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Old 31st July 2008, 07:39 PM   #11
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Hi Marek,
I think you might be overlooking another way to limit yoiur boards speed and making
it easier/safer to get into the back strap.
What would happen, if you didn't sheet in fully as soon as you hook in.
If you don't continue to sheet in, your speed should stay fairly constant, and
allow you to settle things down, at much less than full speed, then get your foot
in the strap.
I tried this yesterday while sailing the Futura 133 with the '08 Retro 6.5.
The wind was strong enough that I was getting tossed over the forward lee side
doing beach starts, so there was plenty of power in the rig.
What I found was that I did not want to (or need to) sheet in fully.
If I only sheeted in enough to support my weight, hooked in, and with the front foot in the front footstrap I could sail along nicely with my back foot on the center line and just forward of the rear footstrap.
I dould sail along at much less than full speed.
When I was ready, I moved my foot out to almost standing on the front of the outboard
rear footstrap, then placed my foot in the footstrap.
As soon as I was fully in the strap, the rig was raked back fully and sheeted in a little more, the speed increased noticeably, and the board went to full speed.
I cannot stress enough to you guys that you do not need to be in a hurry during this evolution.
Yes, I know, you think the board is going to gain too much speed and you will have problems/get catapaulted if yoiu don't get hooked in, sheeted in, and in both footstraps quickly.
If you use the sheeting angle of your sail to moderate the power from your rig, you should be able to do the whole evolution at a much slower and more comfortable speed.
This changes a bit is you are only moderately powered and have to wait for boardspeed to develop, but as I said before, in moderate conditions you need to be very careful not to oversheet because it's very easy to do, and shuts your speed right off.
I hope to try all this again soon and get back with your.
Wish I had a video to send you that breaks it all down into steps.
Hope this helps,
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Old 31st July 2008, 09:01 PM   #12
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 95

Thanks Roger, I'll try to use the method you described, but...

you've been always telling us that sheeting out is not a good thing as it reduces the mast-foot pressure and makes the board unstable.
I noticed it myself, that when I get overpowered the worst way to keep control is to sheet out - the board starts dancing like crazy. However, when I sheet in hard, hang on my harness and lay onto the windward side things stay under control (which does not necessarily mean that the board goes any slower ;-)).

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Old 1st August 2008, 02:43 AM   #13
Ellen Faller
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As an observer of this exchange I feel I must comment here. There is a lot of difference in the wording and it is a very important difference.
In reading Roger's post, and then yours, the difference is in "sheeting out" and "sheeting in". If you have not sheeted in too much, then there is not the problem of having to sheet out.
In a car, you can accelerate by increasing pressure on the gas pedal. You can control your acceleration. You can accelerate up to 25 mph and keep your speed there. No braking is needed. If you accelerate to 35 mph, and wish to go 25, then you will have to use the brakes or remove pressure from the gas pedal to slow down.
What Roger is saying is that you can get up to a certain speed and stay there by sheeting in only to a certain point. If you sheet in more and go faster, and then try to back off by sheeting out, you may have a problem.
I think that is the difference between what you and Roger are saying.
hope this helps
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Old 1st August 2008, 04:58 PM   #14
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OK, I got it now - can't wait to try the new method this weekend. ;-)


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Old 8th August 2008, 06:33 PM   #15
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Hi All,

Some great information on this thread, very helpful!


You described:

"What Roger is saying is that you can get up to a certain speed and stay there by sheeting in only to a certain point. If you sheet in more and go faster, and then try to back off by sheeting out, you may have a problem."

With this in mind, how do you recommend slowing down. I mention this because I have just got my Carve 145 and had it planing at a ridiculous speed the other day and when it came to slowing the board as I reached the end of the lake, my only recourse was to leap off not the best technique I thought.

I am also having great difficulty controlling the pull of the sail whilst in the Harness (just got it), when I hook in do I control the pull by pulling with my front hand and pushing with my back hand? I tried this but it seems difficult when I'm attached to the rig (getting some horrific catapults), this is also getting me worried about committing to the harness as when the board really powers up I dread the upcoming huge smash, I think this may be a contributory factor to my catapults and could do with some advice.

