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KTM450EXC 16th September 2009 05:37 PM

One way Street
I'm new to windsurfing ( done level 1) and had about 30Hrs on the water..

Yesterday was my first experience in a force 5 wind at Llandegfedd reservoir UK. In the little cove was fine but as soon as exposed to full wind blast, it was like being in a military zone...The water was very choppy and even uphauling was a real struggle due to the waves..

I know sailing upwind is a common problem for many beginners BUT my problem is that I sail upwind constantly and this was really exaggerated in the wind yesterday....Unless I really push the mast towards the nose I sail upwind but this causes an imbalance for me and often ends up with me getting pulled over by the sail.

My board is a Rio medium ( tushy 5M) ...Even with the dagger board up, I'm still conatntly heading in an upwind direction. I'm keeping the front leg straight right at mast foot and bending the back one to try and keep posture BUT I'm a little lost at the mo......

Another thing I have noticed with the Rio is that the bouyancy of the board seems more at the rear which I'm guessing is a design to get you in the straps and planing. For practising tack/gybes ( weight in middle of board) I feel "nose heavy"

Still I managed to avoid the need of the rescue boat which was constantly in demand. All the same great fun - was out till 19.30!!

any hints would be great fully appreciated!



Roger 17th September 2009 10:20 AM

Hello Matt,
First, you need to pay close attention to where you place your feet on the Rio M.
If you don't get the front foot 4-6 inches behind the mast foot and also about 4-6 inches upwind of the center line, and the heel of your rear foot on the fore/aft centerline, so your board floats nearly perfectly flat on the water, you will "influence" where the board goes by where you place your feet/weight.
So, make sure you get your feet placed so your weight is directly over the board's fore/aft centerline.
If you tip the board at all, it will turn in that direction.
Upwind rail down, board will turn upwind.
Lee rail down, board will turn downwind.
Where do you have the mast foot in the slot?
If at the back, that's where the board planes the best, but it will drive the board upwind pretty much all the time.
Move the mast foot forward progressively until you find the right balance.
The Rio is indeed a bit more "planing" oriented than whatever board(s) you probably did your RYA Level 1 on, so you may want to modify your tacking technique a bit to get faster tacks without having the board feel "nose heavy".
Be sure to rake your rig all the way back until the foot of the sail rests on the deck of the board when going into a tack.
Progressively rake the rig back and pull it in until the foot is resting at or slightly above the fore/aft centerline of the board.
This will "drive" the board up into the wind with good speed.
Instead of pulling the rig back up and stepping back (toward the front of the board to "get around" the mast foot, try this.
With the rig all the way raked back and resting the foot on the deck, STEP OVER the mast a little behind the mast foot with your front foot.
Now you will be facing the back of the board with one foot on each side of the mast, and at least one foot or more behind the mast foot.
Then move your new front foot over the mast and bring the rig back up to complete your tack.
This keeps your weight further forward on the board and this is a skill you can use later when you graduate to a shorter, smaller, narrower board.
Hope this helps,

KTM450EXC 17th September 2009 02:02 PM

Tacking on the Rio
Wow Roger! This sounds totally different to what Ive been taught in principle...

BUT I'd kinda worked out the Rio has a different balance to the start/ N trance. My instructor has been telling me to keep the front foot touching mast fost and rear foot behind daggerboard but I've never felt quite ofey with this.

What your saying about keeping the weight much further down the board makes complete sense. The tacking part does sound tricky in terms of foot placement/ balance but I most certainly will give this ago - Hopefully today!!

Once again I find your advice to be very specific to the Rio which I'm guessing it has somewhat different dynamics to a traditional learning board.
Not only will I benifit from your advice but also a family who recently puchased 3 Rio's.

Many thx for guidance.....will update once I've had some watertime:)

KTM450EXC 18th September 2009 02:47 AM

Foot Placement
OK I managed to get on the reservoir for a couple of hours and the first 50mins was superb .. the wind was light and consistent which enabled me to practise the tips Roger mentioned above...

When the wind was a little stronger the foot placement 6" down and 6" accross from mast was spot on and yes I could tack/gybe with a lot of control...certainly turning upwind the board was ultra responsive..

I also move the mast right back down track to the point where its on 1/2" into track...hopefully this will not damage or "pull out track".

In this position the nose of the board really raised out of the water making it very clear that in strong winds you could wheelie! I simply sailed accross the wind changing from upwind to downwind. It was obvious that you need to take care turning downwind as the wind can really overpower you quickly

Later the wind dropped off and I found myself drifting back to the front foot against the mast as in Rogers position the sail was too close causing imbalance...bent arms ect

Basically from those few words I learnt a hell of a lot so its a thumbs up and a big thank you Roger!!


