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Zen and the (Never Ending) Art of Jibing:   -- By Da Zen Meister Barry
(published in the Jul. and Aug. '96 newsletters)
LOOK  OUT !! - It sounds so simple, but it's so easy to forget.  Look before you jibe. I usually try to look before I even unhook and then again right before actually jibing.  The first look is during the planning phase of a jibe and the second is a kind of protective backup to catch anyone or anything (boats/boards/barges/etc.) that may have been in your blind spot.  Make it a habit more important than brushing your teeth.

GO FOR THE GUSTOS -  Unless you're severely overpowered, try to start a planing jibe in a puff - not a lull.  In flat water, speed is your friend when it comes to jibing. Extra speed helps two ways.  One - high momentum will help carry you thru a jibe. Two - since you'll be traveling faster than the true windspeed, the sail will automatically de-power as you de-accelerate, which in turn makes it easy to flip the sail.

GET SHORT - I'm not going to tell you to bend your legs more.  I repeat:  I'm not going to tell you about not bending your knees enough.  Knee bend gives you a lower center of gravity (for increased stability) and better shock absorption when going over chop. Bend your knees enough so you can almost look under the boom when carving a jibe. Try for 90 degrees of bend.  Grab a magazine and look at the pros knees in all the pictures. I've never heard of a person having a problem of too much knee bend. I dare you to try and bend your knees too much. Try and get someone to video a few of your jibes. How much are your knees really bending?

SPIN - Don't Hinge. Can you imagine the difference between the way a revolving door spins versus a hinged door?  Most people incorrectly let the sail rotate around the mast instead of spinning around the center of effort (or very near). The secret to getting the sail to spin instead of hinging around the mast, is to PULL as well as push.  If you just push or let go of the back hand only, the sail will hinge around the mast.  Try to pull the mast forward with the old front hand as well as pushing with the back hand to get the sail to spin in your sail releases.  Most hinge sail releases result in the mast falling to the outside of the turn which causes the board to round-up and complete the dreadful “J” jibe.

BROAD TO BROAD - Most failed jibes end up on a pinch or heading slightly upwind.  The jibe should be completed onto a broad reach instead.  Go into the jibe on a broad reach and finish on a broad reach.  How do you finish the jibe earlier?  Go into the jibe with plenty of speed, which will aid an early sail flip.

QUIT WAITING - One of the things that keeps people from flipping the sail soon enough, is the obvious tardiness of the sail flip.  Why?  There is a short period during a jibe when you'll be traveling the same speed downwind as the true windspeed.  Here's the scenario: During this short period there is no pull in the sail...which means the sail won't help hold you on the board...Oh my gosh!...I’d better wait a little longer to flip the sail...I’m slowing down now as the the wind  catches-up and refills the sail...Now the sail is pulling on my arms again and I can counter-balance against the pull to help keep my balance...but now there's a lot of awkward pull from the clew first sail and Ill just instinctively dig in the tail to counter this...which slows me down more...which puts more pull in the sail...which I counter with more tail dig...which slows me down even more...which makes the pull even harder...until I either fall or finally let go of the sail.   How to avoid the “vicious circle of jibe?”  Flip/let go the instant the sail has no pressure/pull and is de-powered.  This slack time is a blessing. Don't let it pass you up - flip the sail. A good exercise in fast flat water, is to see how soon you can let go of the sail.  Most people already know how long they can hold on ... too long!!

RELEASE ME - Often, people don't let go of rail pressure soon enough when jibing.  The jibe is tentatively initiated with very little rail pressure and progresses to too much rail pressure at the end of the jibe.  This often results in what I call a “J” jibe.  The jibe starts out straight and planing and ends up slow, slogging and overturned. The most successful jibers press on the rail firmly during the first half of the jibe, when there is a lot of board speed and flatten the board (reduce rail pressure) for the second half.  This gets the majority of the carve out of the way while the board has planing speed.  The second half of the jibe is more of a coast than a hard carve.

KILL THE POWER - In order to successfully plane thru a jibe, you have to de-power the sail somehow.  There are two ways to correctly kill the power, or de-power, a sail (sheeting out is not one of them). Outrun the wind - Sounds hard but its not.  You're probably doing it now if you're planing.  Example: In a  twenty MPH breeze, everyone's going 25 MPH. The trick is to carry that speed into a jibe.  If you start out traveling 25 MPH on a reach and wind up going 20 MPH half-way thru the jibe (straight downwind in our example 20 mph wind), there will be no wind, and hence no pull, in the sail. As the jibe progresses, your speed will continue to decrease and the pull in the sail will increase as the wind catches-up.  You see the problem right? Don't wait to flip that sail.  Flip as soon as possible after carving past straight downwind. Otherwise, the pull in the sail will be too much and you'll have to lean back... which kills the speed even faster...which increases the pull... Heard it before, right? Outrunning the wind is the easiest way to learn how to plane thru a jibe on flat water in winds under the mid-twenties. Go into your jibes with mucho speed. Oversheeting  is the second way of “de-powering” the sail. Often this technique is used in conjunction with outrunning the wind or by itself.  Its the only technique that's going to work in near 30 MPH or greater winds, on confused & choppy waters.  Oversheeting is your KEY to highwind jibing.  You're never going to be able to lean your sail and body forward and into the turn, unless you learn how to oversheet.  Its easier to oversheet when you're traveling close to the speed of the wind.  You can start to learn oversheeting even when outrunning the wind.  Before you get to the point when there is no wind in the sail (mid-jibe), give the back hand a little tug to oversheet the sail.  By starting the oversheet pull progressively sooner in the jibe, you will eventually be able to start the oversheet motion almost as soon as the jibe initiation.  This opens up the door to tighter and tighter jibes. Jibing between swell/waves (instead of bouncing over the tops out-of-control) will be in your bag of tricks. Oversheeting is the only way to jibe when there is too much wind to outrun the wind (most bodies of water get choppier with increasing wind and will limit your board speed to near 30 MPH).  How to oversheet? See “Cheater Bar” section.  You will often have to be patient when oversheeting the sail. When truly powered, it will take a little turning in the jibe to decrease your apparent wind enough to allow the oversheet.  Just be patient and commit to the forward and in, lean of the sail and body.  After you oversheet the sail, you need to usually let the clew out a little or you may become backwinded. Don't become so focused in oversheeting that you forget the early release and overturn the board (See “Broad to Broad”).

