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nicolo.piccolomini 28th April 2012 10:54 AM

harness line position for top speed
to go as fast as possible i tend to place the harness lines slightly further back so that i sheet in as much as possible and the board is free to head downwind easily. however, i have a problem with this: since the harness lines are not positioned 'properly', my front hand works alot, almost as though i had no harness at all. this is a double problem as my forearm starts to feel the stress quite soon, as the conditions i sail in are between 30 and 40 knot winds with sails from 6.2 to 5.0 (which means i am VERY powered up!!) a year ago i had a wrist injury that prevented me to keep my right arm in strength, thus when my right hand is in front the fatigue and stress is doubled. is there any way to position my harness lines so that i still manage to keep my sail locked tight on the board, but relieve my front arm from excessive stress?
thank you

Ken 28th April 2012 01:48 PM

I am not a true speed sailor, but from my many years of experience, I find that the fastest point of sail is about 110-120 degrees off the wind. At this angle, I do not sheet in completely (sail in line with the board), but instead maybe 15-25 degrees off the board.

Regardless, my harness lines are balanced with equal pull on both front and back arms. If I have a good gust, then the back arm will have to work a little harder to keep the power on.

If you watch some of the record setting speed runs, the back hand is always working to control power, either sheeting in when possible to add power, or backing off if there is too much. I never see anyone with too much pull on the front hand.

I am sure others with more experience in "speed sailing" can help a little more.

Unregistered 28th April 2012 02:18 PM

You've clearly gone a bit too far back with those lines
whilst feeling safe in gusts you'll be losing a bit of sensitivity
Also no-one "locks the sail down" these days - that's very 90's
Maybe adjust your rigging to soften the sail a little more?

mark h 28th April 2012 09:40 PM

If your sailing true speed conditions IE 130-140 degrees, then your lines are best when set way back. Your back hand will almost be touching back line, and your front hand is no were near the front line. This is the correct way as you use your body weight to sheet instead of pulling with the back hand and inducing a spin out. Coming back up wind should be a real struggle and exhausting, then your are going to be nicely set up for a proper down wind run:)

Forearm pump is common among speedies. Here's a few things you can do that might help, but Im sure you will be aware of these basic things already.

1: Find a stance and line length/position that allows to feel like you can let go of rig with your front hand (but dont unless your brave/stupid). This may take 10 or more runs of adjusting/altering trim to find what works "that day". Every session will be slightly different.

2: Start applying a couple of extra cm to your downhaul to give lighter feeling to your sail. Most speedies go way past normal recommended settings.

3: Make sure you have had plenty of carbs the night before (and no beer, sorry). Top up on porridge in the morning. Eat bananas (for potassium) on the day to help flush out lactic acid from your muscles. Stay well hydrated. Come back in for a break before your tank runs on empty for a 20 minute break and do a few simple forearm stretches and give your forearms a quick basic deep message to get blood flowing before going back out.

4: Make sure your wetsuit still has plenty of flexiblity in the forearm area. Wetsuits loose there flexibilty after time, and can cause forearm tiredness.

5: If you have your lines close together, open them up (a lot) aka SU11. More and more speedies are using their lines further apart.

6: If not already, start working pumping some iron to regain your arm strength (and some more).

7: Last but not least, If your using an older thicker boom, try and have a go of a narrower diameter boom. Chinook, NP and simmer do good 29mm booms. A thicker diameter will give you tired forearms quicker. I recently got an AL360 E3 slalom and the v-grip combined with the new school shape does help me to keep going longer.

Are you posting on

Non of this might work for you as there is more than one way to cook a goose, but good luck and good speeds:)

nicolo.piccolomini 29th April 2012 11:23 AM

so wait i don't understand: is it correct or not to set my harness lines back? mark, don't worry, no beer in the night as i am still 17, and no, i don't record on GPS, i don't have the money to buy one (i went in debt with my dad to buy my equipment). thanks on the advice!

mark h 29th April 2012 06:19 PM

Its ok to go out get hammered at 17 :))

Yep, its correct to set your lines back for overpowered broad runs:)

COACHG 29th April 2012 07:20 PM


Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 56813)
Also no-one "locks the sail down" these days - that's very 90's

I read that somewhere also but every time I see a picture of the pro's racing they are locked down. Every picture I have of me crossing the finish line or hitting the start line-locked down.

I guess those of us that still race are stuck in the 90's :rolleyes:


nicolo.piccolomini 30th April 2012 05:45 AM

thanks a lot. haha mark it's ok to get hammered at 17 (especially as i finish school for ever on the 17th of may, then it's all about partying), but i would never think of drinking alcohol before a windsurf session.
coach G my 'instructor', if you can call him that, is my dad, and yes that is perhaps why we are used to sailing like in the 90s.

Gyurmo 1st May 2012 02:51 PM

hi nicolo,

let me come to your question from a different direction. i think most of the sailors can be faster with a Futura/Overdrive (personally) well trimmed combo, than with bjorn's iSonic/Reflex set up WITH BJORN'S TRIM, what is the fastest combo and trim on the world right now on the slalom course...

the reason is simply, these top guys whom you check on the pictures make this sport in a different universe.

the point is, im pretty sure for you at age 17 after a serious injury the most important speed factor is the comfort feeling. means if your straps, mastfoot position, sail trimming (as mark mentioned the downhaul above) and harness line position give the lightest feeling for your body when you running down, i think you will be the fastest compare to yourself. for that mission i would put your harness line to the neutral point, where your hands have more or less similar pull of the boom. when your body start to be tiered (as you said to your front arm), you immediately slowing down, even if you cannot recognize.

when you have routine with this "style", you can start to step forward with other trimming details, if you still miss some scary speed experiences :D.


Ken 2nd May 2012 02:24 PM

An example of harness line position - Yesterday I was out on 6.0 Maui Sails Switch on a HiFly 105 in winds up to 25 knots. I put new harness lines on the boom and had them too far back (constant pull on the front arm). In this situation, there is nothing one can do to make it comfortable except hope for a BIG gust to balance the rig or stop and move the lines forward. I moved the lines.

If the lines are two far forward, then the back arm has too much pull, so you can sheet out and re balance the rig, but you will lose power and will go slower. You can pull in to add power and go faster. For me, this is better than having the lines too far back.

Balanced is still the best way to go.

If you are trying for a personal best, you need to be well overpowered, which means that part of the time you will likely sheet out to gain a little control in the gusts and sheet in to add power and accelerate when you feel stable. If the winds are steady, the sail will remain somewhat fixed in it's relationship to the board.

As you head off the wind for maximum speed, the apparent wind (combination of wind direction and the board moving through the wind) changes, this is why the sail will not be sheeted in tight to the board, but will be about 30 degrees of the mid line of the board for maximum lift.

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