Roger 18th September 2009 10:11 AM

Hi Matt;
OK, putting the mast foot 1/2" from end of the slot should not be any sort of problem.
I do not understand why the rig would too close when your place your front foot 4-6" upwind of the centerline and 4-6" behind the mast foot.
If you place your back foot with the heel on centerline and your foot/toes on the other side (downwind) of center with the back foot about your shoulder width behind the front foot.
If that ends up putting your back foot "ON" the centerboard handle, simply slide your back foot back a little or place it in front of the centerboard handle. (Which ever feels most comfortable to you.)
Perhaps the reason you feel the rig is too close is because you are sheeting it in far too much for slogging/sub planing conditions.
You cannot rake the rig back or pull it in almost to the centerline of your board when you are not planing at a board speed that is faster than the windspeed (i.e. you are sailing on the apparent wind).
If you rake the rig back at all, with the CB down, the board will almost immediately turn upwind.
Actually with the CB down, you really need to keep the rig slightly forward of vertical.
(If you draw an imaginary line from the mast base to the tip of the mast, the imaginary
line with tilt slightly foward (giving you a bit more room).
If you sheet the sail in hard, and you are not sailing absolutely upwind as high as the board/rig will go without stalling, you are actually taking quite a bit of the forward drive out of your sail and converting it to sideways (downwind) force.
Like all sailing craft, "when in doubt, let it out" applies to your windsurfing rig as much as it does to any other sailboat.
When you are in sub planing mode, just sailing along, there's nothing at all wrong with a little bend to the arm.
Of course you were taught to keep the rig at arms length, but that's a "synthesis" that many instructional programs use to get you accustomed to holding the rig "way out there" to keep you in a Fig. "7" stance.
It's only synthesis if you are not leaning back to cantilever your board out to increase it's weight.
At some point you will get into a harness and learn to trust your sail/rig to hold your entire body weight to counter the pulling force of the rig.
Try to only sheet your sail in to an angle (with the board's centerline) that gives you the best speed for the direction you are sailing...... as you change directions, the sheeting angle needs to change also.
Also, if your board is tending to sail upwind, you need to move the mast foot more forward, not back.
Moving the mast foot forward does 2 things for you.
It puts a little more pressure further forward of the CB. This helps turn the board off the wind.
It increases the waterline length (when combined with you moving your weight slightly forward) which gives the downwind rail of your board more "bite".
You wrote:
"In this position the nose of the board really raised out of the water making it very clear that in strong winds you could wheelie! I simply sailed accross the wind changing from upwind to downwind. It was obvious that you need to take care turning downwind as the wind can really overpower you quickly"
The "wheelie" effect is your Rio M trying to plane. If you get this point again (and you will) raise the CB (to decrease the drag) and let the board accelerate onto a full plane.
You can steer pretty easiliy by tipping your board slightly. Tip the upwind rail down to head higher upwind, or use pressure from the toes on your back foot to tip the downwind (lee) rail down to head further off the wind.
Once your board takes off on a plane, I'm almost sure you will begin to "crave" planing conditions more and more. You will be "hooked" for sure.
As far as the sail "loading up" when you head lower (futher off the wind), you need to sheet your rig out as you bear off to prevent the rig from loading up due to the wind coming from too far back.
Open your sail and you will find you can easily "regulate" the amount of pressure and you will sail faster and more comfortably.
Kepp working on the suggested tacing method, I think you will find it works really well and keeps you from falling in the water.
Hope this helps,

KTM450EXC 18th September 2009 02:40 PM

Massive improvement
Roger Hi, the sailing conditions yesterday were nothing like the previous F5 experience and so everything was much more mild which gave me a chance to practise your advice.

The conditions were certainly sub planing and this made the recommended stance/ foot postion more difficult due to no counter balance of wind on the sail however I can definately see the benifits in stronger wind. In addition my steering control upwind/ downwind was far improved - This make me a lot more confident as the other day I nearly got T-boned by a boat travelling at seriously high speed( I'm sure it was my fault).

Using the rear foot /applying pressure to steering upwind certainly was incredibly effective rewarded by sharp turning angles...Downwind I found I was still having to over emphasise the action.

Will try moving the mast foot forwards and raising the CB to checkout the effect...

All in all I feel a huge step forwards.....

Not sure when the next session will happen....(kids and all that)...Hopefully in 18mths time my daughter will start to surf and join the T15 club hence my commitment to be a confident sailor!


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