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Old 23rd June 2008, 10:36 PM   #1
Larry
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Question Getting into footstraps

Hi,

I'm trying to improve my skills of getting into the footstraps. On bigger, wider boards (i.e., 75cms up), I can do it the conventional way -- front foot first, then ease the back foot it.

On narrower boards (i.e., <70cm), I find it much easier to put my back foot in first (very lightly), accelerate, and then it's easy to put my front foot in.

I'm just curious if others find this and how many suffer from this backwards disease?Any suggestions for curing it?

PS. I'm 180 lbs and sail in the Northeast. So, typical sail is 9.0.
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Old 24th June 2008, 02:05 AM   #2
Ken
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Larry,

I remember doing the same thing in my earlier days of windsurfing. The down side of putting the back foot in first is that it is more difficult to get on plane (sinks the tail) and if you get in too soon it can cause the board to quickly head upwind if you put too much weight on the back foot.

I am guessing that you must be gaining some speed and are on plane when you get into the back strap. If this is the case, you are more likely to get out of balance and get tossed over the front while picking up speed out of the straps. This is where getting into the front strap first is a benefit. You become attached to the board earlier in the planing process and are less likely to get tossed in and can power up more quickly. Once in the front strap, it is a little harder to "find" the back strap, but it just takes a lot of repetition to make it easy.

When you improve your skills, you will want to get on plane very quickly or stay on plane after a jibe. Getting into the front strap fast will help with this process = doing a planing jibe.

Hope this helps -
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Old 24th June 2008, 09:36 AM   #3
Roger
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Hi Larry,
I agree with Ken here.
You can certainly get into the footstraps in any order that works for you, but I think going in BFF (Back Foot First) is as Ken suggests, something that sailors with lots of wind, smaller sails, and smaller boards tend to do.
It's not "right" or "wrong", but I think Ken hit on the "crux" of the issue.
If you go BFF, you leave yourself a bit more in jeapordy of getting "tossed" as you don't have the support of your front leg to prevent "trips over the handlebars".
So I advocate FFF (front foot first), but I to have found occasions where BFF seemed to work better. Normally this was with sails < 5.0 m2 and boards < 100 liters.
Hope this helps,
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Old 28th July 2008, 10:01 PM   #4
Roly Gardner
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Hi Roger,

Not posted for a while. Hope everyone is having a good Summer.

I am interested in this subject as I am currently concentrating on these skills. I have a number of questions and would be grateful to hear your advice please.

1- Do you need to be in the harness before you go for the front strap?

2- Do you really need to be planing or close to it to get in the straps? I see people getting into the straps really early but when I try I sink the back of the board.

3- I manage to get in the front strap by hooking in then bearing away while leaning back opposing the rig. This takes the weight off my front foot so I can slide it in. I used to luff up, but this seems to have cured that. It is then that I have real difficulty. I cannot get into the right position to get my foot in the back strap. It all gets a bit "slappy" and out of control. I find it hard to turn and open my shoulders ,thus locking in as I have been told , with the harness on. It seems a bit weird twisting like this. I think I am meant to get the rig back and my body weight forward to get the weight off the back foot allowing movement, but I just luff up and lose control.

4- I am quite short(5' 6")and wonder if this changes the angles slightly. They seem a hell of a long way back to me! I have one setting slightly more forward but keep forgetting my philips screwdriver to alter the straps.

Any help would be much appreciated as ever.

Roly
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Old 29th July 2008, 02:30 AM   #5
Roger
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Hi Roly,
Sounds like you are more than halfway there.

Here's your questions "pasted in". I'll work on each one seperately.
1- Do you need to be in the harness before you go for the front strap?

I'd say in most cases it's advantageous to hook in just before you go for the front footstrap, but it depends on the conditions.
If you are really powered up, and getting planing is easy, you have plenty of power in the rig to get into the front footstrap (or not).
The reason you need to hook in in a more progressive "order" when you aren't fully powered is that there may not be enough power in the rig to support an adequate amount of your weight so you can "un weight" your front foot (at least as far as the board is concerned).
If (as you seem to have experienced in the past) you go into the front footstrap too early and you are not hooked in, the instant you place any weight on that front foot the board immediately "rounds up". (It's doing precisely what your weight placement is telling it to do). Any weight out near the upwind rail "tips" the upwind rail down and the board turns upwind.
So, it's usually advantageous to hook in, then go for the front footstrap, then worry about the rear foot, but you can just as well go into the front strap first as hooking in and getting into the front footstrap happen almost at the same time.
You will (with a bit more experience) develop your own sequence and rythym to get into the front strap.
Unless you are super powered up to overpowered and need for some reason to get into the back footstrap first (many who sail in windy areas on small sails do it this way) getting your weight onto the rig, then getting your front foot in the footstrap is usually the easiest as the rig takes most of your weight, so your front foot is practically "weightless" when you slide it into the strap.
During this "evolution" your weight is concentrated on your back leg with your arch right over the boards fore/aft centerline and with your rear foot somewhat forward of the rear footstraps. Just where (fore and aft) depends on your sailor weight, the width of the board, how much of the sailor weight is being transferred to the rig, and the rate at which the board is accelerating. All these "little things" are factors, and if you get any one of them out of balance by stepping too far back too soon, the nose pops up and the board slows down and decelerates.
So, as I've said so many times here before, it's a "progression" and it depends on a bunch of factors:
1/ How powered up you are.
2/ How well the board is accelerating.
3/ The rate at which you are moving back on the board.
4/ Keeping your weight over the centerline so the board goes straight ahead and you present the most level and largest planing surface to keep the board accelerating.