CHEATER BAR - If you have a really stubborn bolt or nut to loosen, what do you do?  Increase your leverage. Get a cheater bar.  If you're having a hard time oversheeting the sail, in order to de-power the sail, what do you do?  You use the equivalent of a cheater bar - Move your back hand to the rear of the boom at least 12 inches.  Try for 18 inches.  The bigger the sail and the more powered-up you are - the bigger the cheater bar (reach farther back with that rear hand).

REVERSE OR STEP?  - I personally feel that a step-jibe is harder to master than a reverse-foot jibe.  Some might think I have this reversed.  I'm right and they're wrong.  Sure a step-jibe is the jibe to learn for racing, but it requires you to switch your feet during a crucial part of the jibe (the sail flip). It also becomes harder and harder to step-jibe in higher winds.  So why not learn a technique that you can use to plane thru a jibe in the broadest range of wind first - the reverse-foot step jibe.  After you get the reverse-jibe wired, then learn how to step-jibe like the Robbys and Bjorns.  In a reverse-jibe, you flip the sail and then you step.  Often these two happen very close together.  Almost simultaneously, but the sail flip happens first.  This allows you to continue (and feel) the carve with the feet, while you flip the sail.  Once the sail has been caught on the new tack and power starts to build-up in the sail, then untwist your legs.  Its a good exercise to try and see how long you can sail on the new tack with your feet in the reversed stance.  Its even cooler to try and jibe back to the original direction without ever having changed your foot stance.  From personal experience, learning to reverse-foot jibe (flip then step)  was 50% of learning how to plane thru a jibe in higher winds (25 mph or greater).

SHIFT GEARS - Too bad jibing technique for non-planing and planing conditions doesn't shift like an automatic transmission.  Remember, in light winds (non-planing) you're actually reverse steering with the feet.  Pushing down on a rail helps the board to turn in the opposite direction. This is true in both short and long boards - very obvious with a daggerboard down on a longboard.  Most people forget this on a shortboard in non-planing conditions, or when they biff a planing jibe. In non-planing conditions, the dominant turning force is the sail - not the rail.  Leaning a sheeted-in sail to the outside of the turn is what most helps turn the board.  This is the opposite of a planing jibe, where the sail needs to be leaned into the turn.

TOW - One more obvious tip.  Time on the Water is better than time on the shore watching.
Go get wet !!    --  Barry Ritchey

Rail Pressure and Jibing by Bob Dow (from rec.windsurfing newsgroup)
Experienced windsurfer (15 years) takes lessons and works on basic jibing technique over two summers. Has epiphany about rail pressure. Seeks converts. 
Proper rail pressure is vital in jibing. The benefits are substantial, and proper rail pressure is straightforward to achieve. The things you do to get it are all low speed, conscious movements. How do you do it?
1. Take some lessons from an instructor who will sail behind you and give real-time, on the water feedback. I worked with Jason Voss, who's giving a clinic/board test in Maui Oct 6-20.
2. Adopt proper posture on entry: Knees bent, back straight, head up, front arm straight, back arm sheeting in. Imagine you are trying to align all your weight above the carving foot.
3. Raise the front foot up onto the balls of the foot or even the toes during the carve. Don't think about it, just do it. Explanation later.
Several years ago I started updating my boards, moving from older stuff to current gear. All of a sudden I wasn't carrying as much speed through my jibes, and in overpowering conditions I was spending too much time in the water. My jibes were chimerical. I signed up for some 1:1 lessons with Jason Voss, taking 10 lessons over two summers. Jason sails right behind you, yelling at you to straighten your back, pull in your butt, etc. You can feel the changes immediately.
The epiphany occurred when Jason yelled "Head up!" just as I was entering a tricky jibe for me, high speed over 1 foot washboard chop. As I raised my head the board started to accelerate instead of slowing down. At the 5 o'clock point I had, no exaggeration, 2X the board speed of previous attempts. I had gotten good rail pressure.
The nice thing about getting good rail pressure is that it comes from proper posture and weight distribution. Minimal coordination, timing, or strength is required. From feet upwards here's what you do:
1. Take the back foot out of the strap and place it on rail. Try to point the back foot more forward than perpendicular to the board. Have your weight centered on the back foot, neither on the balls nor on the heels, but centered.
2. Raise the front foot up onto the balls of the foot or even the toes. This guarantees that all your weight will be on the back foot. It feels weird, but works. It also has the effect of freeing the front foot from the strap so you can switch more easily when the time comes.
3. Knees flexed comfortably.
4. Butt over the back foot.
5. Back and neck straight. Reference has been made in this forum to "curtsy, not bow." That means just dip the knees, no bend in the waist. Don't bow.
6. Front arm straight, back arm sheeted in. Mast pointed towards the inside of the turn. You feel like you are "over" the boom.
7. Keep your head up, pointed where you want to go.
The benefits of this are numerous: board feels slippery and accelerates quickly as you jibe into a gust. The board is much less affected by chop. It's on a steeper angle and slices through chop like butter. Watch out for getting air on those swell backs that used to slow you down. More board speed preserved means more room for error on sail flip and foot switch. More board speed preserved means fewer rounded up endings and much less energy expended getting on a plane again. Overpowered jibing becomes far easier.
What happens to the sailor when he or she tries jibing while overpowered without correct rail pressure? In an overpowered jibe, board speed across the water is most likely less than wind speed. Apparent wind builds up quickly from behind as the downwind turn is initiated, pulling the arms and body forward and trying to pry the sail open. The board accelerates sluggishly. The bottom of the board feels sticky. It feels un-safe to resist the pull of the sail, and the sailor uncommits, letting the sail open up. As the sail opens up it catches more wind from behind, pulling the body forward, straightening out the carve, and now sinking the front rail, slowing the board down and thus increasing apparent wind from behind again. Now the sailor is in a vicious circle which will end with surrender or, in the limiting case, a spectacular maneuver where the board stops suddenly but the rider continues on through the air at something like 25 mph, and it's just unfortunate that this trick has no name.
When using correct rail pressure, the sailor adopts the correct posture and begins to turn downwind. He pays special attention to feet: front heel lifted, and weight centered over back foot. The board accelerates instantly. If it feels sticky, odds are that weight is too far forward and he rocks back a little, making sure his back is straight and his head is up. With a gradual initiation the board accelerates so quickly that there is never a lot of scary force from behind on the sail, which allows the sailor to keep the sail sheeted in. He feels like he is secure, comfortably sitting on top of the back foot and waiting for the board to go fast enough downwind to produce that nice feeling of neutrality in the sail when he can flip/step or vice versa. If there is a big gust during the carve, he holds his posture, knowing that the board will accelerate quickly and neutralize the gust. It's very choppy but it doesn't feel like it. It's fun. He switches, flattening the board quickly and exits on a broad reach, with enough board speed that he can get organized without experiencing heavy wind forces on the rig. He hooks in and is soon back on a beam reach. Much excellent advice has been given in this forum about jibing, and there has been some thoughtful advice about rail pressure in particular. This poster believes that concentrating on rail pressure exclusively for a few weeks can pay big benefits in preserving board speed and improving overpowered jibing. Give it a try!


