the easiest point of sail).
10/ Now rotate your upper body (from the hips) a few degrees so the sail begins to develop some pressure. Rotate the back shoulder inboard and upwind slightly and the front shoulderoutboard and downwind slightly.
Your board will start to sail off directly across the wind.
If you wish to sail a little more upwind, move the end of the boom down slightly toward the water to incline your rig slightly to the rear.
If you wish to sail more downwind, extend your front arm slightly to move the end of the boom up and the right slightly forward.
You can see the various positons and alignments on this US Sailing instructional website:
You need to look at:
P.S. At no time do you step forward or radically rake the rig forward.
It takes a little time for the board to turn to the correct alignment (T Position again) but the
alignment is critical to learning to windsurf at the basic level easily without alot of drama.
I have to say that the course I took in Fuerteventura (Spanish Canaries btw; don't blame the Italians) did not make any of this clear. I got as far as sailing along with one hand on the mast and the other hanging free but when I tried to power up the sail from my position (one foot in front of mast) down went the front of the board. Now I think I understand the reason. I think I need a couple of days at Poole!
And many many thanks for your help. I will try again.
Sorry I goofed on the location.
Give the US Windsurfing photo instruction a try.
It's not exactly what I teach, but very close.
Try to remember and get ALL the steps in sequence.
It's alot easier to back up one step and then go forward than to fall in the
water and have to start all over.
Try to find a big wide board for at least your first few sessions.
I had absolute beginners out on Saturday in 20 knots + (not fun) and they fell in a few times
but did actually sail a way on their own.
Yesterday we had light winds and they were all sailing all over the place.
Lot's of fun!
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