RE: Harness and Footstraps
I wrote a reply last nite, but it never showed up here.
If you want to get another couple of sails, I'd suggest keeping about the same quiver spacing you are using with your existing sails.
Maybe a 5.5 m2 T-Bird, Retro, or Severne Gator.
Once you get under 6.0 m2 most sails (down to about 4.5 m2) will rig on a
Get the highest carbon content you can afford as this will make your rigs
as light and responsive as possible, and make learning to waterstart significanly easier. Yep. you'll soon be beyond the harness and straps, moving on to the next level .....ummm waterstarting and carve jibes.
I use Sailworks Speedstick 430 cm masts as well as Powerex Z-Speed 430 cm (both 100%) and I've never experienced any failures or durability concerns.
Probably, if you want to stay with the Carve line, and you are going to trade in your C-145, you might be looking for a Carve 11 or 121122.
These boards will give you a bit more high end range, but will still have fairly good early planing with your 7.5 m2.
As far as falling in backwards, you need to keep a "weather eye" upwind and ahead of you. If you keep an eye on what's coming at you next, you should be able to anticipate when the windspeed is either going to gust and try to catapault your or lull and drop you in the water backwards.
Either way, with a little more attention paid to what's coming, you can ease your sheeting angle just before the gust or lull arrives and stay on your board.
If the wind gusts, easing your sheeting angle just enough so you can "handle it" will make getting through the gust alot eaiser, especially out of the footstraps. Don't simply "sheet out" suddenly as that will upset the balance of both your rig and your board.
If you sail into a lull, easing your sheeting angle will help to keep your rig powered up as much as possible as your speed drops and the apparent wind speed drops and moves more behind you.
If yo keep the same sheeting angle, you will be oversheeted and stalling your sail.
Give this a try.
As far as falling in in the lulls, learn to move your body in more over the board and standing up straighter so you can stay on the board.
Unfortunately with smaller sails (like your 7.5 and 6.5) the power in the rig will really go away in the lulls, so the better you can anticipate them the less you will fall in.
If a gust is coming you will see darker or choppier water coming from upwind and ahead.
If a lull is coming you will see flatter and glassy water ahead.
So, with a careful weather eye, you can "prepare" for whatever is coming.
Hope this helps,