Tips & Tricks

Tips and tricks if you want to try racing

1) Call the event organiser beforehand to get a feel for the event, the venue and the expected conditions.  Event organisers are always delighted to hear from a new competitor and will be very helpful. Some events will have special novice trophies or short courses for inexperienced sailors.

2) Get your gear together the day before and rig it up if necessary to make sure that all the pieces fit together and nothing has been forgotten.  

3) Arrive at the venue early so you have plenty of time to get your gear organised, park your car and eat some food before the races start.

4) Rig up your board early and go for a practice run; check that your harness lines are adjusted correctly and that your boom is the right height.  Look for creases in your sail when underway, then return to shore and adjust your outhaul and downhaul to suit the conditions.  Repeat this a few times if necessary until your rig feels ‘right’.

5) Pay attention at the race briefing (sometimes called the skippers meeting) – this is where the race organisers will explain the course, the start sequence and other details.  Don’t worry too much if you don’t understand all the flags and signals, you can usually get a feel for what is going on by watching the other sailors on the water.  After the briefing feel free to ask questions of the other sailors if you’re unsure of anything, they will be more than happy to help.

6) Aim to start and finish every race. The scoring system favours sailors who finish over those who miss races. Even if you finish last you will notice your overall results improve considerably.

7) Don’t be put off by less-than-perfect conditions.  If you are inexperienced in strong winds, a race is a great place to practice because if things get too tough, there will always be a rescue boat to help. You may find yourself more motivated to battle the strong winds for the sake of earning points in a regatta than you would on your own.

8) Leave yourself plenty of time at the end of the day to pack up slowly, talk to the other sailors and attend the social events.  Listening to experienced sailors talking about their races is a great way to learn.  Invite your family, partner or friends to join you at the social events so you don’t feel obliged to rush home afterwards – they are always welcome.

9) Take the time to thank the race committee, boat operators, shore helpers and canteen staff – these people have volunteered their time and effort.

10) Turn up to as many events as possible.  This is the best way to improve.

Resources

The invention of the Windsurfer created a sport and with the explosion in popularity came the tsunami of books, magazines and videos. Much of this early literature/media is still available in Libraries, on the 2nd hand market and on the Internet. So hit these available resources for Tips & Tricks to improve your windsurfing.

Modern windsurfing literature tends to focus on the latest short board sailboards. Although the sailing principles are similar, there are great differences in handling. The long board (or fun board in modern terminology) also has the distinct advantage of being able to sail over a wide wind range, since buoyancy is for free. Typically a short board must be planing (skipping across the water) to be stable and sail-able.

The Windsurfer Class has been around for decades so collectively people have invested thousands of hours inventing and perfecting sail and board settings, as well as windsurfing techniques. The Tips & Tricks will cover undocumented material are primarily suited to the Windsurfer.

Although there are tomes of literature on sailing, tactics and rules applicable to course racing a Windsurferthere is very little on Free Style windsurfing. Typically the results of techniques are shown in picture books but not the methods to get there. With the help of guest writers and demonstrators we hope to document this discipline of the sport. If you aspire to be the National Champion then some implementation of Free Style is essential.