My first experience on a short board

My first experience on a short board

Post by Scott R. Nels » Mon, 11 Apr 1994 11:49:55


Well, after two years on a transition board, I finally went sailing
on a genuine short board, a BIC Astro Rock.  It wasn't a totally
pleasant experience, but I managed to get in 10 reaches of about
half a mile each before packing up, and I didn't fall off it.  I
thought some of you, especially the less experienced might find
something of benefit in my observations.  (Or more likely from the
responses of those of you who are more experienced pointing out what
all I did wrong.)

I was chicken to try sailing somewhere serious like San Francisco Bay
and wanted flat water, so since the wind was quite strong today I went
to the place I know the best, Shadowcliffs lake in Pleasanton (East of
Oakland and Fremont and 15 minutes from my house).  I used a 7.4 single
cam WindWing sail to make sure I remained powered.  I was never over-
powered, so that probably was a good sail size.

The Astro Rock is the only board I own that I can lift while holding the
rig.  I always carry the other boards and sails to the water and connect
them there.  However, I never could find a way to balance the sail and
the board with the sail over my head like I've seen so many others do.
Something would always drag or flip around.  I gave in and carried them
separately.  Can any of you give me any pointers on how to carry the
board and rig together?

So, I did a beach start and started sailing across the lake.  I don't
think I could have gone very far without the experience I gained on my
F2 Comet transition board.  Of course if I had given in two years ago
and taken lessons maybe I could have jumped from a beginner board
directly to a short board.  Anyway, I knew the Astro Rock would be much
more sensitive to foot steering than the Comet, but it took me about
half a mile to start to keep it steady, and by then it was time to turn
around.  I was going to attempt a jibe, but I soon discovered that short
boards slow down real quick if you do anything to upset the balance, so
I went for a quick tack instead.  I've been practicing these for the
past year and got it turned around very quickly.  I never sank either
end of the board more than a foot or so under water.  :-)

I was also reminded that you have to be very quick on your feet to keep
your balance on a short board when you are not moving.  I think all the
time I spent on the Comet with the 8.5 Aerotech sail helped keep me from
falling in here.  One thing that is a lot better on a short board is not
having that stupid daggerboard to step on.

Once I got moving again, I got up on a plane, using the harness, but
was not able to get into the footstraps.  In fact, other than getting
a foot in the back strap once, I didn't use them.  I suppose that will
come with time.  I think the heel of my foot was dragging in the water
a bit when I used the rear footstrap.

One big problem I had was that I was never able to keep it on a plane
for more than about 10 seconds or so.  Part of the problem was that the
wind was not steady all the time, but I'm doing something else wrong as
well.  I don't know if I'm stalling the sail, heading up, upsetting the
balance of the board, or something else.  Any suggestions of what to
look for here would be appreciated.  I'm ready to read through all
of the back issues of Windsurfing magazine to see if I can recognize
anything.  (Oh, attention Ken Winner, why doesn't somebody collect
all of the How To tips from the past few years into an up to date
windsurfing instruction book for beginner through advanced sailors?)

The other bigger problem that I had was not being able to go up wind
for very long.  The Astro Rock seems to go upwind well only when planing
and I already mentioned that I wasn't able to do that for long.  I was
using the slotted fin that came with the board, which could have been
part of the problem.  I was going to put on a 14" pointer fin, but I
discovered when I got to the lake that I'm going to have to grind about
2 millimeters of the tab off the bottom (top?) before that fin will work.
Of the three times I had to haul the equipment back upwind, I probably
covered half a mile.  :-(

I was also wondering if the 7.4 sail was causing part of the problems.
It takes a 7' 6" boom, which is a bit on the big side.  In fact, my 8.5
sail only needs a 7 foot boom.  After the second time hauling the
equipment back upwind, I decided to rig a 6.3 sail that has 4 camber
inducers and only takes a 6 foot boom.  That sail was a lot easier to
deal with but the wind was not strong enough to plane as easily with
it.  I guess I'll just have to sail in stronger winds.  :-)
After two reaches, I hauled everything back upwind to the launch area
once again and called it a day.

I'm totally tired and my forearms are sore, but I'm ready to try it
again next week.  I won't sail the Astro Rock again at Shadowcliffs.
I'll stick with the Comet there, and only sail there when my kids want
to go sailing.

I expect the next time I sail the Astro Rock will be on the lake at
Shoreline Park in Mountain View.  I remember watching all of the
people who sail there that never tack or jibe, but hop off each time
they get to a shore, drag the board back upwind a bit, then hop back
on.  I was thinking "what a bunch of dweebs", but I think I'm ready to
try the same thing.

I figure I need to work first on getting on and maintaining a plane,
then make sure I can go upwind, then I'll go to Crown Beach at Alameda
and try sailing on The Bay (the wind is side-onshore, so there is no
worry about getting stuck out in the middle).  I don't want to deal
with chop initially.  Oh yeah, I guess I need to learn to waterstart
too.  Hopefully sometime this summer I'll be ready to try some of the
sailing sites on the peninsula like Coyote Point.  I intend to sail
one or two times a week until the wind dies in the fall.