2- Do you really need to be planing or close to it to get in the straps? I see people getting into the straps really early but when I try I sink the back of the board.

The folks you see getting into the footstraps early are probably on larger sails so they can put more of their weight on the rig , turning the weight and power of the rig into "mast foot pressure' to push the board and continue it's acceleration.
If you do not have the speed (and sufficient power in your rig) for the planing surfaces of your board to support the combined weight (remember that when you "hook in" the place where the power is applied moves forward to the mast foot) then your board is going to stop accelerating, the nose will "pop up" and your planing surfaces will have a very "nose up" mistrim which creates a lot of extra drag and stops your acceleration.
So, if you are moving back, placing your weight on your back foot over the centerline correctly, and the nose pops up and you slow down, then you are out of synch with the "progression". (I.E. you have moved back too quickly and/or placed too much weight too far back for the planing surfaces to support.
So, don't move back so quickly nor so far.
You will soon develop a "feel" for good board acceleration onto a plane so you will know how quickly to move back to keep the board acceleratiing right up onto a plane.
Again, part of this is sheeting the rig in more slowly and not raking it back so quickly as well.
Sheet in too much and you stall your sail, and the board stops accelerating.
Rake the rig back too soon and you take away it's "low end grunt" power and the board again stops accelerating.
The sailors you are seeing that just seem to "pop back on the board and onto a plane" are usually doing all of the above steps, in a perfectly timed and balanced "sequence" that looks quick and easy, but I can assure you it didn't happen that way the first time they tried it, and if they get it a little out of sequence/progression they will have the same issues you are having.
Keeping the board accelerating is the absolute key here.
Everything else happens as a result of increasing board speed.

3- I manage to get in the front strap by hooking in then bearing away while leaning back opposing the rig. This takes the weight off my front foot so I can slide it in. I used to luff up, but this seems to have cured that. It is then that I have real difficulty. I cannot get into the right position to get my foot in the back strap. It all gets a bit "slappy" and out of control. I find it hard to turn and open my shoulders ,thus locking in as I have been told , with the harness on. It seems a bit weird twisting like this. I think I am meant to get the rig back and my body weight forward to get the weight off the back foot allowing movement, but I just luff up and lose control.

It sounds like you are in far too much of a hurry.
Getting your back foot on the centerline and placed correctly to promote max acceleration is the key here.
Practice sailing around, hooked in, with your front foot waving around over the front footstrap (in marginal conditions please) until you can easily "steer" your board and increase it's speed using only the back leg and the rig.
When you can do this, then put your foot into the front footstrap, (but do not put any weight on it, keep your weight on the harness lines and rig), and sail around some more.
In this slightly more forward position, you board should plane pretty easily, but won't accelerate up to full speed because your rig is still pretty open and hasn't been fully raked back.
I cannot stress enough that you need to keep your rig standing up and opened up so it develops maximum power to pull you onto a plane.
If you sheet in or rake back too muxh/too soon, the power goes away and you either need to ease the sheeting angle quickly (but maybe not by much) and unrake the rig a little to get it pwoered back up, or sheet all the way out, step back forward, and start the whole process over.

4- I am quite short(5' 6")and wonder if this changes the angles slightly. They seem a hell of a long way back to me! I have one setting slightly more forward but keep forgetting my philips screwdriver to alter the straps

Just to confirm that the more forward/inboard positions don't get you much (and actually give you less control of the fin and less ability to get your body weight well out board and away from the rig) try moving your footstrap forward and inboard.
It might help as a "transition" until you are fully ready for footstraps all the way back and outboard.
Wish you had some photos of you trying to get planing and getting hooked in and back in the straps.
I can pretty well assure you that what you think you are doing (foot placement, stance,]
speed you are moving back, etc.) and what you are actually doing are quite different.
Then you would be able to see for yourself where you are putting your feet, your weight,
and all the other little things that make getting hooked in and into the footstrap become easy.
What is your normal windspeed and what size rig do you normally use.
What is your weight, what fin are you using, and what brand/model sail
are you using.
There are some things that can be done to get the whole "equation" more in balance and
make getting into the straps alot easier.
Hope this helps,

Last edited by Roger; 29th July 2008 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 29th July 2008, 07:54 AM   #6
Roger
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Hi Roly,
Something you put in your post that "piques my interest" is the following:

"It is then that I have real difficulty. I cannot get into the right position to get my foot in the back strap. It all gets a bit "slappy" and out of control. I find it hard to turn and open my shoulders ,thus locking in as I have been told , with the harness on. It seems a bit weird twisting like this. I think I am meant to get the rig back and my body weight forward to get the weight off the back foot allowing movement, but I just luff up and lose control."

