Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 3

by Pierre Milutin

Previous article from the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 2

7. Board-sail-fin combination

To know if your gear is sailing properly, you have always look how your board is sitting on the water. It is best if you can get it riding on the tail. If your board is riding up to the front footstraps, that means your board is dragging and killing the speed. Next time when you will be on the water keep your eye on that.

A lot of people ask about mast track position and boom height. Here is the basic, but after you have to work on it to get it right.

Always start your base track in the middle of the board and your boom height at your middle of shoulders. See what your board is doing. If the board is dragging in the water, then move the mast track only 1/2 cm to 1 cm back, and move your boom height up the same. Do this untill your board is flying on the tail. When you have it setup right, even when you get hit by a gust the board trimm is always the same. The nose shouldn't flying wild into the air.

If your board is too flighty, then move the base track forward and drop the boom by small increments until you find the balance.

To gain controll in choppy waters, you have to move the base forward in small increnments and lower the boom untill you find the balance and controll in the rough stuff!

Problems may come from the fin, aslo. Let's say, you have 68 cm wide board, 7,8 m2 sail and 40 cm fin, which is great in medium conditions. As soon as the gust get higher to a certain degree, you get over finned. Of course, you will have to drop fin size to gain contoll and balance again on the same board and sail size. Or drop down to a smaller sail and if needed so, the smaller board.

Always remeber to write down all your setting, once you get everything right, so you will be prepared for your next session…

Never be too scared to try smaller fins on medium to large size boards when speedsailing. You will be surprised how things can work differently. Of course, you will loose your top end speed going upwind and sometimes crosswind due to a smaller fin on these kind of boards, but then again you are speedsiling not dragg racing mates or racing on slalom!

Always remember to practice to go fast across the wind and upwind. If you can do that, you will be tunned in properly and go even faster off the wind.

When you start now dialing in and tunning, do not go out and drag race other sailers untill you have got it right. I used to a lot of time sail away from these guys on my own, no pressure and get tunned in.

Use your GPS to analyse what's happening on the water and to see if you are getting quicker across the wind. Try to forged about off the wind runs untill you get it right. I know its hard, when you are thinking about speedsailing, but in the long run you will see that it is better; you will get faster quicker.

8. Sail trim

Different sails look different, meaning different profiles, different shapes and especially different leech twists !

When you have a sail with a deep profile "belly of the sail" (fer example, Neil Pryde) you dont have to let off the OH to gain extra horsepower, because the belly is deep enough to have it ba itself.

If you were to let off the OH then you create a bigger belly and you also start tightening the leech which will create too much power. The resulk is "hitting the wall"; you can't go faster and a lot of drag craetiong due to loosing shape of your sail!

Other sail brands have way less profile "belly" and then you are required to let off your OH, so you can bag your sail and create bigger belly to gain that extra horsepower.

I'am at the moment on Loft Sails and if it is a well powered up day, I will bag my sail so that the profile or monofilm is leaning against the boom up to my first harness line connection.

The best thing to do, once you have set up your sail properly, is to test and try it out on the water with various OH settings until you find the right sweet spot for speedsailing.

Downhaul is also crucial to the sea state you are sailing in. When it's choppy waters, then it's best to have the DH full on. Why? When you let of the DH you will gain a lot of power which will be hard to control in choppy waters unless you find a trim that suits your weigh. Heavy guys can get away with this to a certain degree.

In flat water, you can start letting off your DH to a certain degree again, because sometimes the wind can be gusty and you want to keep on the full power. Even if the wind is full on, you can still play with your DH to get some extra speed, but like I said, you have to try things out while you are on the water and pay close attension to your GPS and wind strength.

Once off the wind, do not over sheet because you will kill your power. Always keep in mind to have the sail sheeted in until the outer back footstrap, and hold it there, especially going deep off the wind.

In lighter winds do not bare off so much due to lack of wind power. Instead off baring off 150 drgree like you would in strong winds, you will bare off roughly 100 to 110 degrees. The best way is to get out in the water and try different angles in different conditions to see what is a better angle to do it.


Next article from the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 4

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