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Old 21st April 2009, 10:26 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 32
Default slalom in rough water

I have a problem with control in rough water on my slalom board but I donít think the problem is my gear, Im pretty sure its me and my lack of experience sailing very fast in choppy water. I think I get a bit scared and end up sheeting out to slow down then loose control.

I was thinking of changing my slalom fin to a freeride type fin which might help with slowing the board down and having better control. Or perhaps using a bigger fin to get more lift to sail on top of the chop?

Has anyone got any advice or tips to improve slalom performance in very choppy conditions which will hopefully lead to me finishing some races in the future.
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Old 21st April 2009, 12:39 PM   #2
Jesper Orth
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 44

Hi Egor

To sail comfortable in strong windy conditions and rough water, -do takes some experience.

Control and comfort is the key thing here (not top end speed). You are right that if you sheet out, than the board tail walk or you loos your front foot out of the strap etc. It is important to keep power in the sail all the time to have mast foot pressure that keeps the board pinned down to the rough water.

Here are a few tips that I hope will help you a bit.

Long harness lines (32-34). Will keep your body away from the rig and you can control it better.

Boom down. Will put more pressure to the front foot to keep the board down.

Don't use extreme downhaul. This will make the board tail walk even more. Sometimes it is better with a bit more pressure on the leach.

Mast foot a bit forward. It will sit the board down more.

Place the foot straps in mid to front position. Will give you more control.

Use a waist harness. This is personal but can help a great deal, as you feel a little less locked in.

If you have 2 clew eyelets in the sail. Use the bottom eyelet as it will increase the control a touch, and allow you to sheet in all the time.

Don't have the sail out hauled to flat. The rig will be too nervous and you will be moving around too much.

Try using a softer mast. This can help on the rig control as the sail will flex more and allow you to stay sheeted in.

Use a mast with less carbon content. Some mast with less carbon content 55-75% can be used with good success, as it "slows" the mast responding time down a bit, and you can stay sheeted in (this for extremely windy choppy conditions).

For the fins. You can try as you mentioned to use a fin with more curve going backwards, as it will set the board down more. A bigger fin can also help sometimes as it pushes the nose down as well. This style might require a bit more experience.

Hope it helps and will make you finish some races,,J


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Old 21st April 2009, 05:50 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 32

Hi Jesper,

Thanks for the tips. The longer harness lines is a great idea as I usually use 24" so havent got much room for error when over powered and sheeting out and yes sheeting out is bad. Ive tried a waist harness before but it felt very strange after using a seat harness for years but maybe its worth trying again.

Anyway you have given me a lot of ideas to work on so thanks
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Old 21st April 2009, 06:23 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 459
Question More specific ?

Think you need to be a bit more specific with your kit/ability/weight/conditions.

Are you getting railed/spinning out/getting overpowered ? Catapulted ??

What size board? / fin ?/ rig ?are you having problems with and in what windstrength/sea state.?

We all experiene control problems at some point but it can be rig related or board/fin (Rig can cause both !!!)

If rig/ board /fin are all ok (compatable) it feels easy.(Upto a point) If one is out it can feel terrible. Good sailors make it look easy but much of the work has been done on the beach. Get everything right and then look at your technique.(Bad habits can be picked up eliminating what can be poor choice/set up)

You will never feel as "stable" in a waist harness as a seat. Waist gives easier rig movement but does not offer same purchase/ easy loading as a seat. (look what slalom/speed/racers use)
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Old 21st April 2009, 07:20 PM   #5
Erik Loots
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Netherlands, Alkmaar
Posts: 109
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I guess you are riding a slalomboard+racesail. One of the things I would suggest is a stable fin, a bit curved maybe and less tip surface.

like these models:
Select Devil
Tectonics Falcon f1

Another tip for really extreme conditions is a wide footstrap stance. I don't trim my sail way different on flat or extreme choppy water. Take a bit longer fin will help in downwind-control, but is has to be a good fin otherwise longer will mean less control.

Really long harnasslines are sometimes no possible solution because the waves are to high.
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Old 21st April 2009, 08:05 PM   #6
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Holy schmoly!!!!!!!!!

32 to 34" lines !!!!!!!!!

Can you even buy harness lines that long!?

Before wasting your money, please test with rope. I doubt it will work very well.
... or try lowering your boom to your knees!
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Old 21st April 2009, 09:07 PM   #7
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 537

Egor, maybe you should insist with the waist harness, along with using the other tips. I went to waist harness after years of "seating" too. The seat is more confortable but the waist brings you up and helps keeping the board flat on water. However 32/34 cm may be a bit long with a waist harness. Try 28/30 cm with the boom just below shoulders. Now if you want to win some races and not only finish them, you may go back to seat after a while.
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Old 21st April 2009, 09:15 PM   #8
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Harness lines thing is pure fashion.
One year short gives more stability. Next long does.
Its what suits you gives best.

Control in chop. ?? Buy a wave board and enjoy the chop. If its that bad you`ll be going just as quick anyhow.

Slalom boards controlled from rail are a pain in arse .They aren`t faster; they just feel it because you are on limit of control stood way out there. My Honda CG125 feels like a fireblade if I ride it stood on seaT.

Slalom boards are fast because fast sailors sail them; us umb ass sailors then go and buy them thinking we can sail them.We cant so we go on sailing holidays; pay fools to try and coach us then buy nother board next year and start all over again.(All helps pay for the hords of sponsred sailors though)

Buy an easy to sail board; learn to sail it and enjoy the chop.Forget dedicated boards and most of the nonesense on here ! (34 inch lines ??? Waist harness ?? No downhaul ???Longer ins to help control I`ve never heard such drivvle !!!)
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Old 21st April 2009, 09:30 PM   #9
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it should have read
"us Dumb ass sailors"
"longer Fins for more control"
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Old 21st April 2009, 09:42 PM   #10
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Buenos Aires- Argentina
Posts: 71

Hi Egor, i have a similar question about fins, i already have a Deb sl2 36cm that Oriana sent me in 2007 but later on she never answered me any email about a new one.
I can say that mine glides perfect for slalom racing, very fast (very thin fin, IS 101 stock Drake fin was designed by Deb), and great upwind too. Now i am looking for a new fin for downwind racing in 110 degrees and there are some very good fins, you can watch my post at http://www.star-board.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5614
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