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Old 11th August 2008, 11:37 AM   #11
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 237

Franco- Short, wide boards will turn upwind and stall quickly if you aren't careful with your sail handling. Perhaps this is what is happening to you.

One way to avoid that is make sure that you bring the sail up in front of you (almost so that you can look at the nose of the board through the window of the sail) before you grab the sail with your back hand and sheet in. That will prevent you from stalling and sideslipping. Also, make sure that you don't "oversheet" the sail, i.e. never pull the clue of the sail past the centerline of the board or upwind of the mast.

You might want to check out these guidelines for "how to teach windsurfing" and the links therein. It includes some information on how to avoid the problems you're having.


PS- Yes, short wide boards ARE slower than long narrow boards in non-planing winds, but with the right technique and a properly-rigged, appropriately-sized sail, they can do ok.
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Old 11th August 2008, 09:09 PM   #12
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Hi Franco,
Somehow I did a nice reply here and it never posted.
I'll try again...........

"Could you or somebody else also comment on the recommended mast position on the slot? "
For you, at your 172 lbs./78 Kg., and at your skill level, I'd start out with the mast foot in the center or slightly behind center for general sailing.
Check out this link where Tiesda You gives some tuning tips for the Rio:
It explains the different suggested mast foot positions and shows the markings on your

"If I understand correctly ( but I might be wrong!) the more backward it is, ( compatibly with the size of the sail, of course, because larger sails would require a forward compensation, from what I understand) the easier will be the glide forward: the weight being more towards the rear, the front part will raise and reduce the contact of the widest part of the board with the water, thus decreasing the drag ... What are your suggestions on this?"
Not necessarily so!
Bigger sails do not mean further ahead mast foot positions most of the time.
There are 2 "real world" situations where you find the mast foot all the way forward.
Formula racers put their mast foot nearly all the way forward because they get better upwind performance with their huge 9.5-12.5 m2 rigs this way.
Longboard racers (with an on the fly adjustable mast track) move the mast foot all the way forward when racing in light to moderate winds to get the maximum waterline length and maximum lee rail engagement to help their upwind performance.
For recreational sailors (not racers) putting the mast foot all the way forward is nearly always a bad idea unless you are a super heavyweight.

"Your PLYWOOD metaphor makes your point very well and this is where I did go wrong, as I was outhauling the sail real tight, but sure there be must lots of windsurfers in the lumber trade, because when I look around I see a lot of those superflat sails, as taut as a violin string ! Some people must do windsurfing with the overwhelming consideration that the flatter the sail is , the easier it is to uphaul it from the water, because if they were to tune the sail with more draft , they fear they would have to break their back uphauling a 5 ft diam ,water filled and water-tight ...container each time ! Of course I am exaggerating, but I am curious to know how it feels to uphaul a 10.5 with a sizeable draft in it ! There must be enough water inside to trap a dolphin !"

Next time you go sailing, watch as you uphaul your sail.
There is no "5 ft diam ,water filled and water-tight ...container" because as you begin to pull the mast out of the water, all the water in the sail runs off the leech, and all the water in the luff sleeve runs out the top and bottom of the sleeve.
Our sails are now made completely from "non-absorbing" plastic materials so a sail really gains almost no weight when wet.
Double luff racing sails have large "drains" at the top and bottom of the sleeve, (Aeroforce Designs actually had little flapper valves to let the water out along the back of the sleeve).
Use an "Easy Uphaul" to allow you to put the weight of the rig on your harness until you get most of it clear of the water.
So, not the problem that you were thinking it was.
Hope this helps,
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Old 13th August 2008, 05:25 AM   #13
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Default Upwind with a shortboard

Hi James :

the problem I have is exactly the opposite : I can't go upwind with my Rio ! If I could do it, I would be the happiest person on earth, so to speak! To day I drove to my favorite practising spot to practice some of the tips I received from the volks on the Forum, mainly the leeward rail sinking trick. I started out at first with my usual 6.4, tuned according to Roger's instructions , i.e. strong down-haul for a good mast curvature and relatively little out-haul. My progression is very incremental, but it is there , because I noticed the leeward rail tilt definitely slowed down the drifting, at least so it looked ! For a few moments the board looked like it was ready to bite into the wind, albeit very hesitatingly, but at that point the wind abated and the board started drifting again to shore.... I was about to pull in and rig my 7.6, because I thought the wind might have been too light for a 6.4 , but, unfortunately, by the time I started de-rigging the 6.4, a powerful storm kicked in .
I kept working on the rig under the rain for about half an hour with the...wet wet-suit on ( excuse for the pun !) and becoming even wetter ( this is what it is made for, anyway, right?) hoping that the storm would clear soon, but it got worse, instead, so I decided to call it a day! I'll resume tomorrow, but it is not without some frustration that I am learning that the variables of the weather are many indeed and unpredictable, because by the time you think you have it, mother nature fools you , kicking in another weather- changing variable and you have to start the trial and error process all over again ! But I haven't given in to the temptation to take up golf, yet !

