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Unregistered 22nd January 2014 02:29 PM

Harness lines position
Hi guys,
I have a simple questions.
I red that the best harness position is one third (33%) of the boom length (guy cribb).
If I respect this rule I feel a lot of pull from my front hand. Do you Think this si correct, or it's better to position the harness lines on the center of effort of the sail, so to have the same pull on both hands?

Thanks so much


Roger 22nd January 2014 10:49 PM

It's a matter of personal choice.
Some like totally balanced harness lines.....they can take both hands off the boom and the rig just stays is place, providing steady power with hands off.
Some like a bit more "back handed ness" so the rig sheets out any time you release the back hand. It's a bit safer because if you remove your back hand, some or all of the power goes out of the rig.
Some like the more pull on the front hand. Some formula racers (specially the lighter weight ones) set their rear harness line so that the rig "balances" on it , and they do all their sheeting in and out with the front hand. Makes handling the big formula sails significantly easier.
There is no "best" way when it comes to harness lines. It's totally what works for each individual.
I, for example, always balance my harness lines so I can sail with hands off for ~10 seconds
with rigs 6.0 and larger, and a bit more back handed (sheets out in the gusts unless held in)
with smaller rigs.
Where you position the front line (except for the really big formula sails) controls if the rig tries to fall forward (toward the front of the board) or back (toward the back of the board).
When you get it perfect, the rig just stands in place when fully raked back.
Then adjust the rear line position so it either stays in place (perfect balance); sheets out more (back hand prominent and controlling) or sheets in (front hand control).
Moving the line attachments wide apart makes it hard on the sailor as it's very difficult to get the balance, and the rig has a additional angular advantage to jerk the sailor around.
I like a hand width between the front and rear for me...YMMV.
Some like the lines pretty perfectly balanced with no space between the front and rear attachments (free stylers mostly).
It's all about what works for you.
Many racers use adjustable length or double harness lines....long ones for downwind where you want to "get away" from the rig and very short ones for powering upwind.
If you are comfortable and powered up with full control of your rig, you will more than likely
be fast.
If for sure won't be fast.
Hope this helps,

Farlo 23rd January 2014 12:15 PM

May also depend on conditions. In strong wind (or overpowered) you may like more back hand pull as it is safer. In light or unsteady wind you want to stay sheeted-in all the time, then lines beyond the center can give a more comfortable stance.

Unregistered 23rd January 2014 04:15 PM

Hi roger, farlo,

Thanks so much for your advice!
Since I am an intermediate 80 kg sailor in fresh water, at the moment I am comfortable in 15 knots with my big 130 liters free ride board with my 7,8 twin cam point7, so I think ill put the harness lines at the center of effort of the sail....
I hope one day I'll be also happy in stronger wind.. With little board and little sails...
Ps I had very good windsurf teachers in dahab and also here in my country, all of them agreed to set harness lines at the center of effort of the sail. So I think that the harness lines position suggested by guy cribb (33% of the boom length) is for particular situation and doesn't cover all the windsurf disciplines

Thanks so much


Krister 3rd February 2014 10:08 PM

The 1/3 "rule" only comes from the fact that the sail acts like a wing and these have their pressure center positioned around 1/3 from the leading edge. It is only meant as a quick way to find the pressure point, and harness position, on the beach when changing the boom length for one sail to another. It is not meant to be a "rule" other than a "rule of thumb" and in fact it doesn't work well on race sails above 7.5m^2.

Once on the water, you adjust the harness position to suit your sailing style. Personally I mark the position directly on the boom and barely manage to use the same positions on both sides of the boom...

Farlo 5th February 2014 08:32 AM

Many booms have marks locating the "center of effort" which is somewhat conflicting with the fact that you can extend them by 50cm. These are useful to adjust the lines equally on both sides. However you may feel good with a shift of a few cm, and notice it only after sailing. Such shift may also be desirable when going up- and downwind always on the same line (up- closer to the mast and down- further away).

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