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26th October 2015, 01:39 PM #15
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
With a few very good exceptions, people who try to go frontside in onshore conditions stall then fall. I've beeing doing that a lot since I bought the Evo in 2005. First on one tack and next on the other. Only lately do both seem to be more or less sorted, although Pozo is really tricky and I'm prepared to look like a seasick cow there for a few more years.
I believe that people stall because they can't generate enough power. Unless you're on a good wave (probably not) you need to power up clew first to keep speed.
The conventional visdom is you need to stretch your boom hand and twist your body. The magazines are full of aging gurus trying to show us how flexible they are. Both ideas are probably good.
I can twist more than 90 degrees (shoulders relative to feet - don't know if that is more or less than usual) and have a very long reach. But I've found that simply by pulling in a bit on the mast arm I can sheet in a lot more without overstretching my body (left hip is still slightly sore from a hero attempt in Pozo last April).
I do get your point Basher of looking at the totality of the experience and getting a feel for it through practice. But what you don't seem to get - and partly because you're a lousy reader - is that many or most will approach a manouvre like gybing or bottom turning with some image of what's going to work. For me - and I guess many others - that image has has included a more or less straight mast arm.
A straight or pushing mast arm is certaintly good for entries to high speed gybes. And judging by all the super hero pictures we are constantly fed it's also indispensible on big fast side or side off. But onshore seems to call for another approach. A bit of sheeting on entry will probably always be good for setting the rail in the bottom turn. But my own experience is I've been pushing too hard too early and keeping the mast arm too straight for too long. And I've been doing it for years.
I'll advice (risky thing to do but well meant) beginners in onshore conditions to try and experiment with pulling in a bit on the mast arm when going through downwind. That will give you more speed and stop you from backwinding and getting slapped in the face by the sail.
But as soon as you master this technique you may be confronted with the opposite problem, namely that you're still too powered up when you're ready to do the top turn. (The more vertical you go, the less of a problem this will be since going vertical means pointing the clew more into the wind.)
Note that I'm not saying I know why OlaH and the pros do all the sheeting and shifting of grip they do. For example there may be other reasons for extending the front arm in the top turn (and just before pulling it back in again - just to make matters even more complicated ). I'd be happy to be set straight or have my theory confirmed by someone who's actually willing to try and present some form of logic.
To sum up the work of the mast arm as I see it, the stages are as follows:
1 To push away and into the turn (but not too much or too early in very onshore conditions - it's better to just sort of slide down the wave a bit before starting to push much either on mast hand or through the feet). This is to set the rail for the bottom turn while you're still on the original tack.
2 To pull back when turning through down wind to power up early on the new tack.
3 To extend before the top turn when/if the sail is too powered to allow for a smooth transition to the heels and/or for moving the boom arm back toward the harness lines.
4 To pull back in after turning through down wind in the top turn to help the clew swing out so the sail can start working again in standard mode on the original tack going down the wave.
Last edited by boards_Tomas; 26th October 2015 at 08:51 PM.The infamous wavewriter
26th October 2015, 04:18 PM #16
Our bodies often work in strange ways. If I ask you to try and stand on one leg then the worst thing you can do is to try and stand on one leg, concentrating on your balance.
What you should do instead is try and focus on a fixed point ahead of you, and then raise your leg.
(If you are in a room, then focus on the wall in front of you).
This is because good balance comes from how we learnt to walk – anticipating where we want to go, rather than trying to work our legs.
I think of the 'bent front arm' thing the same way. If you are concentrating on bending your front arm you will probably fall in, or miss-time the turn etc.
In a bottom turn, your front arm should probably be really straight and your back hand more bent – but that's not about the arm so much as it's about dipping the rig towards the nose of the board with you leant right over it.
There isn't much pull on your front arm for this bottom turn – because most of the rig load goes through your back hand.
So the rig load goes down your back arm to the carving foot and if your weight is positioned right then your knee 'should' be pointing at the wave – as a sign that you are crouching lower and carving hard. But don't concentrate on your knee or your arm, concentrate on leaning forwards over the rig, looking up the mast to spot your top turn. Concentrate on where you are heading and where you want to go.
The straight arm and knee pointing at the wave are incidental to the move and not crucial. What is crucial is to project the board at speed along the wave so that you can keep sheeted in until (in onshore conditions) you need to open up the clew to avoid being backwinded.
That point of 'backwindedness' is usually the best time to redirect the board back upwind – although this will vary on the conditions and on your ability to maintain speed when heading downwind to the true wind, using the wave. (In true onshore conditions, you might continue along the wave clew-first, but that will require you to present some of the sail foot to the wind.)
But the more usual top turn or 'redirect' is when you pull the front arm back towards you to re-load the front foot and release the backhand to unload the back foot.
When you've got this, you won't be thinking about a bent front arm or the back hand – but instead you will be surfing the board on the wave, just using the pivot and power of the rig to accentuate that.
Last edited by basher; 26th October 2015 at 04:20 PM.Main boards: Flare 101, NuEvo 86, UltraKode 80, Reactor 82, NuEvo 73. Powered by Severne Blades and S1s.
26th October 2015, 06:42 PM #17
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
From what you write Basher it's hard to believe that you have even understood that I've been talking about VERY ONSHORE CONDITIONS all along. And it's also hard to believe that you can actually handle such conditions yourself.
With less than say a 25 degrees angle most people back wind almost before they are through the bottom turn. A possible exception is if you have a good wave that takes you fast down wind and possibly also shelter you from the wind if you take up a big wave lay down kind of position. In all other conditions - which is what people like me have to deal with on a regular basis, you need to get the sail working in clew first mode ASAP and do basically all that you can to avoid getting back winded too early.
