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  1. #1
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    Who's a sloppy sheeter?

    I know I'm sometimes a sloppy sheeter and have just realized how much I probably suffer for it. I'm not talking about hooked in sailing but what happens between unhooking and shifting body weight for a manouvre. Like depowering by oversheeting for a gybe or a bottomturn. The punishment is clearly the biggest on a serious wave but sloppy depowering of the sail can probably hold back ones progress in most manouvres.


    I've long thought it's mostly about remembering. But it may also involve issues of strength and technique. To depower you need to move your back hand. But moving a hand that's holding a lot of power isn't trivial. What stops me from doing "just another" high speed gybe on flat water when overpowered is - I think - a fear of not having the strength to sheet in efficiently and have a serious crash. And it's the same sort of premonition that can make me back off from heading down what looked to be a very nice wave at the end of a session.


    So how good are you at depowering the sail and what are your thoughts about importance and techniques? Do you pull in on one or both hands before shifting the back hand? Do you shift rearwards in steps? Or do you slide the boom through a half open backhand by swiping the boom forwards with your front hand? And what about first moving your front hand a bit closer to the lines? That will take power off your back hand and give other benefits down the line.
    Last edited by boards_Tomas; 15th January 2017 at 10:18 PM.
    The infamous wavewriter

  2. #2
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    Not me. I just slide the back hand down, the front stays where it is. Drop my body down slightly to compensate for not being hooked in to retain balance. In light winds with large sails if you dont sheet in as you start to gybe, the sail soon gets backwinded and slows you down. Sheet in hard like a mini pump as you start the turn helps the 1st part of the gybe. Only after starting the turn sheet out just before stepping forward and flip the rig, or if you do slow down to a lot slower than the wind speed, sheet out to get some extra drive before flipping the rig.
    Last year I thought about doing the last UKWA slalom round so had a gybing practice session with the video cam on the clew of the boom. I identified errors like hooking in first before putting feet in the straps, wobbly harness lines preventing quick hooking in, twisted foot straps making it more difficult to get my feet in quickly. Sheeting in was ok.

  3. #3
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    A lot depends on the type of sail being used. An efficient sail with an open leach should not have much pressure on the back hand and what pressure there is should be in the harness so moving the back hand at any time should not be an issue. Pushing forward with the front hand whilst keeping the back hand sheeted in has the same effect if not a better effect than oversheeting with the back hand but that of course varies somewhat with windstrength. The only time I oversheet with the back hand is in very windy conditions when it is difficult to go off the wind, and that is combined with raking the sail back...but also pushing away with the front hand. The board is then free to surf the turn just using momentum and/or swell. I agree with Phil that unless you are entering a gybe really fast, and sailing overpowered, oversheeting a big sail can lead to quickly being back winded mid gybe........although it can be done very briefly. Regardless I usually move my front hand close to the harness lines before gybing otherwise I tend to choke the luff. So all in all I do not really recognise your issues with the back hand.
    Last edited by mikerb; 15th January 2017 at 12:43 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikerb View Post
    I agree with Phil that unless you are entering a gybe really fast, and sailing overpowered, oversheeting a big sail can lead to quickly being back winded mid gybe........although it can be done very briefly.
    I didnt actually mean that. True, if you do keep the sail sheeted in all the way to mid gybe it will become backwinded. But I was referring to if you dont sheet in at the start of the gybe then the sail can get backwinded. eg. I'm doing 20 knots in 12 knots wind, at the start of the gybe as I'm travelling faster than the wind so as I turn if the sail is at right angle to the wind it will get backwinded, as its still traveling faster than the wind is.
    In strong winds, say 30 knots, where my board speed is less than the wind, if I dont sheet in the sail gets ripped out of my hands.
    In both cases, moving the backhand down the boom helps with the control. I think any guru video on gybing will tell you to move the backhand first.

