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carlosgp5 13th December 2008 12:04 AM

sailing formula in high winds
I have been sailing formula windsurfing now for almost 2 years... starting to get confortable up and down wind, racing my mates, very good fun.
My problem, and also most of my mates, starts when the wind picks up, and above 20 knots we all, each one at a level, starts to get overpowered. That can be because of the wind (somedays we are over 30 knots downhere in south of brazil) and sometimes because of the seas (we get often south swells over 2 meters out of the bay).
Well, I am 70kgs, sailing a FW 147 with gaastra vapor 10, R13 70cm fin, and most of people have the FE rigs... and no matter what, we often get overpowered.
I would like to know if you could give us some tunning tips for the high winds... we know some already, before windsurfing Im still a sail boat guy... Its just too much fun to windsurf, and for sure I want to hold my sail upright with high winds...
With smaller sails I get the board impossible to control and untrimmed... I play with the mast foot... I play with the outhaul... I play even with the downhaul... Is that a matter of time in the water or would you guys have a sort of "Comprehensive Guide for Modern Formula Boards"???
Thanks in advance


mark h 13th December 2008 01:38 AM

Hi Carlos
I'm pretty sure you will already tried this, but do have a high wind fin? Your R13 is pretty powerfull for 20knots + at your weight. The narrower tailed FW147 could go down to a 58cm when its nucular, and a 64cm fin for when you start to feel overpowered on the 70cm. Do you use a chicken strap for over powered down wind? And do you use adjustable outhaul?

kernron 13th December 2008 02:34 AM

Windy Formula

Try dropping your boom height 3cm at a time. If the board is flying nose too high or getting blown out of the water, move the mast foot forward 1cm at a time. Try a 9m sail as well in combination with the smaller, <64cm fin. In ocean conditions, it's hard to sail in 25+ mph wind. It takes practice, plenty of it.

Good luck,


carlosgp5 13th December 2008 05:22 PM

Thank you guys for the tips...
I'll try the smaller fins... I actually only changed to a smaller fin once (65cm), and it was 15 knots. I felt so unconfortable and so deep in the water that every time I look at that fin I get dizzy...
I guess it was not used on the proper way.
About the mast foot, I actually, when over 15k, go to maximum set to the nose. I don't know its just a feelling that I perform much better upwind and I it's easier to mantain the trim of the board. When in high winds with my 10sqm sail I fell like could go over 5cm from the mast track!!!!
What do you think about that? Is it to weard for the 147 to use the mast foot so much to the nose?

sb 13th December 2008 06:39 PM

Good suggestions above- also try to bring the rig over your head to windward. This depowers the sail and makes it easier to sail in high winds and bigger sea states.
To achieve this you need to really sit down in the harness.
To make visualization clearer, think about how you sail in light winds- you want to stand the rig up right to give it more power- well sailing in op'ed conditions, its just the opposite.
In addition, try adding more downhaul and more outhaaul to depower to sail as well in addition to lowering the boom and moving hte mast foot forward.
Good luck

BRA999 Schurmann 14th December 2008 08:52 PM

I think that lowering the boom, putting in a smaller fin and making your harness lines a bit longer will improve your control a lot in strong winds. Also, when you are sailing, and you see a chopp coming, antecipate your move and sort of twist your body forward, this way you will keep the nose of the board down and maintain speed. Also, there are a lot of people that think that when the wind is stronger you should downhall your sail a lot more, that is not always true, and sometimes when you do that, the nose of your board will rise more. So never overdownhall your sail.
Valeu e abracos,

carlosgp5 16th December 2008 01:36 AM

Thanks for the valuable information... that one that Wilhelm got about overdownhauling I wouldnt figure by myself as I see a lot of people doing it...
This last weekend weve had a race in Floripa, it was 18-20k on the NE gusts. Well my upwind leg was actually very good, sometimes better then my only opponent (I reckon our fleet got was all sleeping) wich is much more experienced them me. But then, on the dowwind, I was sailing like a frightened horse. I lost even for a kiteboarder...
Well i played with all your tunning tips, with the outhaul, the boom height, the mast foot. Of course I could not change the fin, but later a figured out with Neves (the only oponent) that Ive done a basic mistake.
Well, while feeling overpowered on the downwind, I was opening the sail quite a bit, wich of course made me much more overpowered and almost catapulting all the time...
Im just posting this to try to give you guys some feedback as you tried to help, but I think I need some more time out in the water.. ehheh

Unregistered 23rd December 2008 04:53 AM

Hi Carlos,

I do not know your level, experience etc. but you wrote that you sail Formula for two years only, it is not a very long time...

To be able to control a 10+ meter sail in over 20kts - the right sail trim is a must. If it is under-downhauled then to control the sail is impossible - the moment you sheet in, it wants to catapult you, and when you sheet out, it wants to either shake you off or push down to the water...
So with a under-downhauled sail you might end out sailing slow, sheeted out and with the the nose of the board trying to fly up and the board's tail walking...

I think you should first experiment with the downhaul, make marks on the downhaul rope to keep the settings. Myself I use one 'regular' downhaul setting for an average wind ( for the sail size ) then maybe 2-3 cm more downhaul rope out for higher wind and a 'emergency low wind setting' with 2-3 cm less downhaul. I measure the downhaul on the rope, not on the hook. I have to use a winch ( crank ) - as at these forces I can barely pull it by hand and that with a big risk of back injury. With the right downhaul the sail stays neutral when let free and increases the pull gradually, as I sheet-in ( so no rapid on-off ). I also want to see the top to release a lot of air. The trimming videos on Neil Pryde site are quite useful - I am usually doing a first dry check of a newly rigged sail, laid down on the ground - by supporting the boom on a piece of wood/whatever at hand, around 15-20 cm above the ground, then asking a heavy person to stand on the mastfoot and then I push the mast top to the ground - I want to see the sail not tightening the leech before the top touches the ground. If I downhaul "by eye" then that test usually shows it's not enough and the leech closes too early. I do that with medium outhaul ( only a few cm outhauled from neutral ).

With a good downhaul, when sailing in strong wind, you should be able to gradually sheet-in and apply the right amount of mastfoot pressure to keep the board steady at speed. On downwind I need to keep pulling the nose up and I lean back a bit more. I also try to keep the body lower, bent knees, to be able to lean out or move in when needed - to counterbalance the gusts/lulls without much change in sail trim and fin load. For me all that starts with the right downhaul - without it there is no way I can control the sail...



steveC 23rd December 2008 07:41 AM

Well said Smok.

Unregistered 23rd December 2008 05:44 PM

Formula in 20knots +
Formula in 20 knots +

Why ????

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