I would appreciate hearing any tips, similar experiences or other
observations (but PLEASE don't include this whole article, we don't
need a bunch of 150 line replies here  :-) .

---


Sun Microsystems

BIC Astro Rock (9'4"), F2 Comet (10'8"), O'Brien (12') x 2, wide variety
    of sails, etc.  (Hoping to soon be an intermediate short boarder).

 
 
 

My first experience on a short board

Post by Bob Galv » Mon, 11 Apr 1994 16:10:56

To carry the board and rig at the same time...

Do this going ACROSS the wind untill you're good at it.

Put the board upwind of your body, nose pointing in the direction you
intend to walk, rail on the ground, deck next to knees.  Put the sail
downwind of your body, mast by oyur knees, UJoint in front of you.
One hand picks up the boom, the other grabs a footstrap.
Liftoff, move feet.

Bob Galvan


 
 
 

My first experience on a short board

Post by Gareth William » Mon, 11 Apr 1994 19:22:18

I am in exactly the same situation as yourself. I have just tried using a
Bic Hard Rock, much the same dimensions but older than the Astro Rock.

I Windsurf in the sea but in an enclosed lough. (Strangford Lough just
south of Belfast). I am having similar problems with planing but I am
finding you just have to keep sheeting in, you end as if your are
closehauled on a reach, very strange! All to do with the apparent wind so
I am told.

I am working *** water starts as the conditions I find it works in it
would be impossible to uphaul in. Unfortunatly there isn't enough wind
today to go out and play on it. :-(

Gareth Williams

Ballygowan, Northern Ireland

 
 
 

My first experience on a short board

Post by Ivan Moo » Wed, 13 Apr 1994 00:17:30

Scott,

For carrying a board and sail at the same time I find the easiest way is
to stand in between the board and mast, (with the mast downwind), and carry
the board by one of the front footstraps and the sail by the boom, close
to the mast (board and sail at sort of hip height).

The reason you aren't on the plane as much as you'd like:

1) not enough wind?
2) not fully sheeted-in?
3) not enough mast-foot pressure - ie. too heavy on your feet?

To go upwind well on a short board you just have to be planing fast,
if you're not then nothing else makes much difference.
One tip - go downwind for a short time to get planing and *only then*
try to head upwind.
Another tip (its a guess) maybe your harness lines are too far
forward. This is a very common fault of the less experienced
and could account for why you aren't planing much - ie. the sail isnt
sheeted-in enough. (your tired forearms give this clue)

IMHO - try not to fall into the same habit as the 'dweebs' of stopping
to turn and never trying to tack or gybe. It'll slow your progression.

Have fun,

Ivan.

 
 
 

My first experience on a short board

Post by Jaime Corde » Wed, 13 Apr 1994 06:22:41

Quote:
>Liftoff, move feet.

A few minor enhancements to this we teach beginners(at Shoreline), which
no one seems to remember: First, you can help yourself a lot by balancing
the mast on your hip, this keeps the weight off your arms. Most people
wear harnesses that either somewhat protect your hips, or which form
a little shelf that can help (in case you don't have very obvious hips).
Try to BALANCE the sail on your hips such that the arm strength
necesary is mimimized. Experiment sliding the mast back and forth
to try to find the right balance point.

Second, you can minimize the arm strength needed to do this by
FULLY EXTENDING your arm and grabbing the boom a complete arm's
length away. This helps avoid doing weight-lifting style, curling
type motion you see so many people doing when hauling their rigs down
to the water. If your arm is bent, you are using extra energy.

For surf-god type sailors, these small labor-saving techniques
aren't going to make much of a difference. For the rest of us, who
aren't necessarily in peak form all the time, it can save our strength
for sailing. For anyone who has to carry a board/rig a LONG ways, like
if you get blown down wind, or if you are out when the wind shuts down,
it can make a big difference(the half hour you save by making one
trip in a short time, instead of two trips).

Jaime

BTW, to help answer the original question, you can sometimes see
people with small sails and tiny boards put the whole thing on
top of their head. DON'T DO THIS !!

Same board/rig position as above. Put your hand in the back strap,
knuckles down, then flip the board upside down, and grab the upper
boom with the same hand, then hoist the whole thing on top of your head.

NOT RECOMMENDED !! It's very easy, especially if it's gusty, to lose
your balance, and further, this means putting the weight of your board
/rig on the (usually vinyl) sail window, which distorts it. Some sail makers
stitch a warning sign or decal right on the sail to try to get people
NOT to do this.