I do not understand a couple of things about what you've described here.
Perhaps you can "clarify" what you are trying to do here?

If you move back on the board progressively, keep the board accelerating, you will get your front foot in, and hooked in.
Since you have your weight on the rear foot, directly over the fore and aft centerline so you can "steer" the board (toe pressure takes you downwind....heel pressure steers you upwind) I don't understand why you feel you "out of position" to get into the back strap.
Take your time, let the board accelerate, and simply slide your back foot out and into the back strap. The first few times you miight have to look down to see where your foot is relative to the strap, but very soon "muscle memory" will kick in and you'll know exactly where to slide your foot out and into the rear strap without looking down.
Once you know how to get into both straps, then you sheet the rig in a bit more and rake it back fully until the foot angle of the sail is about parallel with the top of the board and the water.
Now comes the part I REALLy don't understand......

"I find it hard to turn and open my shoulders "
How does one "turn and open one's shoulders".....?
I don't get it.
As the rig comes back and in, yes, you should be facing the centerline of the rig with your shoulders (centerline being a line from the center of the mast to the center of the boom's rear end fitting).
If you have your harness lines truly balanced, this should be almost "natural" as the rig will be sheeted in nicely and raked back and you will be in the footstraps and facing the centerline of the rig with your shoulders aligned pretty much with the CL of the rig.

Now, another bit of mystery.....?

,thus locking in as I have been told , with the harness on.
What does "locking in" mean here?
You may have heard me say you need to "lock your hips and push real hard across the top of the fin with your back foot", but that's a more advanced way to go upwind on fin lift, and has nothing to do with getting your board planing with you hooked in and in the footstraps.
So what is it you are trying to do here, or what is it that others have suggested you need to do?
If you learn to move back smoothly and progressively, all of the "alignments" will pretty much fall into place on their own as you move back, hook in, find the front footstrap, get settled, adjust your course to a beam reach, then work your back foot out and into the rear footstrap.
Once you are hooked in and in both straps, if your harness lines are balanced right, you simply need to lean back (if there's enough power in the rig to support you) straight away from the sail until your arms are fully stretched out.
Hope this helps,
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Old 30th July 2008, 05:17 PM   #7
Roly Gardner
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Hi Roger,

All very helpful thank you. My comments are as follows:-

1-One of my main problems I now realise is that in placing my foot in the front footstrap too early I am pressing down on the windward rail and luffing up. I have managed to artificially remedy this by bearing away but the problem still arises later when I try to get in the rear strap. I now see that the rig has to be powered up sufficiently to counter balance this effect and keep the board level. I am certainly going for the strap too early and will try the 2 drills you suggest. If I can get skilled at steering with the back foot I will be far more in control.

2-I am still unsure as to how to get the rear foot "weightless" in order to move it. I notice though that you term it "slid" so presumably you maintain some downward pressure during the process. To get it in line with and actually into the footstrap seems quite a long way back to me. However, I am sure that I am not moving back progressively whilst continuing to accelerate gradually as you suggest. As I am doing so are my hands moving a little further down the boom? Otherwise I feel that I am racking back the rig and turning the board into wind,exacerbating my problems.

3- I think that I also sheet in far too much after I hook in. I think that you describe hooking in early whilst having the sail sheeted out and progressively accelerate as previously discussed in another post. I can then get the power into the mast foot in a controlled way BEFORE going for the front strap.

4- My usual wind range is 10-20 mph in coastal conditions. I sail a Carve 145 and weigh 75kg. In the lower wind speeds I rig my Tush Lightening 7.8m and in higher winds a Gaastra Pilot 6.5m or Tush 5.7m(not sure what model this is though).I use Gaastra 26" fixed lines, although have some adjustable Gaastra lines as well(not great as they seem to come undone very easily.

5-My explanation on the other issues is not even clear to me on re reading! What I was told to do by my instructor was get my front foot in and then head up wind while sheeting in and opening my stance i.e. turning my shoulders to face more forward. I understand your comment regarding locking out and driving against the fin as this is something we talked about before. It sounds like I should not be so "open" but with my shoulders and hips in line with the CL

6- The "locking in" from his perspective meant adopting a strong up wind stance to allow the rear foot to move into position. Trouble is for me, that if I am leaning forward with the rig back heading up wind I have no chance of getting my rear foot anywhere near the rear strap. I think that you are recommending a broad reach rather than heading up wind which would seem to be a more balanced approach and I can visualise how that would allow me to gently move the rear foot back and in.