Harness Lines:   These are some general recommendations realizing that each sailor has their own individual preferences.  Harness lines should be short, stiff, easily adjustable, and non swinging.   The center point between the end attachments of the lines should be approximately 24"-30" from the front of the boom measured along the outer curve.  Optimum position of the harness lines changes with sail size -- farther back for bigger sails and farther forward for smaller sails.  The apex of the harness line loop needs to be positioned in line with the center of pull of the sail.  This position is best determined on the water.  When hooked in and powered up, the sail should rest in good position without effort.  If you are having to pull in with either arm to keep the sail in good position, then move the harness line toward that arm until the sail is balanced. Once you find the best position, note the mark on your boom so you can easily return to that setting in the future.
When speed planing, harness lines should be short to keep you in a fairly upright position with a raked back sail.  The loop should be about 7" deep for a wide boom and about 8" deep for a narrow boom measured from the bottom edge of the boom to the inner margin of the line.  Long harness lines with the sailor hanging way out over the water is a slow configuration.  When sub planing, the harness lines need to be long so that you can be comfortably hooked in to an upright sail -- one of several reasons for the recommendation for adjustable harness lines in the article below.  However, if you find yourself stuck out there with fixed length lines, you can make them effectively longer by moving the ends closer together on the boom or shorter by moving them apart; and you can lower or raise the boom to add to the effect.

--  By Dr. Gus Ting    (published in the Mar. '99 newsletter)
That's right. If you just blinked, the bold statement once again, fixed length harness lines are for people with fixed minds... or who sail in fixed wind or on a fixed point of sail.  I tempered my initial thought, "... with sick minds."  Has anyone out there ever had to schlog home when the wind went from planing conditions to non planing conditions? What about sailing comfortably powered-up and have the wind pick-up a sail size or two?  Have you ever had to sail on radically different points of sail during a sesh? Is all of your sailing done in the same conditions -- only flat water, only bump, or only wave sailing? And I almost forgot one: Do you ever share a rig with anyone else? If none of the above points covers your sailing, you can go back to sailing in Shangri La or seek counseling. On my top-10 list, adjustable harness lines rank up there close to clamp-on booms, as one of the neatest refinements to our sport. If you don't got 'em, you don't know what you're missing.
Let's take schlogging for example. When you're not planing, the rig is in an upright position. The rig isn't raked back.  This makes for a very high boom to body relationship. When planing, the rig is raked back, which effectively lowers the booms. Fixed lines can't cope with the range. If your lines are short enough for planing, then you have to unhook when schlogging. If they are long enough to schlog with, then they are too long for optimal sail trim & body position.  With adjustable lines, you can run them short for planing and lengthen them to still remain hooked-in if you have to schlog for a long distance or time. When the wind picks up and you either can't get to shore to down size the sail, or just want to keep on sailing, adjustable lines can improve your survivability. As the wind picks up to official overpowered strength, lengthening the lines allows the body to move further away from the sail. The greater distance allows you to better counterbalance the beast that your sail has become. Longer lines also allow you to comfortably sheet out the sail when overpowered. Most of us slow down a bit when overpowered and sheeting out corrects the sail trim. Trust me. Most racer heads have know for years that adjustable lines allow you to optimize for different points of sail. Sailing upwind, or any situation with high apparent wind, works best with short harness lines -- the rig is 'close hauled' to your body. Off the wind sailing, especially overpowered, works best with longer lines. Different water conditions can often demand a different harness line length. High speed sailing in flat water, where the ratio of induced wind to real wind is very high, works best with short lines. Choppy water sailing, when your board speed doesn't exceed the wind speed, can better be handled by just a slight lengthening of the lines. For wave sailing, you can run long lines for outbound schlogging if under powered  or shorter if more powered up. You can also run asymmetrical line lengths (port and starboard lengths aren't the same).  Patience. The lecture is almost over. Kathi and I share a quiver. Before adjustable harness lines (was that the Kennedy or Nixon era?), we would have to change out harness lines or booms if we needed to up or down size sails (thank goodness for velcro-on harness lines). Now, all we have to do is 'adjust' with a small tug or lift of the thumb. Such luxury.   Bottom line: Go out and buy some adjustable harness lines or make your own. You can use your old fixed lines as prairie dog leashes. Or better yet, give them to your friend that lives on Maui, who only uses a 4.4 in perfect 25 knot winds, who only sails the same break day after day, who never ventures up or downwind, and who darn sure doesn't share his (or her) gear.
-- Dr. G.T.  (a.k.a. Barry Ritchey)


