Just moved up to a Fanatic Ultra Cat - have questions
I just moved up from a Windsurfer 1 board that I played around with off and on for 20 years to a 12' Fanatic Ultra Cat with a Mistral adjustable mastbase. I like it a lot but I have a lot of things to learn. Mast foot placement for one. I am 6' tall & about 200 Lbs. I had a hard time sailing close to the wind the last time I had it out. Where should the mast foot be placed in light winds vs heavy winds? I am a novice so when I say light winds probably less than 15 knots. Is there a strategy WRT mast placement for sailing close hauled vs sailing downwind?
Another question concerns on the centerboard. At what point should I retract it? My old board it was always down.
I sailed and raced long boards for many years (Mistral Superlight, F2 Lightening, Mistral Equipe II XR). I am familiar with the Ultra Cat, but have never sailed one.
Mast foot placement - While learning (tacking & jibing), keeping it in the center is generally a good idea. For pointing (sailing close to the wind), the track should be all the way forward. However, your weight may play a role and you may have to move it back a little if the nose of board rides too low. This is the setting in both light and strong winds.
Sailing (not planing) deep downwind, keep the track forward. The only time you put the track all the way back is when you have enough wind and sail to plane with good speed and you are in the foot straps. If running deep down wind and planing, but not in the foot straps, the track should be in the middle. The idea for downwind sailing is to keep the board flat on the water. If you sink the tail, you will slow down, that's why the track should be forward, to keep you in the center of the board, and the board flat.
With your weight, you will need to experiment some, and there may be some variations to what I have said.
The centerboard - Upwind - always all the way down in any wind, except if super overpowered and the board starts to "turtle" or roll over, kick the dagger board up 1/3.
Beam reach - non planing conditions - all the way down
Beam reach - just planing - half way down
Beam reach - planing in the straps - all the way up
Full reach or down wind - non planing - all the way down for stability or half way up for more speed, but less stability.
Full reach or down wind - just planing conditions - all the way up. If the board feels pretty tippy, put the dagger board down 1/3 - 1/2 down
Full reach or down wind - planing conditions - all the way up.
Hope this helps.
Helps a bunch, Thanks
Now if I can just learn to waterstart Uphauling wears me out
Ken has it correct.
I'd add that execpt for when you want to "rail" your new board to really get upwind (placing your weight slightly off center on the downwind side to roll the lee rail down a little bit) fast, with the CB all the way down, you should try to keep it as up and stowed as possible.
Ken's points on using it for stability are correct as long as the board is moving along well.
Standing still the CB does very little toward increasing stability (it's not a "weighted at the end" keel).
The reason for keepng the mast foot as far forward as it will go, to head upwind, is to increase the waterline length.
When you are subplaning (in displacement mode) the longer the waterline length, the faster the board will move through the water.
If you have a bit more wind and speed, the longer waterline length gives the board a little more "bite" to keep it tracking upwind.
As Ken suggests, you need to be very aware of your fore and aft trim.
Do not get the nose too high as this will cause drag, and don't get the nose too low as this will have the same effect.
So as your speed increases, you can move back a little further on the board, progressively, and your speed increases/progresses.
Rail to rail trim is important as well.
Ken has given you all the correct theories, now you just need to get out on the water and practice them, modify them to suit your board, your rigs, and your size/weight.
What rigs are you using.
I would suspect from your closing comment ("Uphauling wears me out") you are falling into the water more than necessary, your uphauling technique could use some work,
or your sail/mast/boom (the rig) is way too heavy by modern standards.
Hope this helps,
Don't be afraid to lean water starting on the long board, that's the way I did it. Occasionally, you will fall to the windward side of the board with the sail still flying (try to keep it flying). From this position, you are ready to try a water start. If there is enough wind (about 12-15 knots for you with a 7.5 - 8.5), give it a try. No special effort has to be made, just take advantage of the occasional opportunity. Before long, you will nail one.
Most windsurfers don't try to learn waterstarting until they have a smaller board, but there is no reason to wait.
Roger's suggestions are right on. Railing the board while pointing upwind is a little more advanced, but it will allow you to gain 5-15 degrees closer to the wind. It's not big deal while free sailing, but it's a HUGE deal if racing or trying to get upwind as fast as possible.
I am sailing a mistral one design. What is described above is great if you want to go upwind / downwind, but sometimes you don't want to do that. Sometimes you might just want to go out and freesail with others in more of a baffing mode.
The longboard is excellent for that as well, but one issue I sometimes have is that with such a relatively small fin it can be hard work to stay on a beam reach and maintain decent speed while staying upwind, and it's even worse if you want to try jibes at the end of each run which also loses you ground. In this situation I often push the mast to mid track, with the centreboard up, stand near the rail and hook in, and I find that in either planing or sub-planing conditions, you can get back upwind very quickly and smoothly without bothering with the centreboard.
I also use this method when it's gusting below and above planing conditions where constantly lowering and raising the centreboard can become a lot of work, [ especially on mine where it's a bit stiff ].
Having said that, coming from a planing only shortboard backround, railing a longboard in a good blow is a lot of fun and can be deceptively quick.
One Way Street
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