By Dennis Winstanley
Since the wind speed limit is 25 knots for this class, I usually sail with my mast step no further than half way along the mast track. This promotes the rail to lift, which in turn reduces the wetted surface to reduce drag. The centreboard will start to hydroplane and will suck air if not controlled. There is a fine line between over railing the board and sailing the board flat. If the board keeps railing up into the wind and becomes hard to control, try moving the mast step forward and applying more down haul as this will move the centre of effort forward and take pressure off the fin. This will allow the board to track along on the rail, but beware that it doesn’t allow you to point as high.
Because the mast is not that stiff, and the sail is not fully battened, the centre of effort in the sail will not be constant and will change with every gust and pump of the sail. For this reason I will always have my harness lines set further apart on the boom as this helps to adjust backhand sheeting. Invest in a set of good adjustable harness lines as this will help you fine tune you weight distribution when sailing on the rail. Note that I adjust the length of mine constantly both in light and strong winds. The widely spaced harness lines help to keep the sail more steady too.
Practise rail riding! Not just a freestyle manoeuvre, but it can help with sailing to windward and controlling and steering the board in all conditions. If you don’t know how to rail ride, I will post some instructions next time!
When buying a board, look for a moderate rocker line with not too much tail rocker as this will allow you to track on the rail without having the feeling of the board turning off the wind.
Keep the centre board unloaded when on the rail by sheeting out. Also keep your stance on the board wide, as this will allow you to control the nose and the tail of the board.
If the centre board continues to cavitate, and you are experiencing a lot of backhand pressure, you will have to apply more outhaul, as this will also move the draft forward and take the pressure off the fin.
Use wax on the rails as this will give you grip on the rail when pushing the nose of the board away when overpowered. Note: it is class legal to use wax on the rails of your board.
In light wind use next to no down haul as this will power up the leech of the sail and allow you to point higher. Move your mast step back to give you more weather-helm for pointing.
In light winds, I tend to stay in my harness when sailing to windward as this allows me to hang off the boom and take the weight off the windward rail. Your back foot should be pushing down on your toes, and your front foot should be angled slightly forward.
Place the boom at chin height as this lets you swing your body forward in the harness to balance out the swing weight of the board.
I never rake the centreboard when going to windward as I have tried many times with no real benefit, to me anyway.
I hope this information may help. Please do not hesitate to make suggestions for future areas in which you would like some hints and tips or to ask for clarification on any points. Looking forward to seeing you sailing better at the next regatta!