Weed:  If you sail in the Laguna Madre of Texas or the Pamlico Sound of North Carolina in weed season, you will need to use a weed fin.  The weed season in the Laguna is from late spring through mid fall.  A weed fin is a raked back fin designed to shed the weeds and prevent buildup of weed in front of the fin.  If this buildup occurs during sailing, the increased drag and loss of efficiency will result in a substantial decrease in speed.  If you find yourself unable to get planing when there is weed in the water even though you have plenty of power in the sail, weed on the fin is the likely cause.  If you stop and flip the board over quickly enough, you might catch the weed in the act or at least see the offending blob floating away from your fin in the water.
At Bird Island you will need a fin raked back moderately to about 47 degrees.  For the causeway side of the Laguna, where the weed problem is more severe, you will need more rake -- 40 degrees or so.  I use a fin with a 12.5 inch draft for my 9'8" board and a 10 inch draft fin for my 8'6" board.   The fin area should be big enough for the board size to allow you to go upwind well and minimize spinout.  Mount the fin all the way forward in the fin box to help prevent spinout.  The leading edge of the fin should be smooth and free of nicks.  It should be straight to shed the weed -- not concave or convex to catch it.  Sand any irregularities smooth with fine sandpaper .  Larger nicks should be filled with solarez or other filler and sanded.  If you can, try not to hit the fin on the bottom to avoid more nicks in the future.  A smooth transition between the nose of the fin and the bottom of the board is essential as well.  If the front of the fin protrudes beyond the fin box, make sure that the gap between the front of the fin and the bottom of the board is well filled so that no weed can catch there and start a buildup.  Being unable to find a good, reliable filler for this gap, I filled mine with ding stick.  If you want a more flexible but a less durable and satisfactory solution, you can use clear silicone II caulk instead and trim the edges with scissors after it cures.  Here's the procedure:  Remove the fin and apply a small amount of Vaseline petroleum jelly to the board in front of the fin box.  Apply a small piece of cellophane to the area and smooth in position (the Vaseline keeps it in place).  Clean and dry the underside of the nose of the fin where the ding stick will be applied.  Prepare a small amount of epoxy ding stick (usually available at your local discount store or windsurfing shop) and apply to the front of the fin to overfill the gap.  Place the fin in the fin box making sure that the layer of cellophane is between the board and the epoxy so that none will stick to the board.  Partially tighten the fin in position.  Do not fully tighten or you will end up with a gap later.  Trim and smooth the epoxy around the nose of the fin.  Let dry in place overnight.  The next day, remove the fin and the cellophane.  File and sand the epoxy to make a smooth transition with the fin.  Tighten the fin in the fin box and check for a gap.  If a little gap persists, apply a little more epoxy and repeat the procedure.  You want a smooth transition between board and fin with no gap.  If you can achieve this, it may solve your weed problem.  If the fin ends up raked back a little more than it was, then so much the better. This trick has worked well for me in heavy weed conditions.
Click here to view
larger graphics of
the modification:
If you find yourself sailing in heavy weed, try to avoid the bigger patches by running a slalom between them.  Definitely avoid the big patches with foam and/or birds sitting on top -- these can stop you dead in your tracks!  During the weed season, lean toward larger sail sizes when deciding on what to rig -- you will need extra power and speed to cut through the weed.  Speed is your friend in these conditions.  If you can get going fast quickly and keep going fast, you are less likely to catch weed.  When you are going slow, weed tends to build up on the fin, and then you can't get planing even when you get into stronger wind until you take measures to shed that accumulated weed.  If you find yourself schlogging when you should be planing, you probably have weed on the fin.  To get rid of it, you can stop, flip the board over, and remove any weed that remains.  Another technique is to head the board up directly into the wind (look before you do this turn) and stall the board.  Drift slowly backward a bit and the weed blob may float away from the fin (this trick can work!); then push the nose off the wind and sail away.  A third technique is to try to jump the weed off the fin.  If you are in the straps and have enough speed to do a little hop, you can try to jump the board out of the water a little bit to get the weed to fall off the fin.  This trick can be quite effective if you can pull it off.
With the right gear and a few tricks, you can minimize your frustration and maximize your sailing fun in weed season.  Good luck.     -- Drjibe

Biff’s Racing Primer...  by Guy R.
   Chapter One: Why Race?
Sooner or later you'll become a better sailor. And yet, and yet...we all  tend to repeat the same mistakes because we get
comfortable with nice,  predictable mediocrity. If there's nothing motivating me to try something a different way, why should I? For many, racing provides that motivation.
So what, you ask? Well, for starters, it gives you a great deal of  confidence to know you can get upwind, or that you won't miss that jibe in front of that tanker, or that you can waterstart before the shark gets your other leg. This in turn lets you have the gumption to try sailing deeper water, or an exploratory cruise, or even the Port A waves on a good day.  Sure, you'll eventually acquire those skills sailing in familiar, safe surroundings if you keep at it long enough, BUT A: you'll be bored to tears before long, AND 2: It'll take so long you might lose interest, AND: iii:  You won't have those really way cool racing numbers on your rig while you learn.
So the skills you acquire from racing can let you learn faster, which in turn encourages you sooner to TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Isn't that what makes life more interesting, after all?
   Chapter Two:  Show Up Ready to Rock
Water time helps racing.  Racing helps you get more from your water time away from the race course.  On the day before a regatta, it's good to sail a variety of gear sizes, to "tune up" and get everything balanced.  It's not good to sail to the point of exhaustion.
  --Long, Boring Story--
In 1989, Dr. Charles M. (Stands for Molar Man) Allen organized a 24-hour ordeal for 10 sailors vying for the world distance record on a windsurfer. In August!  When are we gonna pick a month with NO wind?
Anyhow, my shift started Friday at noon and I sailed like a disoriented lemming back and forth inside the Seawall until Saturday at noon.  That's probably too much sailing before a big race... So I'm driving home and I realize there's a Whataburger Windsurfing Series race that day.  I decide to stop, and discover that only 3 or 4 racers had shown up.  (Did I mention there was no wind?)  In those days, turnout was 20 to 30 in the Open class alone, (I was young enough then...) so what the hey, if I just sign up, I'm guaranteed a 4th or a 5th.  Not so fast, Biff.  Seems the accursed wind AAAAAAArrrrrrrghh- NOW starts blowing, which in turn rousts every go-fast guy in town outta bed and over to the registration table... Now there's 20 guys registered in Open class, and I've  gotta race or take 21st.  That's pretty much how I finished despite racing, anyway.  Can you say "Carpal Tunnel?"
So if you're racing tomorrow, get some sleep.  I've known some people to abstain from all mind-and-reflex-altering substances until after the event.  Now would be a good time to visit the Shop to buy rope to replace that outhaul that's down to the last strand.  Make sure all your screws fit the fins and patch those dings and holes. Set your alarm early and eat a good breakfast.
Woody Allen (no relation to Charles or Wally...) is quoted as saying "80% of the secret to success in life is Showing Up".  That's good advice in racing, too.  Get there early for a good parking spot.  Bring everything you can carry, and rig up as much of it as you can, then TIE IT DOWN, because you can't prevent it from flying across Ocean Drive when you see it getting airborne but you're standing at the weathermark. Before the skippers' meeting, try to get out onto the water, even if it's on a rig different  from what you'll be racing on later on.  It gets the legs and arm blood circulatin' doncha know.  Feel and if possible measure the wind speed, and then look at the waves to remember what that wind speed/sail size looks like for next time.  Most of my best and worst races were the result of the right or the wrong call on the beach.  Then go out and just have fun doing the best you can. Yer best will be better by day's end.       --Biff

