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Old 5th April 2007, 04:39 AM   #1
Johnny Walker
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2
Default Footstrap Positions for Average Sized People on Race Kit

I would like to pick up on the topic about the front foot being pulled out the strap initially raised at http://star-board.com/forum/viewthre...hread_id=22643 but in the Ask the Team Forum

Over the last year I have had similar problems with iSonic 115, Sonic 85 and Formula 159/161, but I am now convinced that I have identified the issue and the solution.

Initially I tried all the usual fixes - track forward, boom down straps closer together etc. and could normally find a reasonable compromise, which gave me control with reasonable speed. More recently I have started speed sailing and posting on GPS-Speedsurfing, so I have spent the odd idle hour thinking about my broad reaching stance and what was holding me back.

I had a major issue with the iSonic 115 - the setup which kept my front foot in the strap - boom down, track forward, back straps forward, gave me a really hunched over the back leg stance going downwind, and also gave the board a somewhat sticky and dead feeling.

The trouble with having the back straps in the fwd holes is that those holes are quite a long way forward in the board - and what I really wanted was to have the back straps in the rear holes and the front straps some distance behind the existing holes.

Talking dimensions for a minute, the iSonic 115 has 3 sets of front holes and 3 sets of back holes. With all the straps in the rear holes this gives you get a strap spread of 55cm (measured from strap centre to strap centre) and with the front straps in the rear holes and the back straps in the front holes you get strap spread of 50cm, which seems to be standard fair for Starboard.

After some more idle hours deliberating, I decided to get my router out, install some additional front footstrap inserts and see how it went. With the front footstraps now positioned 5cm (equivalent to another 2 holes) behind the rear most hole offered by Starboard, the transformation was dramatic. I could now sail the board with the back straps in the back holes (giving a new strap spread of 50cm), the boom up and the track back. The board lost it's sticky feeling and top speed with a Lightning 7.8 and Deb SL2 38 went from 28.9 to 30.9 knots in similar conditions.

Having made the bold move of cutting big holes out of my £1000 board, I am now very tuned into boards with similar problems.

I have now had my Formula 161 for a couple of weeks and after the first 3 sessions decided that once again the front straps were too far forward. Talking dimensions again the 161 strap spread with all straps in the rear holes is a gigantic 57.5cm and with the front straps in the rear holes and the back straps in the fwd holed it is still 55cm. Using an idea developed by Tom Chalko and Andrew Daff I have manufactured some plates up to move the front straps back, which is considerably less work than expoxying new inserts in. Pictures here at http://www.jfhwalker.demon.co.uk/FW161/
The strap spread is now down to 50cm and although I have only sailed it once I am very impressed with the results on the water so far.

Now the Sonic 85 that was a strange board. Everything on this board was well forward, the finbox, the straps and the mast track position. I found that trying to get a track position to boom height relationship that was comfortable both upwind and downwind was nigh on impossible – it was either on thing or the other, and although the footstrap spread was about 50cm from memory, I was forever faffing around trying to get rid of the hovering front foot described by Martin van Meurs. Initially I had a couple major catapults after the front foot had been pulled out the strap when I was on a beam reach in a big gust (funny how I seen exactly the same thing happen to Sam Ireland on his Pro Secrets DVD), but although the board was by no means slow but I could never get 100% comfortable on it and after I decided to move it on. Interestingly, I know some people who are a lot taller than me who are very happy with their Sonic 85s.

After the Sonic 85 came a Fanatic Falcon 80 and Speed. In terms of strap spread they are very similar to the Starboards, however compared to the Starboards the Fanatics footstraps are positioned about 5cm closer to the back of the board. So although I am forced to set up with the front straps in the rear holes I don't have an issue with this as I am standing that much closer to the tail.

Talking to people on and offline has revealed yet more of the same.
Talking to a couple of local Sonic 100 riders (of pro rider dimensions) about my Soinc 85 issues they revealed some pretty similar problems and wished that they could move their front footstraps further back.
And even the latest iSonic 50 suffers from similar problems, as described at http://gps-speedsurfing.com/gps.asp?...mnu=1&val=3730

Perhaps the most revealing comment came from my windsurfing shop. While on a Starboard dealer conference in Dahab, Tseida You was questioned about how Starboard decided where to put their footstraps (on iSonics in particular) he said that Starboard had a tried and tested formula which basically amounts to putting a predefined template over the back of the board and cutting the holes – not much R&D tuning there me thinks.

So after a year sailing on a lot of boards (modified and unmodified) I have come to the following conclusions.

1. I am now convinced that the original problem (front foot being pulled out of strap) is down to my diminutive size - 170cm, 68kg and the fact that all the boards I sail are set up for people a lot bigger than me, and many others have come to the same conclusion.
2. The optimum strap spread for me is about 48-50cm, which is very close to my shoulder width of 47 cm, which is supports a theory postulated by the guru himself Peter Hart.
3. Moving the front straps back does not lead to a loss on control. In fact quite the opposite, having the front strap further back has enabled me to adopt a more natural stance over the board which has given me better control over the board trim and allow to me to transfer the power of the sail into the board more efficiently, which at the end of the day equals more speed/pointing.

Small people can fix this problem by modifying their boards to move the front straps further back. However wouldn't it be nice if the manufacturer's actually considered all sizes of sailors when designing the placement of footstrap inserts. Instead of a range of 2 or 3 holes for the front straps, how about 5 or 6 holes, the weight gain would be in the order of 50grams or so (rather than the ½ kilo of ironmongery I used on the 161), but the potential increase in enjoyment and ease of tuning could be 1000 fold, so come on Starboard, how about it?

Also a couple of questions.

1. Do any of the Starboard pro riders actually use the fwd holes for the front footstraps?
2. To test Peter Harts theory, how does the shoulder width of the Starboard pro riders compare to their footstrap spread?
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