trying small boards
So, last wednesday i had the day off and the good lords smiled upon me by blowing about 28 knots my way. Excited like a little boy on xmas eve i took off to my local spot which had changed from a flatwater lake to a giant bowl of irregular chop with water flying around and little waves bashing into the wood on the lakeside.
I got out my 4.2 (i never thought i'd be testing that sail so soon) and had the misfortune that i had left my 90 l waveboard somewhere else ready to leave to another spot (i got a call late the night before calling that trip off so i got stuck with my 113l board ... how screwed can u get?) so off i went on my flow and a 28 cm fin. Downwind went fine, i hit the back of the waves and never had too many problems, coming back upwind however was something else, the irregular chop meant i bumped into wave after wave with barely any time to regain controle of the board and resulting always in a nice little crash about halfway the lake.
I finally got sick of the big board and took out an old wave warrior which had no volume indication but after talking to a few peaple and considering it's length, age and width we gathered it must have been like 70 l or so. Now i never sailed anything that small and the idea was that i'd test the 90 l that day for the first time but none the less i took it out and tried it.
Beachstarting that bugger was a struggle on its own, i had enough power to hang my entire wieght on the sail and get the board to turn downwind but no matter how hard i tried i couldn't get the board to plane, even worse, i only got it fully out the water when an immense gust it me (must have been around 32 knts). Waterstarting was as big a catastrophe as beachstarts but i never got into any real problems and always got back. But i wondered, do you always need to be so overpowered as a heavyweight to sail small boards like that ??? I mean, if i had put up a 4.7 i'd have been propperly overpowered but i'd probably also have been too fast with that boards if i would have been on propper waves, so whats the deal?
What's your weight again?
Whenever you are sailing a "sinker" (for your weight) sail size (and sheeting angle) become much more critical.
If you don't have quite enough sail size, you won't get going easliy, even with "flutter pumping".
Also smaller sails are much more sensitive to proper sheeting angle and it's very easy to oversheet/undersheet them.
This is why you find that under 6.0 m2 there are sail sizes by 0.2 m2.
If you were riding on larger waves (head high and more) and really "wavesailing" rig size becomes even more critical because you need to be able to accelerate quickly, jibe quickly, and depower the sail on the wave face.
So, smaller wave/B&J/high wind sails are designed with less overall draft and this is why it's easy to undersheet/oversheet.
On a 6.5 m2 rig, you will find that you can move the boom end 2-3 inches between no power (undersheeted too much) and stalled (oversheeted too much).
On your 4.2 m2 rig the 2-3 inches will shrink to maybe 3/4"-1.5" (maybe even less.
So you have to become alot more sensitive to the "feel" of the little sail when it's making
Also, if you are accustomed to heading well off the wind on much larger sails (7.5 m2 +) to get going in marginal conditions, this just doesn't work so well on smaller sails as they do not have the draft depth to make their best power at much below 120 deg.
This is why the high wind speed sailors look for areas where the speed course can be set up 110-120 deg. off the prevailing wind direction.
It's the fastest and easiest control direction at full speed but unless you have 30 knots+
windspeed you can't get going on the little narrow "speed boards" they are sailing.
Yes, you might have had better luck getting going (from a beach start or waterstart) with your 4.7 m2 rig, but you might also find that the 4.7 m2 would be a little hard to control.
But, when sailing sinker boards, it's always better to have a little more power than you really need because you can undersheet (or ease your sheeting angle a little) and dump a bit of power.
If you don't have enough power to get going it's really tough.
A quick story, from my own experience, to illustrate thse points.
My first ride on a "sinker board" was in Cape Hatteras, out to the "Reef" (3 miles) in the middle of the Pamlico Sound.
My friends girlfriend (she was a really good high wind sailor) wanted to go out there so she picked her little board and a 4.2 m2 wavesail.
I didn't have any boards smaller than around 100 liters so she said I could use the little "Gorge board" that they had stashed under their house.
I think it's about 75 liters and a early 90's "no nose" design.
I rigged a 4.8 m2 wavesail and off we went......well, off she went.
I tried to beachstart and the little board just sank to the bottom as soon as I put weight on it.
She sailed back in and told me to move further out to the windline.
I tried just inside the windline a couple more times, and the little board started forward then just sank to the bottom and stopped.
When I got just past the windline it was amazing.
I did exactly the same as I had in less wind inside the windline, but the little board just took off.