If there is something somewhat useful in your post it's about what you call the "point of backwindedness". If you remember I have been talking about extending the mast hand just before the top turn if there's too much power in the sail. Unless you're already on the verge of back winding a push on the mast hand will point your clew closer to the wind and even allow you to move your boom hand. Which really was the topic of this thread. But you don't just wait for this to happen. The probability that "the point of backwindedness" will coincide with being in the best position for a top turn is close to zero. But by getting active with your sheeting angles by all possible means - even including your mast hand - you can depower at will when you get to the critical section or what you want to call it.
I really don't see how you can disagree other than by dogmatically saying "Thou shalt not use the mast hand for sheeting purposes other than on the bottom turn entry - and regardless of the conditions."
Last edited by boards_Tomas; 26th October 2015 at 08:49 PM.The infamous wavewriter
26th October 2015, 08:19 PM #18
Yes, here at Hove, we do have very onshore conditions, but we also have steep waves, so that means that clew first sailing is usually a momentary thing.
If you have to sail clew first for a while then there are three things to note; 1) Wavesailing clew first requires quite a twisted stance which is a bit awkward and unnatural and 2) Sailing with the rig clew first reverses what we call the 'mast hand' and the 'sheeting hand'. 3) The down-the-line ride is usually not as fluid.
Under point 2), the front hand effectively becomes the back hand and so it's bent as you sheet in and straightened to sheet out, and the 'back' hand becomes the mast hand and it is outstretched to hold the boom end rigid as the leading end go the sail. The way to sail clew first is to dip the mast downwind, angled so that the foot of the sail is presented to the wind as a luff substitute. It's also a good idea to use a tighter leach sail, to help with sail stability when the leech is the leading edge.
But when wave riding like that, you are often going pretty slowly and apparent wind is not harnessed so much, even though there is still wind flow over the sail, but reversed in that is flows from leech to luff (or from foot to luff).
You still concentrate on surfing the board, and in directing the rig load via one arm or another to load the left or right foot according to which way you want to turn. It's quite difficult to think of a top turn as being at the top of the wave after you have sailed along it for a while in clew-first mode. The top turn, such as it is, is still a redirect that requires a weight change from back foot to front foot.Main boards: Flare 101, NuEvo 86, UltraKode 80, Reactor 82, NuEvo 73. Powered by Severne Blades and S1s.
26th October 2015, 08:46 PM #19
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
So perhaps you need to read everything I've written again and tell us if you still disagree with idea of using the mast hand more actively to power up or depower the sail in clew first mode? It was by the way all very well illustrated with OlaHs pictures posted on the frontfoot vs backfoot thread. But oh soo off topic.
Last edited by boards_Tomas; 26th October 2015 at 10:11 PM.The infamous wavewriter
26th October 2015, 11:42 PM #20
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
Note that you can also achieve better sheeting in clew first mode by moving the boom hand towards the lines when you exit the bottom turn. This is an alternative (or complement) to pulling in on the mast arm which saves you from having to move the boom hand again at the top. I've experimented with this before but have found it difficult to control the sail clew first for more than a short distance if very well powered up. This is anyway the method recommended by Jaeger Stone on this site for onshore waveriding. I guess that if you have a slightly better wave, more speed and - like the pros - spend very little time in clew first mode, this can work well. For a newbee like me who sometimes spend three or four seconds in full powered clew first mode, sheeting in by pulling in on the mast hand feels safer. But you then have to find a way to move the boom hand back towards the lines before completing the top turn.
I now anyway feel that it's time to close this non-conclusive thread. Sorry if I wasted your time.The infamous wavewriter
27th October 2015, 12:32 AM #21
The best way to learn to sail clew-first for wave riding is simply to try sailing along clew-first on flat water.
It may seem impossible when you first try but if you dip the mast backwards towards the tail of the board so that you are presenting more foot to the wind then a sail becomes more controllable. Spread your arms relatively wide on the boom to get more control over a volatile rig.
To repeat what I already wrote (above) you point the boom up at the sky more and hold the boom rigid with a straight front arm. Think of the boom end of the new mast and try and hold that rigid into wind. As with sailing conventionally (i.e mast first) you can control the power of the sail using your back hand to control the sheeting angle even though this is on the boom end near the mast. As when sailing conventionally, the back arm can be extended out too but bent slightly to have the range for sheeting in and out. Don't bend the arms to bring rig closer to you as this will choke the rig.
With your arms set farther apart on the boom, you can't quite take up a 'Perfect 7' stance, but you can think in those terms.
Make sure your sail is set with positive outhaul and with a tighter leech.
It's best to practise in light winds before you attempt it in planing conditions:
This is simply about learning rig control in reverse – just as you did when first learning to sheet in conventionally. I guess there's some element of you trying to ride a bicycle with you facing backwards in that your muscle memory will at first tell you it's all wrong.
But stick with it. Sailing along clew-first is one of the basics that freestylers learn and in time you can flip the rig to the conventional mast-first setting whilst still planing along.
I guess this is really about having an awareness about where the wind is blowing from, and that's why planing clew-first in the straight line is the best way too learn it. You can then use this rig awareness for waveriding in onshore conditions.
Another trick it to learn is to waterstart clew first – which again teaches rig control. This is done by you getting the sail flat on the water and then lifting the boom end first, not the mast. You'll need to learn this on flat water.
Last edited by basher; 27th October 2015 at 10:48 AM.Main boards: Flare 101, NuEvo 86, UltraKode 80, Reactor 82, NuEvo 73. Powered by Severne Blades and S1s.