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Modern Windsurfing An introduction to the gear and how it works by James Douglass for VIMS Sail and Paddle Club, 2005 Basic Windsurf Board Footstraps (optional) Mast groove “Tail” “Nose” Fin Daggerboard • Bigger than a surfboard, so it floats well, even when you’re not moving. • Has a small “fin” at the back, and a big, fold-down fin called a “daggerboard” in a slot in the middle • Has a groove or hole on the deck where the mast attaches. • May have 3 or more “footstraps” for use in high winds Basic Windsurf “Rig” (Sail and Stuff) Sail • The “rig” is everything besides the board. Mast Boom Boom head (what you hold) (holds mast) Battens (stiff rods) Can be extended Cutout to attach Harness lines Outhaul line boom to mast (red, optional) Uphaul Mast base rope (pink) Mast extension “sleeve” (fits in mast) Grommet Downhaul line for outhaul Grommet for downhaul U-joint (attaches to board) Important Numbers and Terms • # m2 = Meters squared = Sail size. Ranges from ~3 - 12 m2. Strong winds require smaller sails. 3 - 6 m2 is appropriate for beginners. • # liters = Volume of board = How floaty it is. Beginner boards should be around 200 liters. • # x # cm = Length and Width of board. Width adds stability. Modern beginner boards are at least 75 cm wide. • Luff length = How long a sail’s mast sleeve is. Mast length + mast extension length should add up to this. • Fin size = About 25 - 70 cm. Big sails need big fins. • Cambers / Cams / Camber Inducers = Plastic things in the mast sleeve of some sails that make the sail curve a certain way. Beginner sails should not have cambers because they are a pain to deal with. Windsurf Accessories Waterproof GPS. Global positioning system. Can plot your course and keep track of your distance travelled, maximum speed, etc. Life Vest. A.k.a. PFD. Always a good idea. Booties. Neoprene Harness. Lets you use your rubber shoes that body weight to hold the sail, so Wetsuit. A neoprene protect your feet, your arms don’t get tired. The rubber suit that gets wet hook in front attaches to a loop keep them warm, inside but still keeps you of rope on the boom. and help you grip warm. the board. Longboards vs. Shortboards • A longboard has a daggerboard and a fin. • A shortboard has no daggerboard and is usually smaller and less floaty than a longboard. It is used by advanced sailors in strong winds. • A longboard with the daggerboard folded up works like a big shortboard. Longboard Shortboard Examples of Longboards and Shortboards Longboard Shortboard Longboards in Action at the Sydney Olympics Longboard Shortboards in Action Formula Boards - Fat but FAST • Formula boards are extremely wide shortboards. They can hold big sails and “plane” in very light winds. A huge fin is necessary to balance out the big sails. • Formula boards can go upwind better than regular shortboards, so they are used for races where you have to go upwind and downwind. Formula Boards in Action Hybrid / Beginner Boards • Cross between longboards and formula boards. Wide like formula, daggerboard like longboard. Very Stable. • Good at slow and high speeds. • New Olympic Board is a Hybrid. • Our club has two “Mistral Prodigy” boards (below). Points of Sail Wind = Angle of the sail. Notice sail is sheeted in when going upwind, sheeted out when going downwind Upwind “No Go Zone” Going upwind as 10:00 - 2:00 steeply as possible, a.k.a. “close reach” Going perpendicular to the wind, a.k.a. “beam reach” Going sort-of downwind, a.k.a. “broad reach” Straight downwind, a.k.a. “ on a run” Steering • Windsurf boards have no rudder, so steering is by moving the sail (at slow speeds) and carving with the board (at high speeds) A) If the sail is over the back of the board, the back of the board goes downwind, and the nose points up into the wind. B) If the sail is over the front of the board, then the front of the board goes downwind. Wind A B Turning Around Wind • You start your turn by steering, then switch sides of the board and sail when you you get to the maximum point of the turn. • A tack is where you turn upwind and walk around the front of the board Tack to get on the other side. • A jibe is where you turn downwind Start and walk around the back of the board to get on the other side. • A tack takes you upwind, so if you are trying to go upwind, do a tack. A jibe Jibe is faster because you don’t have to pass through the no-go zone, but you end up downwind of where you started. Going Upwind Wind • You can’t go straight upwind, but sometimes you need to get upwind to get home, or to get around a buoy in a race, or whatever Tack • Close reaches connected by tacks will take you upwind. • How “close to the wind” you can sail without hitting the no go zone depends on your board and rig, your skills, and the wind (see below). Tack Longboard Formula Shortboard Floating vs. Planing WOO HOO! Woo. Non-planing mode: The board sits low in the water. The daggerboard is down, and the force of the sail is balanced out by the daggerboard. Planing mode: The daggerboard is up, and the board is skimming on the surface. The sail is leaned back over the fin. Balance of Forces • A big part of windsurfing is balancing your weight against the wind and putting sideways pressure on the fin or daggerboard. • Formula sailors stand on the edge of the board but don’t tip it because their weight is all in the sail, and their feet are pushing sideways, not down. Windsurfing vs. Kiteboarding • Windsurfing was invented in the 70s and was most popular in the 80s. • Kiteboarding was invented in the 90s and is having its heyday now. • Kites have twice the m2 of windsurfer sails for the same windspeed. • Kiteboarders can usually jump higher and stay in the air longer than windsurfers, which is good for showing off. • Kiteboards sink when you stop moving, and tangled-up kites get stuck in the water, so kiteboarders often need to be rescued by boats. • Kiteboarding injuries and deaths are common because the kite keeps dragging you over the water / rocks / road etc. after you fall, and the kite lines can choke you or sever your appendages. • Kiteboarding requires wide spaces free of obstacles, and it takes at least two people to launch and land a kite. The Outer Banks of NC are a good place for kiteboarding. • Windsurfing can be done almost anywhere, in any type of wind. • Both kiting and windsurfing are fast, but windsurfing has the world sailing speed record of 53.88 mph. IT’S OVER!
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