Racing Primer,  Chapter III     by Guy R.
So let's say you've decided that racing will be good for you, and you've prepared Your mind, your body, your spirit, and your equipment.  You show up early, snag the primo parking spot in the shade, and have your gear rigged and tuned to perfection.  You've scored a nice, easy 15 minutes on the water with each rig to warm up, and you're sipping your favorite electrolyte-balanced sports beverage watching the wind fill in nicely, and doing mental imagery for the BIG RACE.  What should you be thinking about?
Allow me to take you on a tour of the hypothetical Course Slalom course; This consists of a start line, with a Committee boat at anchor and a small buoy directly across the wind from it.  Well, most of the time.  Sometimes the Committee deliberately sets the buoy a bit upwind from straight across, just so everybody isn't killing themselves to run into the motor.  Remember Randy?  Sometimes that good thinking is undone by a windshift before the start.  Sometimes the Committee simply doesn't know what they're doing...
Anyhow, it's a good idea to sail over to the Start area early to see what the situation is.  Scope out any anchor lines.  Feel the wind.   Is it straight perpendicular across the line, or is either end of the line a bit further upwind?  That could be useful information.  Keep it to yourself.  While you're there, sail to the boat end of the line.  Look over top of the pin buoy and see if there's a landmark on the horizon you can use to judge where the line is without looking over your shoulder on a crowded start.
The first part of a Course Race after the start is usually an upwind leg. You're free to proceed on either tack for as long as you feel it's best.  That's where experience matters most, and where many races are won or lost.  The final tack to the Layline is particularly important.  Go too soon and you've cost yourself  TWO more tacks.  Go too late and watch several slower competitors slip underneath you to the weathermark as you travel all those extra yards you bought.  'S fun, innit?  Don't worry, you'll see it'll come together soon enough.
Finally, SAIL THE COURSE before the first start.  You'll have the best info on the wind over each section, and whether the reaches have any very tight or very broad legs. This kind of info can save you time or help you make up for any earlier mistakes on the course.  As you go around, measure the time it takes.  This information will also be of value to determine whether the wind is dying or increasing.  This is also a good time to practice visualizing your tactics.
So this seems like a lot to remember.   Like anything else, it's practice.  After a few regattas, all this will become routine.  Now get ready for the first white flag...
-Guy Race it.

Racing Primer Chapter IV:   White Flag     by  Guy R.
     This is the single most exciting time in windsurfing for me.  The Race Committee can't possibly communicate verbally with us after we leave the beach, so the usual convention is to use three flags which signify a specific time before the start of the next heat (or, more plainly, race).  All successful racers need some type of timer, but any cheap waterproof watch will do.  Race organizers use various sequences, but I'll define the one you're likely to see 'round here:
1:  The committee honks and waves to get our attention.  You keep your eyes on the committee boat and sail close enough to hear the prelude to the sequence countdown.

