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Old 22nd October 2006, 04:46 AM   #6
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Maine & North Carolina
Posts: 230
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Default RE: How to effectively pump to plane?

You and me both Roger. I haven't thought about the mechanics of pumping in a long time. Matthew and I were sitting on the shore just after I proved I could plane in the conditions we were faced with while Matt (sorry Matt) was slogging. And you aren't alone, at Windfest Hatteras this year, a lot of people were using me as a wind gauge. They would get out there and find there wasn't enough wind for them to plane. I spent a few hours on the water and only saw a couple people plane a few times. I was ITFS 100% of the time. And that was with a weed fin (gotta love those Tangent Dynamics fins!).

For those who are reading along, here's some pictures the Go Pro Video ( took of me. Roger, you remember how light the wind was at Windfest, right? The first day or two were very light. You can see there wasn't much evidence of wind.

Anyway, back to the mechanics... The reason I describe the motion as front hand first then back hand very soon after is to get a motion that can be translated into forward motion better. I learned to sail on a Windsurfer Classic where pumping in light wind meant scooping air. I guess some of that has stuck with me. I'll pay more attention to my pumping next time to see if I do this on all my pumps or just the first one or two. If you bear off the wind a bit with an F-Type, I've found that by initiating the pump with the front hand works well -- but don't think that I don't start pulling with my back hand very quickly. This is how I get the board slipping through the water on a beam-to-broad reach. The back hand's pull is very, very close behind the front (I think).

And for my description of what my feet do... I'm not sure if I describe it correctly. Again, it is tough to describe. I was trying to describe what your feet are doing to get the undulating motion going. You push down (and against the fin) with your back foot, but then once the pump has enough energy in it, you use that energy to lift the board (and your body) out of the water. When this occurs, you are NOT pushing against the fin. So, when you come off the porpoise and are ready to pump again, you load up the board (and fin) with your back foot to get things moving.

When I'm going all out, I put my feet in the straps and really do lift the board out of the water. To answer your question Matt, don't think of it as jumping up and down. That's too rough of a concept. You have to think of this as a dance. Grace and balance. Because of the rhythm, this is a dance.

Sorry (again) Matt, but being 80 pounds lighter than you does help me get on a plane even with a smaller board and sail. Oh, and don't forget you were using a 64cm fin with that 11m2 Retro. I had a 70cm with my 9.8m2 V8.

How do you get all your weight off the board? You decide you can deal with getting wet if it doesn't work. Then you go 100% and trust that when you pump the sail, you are generating enough energy to lift the board and you out of the water. I assume you've seen me when I'm going 100%...when the board is truly out of the water. I do this with my feet in the straps.

I'll let Roger give a go at this again. I'm having trouble thinking about how to describe pushing down on the back of the board and how that translates to pushing against the fin.

And with regards to keeping the board from bearing upwind on you. I would venture to guess this has to do with how you position the sail during the pumping or when on a plane more than anything. It could have to do with the rhythm too, but I have a feeling it is sail position. You need to make sure you get the sail's force correct. If you are pumping in a way that effectively positions the sail like you would when heading upwind, yup! you'll head upwind. If you can keep the sail more full like you would when bearing off the wind, you'll find you have more force in the sail and you'll keep the bow from heading up on you. You need to build speed off the wind before you can head upwind effectively. So, when on a plane, be sure you've gathered speed before heading up. Otherwise, you'll most likely drop off the plane sooner than you would like. This is even more important on a board like an iSonic, I've found, but I do still do it on an F-Type.

Roger, you should get someone to follow you with a video camera to film something like this and then put a link to the video on this website.

It all happens so fast! It is hard to think through the finer details of what I'm doing.

Ok, enough of this. I'm up in Maine right now. I've been doing chores while watching the 25-30mph winds blow off the lake. No sailing for me. The water and air add up to 100, so I could have gotten out there, but I had too much work to do this weekend. :-( So, in order to NOT be tempted, I left all my gear in North Carolina.
Starboard [Gemini, F-Type 148, iSonic 105], AHD [Convert 60, GT Special 73], Windsurfer
Neil Pryde [v8 9.8], Sailworks [Retro 8.0; Hucker 6.6, 5.6, 4.8]

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