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  1. #8
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    All good advice above. In addition there is a big difference between different types of sails and also in terms of how your sail is rigged.

    First off rigging. In my experience the larger the sail the more likely the only satisfactory setting is full downhaul. Big sails neither release properly or remain stable otherwise. Using a big sail because the average wind strength is light but also accompanied by much stronger gusts really means that you need to be adjust the outhaul on the fly, so an adjustable outhaul system can help. Fairly light outhaul tension to get maximum power, greater tension to survive stronger periods of wind.

    In terms of sail types, even 8m is a lot of sail area to try to stabilise just with battens although the no cam sails are far better than they used to be. A twin cam will have a better change of retaining stability in stronger wind. A race sail will remain stable almost regardless the strength of the gusts, but it is then a case of whether you and/or the board are able to cope with the power and speed generated.

    So overall my suggestion would be to use a cammed sail in those sizes, set it on maximum downhaul regardless of wind strength and adjust the power with the outhaul.................then use the evasion tactics described as required. If all of that fails...........change down!

  2. #9
    Senior Member jknhismassivevan's Avatar
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    For larger sails especially with larger board heading upwind into gusts overpowered tends to be a bad strategy, the better strategy to deal with the fact that the sail is outside of its "normal" window of performance is to bear off before the gust hits or in its visible leading edge, that allows you to control the acceleration and typically the water state will be smoother than in the middle of the gust, once you feel speed peak you can then tighten up and head back upwind to regain the ground lost and actually thanks to higher board speed you should be able to gain more height over your sailing line especially in the softer wind you get at the back of a gust vs if you have tightened up in fear of accelerating too much and then the soft wind comes and you start to stall.

    One small point assuming that you have enough DH for the sail already, don't over out haul it, that will start to stall the sail and increase a backwind sort of feel as the COE is moved back.

    As with most big kit, speed is your friend, so the faster you are going initially the less of an issue the gusts will be, just consider that if you are already doing 25knts in 15knts (TBH not many of you are ) when a 20-25knt gust hits you the differential is less than if you are doing the average recreational planning speed of 17-22knts.
    The Windsurfer Formally Known as JKRR - TWFKJKRR or "Him in the Red Shorts"

  3. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jknhismassivevan View Post
    For larger sails especially with larger board heading upwind into gusts overpowered tends to be a bad strategy, the better strategy to deal with the fact that the sail is outside of its "normal" window of performance is to bear off before the gust hits or in its visible leading edge, that allows you to control the acceleration and typically the water state will be smoother than in the middle of the gust, once you feel speed peak you can then tighten up and head back upwind to regain the ground lost and actually thanks to higher board speed you should be able to gain more height over your sailing line especially in the softer wind you get at the back of a gust vs if you have tightened up in fear of accelerating too much and then the soft wind comes and you start to stall.

    One small point assuming that you have enough DH for the sail already, don't over out haul it, that will start to stall the sail and increase a backwind sort of feel as the COE is moved back.

    As with most big kit, speed is your friend, so the faster you are going initially the less of an issue the gusts will be, just consider that if you are already doing 25knts in 15knts (TBH not many of you are ) when a 20-25knt gust hits you the differential is less than if you are doing the average recreational planning speed of 17-22knts.
    So for us lesser sailors, if we aren't doing 25 knots in 15 knots the differential will be greater than for you. What would your advice be then?

  4. #11
    Senior Member jknhismassivevan's Avatar
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    LOL PiP you are already going faster and trying to go faster and measuring it you scamp! go faster again simples!

    In all winds that differential is the most common point where we all wipeout from 15knt wind to 35knt wind, the smaller the differential the easier it feels and generally is.

    OK there is another strategy which is change all your kit to smaller, easier, more controllable etc..... For the above I mean if you are out and are on kit you don't plan to change, replace etc bearing off works but its not for everyone.
    Last edited by jknhismassivevan; 10th June 2016 at 09:20 AM.
    The Windsurfer Formally Known as JKRR - TWFKJKRR or "Him in the Red Shorts"

  5. #12
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    You never explained whats wrong with heading upwind.


    1. If you have the speed, skill and bravery bear off.
    2. Head upwind. Maybe feather the sail out a bit to dump power, but too much and it slams you in the water.
    3. Sit out the gusts on land if you see them coming in an approaching squall.
    4. Change down.

    For manic gusts I tend to favour 2 & 3.

    To help with gusts, I think staying as low as you can, sitting down with you bum out helps.

    Changing down for an occasional gust doesn't seem like a good idea to me as that might be the rest of the session off/on the plane.

    (I'm going slightly faster with sails above 6.5m. I'm going slower with 6.5m & below, mainly because haven't got as racy kit as before)

  6. #13
    Senior Member jknhismassivevan's Avatar
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    Ah ok I get your point, heading upwind exacerbates the problem, its a question of speeds that even if you feather the sail you change the scenario from sailing across the wind at say 20knts in 15knts and feel comfortable, if you head upwind you are heading into the densest part of a gust so your 20knts in 15knts feeling goes away. A good mathematician could work out the effective windspeed you get over your sail when you make a change in angle upwind of say 20degrees into a gust, all I know is that it feels a hell of a lot windier than if you have just continued straight on or bore off as you have effectively increased the airflow rate over your sail a lot!

    Low and supple stance works at all points of fast sailing IMO, allows the kit to absorb chop and extra speed so I'm 100% with you on that, not so easy for waist harness users to make much of a change.

    The other side of it is on Formula boards especially when you head upwind into a gust the board tends to want to turn into flight mode a bit too easily, the same happens on 85cm wides to a lesser extent, so you react by backing off your back foot pressure on the fin and that makes it worse in my experience having ended up several metres up in the air on a formula board with a 12m, I can't recommend it as it ends with an ignominious tail first plop back down and stall if you are lucky.

    Going faster on above 6.5m is good, it shows you have got your trim working well, below 6.5m one of the real reasons tends to be that we don't get those conditions that often and when we do it does to be gusty and messes with your head a lot. During my recent trip to Leucate I had to get used to 5.5m on a 78 because it worked better in the gusts, I could easily have been on 7.0 or 6.2 on a 95 for the lows but the gusts would have been hard, getting used to that small kit takes a lot of TOW for me but I still managed to get a 34.7knt nautical mile out of it
    Last edited by jknhismassivevan; 10th June 2016 at 10:43 AM.
    The Windsurfer Formally Known as JKRR - TWFKJKRR or "Him in the Red Shorts"

  7. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeDD View Post
    30-35 gusts, most knowledgeable windsurfer's are using 4.5's down to 3.0's. There's a reason for that, which you are finding out.
    The reward for the most condescending comment of the week goes to....

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