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Did I avoid back problems sailing in poor conditions?
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DelCarpenter



Joined: 06 Nov 2008
Posts: 428
Location: Cedar Falls, IA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:25 pm    Post subject: Did I avoid back problems sailing in poor conditions? Reply with quote

1. This thread is about flat water sailing; it is not about wave or bump & jump sailing.

Everyone's heard of repetitive motion injuries. I think continuous strain also creates injuries. I'm now 76. In my 35 seasons I, so far, have not suffered from any back issues. That could be from pure luck. But, I think part of my back's "luck" comes from sailing 95% of the time in relatively poor conditions.

I'm going to define good or better conditions as being able to sail one mile or more in a straight line with consistent winds that do not vary more than 20% in that mile. I think those fine conditions create continuous strains that can create back injuries. Midwest winds are almost never consistent enough to not vary more than 20% while sailing a mile. And most of the time I'm sailing on tiny lakes with straight line distances that aren't more than 1/4 of a mile. My conditions almost always prevented me from being subject to a continuous strain and thereby gave me some of my back's luck.
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westender



Joined: 02 Aug 2007
Posts: 1166
Location: Portland / Gorge

PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the good conditions! There are days I pray for the safety of visiting sailors. Experience the Gorge.
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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 2319

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Granted that continuous repetitive strain over too long a period of time 'must' tend to cause problems to the human body Mr. Carpenter, but the degree, or severity, of that level of strain would surely be the deciding factor? i.e. With conditioning and 'toning' (muscular) can the effects be mitigated to a large extent? It would seem so, for some.

For example, an experienced windsurfer sailing adequately powered in a long straight line, locked into straps and harness using a small light responsive board, surely feels very little strain, though the length of time locked into that set position may become a factor. (Though people rarely sail in just a single locked stance for long enough to become uncomfortable.)

But change it to overpowered and fighting for control in more severe conditions (even in a straight line) and that becomes much more physical. In that case, proper recovery rest periods to delay any onset of back problems becomes necessary. Nobody could do such continuously every day without suffering long term consequences with advanced age, however 'toned' the were.

I think you are lucky in avoiding back problems Mr. Carpenter. I believe you use 'big' sails in non consistent conditions, so perhaps you are instinctively avoiding over doing it, in any way!
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 9460

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you think that your use of a seat harness has greatly helped you in preventing back problems? I think that it has.

If you doubt me, try using a waist harness for a period of time, especially at your age.
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U2U2U2



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 5050
Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My back is troublesome. I feel more strain sailing in Light wind. My arms are much more prone , I guess that would be strain.
There are so many factors in our bodyís that enter into this.
Backs get injured from many things that donít even qualify as a activity.
I think that once a problem starts itís likely to become problematic, could have started by shoveling snow, or digging in the garden.

So far I see 70 year olds whoíve replied.


I enjoy using my SUP to sail in light wind, I donít fret about planing.
I seem better on my arms , back, mostly small sail, lighter weight.

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flaherty



Joined: 01 May 1997
Posts: 413

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think windsurfing all these years has made your back stronger. Also as someone else has stated using a seat harness. Happy to hear your still going strong at 76.
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manuel



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 937

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Underpowered+unwilling board is the hardest. Lines too long, saggy old harness and possibly inadequate technique.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 19215

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

flaherty wrote:
I think windsurfing all these years has made your back stronger.

Several severe childhood ankle sprains (e.g. limping for a year, a couple of fractures, going into shock a week later just rolling over in bed) left my ankles very weak (and permanently impaired my balance). For decades thereafter I got lesser but nevertheless crippling sprains each year ... until I took up WSing when nearing 40. I guess using footstraps strengthened my ankles considerably, as I haven't had even one sprained ankle since I began using them.
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cgoudie1



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 2251
Location: Killer Sturgeon Cove

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: Did I avoid back problems sailing in poor conditions? Reply with quote

Hey Del,

Maybe, ........... but, I have found that huge gear (like 7.5 to 9.5 sails and
150 ltr boards are much harder on my back than high winds and cross
chop or swell. It might just be the carrying of such gear, but I think it's the
frictional forces associated huge gear that affect me. I try and get
the lightest huge gear whose performance I can tolerate. The water where
I'd sail gear like that is flat by my standards (in SLC, UT).

I haven't ridden my huge gear in better than 2 years (mostly because I
can get all the days I need in the Gorge), but also because it's hard on
my back.

Backs are individually unique, and what works or doesn't for me may not
work for someone else, but I will say that I think gusty conditions (say 10-25)
are hard on anyone's back. I've started to draw the line at a range of
double or more, min to max, but that also depends on the average. For
example, 15-30 averaging 28 I'd probably ride. 15-30 averaging 16 I'd
definitely pass on (because it'd cost me several days , maybe weeks of recovery).

.02

-Craig

DelCarpenter wrote:
1. This thread is about flat water sailing; it is not about wave or bump & jump sailing.

Everyone's heard of repetitive motion injuries. I think continuous strain also creates injuries. I'm now 76. In my 35 seasons I, so far, have not suffered from any back issues. That could be from pure luck. But, I think part of my back's "luck" comes from sailing 95% of the time in relatively poor conditions.

I'm going to define good or better conditions as being able to sail one mile or more in a straight line with consistent winds that do not vary more than 20% in that mile. I think those fine conditions create continuous strains that can create back injuries. Midwest winds are almost never consistent enough to not vary more than 20% while sailing a mile. And most of the time I'm sailing on tiny lakes with straight line distances that aren't more than 1/4 of a mile. My conditions almost always prevented me from being subject to a continuous strain and thereby gave me some of my back's luck.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 19215

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back, schmack! I VERY seldom use the little 65-70 L boards that were my bread and butter rides just 5 years ago (@ 180#, more or less). The advantages of such boards is no longer worth getting smacked by huge gusts while up to my knees in lulls. I keep a couple of 65s around for perfect days, but days THAT steady are rare around here. Similarly, I use lighter weights and Superslow protocols in part to protect my aging muscles and tendons while still getting the benefit of heavier lifting.
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