--within a few seconds--
2:  The starter quickly snaps up a white flag, and simultaneously starts his/her 3-minute timer.  You start yours.  Now is a good time to think about all the information you've gathered in preparing for this race.  Does the water show the wind changing strength or direction?  Where are the competitors massing or lining up.  Can you use this to your advantage?  Above all, focus your attention outward to the environment, your competitors, the next set of swells.  Now is not the time to be looking at your footstraps or the shape of your rig.
     What to do and where to go next depends a lot on the conditions.  It's not a good idea to stray too far from the start area in light or in puffy conditions.  You may be unable to return in time.  On the other hand, "parking" on the line ensures you will be eaten alive by your competitors who blow by with speed, feeding you bad air for the first several minutes after the start.  Here's how a lot of good racers handle the sequence.
     A:  After capturing the 3-minute signal, keep sailing through the start area and away from  the line for less than a minute. Sail what I like to call "Cruising Speed".  This is 8 tenths of your best effort, but should be planing comfortably, maybe just a tad sheeted out. Jibe just before 2 minutes to the start.
3:    Starter snaps the White flag down.  You note the indicated time on your watch, which will show 2:01  or 2:03.  Try to remember to GO!  with 0:01 or 0:03 showing later...
    B:  Sail back across the starting area, staying high upwind and parallel to the line, noting the time remaining as you cross behind the committee boat. Now comes the tricky Math part.
4:    With one minute remaining, Starter snaps up the blue flag.  You note your timer, confirm the same lag as at 2:00.
    C:  If there was say 54 seconds when you passed the committee boat, you know you can sail onward for a bit less than half that time before you jibe again and head for the start line with 'racing" speed.  The tricky math part says jibe  with (54/2) -10 seconds = 27 - 10 =17 seconds, or start your turn at 37 seconds remaining.
    Unfortunately, a Windsurfer in the start sequence of a heat is incapable of making  these sophisticated calculations.  He or she is devoting nearly 100 percent of  hemodynamic reserve to what I call the "racing muscles", leaving barely enough blood supply to scream "STARBOARD"  for no apparent reason at anything afloat, including fellow competitors, the committee boat, buoys, and passing seabirds.  To expect this person to perform Math in his/her head is akin to getting Al Gore to sing "Feelings".  That part of the brain, for all practical purposes, does not exist.  This is the true reason for the many amusing exploits of many racers we've seen over the years. For example, the race leader escorts the whole fleet around the Wrong Course.  Or we completely forget how to jibe at a critical rounding.
     Thankfully, it doesn't matter.  Where you decide to turn and head for the line depends a lot more on where and when you CAN jibe, which depends on the approaching fleet. Don't turn into a crowd, they get testy.  Don't wait until the whole fleet has passed, either, or you'll be late to the line.  find an open spot with about 30 seconds to go and (goes without saying) MAKE THIS JIBE!!
5:  With 30 seconds remaining, Committee snaps the Blue flag down.  You never notice.
   D:  Hopefully, you've turned around to head for the line in a nice, open area of water, leaving enough space ahead to accelerate down the line, and you're high enough  to run down the line unimpaired by bad air from earlier sailors or anyone above you.
6:  At 0:00, the Committee snaps the Red flag up, and sounds a horn.  If you wait to hear the horn, you lose a few feet.   The sound of the horn takes a fraction of a second to reach your ears, where you could have rounded up to weather sooner.  The guy behind you may have done so, and is already starting to dirty your wind. Remember that 0:01 or 0:03  lag time.  Here's where lack of aggressiveness hurts.  Next time you'll pay attention.
     Unless there's a Recall, all confusion, stress and fun of the Start is now behind you.  Hopefully you're in a good position to sail without interference from anyone all the way upwind to the weather mark, which we'll cover in Chapter 5.
Good Sailing!        -Guy

The Weather Leg  Racing Primer  Chapter V   by   Guy R. 
 So you've come away from the Starting line in good shape, your gear is humming along, your fin is biting nicely, your rig is handling smoothly as it sucks you over the oncoming chop to windward.  What Now? 
     Over the years I have personally had the most trouble with my performance to weather.  This is where the smallest imbalance, the slightest tuning error,  or the least  gear choice mistake makes the most difference.   I always seem to FEEL that I can point higher than I am, and yet cranking the board a degree or two upwind almost always spoils the boatspeed and loses me ground. 
     "REAL" sailors speak of Velocity Made Good, or (VMG)  to describe the vector breakdown of your speed multiplied by some factor of the angle to windward of your course.   They can use compasses, knot meters, vector tables and telltales to sit and calculate this stuff as they sip their Courvoisier by the helm.    We windsurfers  just seek "The Groove".  Going fast always seems to oppose pointing high.  At the point where we find the best compromise between them lies The Groove. 
     The thing that ALWAYS seems to be a good guide to finding the groove is the feel I get from the fin.  If my foot pressure is  met by crisp, firm, tight response from the back of the board, that tells me the fin has plenty of lift, and is tracking smoothly and quickly to weather.  If the fin feels mushy, soft, and imprecise,  and the board is waffling upwind and downwind, never settling into a steady groove,then I need to ease up and let the board regain some speed before pushing upwind any more.  Remember too that larger chop means that you have to accept a little less angle due to the loss of contact with the water 
as well as the deceleration and low-lift situation you encounter after each landing.  Ease up, go faster and enjoy the "accidental air" you're sure to get while staying in the groove. 
     Turning your attention to the sail, it's important to try to get the rig "flying freely" while you hang on loosely underneath.  The sail on an efficient upwind course may actually seem to sheet out just a little and "suck you upwind".  You can LET the rig just kiss the leeward footstrap from time to time, but do not try to FORCE it there.  Forceful sheeting in to "close the gap" will NOT get you upwind faster, it will only slow your boatspeed and increase sideways drift.  Your nose may LOOK like it's pointing higher but you will not go where it is pointing, but instead slip sideways to a point much lower and slower than your APPARENT direction of travel. 
     To prove this to yourself, start from a known position (a trap marker or buoy) and sail towards shore at an angle as high as you can comfortably maintain.   Look for an object ashore straight ahead.  See if you actually can stay on that line for a while.  Next, crank the board up a couple of degrees and tighten up on the sail to maintain that angle relative to the wind.  As you hold position, look again at the object you thought you were headed for.  You may notice it gradually seems to move upwind relative to your direction of travel until it is impossible to reach on that tack. 
     Start over, but this time loosen up on the rig, let the board run freely and build up good boatspeed.   Allowing for inevitable variations in wind strength and direction, you'll probably  find over several trials that you get upwind best when you try the least! The only time I pinch nowadays is if it's the only way to save another pair of tacks over the last few 
yards before the weather mark.     Guy R.

Racing Primer Chapter VI    by   Guy R. 
     Last time I talked about efficiency to weather, finding The Groove and the futility of pinching  when you're looking for Velocity Made Good.  Sailing = Good.  Pinching = Bad.
     That brings us to the other frustrating aspect of the weather leg:  When do I make that final tack on the layline to the weathermark?  Go too soon and you'll need to tack twice more. Wait too long and you'll be sailing farther and longer than you needed.  When do I go? 
     On longboards, (which nowadays means only really light, puffy, shifty winds...) it's a good idea to stay near the middle of the course. This means stay pretty much downwind of the weathermark and try not to stray too far to one side or the other.  This allows you to take advantage of shifts and puffs that will in turn let you sail a shorter course.  An extra tack or two may often be worth it.  I usually make it a point to look over my shoulder for a landmark every single time I make a tack, whether I'm racing or not.  This is good advice in general, because it also ensures I will see anyone coming before we collide.  Specifically, though, it allows me to confirm my intuition/judgement about where I can expect to point after the tack. I can usually lay a point directly perpendicular to my longboard, or a little higher in steady wind. 
     Shortboards can't achieve or maintain the same high pointing angles, and so they are more vulnerable to shifts and especially lulls.  I  almost always seem to be wrong when I get cute and cut it too close.  A bad tack and you're toast!  Generally, I measure it like this: Sail as high as you can (without pinching... see Chapter 5!).  Look behind you.  See your wake?  It makes a "Vee" with the point at your fin, right?  Depending on your speed, it makes roughly a 30-degree angle between the windward leg of  the V and the Leeward leg of the V.  Use the shape of the V to "visually measure" another 30 degrees upwind and look in that direction over your shoulder behind you and upwind of you.  (You'll have to crane your neck WAY over to do this...)  You should be able to fetch anything downwind of the angle you just measured.  Tack (or jibe) and see if that's right.  Practice repeatedly until you just intuitively know what you can and cannot reach every time you tack.  That helps build confidence, avoid fatigue from premature transitions, and generally makes you a better sailor...Which is the point of racing.

