> I find it very very difficult to get the sail unstuck from the water, when
> preparing for a water start. I end up dragging the boom across the board
> to help me, but that can exhaust me quickly, as I am trying to swim up
> wind to stop the non-mast end of the sail sinking into the water.
> Any advice would be really welcome
Wear some extra flotation. I always wear a lifejacket intended to hold
me up and to not interfere with my hook for my harness. If I had to tred
water to hold up the mastand sail, I'd get exhausted, too.
Don't try to clear the sail until you have the mast end of the sail
about 45 to 90 degrees to the wind. You want to get help from the wind
shedding the water and lifting the mast and sail.
Pop the cams upward. That helps shed the water faster. Then draw the
mast and sail toward the wind. Water on top of the sail should tend to
flow backwards off the leech of the sail. As the wind gets underneath,
the rest of the water should flow off quickly.
Make sure that the bungs are in the mast and are not letting water seep
past them. If you are trying to raise a mast full of water, you are
fighting a losing battle.
Finally, be aware that some race sails with enormous luff sleeves hold a
lot of water. More recreationally oriented sails have smaller luff
sleeves to make it easier to water start.
If you are stuck with a sail with too large a luff sleeve, it is
probably permissible (you have my permission :) ) to use a hot soldering
iron to burn/melt some small drain holes in the luff sleeve to permit it
to drain faster.