Improve your stance
A correct stance is key to sailing well and getting the most out of your equipment.
You are sailing along, trying to keep the board from bouncing, your arms are aching, feet are getting sore from the pounding. Just when you think it could not get worse someone whizzes by you, looking cool and relaxed, going twice your speed.
What magic is it that good sailors have? What do they do that makes them faster, gybe better, tire less? One word: stance. Other things play a part of course, equipment choice and setup and fitness among them, but lets assume that those are taken care of. What's left is just the way a sailor uses his body.
Improving your stance is the biggest leap you will ever make in windsurfing. How does one learn something so elusive and seemingly personal? Careful observation of very good windsurfers will show they all use their body in a similar fashion and what I'll do here is break down the differences between an intermediate sailor and an expert.
Sailing wide boards
Board widths have increased a huge amount especially for light air boards. This article looks at some techniques to get the best out of sailing formula and similar boards.
In 1998 a new racing format for windsurfing was launched called Formula Windsurfing. In order to do away with the mountains of equipment needed the rules called for one board with a maximum of 3 sails. This led the designers into creating boards with a very wide wind range coupled with excellent upwind and downwind performance.
Formula boards are much wider than conventional boards. Their length is considerably shorter. If you are coming to formula boards from conventional boards here are some tuning tips that might make your transition smoother and easier.
A lot of the technique differences are due to the radical difference in shapes:
A formula board usually has a much shorter flat section in the rocker. The rocker is the underwater hull curve of the board viewed side on to the board. Conventional boards are longer and flatter for more of their length.
You are standing further away from the center line of the board on a formula board.
For most formula boards the maximum thickness is around the rear footstrap with the maximum volume being distributed from the tail to somewhere past the front straps.
When you first start out on a formula board, the most common mistake in non-planing mode is to stand too far forward and too close to the rails. This has two effects:
Your weight on the rail causes the hull to tilt to windward. This will dramatically reduce the ability of the hull to pop onto the plane early.
If you stand far forward you are pressing down the curve in the rocker into the water. This makes the hull "stick" and will require a lot of effort to get it planning.
Articles Exerpted from articles by Sukhdev on Bluefinz in 2006, that are no
longer available online