    Freeride kit:
    https://youtu.be/I3L4l7pSV2A

    slalom kit
    https://youtu.be/1cIfarz8Amw

    This is the video I did to check my technique. Everytime the sail stays sheeted in at the start of the gybe. The gybes were consecutive ones I didnt just pick the best. Falcon 125l & 8.5m sail.
    https://youtu.be/Csx1Dz_v_fs
    Last edited by phil_in_poole; 15th January 2017 at 10:51 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikerb View Post
    An efficient sail with an open leach should not have much pressure on the back hand and what pressure there is should be in the harness so moving the back hand at any time should not be an issue.
    I think you're indirectly pointing to an important difference between gybing and bottomturning since in the latter you'll probably be unhooked before moving the back hand.
    The infamous wavewriter

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by phil_in_poole View Post
    I didnt actually mean that. True, if you do keep the sail sheeted in all the way to mid gybe it will become backwinded. But I was referring to if you dont sheet in at the start of the gybe then the sail can get backwinded. eg. I'm doing 20 knots in 12 knots wind, at the start of the gybe as I'm travelling faster than the wind so as I turn if the sail is at right angle to the wind it will get backwinded, as its still traveling faster than the wind is.
    In strong winds, say 30 knots, where my board speed is less than the wind, if I dont sheet in the sail gets ripped out of my hands.
    In both cases, moving the backhand down the boom helps with the control. I think any guru video on gybing will tell you to move the backhand first.

    Freeride kit:
    https://youtu.be/I3L4l7pSV2A

    slalom kit
    https://youtu.be/1cIfarz8Amw

    This is the video I did to check my technique. Everytime the sail stays sheeted in at the start of the gybe. The gybes were consecutive ones I didnt just pick the best. Falcon 125l & 8.5m sail.
    https://youtu.be/Csx1Dz_v_fs
    yep..understand what you are saying but it is the angle of the apparent wind that determines sheeting angle at any point in a gybe and that angle moves more onto the bow as the board speed exceeds absolute wind strength. The more you loose speed in a gybe the quicker the apparent wind moves away from the bow so a lot also depends on how tight ( or not) the arc is. So pushing the front hand away as you bear off a reach enables the leech to catch that apparent wind and also pushes more rail into the water......it is in fact sheeting in without the need to change the back hand sheeting. Moving the back hand down the boom gives a wider hand spread to control the rig better especially if you come out clew first ( a la Jem Hall) but I rotate the rig before that so don't feel the need.

    I suspect the OP is allowing the board to lose too much speed before initiating a bottom turn hence the sail feels more powerful so my advice to him would be to move the back hand earlier and concentrate on not upsetting the board trim when he unhooks.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikerb View Post
    I suspect the OP is allowing the board to lose too much speed before initiating a bottom turn hence the sail feels more powerful so my advice to him would be to move the back hand earlier and concentrate on not upsetting the board trim when he unhooks.
    Sounds reasonable but the way I try and tackle the very onshore conditions I sail in is to climb high on a wave before heading off, meaning that I also point high into the wind and loose much speed. Most all the speed I need will be gathered during the couple of seconds of surfing down a steepish wave. So even if you are right that more speed would help in the bottom turn, moving the back hand earlier may not work.

    I did by the way get a good smack on port in Pozo today. But fell in the top turn. I have probably never top turned on a breaking wave with this much momentum on port before so I am excused. I also succeeded a few times. And overshot some. Overshooting is of course not good but if you are a beginner that has often stalled in front of a wave it is still a sign of progress. I was very exhaused from travelling and setting up in a new appartment and could unfortunately not muster the guts to head off the best wave I have seen in a long while until it was to late. I think this confirms that strength/energy literally plays a vital role. But whenever I managed to sheet the sail well I also succeeded in falling in more for a tighter turn which kept me on a steeper part of the wave than usual and therefore also with more speed for the top turn.

    Late edit: I actually never seem to be able to focus on technique for oversheeting (like moving the back hand further back) during the split second it is done. There is just too much going on when you head off down a wave that is about to break in four seconds. All I have managed so far is moving the front hand further back before doing the back side top turn. It helps. Maybe I also push more decisively with the front hand. But I anyway need to keep focusing, which I why I started this thread. Down here I can closely watch how even far better sailors than me often get too much bounce in the bottom turn which makes them go wide and loose speed.
    Last edited by boards_Tomas; 15th January 2017 at 11:06 PM.
    The infamous wavewriter

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