At some point they gave me that little board and I still have it as my "high wind" board.
Since it's a "no nose" design (maybe the little board you were on was a no nse as well)
it's always a struggle when I first get on it because I have to keep a foot more forward to force the nose off the wind.
Once it starts to light up, then back into the straps and that little board is a rocket ship.
It's fast, jumps really easy, but it's very sensitive to sail size and sheeting angle, and I always kinda hate it right at first.
As soon as I adjust to the no nose and sinker design, then I love it.
Hope this helps,
i weigh 95 Kg
I noticed that my 4.7 and 4.2 are both very sensitive sails, they cath every bit of wind there is and have a lot of power. I love how nervous they are, they feel like a couple of race horses wanting to just simply go and keep going.
So in it's essence, if i'd have rigged lets say 4.5 or so i would have gotten away with it. I basicly faced the same problems as you did on the 75l board, though the wave warrior has a propper nose but a really sensitive tail, the slightest amount of backfoot pressure and it was game over. I got it floating a couple of times but even then i was really waiting for a good gust to come and take me away ...
At least i have good hope now for the 90 l board. If i can get back and forth on a 70 l i can easily do it on 90, just need to think about more sailpower i guess. The 4.2 was marginal at some points...but on a 113 l it was getting out of controle as u can immagine.
Oh yes, "unmarked" boards. My personal experience comes from a fairly standard oldschool mistral xle, which turned out to be 94 ltr. The thing is, volume in high winds may not be as important as tail width and rocker shape. If it's below 55cm in width, 9' and pin tailed i'm not going to bother with it for flatwater sailing. A properly designed board, when half planing, should only really then take a committed step into the straps and it should plane fully. The problem with long skinny shortboards is that that step is longer than it needs to be, and a long, low float skinny board is super senstive to drag created by changes in angle of attack. A small, yet wider board is less so.
i tried my 90L yesterday and i got it planning without too much trouble. First few runs were a bit dodgy but once i got the feeling of the board i was on and planning in no time. But i always felt it slow down a bit as i went into the footstraps (this is a rrd wave one L, so very inboard straps, i gathered they were responsible for the loss in speed).
In addition to Roger's excellent post:
-You're 95kilos. Tiny, pin-tailed and wave rockered 70l board. You're on a 4.2. On a freshwater lake. Presumably gusty inland winds. Well yes, you need a sh*tload of wind to get/stay planing. For your weight, I wouldn't call 32 knots an "immense" gust, I would rather say "beginning to look like optimal" ;-)))))) - for that gear.
I'm 86 kilos, (freshwater lumpy mess and gusty winds) and I use 74l acid in near gales. You're heavier and you have a smaller, older wave banana (presumably, I'm not familiar with that model). I guess you're not going to use it that often (but boy you'll remember those sessions). Alternatively, you could look for something like 78l Kombat to use as a high-wind board next to your 90l.
With regard to sails: I use Tush Storms, they are excellent "high-wind freeride" sails. Why? Because some wave sails are designed to have an "on/off" feel to them, which is important for wave sailors to depower on the wave face, etc. But on mental b/j days, you may find you prefer steadier, solid power delivery of the Storms (I'm sure other makes have something similar).
PS Welcome to the world of sinkers and good luck! Soon you'll find your bigger gear somewhat boring ;-)
haha, thx Screamer.
After my 90 L session i'm just dying to get on it again!
As for the Wave Warrior, it's not mine (luckily, it's so not a good board for inland lakes!), and i'm guessing, with the progression i made in my first 4 years with a maximum of 14 planning days a year compared to now with already a TOW planning threshhold of 30 days i'll be able to pull of 75L boards in a year or two. But first i want to learn to ride waves in medium wind conditions (like a steady 19 knts and 6.2) (see thats the biggest problem with being heavy, if you want to learn wave, you don't wanne get in over your head with 2.5 m waves strait away) so i can progress to the maximum of my 90L before i go and buy new, and even more gear (my dad isn't too pleased whenever i come home with yet another board to the collection we already have (like 6 boards or so, of which i alone use :D)
with regard to the sail. I did feel the on/off thing you're talking about, but i really liked it. The sail was totally nervous but it cought every gust perfectly if i wanted it to and in high winds that's a plus in my opinion. I'm actually considering changing my 5.5 freeride sail for a 5.5 wave sail for that specific reason (also cuz it's a Gaastra Pilot and has no precise tuning possebileties which makes it's all or nothing to sail with).
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