I've been assembling an early planing quiver to deal with the light wind summer conditions in my area. Presently, I have a Bic Techno Formula (94 cm wide) combined with a 70 cm fin and 11.0 Maui Sails Titan. I have been paying close attention to the measured wind speeds and after several outings have concluded that I need an honest 10 knots of wind to get planing at my weight of 185-190 pounds. As an advancing beginner, I am more of a passive sailor waiting for the board to begin planing rather than coaxing the board with any sail/fin pumping.
I love your analogy for shifting gears and closely follow this technique:
Originally Posted by Roger
It's like shifting gears in your car.
1/ Start out in first gear i.e. sheet in and get the board moving across the wind on a beam reach
2/ Shift to second gear when your board has some speed and you can move back progressively (as the board gains more speed) without stalling the board.
3/ Shift to 3rd gear by hooking in and getting your front foot in the footstrap (keep your weight on the rig as mast foot pressure, do not put weight on your front foot. Weight on the front foot, that far off center, tells the board you want it to turn upwind... rapidly.
4/ Shift to 4th gear by sheeting in more, raking your rig back and trying to get your rear foot in the rear footstrap.
5/ Shift to 5th gear by moving your weight out away from the board to counterbalance the pull from the rig.
In 8-9 knots, I feel power in the sail but can't seem to get planing. Do you have any suggestions that might help me lower this threshold even further? I typically wait to shift into 3rd gear (harness and front footstrap) until there is enough power in the sail to carry 100% of my weight and the board is already moving fast. Should I be reaching for 3rd gear sooner along with some pumping technique to help propel the board into planning?