Thanks all for the great advice.
Plenty to work with. Thinking back I realise lack of decent wind has
probably been a major factor.
I'll try to borrow a PDF to see how much difference it makes.
A PDF absolutely gives you that edge while you are learning. Just use
it and ignore the lump in your profile.
And it certainly can be a life saver even if it is not an ego saver.
With it you can relax, take time to think things through, even lay back
in order to leverage your leg on the board to deal with a calf cramp.
These things happen, especially while learning water starts.
Yes, after a 2 1/2 hour session yesterday, alot of which was spent
trying to waterstart
I was getting some major calf cramps.
So far my research has produced the NP PFD hihook series 4000 as the
most likely local
one to get, although it looks kinda small in the photo and I'm
wondering how much floatation it will provide?
Imagine beach starting in very light wind. How would you get going
without falling back into the water? If you hold the boom with your
front hand you can easily overpower the rig. If you hold the mast with
your front hand you apply a lot less leverage over the rig. The lower
the hand on the mast, the lower the leverage.
Why does this matter to waterstarting? Because by holding the mast you
can easily feel the pressure in the flying sail without the risk of
oversheeting. The moment when you can no longer hold the mast with any
comfort is the moment when you can be sure you have enough power in the
sail to place both hands on the booms. Try a beach start with one hand
on the mast, then try a shallow water waterstart using only one hand on
the mast. The action of lowering your weight and decreasing leverage
over the rig will become apparent. And by doing this you reduce the
sideways pressure on the board.
The next step is to go into deep water. Remember that you need to get
your weight on to of the board (and at its centerline) in one smooth
motion. Try the one hand method, just remember that you must climb
high onto the board (like stepping up onto a low but very close wall)
whie keeping the rig upright. Do this a few times until you get the
feel of it. Then practice waterstarting with both hands on the boom.
If you find that you are just sort of sitting around waiting for the
wind to lift you up, move your back hand closer toward your front hand.
The key is to extend your arms up (not forward, but up) so that you
can put downward pressure on the mastfoot and step onto the board.
When doing so, pretend that you are trying to kiss your sail as you
hang off your booms. An ABK tip, no charge.
Hope this helps a bit.
You certainly allow the rig to move forward (fore versus aft) as you
extend your arms, and you don't keep the rig up-but-back (ala closing
the gap) when you mount the board.
I should have written: "The key is to extend your arms up so that the
rig moves forward and you
can put downward pressure on the mastfoot."
One think I have noticed is that when swimming the rig around and
trying to fly the sail I have been
doing more of a dog paddle type kick rather than a freestyle kick. And
when actually trying to pull the sail
to windward I've been doing no more than treading water.
Last time I tried a more freestyle type kick I noticed I could develop
a lot more power to move and clear the sail
and keep me above the water.
Good thought about your kicking technique. Maybe the best way to think
about it is to call it the leg kick from the side-crawl stroke.
Scissoring sideways allows propulsion and keeps your upper body
basically in line.
You might also consider going back to the very basics of beach starting
with these drills:
1. Stand to windward of your board, in water just deep enough to clear
your fin. With one hand on the mast and another on the sail above the
booms, slowly slide down the mast and expose more of the sail to the
wind. At some point the board will begin to react to the pressure
coming down the mast through the mast foot. You will find that the
nose of the board turns away from the wind as mast base pressure
increases by increasing power in the sail or simply pushing with the
mast. Decreasing power in the sail allows the board to turn into the
wind through reducing mast base pressure.
2. As you control the angle of the board, work your way forther down
the mast until you are holding the mast in one hand and boom in the
other. The effect of sheeting in is dramatic, and you will notice that
it takes much less power to fly the sail if it does not need to support
your weight. Decreasing your leverage over the rig by holding the mast
below the booms allows the rig to fly without pushing on the board.
Controlling the pressur on the board thus becomes a function of
sheeting angle. The more you sheet in, the more mast base pressure is
created. If the rig is low (lying down) that MBP pushes sideways, but
if the rig is vertical the MBP pushes down through the board.
THerefore, you can have a lot of MBP for very short periods of time as
long as the back of the board is correspondingly pressured, i.e., when
you step onto the board in a beach or waterstart.
Just move into deep water to transition this drill from a beach start
into a waterstart. It works exactly the same.