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  1. #1

    Let's improve our small board quick tack aka fast tack

    An essential element to gain grounds and stay upwind, help underpowered conditions, increase wave count or move count, and because it's just so classy, the FRONT LOOP!!! Oh wait... nevermind, the QUICK TACK!!!

    First off, I was planing on creating a how-to describing the various steps and for now thought I'd post 3-4 exemples from my last session, it's not gonna be perfect examples with a low-speed plane and 12 (8?) knot winds but it'll show how I do it in extremely light conditions. So just a reference for now.

    On the first one I got a planing entry and wait a bit too long before changing side, so the nose buries a little upon getting power, not a worry but not ideal especially when on a 220cm long board !

    1. I aim for clean swell (avoid chop and criss-crossing terrain to maximize success).
    2. I guide my board with my back foot, move the sail to the back, release weight from front foot and place it right in front and maybe slightly to the other side of the mast foot.
    3. We can cross from close-hauled to the other (in the vid, there are some variations), it's easier to switch when closer to the starting reach, the longer we wait, the harder it normally gets).
    4. I climb up the swell, and a bit before reaching the peak, still with the sail well back, I step on my front foot and pull hard on the depowered sail
    to swap side with the sail basically.
    5. Once on the other side I grab the mast and pull the sail rapidly right back in front of me or farther (to steer away from the wind). Grabbing the mast gives me the most sail control and recovery abilities. I try standing perfectly straight after I switch side so that I don't rely on the sail to balance or very little. From there I can sail backwind or regular. The sail is neutral and the board perpendicular to the swell, I find this position to be quite easy to balance.
    6. The earlier the more likely we are to backwind sail for a bit.

    So let's grab our small board and start off practicing in light winds... Ready?
    Set, GO!!! !!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n682qNnRcuM or click below...


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    2,488
    Nice! I still fail more tacks than gybes, but then I also tend to try and tack in increasingly messy conditions.

    What has really helped for me is what you describe under point five. While stepping around I slice the rig quite forcefully forwards. This achieves two things: A) It stops me from falling off the nose. B) It brings the sail straight into the right position to head off the wind, although sometimes via a bit of backwinding and/or nosediving.
    The infamous wavewriter

  3. #3
    Exactly! Funnily enough, I tried gybing in light conditions and I found it to be quite difficult. The problem is that I go about as fast as the wind and therefore have a sail with no pressure or worse negative pressure! Then if the current pushes the board sideways, there's nothing for me to use to correct it. Going clew-first in wobbly conditions also becomes technical and physical, I become vulnerable.

    So tacking and possibly heli-tacking in extreme light winds for me offer greater success rate than gybing.
    Anytime, there's a bit of wind then I can gybe, no problem though, helpful to stay with the wave and start riding it.

    On another note, one side is better-suited to tacks (way out) and the other heli-tack (way back). Fascinating sport!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Heaven can wait, I'm in Paradise
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    My planing fast tacks are far better that my gybes and gybes are supposed to be easier....probably because I put lots of hours into practising my tacking. Can do them as fast as I wish or slow them down and save a bit of energy if I am getting tired. I had to do what I feel were thousands to get to this stage.

    I try to avoid gybing as it looses upwind ground. Whereas, tacking gains upwind ground giving more area to bear away and have a blast.


    Also, fast tacking a big sail >7.5m is not as easy as fast tacking a small sail. As you say fascinating sport!


  5. #5
    Depending on the spot, jibing can be difficult depending on terrain. I know it is the case here when we get big waves. Lately I have been working on switching at close hauled with full plane on my tacks, it's easier than I first thought since the board gives more support. However body weight position is still critical. Got a couple of close ones but still need to figure out where to place my feet after the switch (might need to move back foot behind the front straps fast unlike low speed ones).

  6. #6
    I'd recommend watching the PWA wave heats on live stream – or watch the replays with a pause button where helpful.

    Best advice is to practice both tacks on flat water first.

    In waves the outside tack is so much more difficult than the inside one.
    Now back in the UK.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    2,488
    Quote Originally Posted by basher View Post
    I'd recommend watching the PWA wave heats on live stream – or watch the replays with a pause button where helpful.
    So what did you learn?
    The infamous wavewriter

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