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  1. #1
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    How to preserve energy while sailing?

    Although nothing is ever certain, you would believe that most sailors want to achieve a maximum amount of performance - however measured - for a given input. This can be especially important in a wave spot that is far off shore or where launching and landing is difficult so you can not easily rest on the beach.


    What do people here believe are the worst or most common energy stealers? I'm particularily interested in the sort of mistakes you tend to do when getting tired or destracted or simply from having a bad day, and which could still mostly be avoided by increased awareness.


    Rather than give an example from WS, lets look at getting a motorbike through a corner. In order to change direction efficiently you countersteer (turn left to go right and vice versa). Now whether you push with one hand, pull with the other, or do both things simultaneously is perhaps not very important - at least not for my point here. What's important is that your arms don't start fighting each other. But this is exactly what often happens as you get tired or scared.


    I belive a similar mistake can be done while handling the boom hooked in. Do you agree? Have you got other examples? And do you believe that giving such problems more attention could pay off?
    Last edited by boards_Tomas; 19th December 2014 at 10:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bman18's Avatar
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    I start to refuse to go through my knees in the turns when getting tired. You can basically read my state of exhaustion from the amount of flex in my knees, with no flex meaning that I'm done for the day.
    Another thing I still struggle with (stupid as it is) is hydration. Especially a place like Pozo where I hate coming in and going out, I tend to dehydrate quite strong. One remedy I'm trying the last couple of months is to take a glop of seawater each hour, starting when going in. This is supposed to keep your salts and minerals a bit better in balance.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Navegante's Avatar
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    Yes, hydrating possibly the most important countermeasure against energy depleting.
    Here's my solution:
    1 hour sailing, 20 min Daikiri break. Repeat until sunset.
    Attachment 11289

    For or that it is also fundamental to have the barman instructed to turn the blender on when you're coming in and the chair properly oriented.
    Attachment 11290

  4. #4
    Senior Member Asle's Avatar
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    Number one is paying extreme attention to you set up and the trim of it. Having the right mast for the sail, the right sail for the board and the right gear for what you want to do in the conditions you want to sail. Then you have to trim it right by cm and mm. A wrong placed harness line will make you work more, wrong down or outhaul will make you work more and wrong fins will make you work more. The more dialed in you are on your kit the more comfortable you are, the less energy you spend and the more fun you have. It is also good advice to pay attention to your basic technique no matter how good you are. Small things can make for big differences. Have someone spotting you.

    I also have one other good advice to get fitter for sailing. Take up light wind slalom sailing. You get more tow and it works you lounges and strength like nothing else. It will develop you stamina for wave sailing a lot and it is super challenging and fun.

  5. #5
    Senior Member TerryTibbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bman18 View Post
    I start to refuse to go through my knees in the turns when getting tired. You can basically read my state of exhaustion from the amount of flex in my knees, with no flex meaning that I'm done for the day.
    Another thing I still struggle with (stupid as it is) is hydration. Especially a place like Pozo where I hate coming in and going out, I tend to dehydrate quite strong. One remedy I'm trying the last couple of months is to take a glop of seawater each hour, starting when going in. This is supposed to keep your salts and minerals a bit better in balance.
    There is no reason to be dehydrated whilst out sailing. If you are adequately hydrated before you go on the water - which means drinking in small amounts at regular intervals from the time you wake up until the point you go sailing (i.e. not just taking a few massive gulps before you go on the water without having drunk anything but your morning coffee) - you will remain hydrated for up to 90 minutes. I don't think coming back to the beach within a 90 minute sailing window is much of an inconvenience. Aside from the hydration issue, it's good to come ashore every 45 minutes or so to re-assess what your sailing goals are (if you have any), or just rest.

    If you're sailing for longer than 90 minutes with no opportunities to rehydrate, then you should be carrying a hydration pack, and should consider yourself an 'endurance' windsurfer.
    Wish I was better, but don't we all?!

  6. #6
    Senior Member bman18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryTibbs View Post
    you will remain hydrated for up to 90 minutes.
    It's not as simple as that. I'm able to sweat a lot during exercise and depending on the conditions and the wetsuit, will dehydrate well before the 90 minutes are gone.
    A long time ago, I used to row in a men's light eight, which have an average weight limit of 70 kg each. We used to run just before the competitions in plastic rain gear to loose weight and it wasn't unusual to loose 2 kg in half an hour, just by sweating. After being weighted, we tried to re-hydrate ourselves in the 20 or 30 minutes left before the start.

    But you're right TT, a hydration pack would be an option and regular breaks are an even better alternative. The problem is that I always loose track of time when I'm having fun and only start to notice the dehydration when my muscles start to complain ...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Silicon Beach's Avatar
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    I always take a bottle of Isotronic sports drink to the beach, and also after sailing I've been drinking an electrolyte replacement drink. I find that if I don't then I get really bad cramp after windsurfing all day.

    But Tomas was asking more about saving energy while actually on the water, and I consider myself something of an expert at this (not much else, obviously). At sixty-one I have to be good at saving energy to compete for waves all day in a spot that is populated with hardcore young dudes (as well as plenty of other savvy old geezers like me).

    I have lots of little tricks for this: sailing along I'm continually consciously relaxing my hands (playing the piano on the boom, taking hands off whenever possible), back (small movements in the harness until it pulls from the right place), knees legs and feet (amazing the difference it makes if you work on keeping your feet relaxed) etc

    Basically I try and save every bit of energy for when I'm actually riding a wave and then I give it everything I can. So the rest of my sailing is extremely relaxed - others might say lazy, but I don't care. I'm not interested in racing people, not interested in wasting energy on freestyle tricks or loops - if I have to jump then I try to do a good one and land well, but I'm not bothered about how high I go etc. I make all my gybes, so no energy wasted on falling in trying to tack, and I try to plane out of them as this also saves a lot of energy.

    I try and choose my sail size to allow me to be just powered up enough to do the shortest possible reaches out to sea to stay in the line-up, but not overpowered when on the wave. I have even been known to hook back in briefly in between turns on a wave ... does anyone else do that ?

    Anyway, I realise that I'm a bit of a heretic ... I'm not interested in a lot of things that the gurus tell you that you should be, I'm not bothered about trying to get fitter, and I'm probably "stuck on a plateau" etc ... but as I say, I don't care what anyone else thinks. I'm out there, having a great time, loving every minute with my relaxed style, and using my limited supply of energy as efficiently as possible.
    -----------------------------
    Currently writing the World's first Windsurfing Novel: 'Too Close to the Wind' - watch this space!
    ps check out my musings from El Medano: Life on the Reef
    -----------------------------
    Boards: Quatro Supermini Thrusters: 94 & 85
    Sails: Severne Blades.

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