I will certainly try those drills that you have suggested and re post with further comments. Many thanks for your guidance so far.

Roly
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Old 31st July 2008, 01:31 AM   #8
Roger
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Hi Roly,
Did you have problems staying upwind when you were taking this instruction?
I'm wondering is what was suggested was perhaps a short term "fix" to get you sailing upwind sooner.
It won't work at your current skill level.
You need to get the board going on a beam reach or below (but not below by much) and work through the sequence we've just discussed here.
Once you have been through the entire sequence, progressively, and are back in both footstraps, hooked in, and fully planing, THEN you can think about heading upwind.
Heading upwind at all, while you are trying to get planing, is prety much an exercise in futility.
You need to be on a beam reach to get the full forward thrust of your rig, and to be able to keep the board flat and the fin mostly unloaded so the board can gain speed as quickly as possible.
Anything you do (like heading more upwind) will reduce the likelyhood of you getting on plane.
Try the drills, and get used to sailing on your back leg in the correct fore and aft position for the board to accelerate and then "take off". Don't be in a hurry to get your back foot in the strap until the board is almost to full speed.
If you go for the back strap too early, the board won't have the speed to support your weight back there and you will only succeed in getting the board to slow down because the nose will pop up and the drag will increase.
As far as "sliding" your back foot out to the strap, yes, you can slide it, but you can also just pick it up and place it in the strap.
Think of the forces here:
Mast foot pressure because you are hooked in and the rig is driving the board.
Most of your weight should be "suspended" off the board and onto the rig by the harness lines/harness. Your arms are just the "adjusters/positioners" at this point.
You have your front foot in the strap, but no weight on it because your weight is being supported by the rig.
So as far as the board is concerned, you are pretty much "weightless" unless you over sheet or rake the rig back enough to destroy the power in the rig that is supporting you.
If you have enogh speed, and maintain the power to the mast foot, you should be very stable. If you are getting pulled forward (up and over your front foot) then you are probably over sheeted to some degree.
As far as your upper body facing the CL of the rig, yes, you will want to be pretty much facing the rig all the way through the entire evolution.
Before the rig is sheeted in to 45 deg. off the centerline, you will be facing pretty much forward, and keeping your upper body weight pulling directly away from the CL of the rig.
As you sheet in more, and begin to rake the rig back, you will progressively turn your upper body as the rigs angle to the CL of the board changes.
Once you are at full speed, and in both straps, and firmly hooked in, then you can lean forward/outboard to really sheet the sail down on the deck and fully rake it back so you can sail upwind.
Hope this helps,

Last edited by Roger; 31st July 2008 at 01:34 AM.
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Old 31st July 2008, 03:01 PM   #9
marek
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Roger, I understand you recommend to get up to the full speed before getting into the back footstrap, and I also understand it requires some practice, but I find the moment of getting into back strap pretty difficult when my speed is too high, especially in the chop. Also, the moment when I'm trying to get into the back strap is when most of my catapults happen (although I'm getting better), and obviously the faster I go the more violent they are.

So I actually try to get into back strap asap, which from what you said is not a good thing.
I also head up asap (on plane, but before getting into the back strap) to reduce the speed and get into the back strap (then, being in both straps, I feel safe to bear off).

So my sequence is as follow:
1. Bear off, starting to get on plane.
2. Almost planing, hook in, still bearing off.
3. Planing, front foot in the strap
--- [1,2,3 happen almost together and very fast, board is accelerating at all times] ---
4. Head up, place the back foot near or on the back strap, stabilize the position
5. Getting the back foot in <-- full control after this point.

Problem is always between 4. and 5. Sometimes the board goes so fast that I am afraid to put the back foot in and I stay like that (especially in the chop), which is like 50% control comparing to being in both footstraps.

What do you think?

-marek
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Old 31st July 2008, 07:28 PM   #10
Roly Gardner
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Hi Roger,

I am ok at staying upwind, although I understand the principle of bearing away to get on the plane and then heading upwind. I am beginning to understand what I need to do here I think.

I am certainly going for the straps far too early. I am not fully committed to the harness either so this is not taking my weight allowing the feet to move more easily. I am also not using the rear foot to steer and maintain trim. My body and feet have not been in the right position, which has been exacerbated by some of the advice I have been given.

My aim will to be to put some of the tips you suggest into action and practice the drills in an effort to get a feel for what I am attempting to do. Perhaps I can then come back to you with a progress report.

Thank you for the continued support.

Roly
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