I'm still practising using the harness. I was told to hook in after the gust hits the sail, not before. The problem with this is that there's already so much power in the sail that no matter how much I try, the harness lines (longest possible...) seem to be mile away from the hook. And then the gust is already over.
Anyway, this is the technique I found good for gusty winds: I hook in right away, steer the board a bit upwind (mast foot already in strap, not a back friendly stance) and then when the gust hits I let the board carefully go downwind and get speed. This is how I get my Rio S Sport planing without catapults.
So the question is: is this technique totally wrong? Is it just my Rio that lets me use this technique? Should I just keep practising hooking in when the board is already getting speed and almost planing? I've managed to do it couple of times that way too, by accident. The sail I use most is NCX 8,0.
All your tips have been very useful! Thank you for sharing your knowlegde