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Backwinded Sailing
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lturkevich



Joined: 11 May 2000
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:23 am    Post subject: Backwinded Sailing Reply with quote

I decided to start a new thread about sail control once you're in the backwinded sailing position.

I haven't sailed backwinded at all this year until last week, so I lost my muscle memory from last fall's ABK where I learned backwinded sailing and heli-tack.

Last week I found that I can get backwinded fine by slicing the sail forward as the nose passes head-to-wind (and then gently pushing the back hand to sheet in); heels are on the centerline (front heel in front of mastbase), front hand is right up by the mast, minimal pushing with back hand.

Problem is that once I start sailing backwinded with the sail raked back, it seems that every time on a puff the sail has a life of its own: from the raked-back position the sail "moves" forward on its own and pushes me over into the water.

I believe I'm keeping toe pressure on the windward rail, and I know the front hand is by the mast. Maybe I'm staring at the sail instead of looking forward, maybe I'm not keeping enough weight on the back foot (I can also feel the foot of the sail pushing against my back ankle just before pushing me in), and/or maybe I need to let go of the back hand completely because I can feel the sail pushing back on my back hand as the sail comes forward (fighting the bull horns on the boom?), but it's consistent that the sail will roll forward and dump me in the water.

Any suggestions appreciated.
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manuel



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 712

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Outside of extreme cases, keep front arm straight at all times. Then let the sail breathe with the back arm only and by laying the sail down. In the heavy gusts, the sail can be nearly horizontal. I haven't figured out a way not to have the foot of the sail rubbing heavily on my shin (hurts depending on sail construction there) unless wearing a long suit!

Having that straight front arm will help you immensely with controlling the sail power.

Your front hand can be much farther back, back hand will back up all the way until the clip especially when heading downwind. If there's not much wind, try backwinding with just one hand right around the harness lines.

I think your feet are fine. It's a nice stance which is balanced and with the front stiff arm can actually be easier than simple slogging. It gets other muscles to work too.

When it gets quite gusty, strong or with current, then it gets more complicated but the stiff front arm is #1 I believe.

Did I miss something?

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coachg



Joined: 10 Sep 2000
Posts: 2528

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assuming you have toe pressure & not heel pressure remember Andy's no. 1 rule of bad windsurfing habits-lack of independent motion with the arms. It sounds like you are not working your arms independently so either you tackle the sail, or in this case the sail is tackling you. The back hand should be lifting while the front is pushing.

Coachg
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PeconicPuffin



Joined: 07 Jun 2004
Posts: 1633

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Backwinded Sailing Reply with quote

lturkevich wrote:

Problem is that once I start sailing backwinded with the sail raked back, it seems that every time on a puff the sail has a life of its own: from the raked-back position the sail "moves" forward on its own and pushes me over into the water.


Good description. The sail of course does not have a life of its own...if it's moving forward then it's powering up. Your front hand needs to be further forward on the boom. Remember the ABK drill of sailing only with the front hand while backwinded, and then sheeting in when necessary with a single finger from the back hand.

As you get better sailing backwinded you'll develop a better sense of how far back on the boom your front hand can be placed without getting into trouble. For starters, go way forward. And keep your hips in!

I love sailing backwinded...I feel like I'm 8 years old!

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ctuna



Joined: 27 Jun 1995
Posts: 761
Location: Santa Cruz Ca

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing that helped me is realizing or being told there are two steering wheels (and they must be both used to get maximum control as neither one
of them has that much range and balancing being pulled is much easier than
being pushed)
and that this is not a downwind or even across the wind move.
Its and upwind move.(well you can go across if its not real windy)
The first steering wheel is your sail and the mantra is the sail must
be over the tail.(you must share the sail with the tail) The second steering wheel is your upwind rail and how
much you bury it. To have greater and easier control over the upwind
rail put your heels on the center line or even further toward the upwind rail.
What do you do when you are overpowered sailing normaly
Head Upwind.
Same thing backwinded.


Last edited by ctuna on Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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manuel



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 712

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh speaking of steering wheel, made me think that for this and for upwind 360s or Heli tack the idea is to stiffen our core muscles and transfer the power of the sail into rotational force in our feet to get the board to turn. Picture as if we are trying to screw or unscrew the board to the water.

Not sure it's completely clear but that's very important to recover situations. Also going into backwind there's a frank throw off the mast into the wind and push on both arm to pop the sail. Sometimes I only pop the top batten to diminish the sail power but that's with Ezzy only I believe, convenient!

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PeconicPuffin



Joined: 07 Jun 2004
Posts: 1633

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

manuel wrote:
Oh speaking of steering wheel, made me think that for this and for upwind 360s or Heli tack the idea is to stiffen our core muscles and transfer the power of the sail into rotational force in our feet to get the board to turn. Picture as if we are trying to screw or unscrew the board to the water.t!


That's not how you turn a backwinded board at all. If you drive the power from the sail into the board you get stuffed into the water. It's about changing the waterline of the board and never being behind the power ("the bull" in ABK speak). The rig turns the board through the mast base, not our feet.

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lturkevich



Joined: 11 May 2000
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, all, for the tips. I appreciate it.
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ctuna



Joined: 27 Jun 1995
Posts: 761
Location: Santa Cruz Ca

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heli tack is not suppose to be a violent rotation if you are doing it
right but it often ends up as one.
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Brian_S



Joined: 11 Jun 2005
Posts: 210
Location: SE Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PeconicPuffin wrote:

That's not how you turn a backwinded board at all. If you drive the power from the sail into the board you get stuffed into the water. It's about changing the waterline of the board and never being behind the power ("the bull" in ABK speak). The rig turns the board through the mast base, not our feet.


Michael,
When I learned light-wind, non-planning backwind sailing at ABK, I definitely learned (the hard way) about never being behind the power, but I think we learned to steer with the sail. As I recall, Andy added the waterline steering as an 'advanced' measure, which also improves turning speed and ease in other moves, like heli-tacks and upwind 360's. I suck at all of the above, so I cold be wrong.

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