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Old 19th July 2010, 01:57 PM   #1
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Default Wrong harness technique?

Hello Roger,
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
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Old 19th July 2010, 09:00 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Hello MC
Where (in what position? i,e, forward set , middle set, or rear set) do you have the footstraps on your
Rio S?
How high is your boom..... shoulders, chin, nose.... higher?
How far apart are the attachment points for your harness lines (in inches or cm)
Unless you have your boom super high; or the line attachment points spread way out at a foot or more;
or your boom super high (up around your nose) I do not understand why you would need the super long'harness lines.
Unless, you are trying to hook in before you rake your sail back.
You should be able to set your boom height and attachment points so that you can sail hooked in, even up by the mast, like on a longboard.
Then as a gust comes along, you would simply move back on the board to reach your footstraps.
If you have your footstraps all the way back (like in the photo at the bottom of the page on this website under products/Rio........ here's the link:
(note, the photo with the girl at the top of the page has the footstraps in the forward position, but all 3
Rio's in the photo at the bottom of the page have the footstraps in the rear (high performance) positions).
then you cannot be in the footstraps (all the way back in the performance position) until your board is fully planing.
If you have them more forward, you could get in them sooner, but you would never get full performance from the Rio S and your NCX 8.0.
So, keep working on it.
Give me some answers to the questions above, and I'm sure we can give you some tips to get you up to full performance sooner.
Oh, and how much variation between the windspeed and the windspeed in the gusts?
Hope this helps,
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Old 20th July 2010, 04:28 AM   #3
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Thanks for your quick reply :-)
I guess boom height etc. are correct (I'm happy to have advisors on the beach). Foot straps are in the middle set, all the wise men on the beach tell me to get them all the way back, it's just that the manual says it's the "advanced" position and I feel everything but advanced...

So what you suggest is that I should hook in right away? Not to wait for planing? I must have looked so terrified of catapults that I was told to put my mast foot to strap first and then hook in. And it's quite difficult for me to hook in when I already have my maximum speed.

The variation between the lowest windspeed and the gusts may be something like 7 knots to 14 knots. Or from 5 to 10... Sometimes I could swim faster than what I sail and in a few seconds getting the board planing (for 8 seconds). Ideal conditions, aren't they :-)

It's actually easier for me to speed up without harness, it's just I can't hold the rig long enough without harness. I must have better stance when not hooked in. But I've managed to get a taste of good steady planing using the harness and I know it was thanks to the harness. Today I used my 6,5 NCX but I guess there was not enough wind, the board was turning to wind even though I tried to push the rig forward and turn the board more downwind with my feet. Or maybe I'm too scared of flying forward and leaning too much back (towards the tail) instead of out. Or maybe I'm too back on the board too early (panicing my foot in to the strap).

Does this make any sense? I guess I've made my share of stupid questions on the beach and the guys will run away next time I see them :-) You feel like joining them?
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Old 20th July 2010, 01:00 PM   #4
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I'm not running away from anything.
OK, you get my "PROGRESSIVELY" lecture now.
Nearly everything in windsurfing technique needs to be done progressively!!!!!!
You need to progressively sheet in your sail to get moving.
As the board moves "progressievely" faster, you need to move back on the board..... progressively!
Your rate of movement back toward the footstraps needs to match the rate as which the board is accelerating. Move back too fast, and the tail sinks and you've got to start over.
Move back too slowly and the rate of increase in speed gets ahead of you and you become fearful of
catapaults. and picking your feet up to place them in the footstraps.
So...... progressively!!!!!!
Sheet in the sail
Board gains speed
You move back
Hook in to your harness or place your front foot in the footstrap (but do not put any weight on the front foot
or the board will turn upwind immediately (this is called "rounding up" and is a direct result of you placing weight off center, upwind which tips the board and it turns, just like it's supposed to)).
So, how to avoid putting weight on the front foot???? Big dillemma.....
Hook in just before you put your foot in the front strap, so the rig can take most of your weight.
Keep the arch of your back foot right over the fore and aft centerline of your board, and keep your weight on the rear foot. You can also steer the board... heel pressure you go upwind, toe pressure takes you downwind.....Your back foot is not so far back that you sink the tail of the board.
Where exactly is that.... it depends on your weight, your stance, and how fast the board is going.

So, you can "set up" for your gusts by moving back just enough that the board is all ready to accelerate.
With your footstraps in the middle positon (not beginner...but not "advanced") you may not be getting far enough back on the board with your back foot.
Normally, after you have sheeted in, moved back "progressively" as your speed increases, hooked in before you really have raked the rig back much (rig is still pretty open, not fully sheeted in or raked back)
You have the board all set to take off when you get enough power in your sail.
As soon as the board accelerates onto a plane, THEN you can worry about getting your back foot into the rear strap..... not before. But at your level, getting the back foot into the strap may not be so ciritical.
When you have moved the footstraps back and outboard all the way (the dreaded "advanced" position where the board can reach it's full potential for speed with control) (and at some point pretty soon, you will!!) your rear foot would be a little in front of the rear footstraps; you would be hooked in; your front foot would be in the front upwind footstrap; and you would be ready to sheet in and rake the rig back as soon as you feel there's enough power in your sail.
But, the key to all this is to do things PROGESSIVELY....
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.
Remember.... when in doubt, let it out.
If you feel yourself getting pulled up onto your toes, sheet out slightly (actually a better term is "ease your sheeting angle) to reduce the loading on your sail.
When you find the rig supporting your entire weight, keep the board flat and you will plane very fast across the wind.
To turn upwind, a little heel pressure on the back foot... To turn downwind, a bit of toe pressure and lift the end of the boom slightly (un rake your rig slightly) to get the power in the rig forward a little to help turn you off the wind.
Hope this helps,
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:31 PM   #5
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Great! I think I'm getting the idea... progressively of course :-)

Now I've had my absolutely best windsurfing session. Wind was nice, I was planing and it felt easy and as if I was in control what was happening there (thanks to this sentence, I'll be swimming next time...). No catapults or other difficulties with harness. This time I had 8,0 NCX.

I guess I won't need my 6,5 sail for a while. Maybe it needs so much wind to get Rio S planing with that sail (and my weight 60 kg) that I prefer to stay indoors those days.

Thank you for your advice, all this has been very helpful. I do appreciate that you answered so quickly, always before I had a chance to go and test your tips in practise. Now I think I have enough home work for this summer :-)
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