What’s new in racing?   by  Guy R
     Formula or wide-style boards are all the rage these days.  With such a radical change in proportions, (the boards are getting as wide as they are long...) it’s not surprising that we have had to make some adjustments in rigging and in sailing posture.
     First thing is sail size.  Winds that used to require 6-somethings are now doable with big 7s and 8s.  How, you ask?  Volume!  Actually no, it’s all that area.  See you can stand so much farther out that it begins to increase the amount of leverage you can apply to the sail as well as to the fin.  More leverage = ability to control stronger forces.  Yes it takes practice.  No I have by no means mastered it completely.  But I can now control sails and fins that until recently I would have thought myself lucky just to survive 
     Speaking of fins, yup, they’re getting bigger too.  The rules allow for up to 70 cm, (That’s 27.559 inches for you Metrically-challenged.) and it’s not over yet. I think (climbing on soap box now) Formula 31 rules should be just that.  Limit: one board, three sails.  Period. There’s no need to specify how many fins or what size.  Think you’re faster with a 3-meter fin?  Go for it.  If it turns out to be true, I’ll get one.  I want to go faster too. (Stepping off soap box)  So how come this all works suddenly?
     One big reason is the size of the air cushion that a meter-wide board creates as it gains speed.  There’s enough air under there to float the board, rig and you up onto a cloud if you fly the thing just right. The board rises up on its huge air cushion and just floats along with the fin and back 15 inches of board in contact with the water.  It can get squirrelly and you have to concentrate, but Chop that used to shake my fillings loose now disappears unnoticed underneath the board.  So how do you learn to control this gigantic floating mess?  Some subtle and not-so-subtle differences follow:
     A big change for the better is in the tuning of the sails. I’ve replaced all my downhauls with a bigger size rope.  That’s a good idea when you’re flattening the sail out as much as we are now.  If the rope looks iffy, get a new one.  Don’t even bother sailing until the leech looks like a wet noodle almost down to the clew. More on this later.  Next, the boom is now almost at the top of the cutout where I used to run it almost at the bottom.   Remember leverage?   It applies here too.  Lower boom means sail has a longer leverage to work you over. Higher boom increases your advantage.
     Next, mast track position has come back a little.  I run mine at about 43 inches forward from the midpoint between the rear strap inserts. I used to measure form the tail of the board, but there are so many different shapes back there that it didn’t make sense.  Your constant is where you’re standing on the board with respect to the sail.
     All this means I’m standing a lot straighter than before.  Straighter is stronger. The sail is raked less to windward and it is also standing straighter upright longitudinally.  Because the more upright sail is now presenting a much bigger proportion of its area to the apparent wind, the sail itself needs to be able to de-power.  This is where the downhaul comes in.
     I too had often wondered what good it does to rig an 8-meter sail and then downhaul it until the leech is so loose that it might as well be a 6.  Here’s the deal:  We ride in chop.  The board bounces, sometimes hard.  The bouncing board makes the mast and sail bounce a lot too.  The leech is under light tension until you hit something.  The sudden deceleration of the board and downward thrust of the mast causes the mast to bend a little more.  This opens the leech quickly and spills more air from the sail, decreasing its power instantaneously.  Since for a moment you’re not pulling back so hard against the sail, this frees your legs up to absorb the chop impact.  Once the board starts to recover, the mast springs back to a straighter position and tightens up the leech again.  This puts power back in the sail as you prepare to glide down the backside of the swell you just smacked.  In other words, the sail “pumps” automatically.  It gives more power when you can use it, and reduces power when you can’t. Board goes THUMP.  Mast goes BOING. Sail goes PFFFT.  You go Squirting down the face with a little extra kick.
     Well, that’s about it for tuning. To really begin to get things dialed in, I recommend a trip down to the Sea Wall.  There you’ll find nearly unobstructed wind and corduroy-smooth water.  It helps you learn to set things in a balanced position much quicker if you’re not also busting chop.  (By the way it won’t work if you try to tune with a weed fin and then bring it to the Bay and bolt up a pointer.  The balance will be too different and anyway wide boards don’t work all that well with weedies.)  You should be able to let your hands go and sail just with foot pressure.  Once things are sort of flying by themselves in the smoothies, you can head back out into Bay swells and learn the art of dodging chop without fighting against unbalanced equipment.     -Biff