Many thanks,
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Old 8th August 2008, 07:43 PM   #16
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Hi Rob,
When you want to slow down, just "ease" your sheeting angle slowly.
Depending on your rig size this could be very little, or as much as 15 degrees.
If you "ease" the pressure in your rig, it will most certainly result in a decrease
in speed.
The whole "point" here is that you do this slowly.....
DO NOT "sheet out" suddenly as this will upset the balance of the board, the rig and the fin and may result in some sort of "crash".
As far as controlling the rig when you are hooked in, if you have your harness lines positioned/balanced correctly, you will be able to take both hands off the boom momentarily and the rig won't do anything, just give you the same amount of power you had when you took your hands off.
If your rig increases or decreases it's power, or tries to fall forward or to the rear, when you remove your hands momentarily, then your lines are not "balanced" and your rig has the ability to jerk you around all over the place.
If your rig is powering up more, that usually means you have your lines too far back on the boom and 2 things are happening:
#1 as the speed and power increase, the rig sheets in a bit more (because the lines are too far back and it's "pivoting" around the front line attachment point) and it also wants to fal forward which increases it's power and gives it more fore/aft leverage over the resistance (you the sailor).
You can set your harness lines so the rig actually "eases off" when it gets overpowered.
Move the front line until the rig neither falls forward or to the rear, then position the rear line attachment point so the rig tends to "ease out" if you stop pulling in with your back hand.
This makes the rig very much like a car.
If you lift off the accelerator pedal, a spring pulls the throttle closed and your cars slows down.
Getting your lines balanced so the rig "eases off" when you release the pull with your back hand makes your "throttle" close slowly, just like in your car.
Unfortunately, you can't "experience" how all this works without fully committing to the harness lines.
Once you get it right, and learn to trust that you can ease off if required, handling gusts (with modern twist off at the top sails) is quite easy.
The sails are designed so that the pressure/power in the top of the sail (the upper part of the sail has the most "leverage" over the sailor) automatically reduces in gusts by the simple expedient of having the leech "open up" and spill some wind, easing the overall pressure in the rig.
Hope this helps,
Hope this helps,
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Old 11th August 2008, 03:10 PM   #17
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Hi Roger,

I put your advice into practice at the weekend and it was very helpful. I felt much more in control of the sail, though to release the power in the sail in gusts, at the same time as pushing my back hand out slightly to sheet out, I also had to pull the mast back and towards me slightly (as in a quick jerk) at the same time to spill the wind. Should I do this? It felt that if I didn't the sheeting out action created a pull from the sail that was overwhelming and I would be catapulted. I think that this is because when I have to sheet out quickly in a gust (i'm on a lake) as my back hand pushes my body weight comes slightly more towards the board and also the mast may move forward slightly. Its hard to analyse it at the time but it does create a feeling that if I sheet out I receive an even greater pull than If I pull against the sail and lean back (though if go too far back I stall).

On a slighlty different track, I've noticed that its difficult for me to go downwind whilst in the harness. As I'm attached to the sail and have to move forward to move the sail towards the nose and head downwind, I am off balance and do not have enough leverage to withstand the pull on the sail (then get wet). If I lean back then the sail comes back and I move back onto a beam reach. If I let some of the power out of the sail by sheeting out as I tip it forward then I lose the power I'm trying to get to plane. I dont have these problems when not in the harness as I can hang my weight off the boom much further back than when I'm hooked in.

Just a few things that came up during harness practice.

Thanks for the advice Roger I think I'm starting to get there,

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Old 11th August 2008, 08:49 PM   #18
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Hi Rob,
On your first question on "easing" your sheeting angle, I think we are still not clear
on how to "ease" (rather than sheet out.
First, try to watch the water upwind and ahead of you so you can "anticipate" when the
gust is coming.
Then, instead of "sheeting out" try to just ease off a little.
Easing off could be equated to an attempt to keep the power at the same level.
This is the level that you can handle comfortably.
Look at it this way...... as the gist hits your sail, there will be an increase in power,
so at the same time you ease off (at as close to the same rate as you can) your sheeting angle to keep the power at the same level.
I know on lakes you get mega gusts from hell that hit all at once and can almost double the windspeed, but the gusts affect on the water is usually visually quite dramatic.
The surface darkens alot, little ripples become much larger ripples, maybe even instant
So, if you are watching upwind and ahead, you have some time to adjust BEFORE you get hit with the gust.
I also suspect that you may still have a bit of a harness line balance issue.
What sort of harness hook are you using? Reactor Roller.... or a solid hook?
If you get more power when you "ease off" your sheeting angle, this indicates to
me that you are slightly oversheeted to begin witn. In other words, you have learned to
sheet in a little more than the optimum angle to give your rig it's max. forward drive/min. sideways pull.
Try this, when sailing along on a beam reach or above, with your sail raked back and fully sheeted in, ease off the sheeting angle slightly.
Does this increase your speed........give better control......what?
Also, I'm having a bit of a problem with your statements about sheeting in and "pushing out" to ease or unsheet your sail.
Most sailor have their lines set so that just taking your back hand off the boom allows the rig to ease off slightly.
So, there does not seem to be any need for "pushing" with correclty balanced lines.
If I read your first paragraph carefully it almost seems like you are in an action/reaction
mode here and may be doing 2 or more things at once and the net result is an increase in rig pressure.