Talk to you soon

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Old 13th August 2008, 07:36 AM   #14
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Hi Franco,
If what I'm hearing from your above post is correct, there's something else missing from your repertiore.......
You need to do all the basic steps to uphaul and get underway, then when your board is moving nicely, THEN you worry about heading upwind.
Do you....
1/ Uphaul with your feet straddling the mast (one in front one behind) and the arches of your feet right over the fore and aft centerline of the board?
2/ When you have the rig fully uphauled, are you holding the mast with your front hand
(or both hands)?
3/ Do you then step back on the board so your front foot is facing nearly forward and your toes are behind the mast foot?
Is your rear foot back about a shoulders width behind the front foot, facing slightly forward with your heel on the boards fore/aft centerline (James's beginner technique drawing is quite good except that where his drawing has you placing your feet you are too far forward (the mast and your front leg are in contention for the same space) and the back foot has the arch on the centerline which will tip the board upwind and cause you to "round up".
4/ Do you then bring the rig across in front of your shoulder until it balances (it becomes pretty much weightless which is a very nice thing).
Only after you have the mast well upwind (beyond the boards fore/aft centerline) so that it truly balances can you begin to sheet the sail in.
5/ Do you only use one or two fingers on your back hand to sheet the sail in?
6/ Do you only sheet the sail in until the board moves. (Sheeting in more just destroys the forward drive and then you will drift sideways for sure).
7/ When your board is sailing along on a beam reach with a bit of speed
THEN you can rake the rig back a little and apply some lee rail pressure to get it to sail upwind.
I'll bet you are leaving several of the "easiest way to windsurf" steps out of your program and this is what causes you to drift sideways.
Hope this helps,

Last edited by Roger; 13th August 2008 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 14th August 2008, 09:37 AM   #15
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Default Upwind with a shortboard

Hi Roger !

1. Yes, I uphaul with the feet positioned as you said.

2. After uphauling , I hold the boom with the front hand only, while the sail flaps idle downwind.

3. I am not too sure if I step back precisely as you indicate, but, overall, I think my feet position is correct, because I align the front and back feet with the direction of the footstraps: the front one is diagonally oriented, so the foot is at an angle in relation to the centerline, while the rear strap is parallel to the center line, so the rear foot is perpendicular to it. I am not too sure, though, on which side of the centerline it is ( windward or leeward side, or perhaps straddling it..)

4. I am not sure if I am pulling the rig across the board when I sheet in in order to set the board in movement, but I noticed I have a tendency not to keep the mast upright once the board moves . I noticed that if I do so, things go a lot better.

5. No, I sheet in with a full grasp of the back hand on the boom, not just the two fingers. How could I use only two fingers? The pull of the wind on the sail is so strong at times,that it takes a full grasp to sheet in ( at least until you hook up the harness !)

6.Perhaps I am not too clear about why I should sheet in only until the board moves, because even after the board is in movement, the wind, at least here in our Canadian lakes, is so ever changing, at times gusty, that I couldn't help constantly correcting by sheeting in or out, as smoothly as possible though.

7. I definitely was not aware that I have to get underway (on a reach ?) before attempting to go upwind . The way I do it , I walk the board off shore until the water depth allows the extension of the CB, I position the board perpendicular to the wind, with me facing downwind and with the rig floating downwind, I get on, I push down the CB , I uphaul and then I immediately start to gear up for upwind , by tilting the sail backward, while weighing on the leeward rail. Today, for the first time, it worked, so I must have been doing something right !

This prompts me to ask the following questions :

a. Does the REACH point of sail require the CB down ?

b. Is the leeward rail sinking technique recommended, or even necessary, to start the REACH motion and prevent the down-wind drifting, in the same way that it is necessary to go upwind?

c. When you invert the direction of the board from upwind to downwind, in order to return to shore, should the CB be raised ? I know it definitely must be raised if you are on a RUN, but if you are sailing downwind on a broad reach, can you ( or should you )still keep it fully or partially extended down ?

d. I hear that , when the CB is fully retracted, the rail pressure dynamics are reversed : to go upwind you no longer sink the leeward rail, but the WINDWARD rail. Is this correct ?

e. Final point : Today the wind was probably 10 knts/hr and I felt the board was so far from planing , that I can hardly believe the claims made by some manufacturers that PLANING is the NATURAL behaviour , as it were, of todays boards... They are advertised as though they were just waiting to leap off the water even with under 10 knts/hr. winds ..Well, mine didn't even try ! I thought it was quite normal , because sheer common sense told me that it should have taken hell of a lot more wind for it to plane !

Anyway, thanks to you and the Good Samaritans on the Forum who have been kind enough to share their experience with me and give me their advice, today I had my first EPIPHANY, because, for the first time, thanks to the leeward sinking trick, I was able to sail upwind with my Rio and I had a lot of fun, until the darn rain started pouring down again !
I used a larger sail ( a 7.6) though, because the wind was light and I am envisaging to eventually buy a 8.5 ( Which brand would you suggest ?) .
I guess the sail size and my ignorance of the leeward rail sinking trick were the main causes of my failure . I still have a long way to go, I have to admit, and this darn winter will be here faster than we imagine and put a stop to my learning curve !

Thank you for your comments

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