Friday, February 8, 2008

Light wind technique

With only 1-2 days of wind per week, its been a tough month for windsurfing in San Francisco.
Nonetheless you take what you can get!
At least the swell under the gate has been up with the big pacific storms this winter.
I managed a few good runs between ft point and the south tower of the golden gate bridge this week for a sunset sail in the strong ebb tide. With an extreme low tide I saw some rocks at ft. point that I'd never seen before. Unfortunately David Wells actually found them! He was able to limp back to the Crissy with just a broken boom head an bashed ego.
The slalom session on SuperBowl Sunday ended up a shlog fest as I limped back to the beach after the wind died.
More recently, I got out on the north 2008 11.8 again for some light wind training. The outhaul is incredible sensitive on that sail. Too flat and you kill all the power in the sail. With it looser, you can find the right balance of power and control. One thing is for sure- the sail has a great feeling in that first moment you begin your pump.
Sailing in light air requires you to use a full arsenal of pumping technique. To get going from a non planning position you need to really use the body and power in the lower part of the sail. With a few powerful pumps you can get the airflow going around the sail and then start to work the leach with a more repetitious pump to build speed. Hook in and your good to go!
With the way a formula sail is designed- its not efficient to pump the sail upwind- except for a short period when you need to climb and make a mark or pump through a lull. The best technique here is to keep the sail as still as possible with very little clew movement- again working the leach of the sail. Its not so much of getting 1 or 2 good pumps but to keep a good rhythm of pumps to keep the sail going.
Here are some additional shots Shawn Davis took last w-end. Look for the full monty in the spring Windsurfing mag.


James Douglass said...

That's a nice photo montage. I'm looking forward to the Windsurfing Magazine article!

PeconicPuffin said...

Good looking sail, too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tips!

I have been told that formula pumping requires more footwork than actual sail movement.

Many people here rhythmically point the toes, and sometimes use the back heel to gain some speed for planing.

Could you elaborate on how you use your feet as part of your light wind technique?

Regards from Colombia in South America,


USA-4 Steve Bodner said...

Glad you guys are enjoying the lightwind tips.
In regards to using your legs more, Ive found using a softer fin really allows you to pump the fin more with your legs and feet. Its hard to explain but almost the same feeling as pumping the rig to keep it powered up. When approaching a lull, you can keep the fin loaded up by pumping the fin with your back foot. There is a fine balance between stalling and keeping the flow attached. I think this comes from experience and knowing your fin quiver. The best way to do this is to experiment with your fins and know the limit of stalling!

Anonymous said...

Hello Steve, I see you've done some great travelling in the past two months. Not much wind here either, so probably you are better off there.

Anonymous said...

Hello Steve, I see you've done some great travelling in the past two months. Not much wind here either, so probably you are better off there.