On your sailing downwind issues, try not to tip the rig forward so much, but rather'simply bring the mast more upwind.
You may want your harness lines a little longer for sailing off the wind. This is why the formula racers all use adjustable harness lines with stopper knots in them.
They crank the lines short to sail upwind maximally, then when they jibe around the top mark, they extend their lines to a stopper knot the put in and adjusted while traning or the race.
You could do the same with an adjustable harness line setup.
You normally do not have to "move forward" to tip your rig, just push it forward a little
and adjust your stance while still in the footstraps.
Also, to head off the wind, you would need to pull up a bit with your front foot and tip your back foot more toward the toes to get the board to turn vice doing it all by tipping the rig more forward.
Hope this helps,
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Old 14th August 2008, 04:22 PM   #19
Roly Gardner
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 74

Hi All,

Been following this thread as I made a couple of posts earlier. Thanks to Roger I can now get in and out of the harness more easily and find it so much more controlled particularly when getting up to speed. I have the same board as you do Rob but sail on open water with more chop probably. We are also quite gusty as we have a pier (stupid inconsiderate Victorians) which interrupts the predominant South Westerly wind direction and a marina harbour wall to the East. I find the anticipation described by Roger quite helpful. I also have to get really low and sort of hanging from the boom with a bent back(and sometimes front but I am not sure if this is good technique!) leg. In this position you can resist the urge of the sail to whip you over the front. At first I thought that I was getting low but was not. I exaggerated the stance having watched some more experienced sailors and this helps a lot.

It also helps to really commit to the harness. You read this in all the mags and it was easier said than done for me. A chap here called Jem Hall advises in his DVD Beginner to Winner, to lighten your grip on the boom to test that you are committing to the harness. He likens this to playing the piano with your fingers. So where Roger suggests you can take both hands off the boom ( tried it, it hurt, stopped doing it ) in theory, this tip is a nice transition.

Once more comfortable in the harness I started to put the tips on foot straps into practice. For me progressing in this sport seems to be a fairly slow and methodical process. I am not one of these people that gets up on the board and everything falls in to place. I need to get comfortable with one element before moving on but get there in the end. I can get in to the front strap and sail in a ( fairly) controlled fashion. I am now concentrating on the smooth and controlled transition to getting the back foot in.

In relation to stopping quickly, something odd happened to me recently on the water. I was planing nicely in to the beach and picked up some good speed. Like you Rob, I have in the past just pulled the ejector chord. However, on this occasion I sort of went into a carve tack if such a thing exists. I did not get all the way around but ended up heading straight into wind and stationary! Not tried it since and am convinced I could not do it again.

One quick question for you Roger if I may. When you say "rake the rig back" does this draw the mast to aft as I assume and if so why does this not drive the board into wind? I think it does when I try it so am I supposed to balance this action by doing something else? I have a feeling that it may have something to do with foot steering while and whilst I have read some articles on this I am still not clear. I am using your tip on taking the pressure off the front foot with the rear foot steering across the centre line which works nicely. Is it an extension of this?


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Old 14th August 2008, 08:12 PM   #20
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Hi Roly,
The hard carve upwind is a maneuver used by many sailors to slow down at the end of a run in toward the beach, and yes, calling it a carve tack is about correct.
Next time, just quick step over the mast, keep the board carving/planing and sail off back out to sea. First time I saw some top level sailors doing planing tacks I was astonished! Took me a while to figure out exactly what they were doing.

On your raking the rig back issues, if the board is turning upwind when you do this you do not have enough speed to be doing it.
And I would guess that as you are doing it you are somehow shifting a bit more weight onto your outboard front foot, or onto the heel of your back foot.
The rig does get fully raked back until the foot angle is parallel with the deck of your board (maybe even touching your board at the back on bigger sails) but you cannot do this until you are hooked in and fully planing at nearly top speed.
You need lots of apparent windspeed to make fully raking the rig back work, so wait a bit more when raking the rig.
It's more powerful standing up slightly, but gives you better speed raked back to allow you to sail on apparent wind.
You really need to be in both footstraps and really moving before the rig gets fully raked back and sheeted in to almost the centerline of your board for sailing upwind.
If your course is further off the wind, you may not need to rake back or sheet in quite so much unless you are on formula gear that sails almost completely on apparent wind.
You can also "footsteer" once you are in both footstraps.
More pressure over the top of the fin with your back leg (towards downwind) takes you upwind more.
Backing off the pressure on your back leg and rolling the toes on both feet down a little will take you off the wind. It's not intuitive.....you'll figure it out, just like your carving tack.
Hope this helps,
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