Additionally, visibility in this position is usually compromised,
which means possibly hitting tree branches, metal sign posts(ouch!),
or other people with your expensive equipment. There are easier and
safer ways to look cool on the beach. DON'T DO THIS !!!
--
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jaime Cordera

<.signature under construction>

 
 
 

My first experience on a short board

Post by Luigi Semenza » Wed, 13 Apr 1994 09:14:21


Quote:
(Jaime Cordera) writes:

|> A few minor enhancements to this we teach beginners(at Shoreline), which
|> no one seems to remember: First, you can help yourself a lot by balancing
|> the mast on your hip, this keeps the weight off your arms. Most people
|> wear harnesses that either somewhat protect your hips, or which form
|> a little shelf that can help (in case you don't have very obvious hips).
|> Try to BALANCE the sail on your hips such that the arm strength
|> necesary is mimimized. Experiment sliding the mast back and forth
|> to try to find the right balance point.

I just saw a friend of mine (Ken Poulton) do a very smart thing.
He carries an extra line (6 ft. or so I guess) that he ties to a
footstrap on one side, to the boom on the other.  Then he puts
the line over his shoulders, thus unloading most of the weight
thereupon.  I suspect that it helps with balance too.

I will try it next time, but if Ken is reading this perhaps
he could tell us more (if there is anything to tell).

Uhm, now I am wondering if the uphaul line is long enough
to do the trick...   ---Luigi

 
 
 

My first experience on a short board

Post by radick.. » Wed, 13 Apr 1994 10:36:29

Quote:

> Once I got moving again, I got up on a plane, using the harness, but
> was not able to get into the footstraps.  In fact, other than getting
> a foot in the back strap once, I didn't use them.  I suppose that will
> come with time.  I think the heel of my foot was dragging in the water
> a bit when I used the rear footstrap.

> One big problem I had was that I was never able to keep it on a plane
> for more than about 10 seconds or so.  Part of the problem was that the
> wind was not steady all the time, but I'm doing something else wrong as
> well.  I don't know if I'm stalling the sail, heading up, upsetting the
> balance of the board, or something else.  Any suggestions of what to
> look for here would be appreciated.

After the second time hauling the
Quote:
> equipment back upwind, I decided to rig a 6.3 sail that has 4 camber
> inducers and only takes a 6 foot boom.  That sail was a lot easier to
> deal with but the wind was not strong enough to plane as easily with
> it.  I guess I'll just have to sail in stronger winds.  :-)
> After two reaches, I hauled everything back upwind to the launch area
> once again and called it a day.

> I'm totally tired and my forearms are sore, but I'm ready to try it
> again next week.  I won't sail the Astro Rock again at Shadowcliffs.
> I'll stick with the Comet there, and only sail there when my kids want
> to go sailing.

> I would appreciate hearing any tips, similar experiences or other
> observations (but PLEASE don't include this whole article, we don't
> need a bunch of 150 line replies here  :-) .

> ---


> Sun Microsystems

Scott,  I am not Ken Winner,  but I have been seeking the same types of
solutions as you.  I have extracted most of the salient comments (and
found that most of the responses were just that).  Just tell me where to
send it, or maby I will learn how to mail my extracted files out of this
crazy thing. Check the story line on "Fed up with my F2" and you will get
a lot of what you were looking for.  I have also been extremely tired and
beaten up after a day's sailing without the aid of my footstraps etc.

Good luck and good wind!!

hitch

 
 
 

My first experience on a short board

Post by Jay Run » Thu, 14 Apr 1994 06:58:03

Since no one else has said it, I must say - You did great!
You did a lot of things right, and your analysis of your performance
sounds reasonable.

A few thoughts:

Carrying the board on your head is an advanced move. Use the 'hip-shelf'
method for now.  Actually, carrying the board on your head isn't hard, it
is getting it up there and getting it down that is dangerous.

You won't be able to get into the straps until you can sail along using the
harness with your back foot just in front of the back strap and touching
it.  Your front foot will be just in front of the front strap.  If you sink
the tail of the board, then you don't have enough speed to be in the straps.
(not enough wind? not sheeted in? sheeted in too much (rare)?)  You should be
able to sail along balanced in this position before you even think about the
straps.   But! later you will be able to get into the straps with less and
less power, and create speed and therefore apparent wind by reducing the
wetted surface of the boat, and go faster and faster in less wind.  Really
good sailors take this to the extreme - pump, pump, run down a little wave,
get in the straps and take off like a rocket, in hardly enough wind to flap
a flag.

You are supposed to be exhausted after sailing.  On a really good day, it
will take 2 people to turn the car key, so that you can drive home.

 
 
 

My first experience on a short board

Post by Bob Galv » Thu, 14 Apr 1994 13:13:22

Quote:

>BTW, to help answer the original question, you can sometimes see
>people with small sails and tiny boards put the whole thing on
>top of their head. DON'T DO THIS !!
 [edit]
>NOT RECOMMENDED !! It's very easy, especially if it's gusty, to lose
 [edit]
>safer ways to look cool on the beach. DON'T DO THIS !!!

damn!   I just got this move down!


 
 
 

My first experience on a short board

Post by kwinner on B » Thu, 14 Apr 1994 17:17:26

Scott:

I'll mention your suggestion to the editor.

K Winner