New to Waterstarts
Not much wind here on the English South coast, but getting out when I can. Making reasonable progress actually and regularly planning on my Carve 145 with 5.0,5.7 or 6.5 rig depending on conditions. Wind range tends to be 10 to 20 knots but get phased by the chop. If this gets to any size I find uphauling quite difficult, soooo...
I have managed to crack beachstarts to a fashion; it isn't always the most pretty to watch but I get there! I intend to get some lessons for waterstarting but would like to do some reading first. Anyone know of any articles, preferably with illustrations, that would point me in the right direction please? Alternatively, can someone give me a brief description of what the technique involves together with any tips/poiters?
There's lots you can find on waterstarting if you just surf the web for a few minutes. furthermore the technique is very simular to that of waterstarting, i.e: rear foot first followed by front foot. But when you're in the water there's more too it though.
I've never had any lessons, ever, but i did learn a lot by reading and especially watching other (luckily i have a good brain to process a lot so i get around). One or two things i never found on the web were these:
1) in order to get you sail out of the water easily you have to start by getting the top of your sail out. You just swim along your mast to the top and grab the top of your mast with one hand and the sail with the other and just try to get some wind under your sail so you don't have to life all the water as you are used to with beach starts (Beach= you just grab you boom and life the bloody thing). As you get you sail lifted you keep the hand which holds the mast on it and let the other hand go and slowly you move along the mast slowly pushing it out of the water and letting it catch some wind so you don't wear yourself out or drown. By the time you get to the boom you sail is almost fully out of the water this way and you never lose control because you always have your sail in one of your hands.
2) You will be pushed under water several times, especially when your getting the sail out of the water. Try to youse the wave frequence as a sort of breathing guide so you don't swallow loads of salty water.
3) when you have your back foot on the the board start paddleing like a madman with your front foot because the sail will only life your so far, the rest is your upward propulsion from the water and the speed you get your front foot on the board without falling back in.
4) pull with your back foot. If your back foot in on the board and you start paddleing you have to pull on your backfoot because if you push you're gonne turn your board with it's nose right in the wind and well .. i don't have to go on do i? If you pull the board will turn with it's tail to the wind and you're sail will get more powered up and you don't hav to paddle as strong anymore and you get that extra lift witch gets u on the board.
5) your mast points the way you want to go. If your mast is facing the tail you have to turn your board around or flip your sail.
6) To flip sail: push the clew of your sail in the wind so the wind flips the sail for you, you just have to catch it.
Those are the most important things i learned as i was beginning to waterstart. Especially the first one was tricky because i never thought of it untill i saw a dude do it in Greece on a windy day when i wasn't in the water. (when you're sailing you don't really watch the others). Also: Stretch your quadriceps because after a while you'll get cramps (i was surfing in sicily and wanted to go for a final run after 2-3 hours and got craps at 100 m from the shore, bloody painfull m8).
since you're learning on a 145L board you shouldn't encounter too many problems so i wish you good luck and one more tip: don't quit on it if you fail the first 5 times, it's not as easy as people say it is and whatch out for drifting.
Crazychemical has given you some pretty good tips, but let's back up a bit here and talk about some basics.
First, you need to know what alignment you need to sucessfully beachstart and waterstart. The alignment will be very much the same for both.
So, if you find that when you beachstart with your board on a beam reach (board straight across the wind and perpendicular to the wind) that your board turns up into the wind too much as you are getting your foot on the board, then compensate by pointing your board further off (down wind) the wind so you are on a beam reach AFTER you get on the board.
Next, you need to figure out how to "steer" your board into alignment using only the rig via the mast foot. You can practice this in shallow (just a little deeper than the fin) water at first.
Without touching the board at all, you will (with a bit of practice here) be able to point your board in any direction and even turn it around in both directions with only a hand on the mast and a hand on the boom, or better still both hands on the boom.
When you can "steer your board" move to a little deeper water, and practice deeper and deeper beachstarts.
Soon you will be chest deep in the water and your beachstart will actually be a waterstart where you can still touch bottom. Then move out until you can no longer touch.
Remember, to extend your arms fullly as you come up out of the water.
Remember to give your rig a little "push" up to overcome some or all of it's inertia.
Your first few deep water beachstarts will help you to understand how much you need to compensate (angle wise here) so you end up on a beam reach when you are fully on the board.
Some folks advocate waterstarting with the rear foot on the board near the rear footstrap and pulling the board under your butt as you come up out of the water supported by the rig. This works well for a lot of sailors.
I don't put any feet on the board as that generally pushes the tail of the board too far away. Maybe I'm not flexible enough or something...!
Anyway, I get as close to the tail of the board as I can, then pop the sail up, and kick with both feet. My goal is to get a foot on the board near the rail to rail centerline.
Then I get both feet down, sheet out the sail, and get everything set and in alignment before sheeting in again to get fully underway. All of this happens very quickly so it does not look like I'm waterstarting differently from other sailors.
So, there are a number of ways to waterstart, and you need to try different things until you find the techniques that work for you with your gear.
Speaking of gear, with your small sails (6.5 m2 is your largest I think) you won't be able to effectively waterstart in < 14-15 knots and even then it will be a bit marginal.
If you had a 7.5, learning to waterstart in 12 knots would make the learning process alot easier as the water is much flatter.
Hope this helps,
Thank you both. Some interesting tips to get me going. I think I will get out there and try some deep water beach starts to begin with and re post with the inevitable questions. I am actually looking for a 7.5m sail to complete my little quiver for the time being so this may help. As I get a bit better, I seem to be able to handle larger sails in stronger winds so will need a 7.5m anyway.
Thanks again and glad to see that you are back with us Roger.
Just a small tip from somebody who has made his few first waterstarts recently, something that my instructor told me this summer.
Keep your arms straight (and close to each other) at all cost - you'll get under the water at first, stay calm, just keep them extended and the sail will pull you up eventually.
The reason is you need to keep the sail up us much as possible so it can provide more lift. Same rule as for the beach starts you already know.
I remember I was lying there in the water, with both of my feet on the board, controlling the angle and just waiting for the stronger wind to pull me up (getting under the water few times in the meantime, but I was ready for that).
Great feeling when you waterstart for the first time, keep practising.
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