Greetings:  Last time we spoke of Thumps and Boings  by  Guy R
     As time passes the goal is to reduce the number and harshness of the THUMPS. This is probably the biggest difference between a yahoo like myself and a pro sailor.  Concentration and the ability to read, then correctly and accurately respond to the wave forms in front of the board create the biggest gap between sailors of differing ability levels.  Skiers do this all the time.  They pick your least bumpy path from among a set of choices, and then maneuver the body to set the skis accurately on the chosen path.  One important difference is that the moguls on a ski slope seldom move. Or try to roll over and grab your legs. 
     Every time a sailor misjudges the water ahead, the board smacks the water harder than it needed to.  This wets out more of the rocker (slow) distorts the sail shape a little more (slow), disrupts the sailor’s position and forces him/her to sheet out a little to keep control. (also slow)  Sometimes it even causes a quick trip around the mast! (VERY slow) 
     The way to avoid some of this is to develop foot-steering skills.  This can be practiced very well on flat water, actually.  Pretend those little wavelets of chop are big enough to eat your lunch.  Keeping in mind that bigger waves move faster, you can still get the idea of how to keep your ride as smooth as possible by steering always for the most gradual slopes in front of the board. 
     Big whitecap dead ahead?  Quickly decide whether to head up a little more or to head off the wind a little more to duck it.  The consequences of either decision quickly become apparent.  Heading off requires unweighting the front foot and is scarier, but sometimes it’s the better choice.  You’ll pick up some speed, but the rate of rise up the face of the swell will be gentler and the board will tend to stay flatter as it comes off the lip. Then you’ll be able to turn that momentum quickly upwind after you land.
     When faced with steep chop, it’s often easier to step hard on the windward rail and head up quickly.  This will slow the board speed a bit, but make the angle of rise up the face steeper, meaning you may fly higher. When you come down, the board may lose still more speed and it can take a while to get it back.  In other words, it’s not always wrong to duck upwind, but remember the other choice is there if you’ve practiced heading off quickly.  Whenever you try to make quick direction changes, beware the possibility of Killer Spinout.  You’ll learn just how hard you can push before the fin breaks loose and that’s another good thing to practice.         Biff 


Adjustable Outhaul Setup- From rec.windsurfing newsgroup
You’ve bought the kit but now how do you rig your sail with the new outhaul setup?
The objective when setting up an adjustable outhaul (AO) is to have the ability to pull or release the outhaul, as needed, on either tack. You must first set your boom to the longest, or flattest setting you might require. Then balance your outhaul adjustment line so that the adjustment capability is centered on either side of the boom.
The typical set up procedure, which is the essentially similar for the for 2:1 Clamcleat systems or 4:1 Sailworks systems, is as follows: have the sail downhauled at or near max. settings: then release the AO cleats or adjustment buckles so they are set to their loosest setting on both sides; have your boom pre-set to its max. required length; allow the sail to drape the boom and relax to its loosest setting; then tie off the outhaul line leaving 4" slack for a 2:1 system or 8 " slack for d 4:1 system. The slack should be equally absorbed on either side, and additional outhaul applied as need for your sail brand or the conditions. Two common AO setup problems are insufficient boom length and incorrect adjustment of the outhaul line when tying off. If you end up with limited ability to pull the AO then you need to lengthen your boom or tighten to adjustment line. If you end up with limited ability to release your boom (less likely) then you must shorten your boom or loosen the adjustment line.
Bruce Peterson Sailworks R+D

Stay Straight But Get Looped By Frederick Vetterlein 
Looping doesn't hurt like a lot of other things. Remember playing tackle football and getting hit hard enough to feel the ground shake? It doesn't hurt like that. Or agro belly flops— that hurts more, too. Or hitting the pavement from a skateboard, or catching a snowboard rail, or tumbling down 100 feet of eastern skiing slope— they hurt more. Looping, when you feel it, is like a back slap. Not even like the adolescent punch you used to give your friend in the arm. No, just a back slap. A back slap goes away— it's not there even as long as a sunburn. In fact, it could be thought of as a kind of shiatsu— the Japanese deep massage technique, when they use elbows and knuckles to get at the deep muscle— not a bad way to get a massage if you can waterstart away. 
If you can jump, you can loop. It's that simple. The back slap just lets you know how well you are doing. If you feel the slap in your shoulders, then you're not really sheeting in. If the middle of your back stings— that's because it's flat— then you're doing better. But if you feel the lower back hit or butt, you're doing great-you're almost completely rotated. And there's no slap, because that part of your anatomy is not a flat surface. 
The Forward Loop— Getting Around 
When the season starts every year, we're back to the problem that's been on our minds since our windsurf beginnings, to throw, to chuck, to launch, and my favorite, to chuck, ourselves, our gear, our minds into one complete rotation. I loop therefore I am. This is as far, in windsurfing, as we need to go in school. At this point, the board hats are given out, and the alumni can stride away, knowing, in this small way, they have found truth. How many times have you read those articles, stared bleary eyed at the photos, readying for the next perfect day when you would launch that one, the perfect one, the never-to-be-questioned true one, into air, sky, and mind. Well it happened to me. Late last spring, before the big winds disappeared till fall, knowledge happened. I looped. Well, really, I went around. That is, I sheeted in mid-flight and prayed. When I opened my eyes from my watery landing place to survey the damages— I had gone around! The board wasn't on my feet, and I had to swim from under the sail, but I was all right. I wasn't trashed. My equipment was fine. Really I was no worse for wear than in the hundreds of beginning efforts at jibing. Then in the Fall as the winds picked up, I was definitely going all the way around, and sometimes landing in waterstart position. I began to think about what had happened, and thought, this isn't how the mags or videos described it. And I went back to my own ignorant ways and saw some advantages to my dumb method. 
Almost everyone who jumps goes for max show by throwing the body back and the board up, but for looping you should begin to practice almost nose first landings. That is-keep your body centered over the board and pull up the back foot and tail close to your body. The jump is more like a pop. You push down with the fin as you launch and then, quickly-pull up the tail. Get comfortable with this because the most important focus of the loop is sheeting in with the backhand— hard. If you have to think too much about getting the air, then you won't concentrate on the sheeting in. It's natural instinct. Remember, jibing or even downhill skiing took the learning of many steps. And unhook-Many sailors jump hooked-in because it gives them maximum power. But you're going to have to get used to finding your ramp and unhooking quickly unless you have arms of steel and can sail unhooked fully powered. With a good ramp you can time the unhooking. With the sailors I know, we needed a ramp at the beginning stage so we didn't spend all our focus energy on the jump. You want the best ramp you can find. The more side shore, the better. Remember, you want to get in the air and then focus on sheeting in-nothing more. The point is to get around at the beginning, so you know you won't be hurt. Don't worry about staying in the footstraps, that's easy-after you know you can ride around. Contrary to what many articles say, your first loops won't happen on flat water and going off the wind. The problem with flat water looping is coordinating so many things and then missing emphasis on the most important— sheeting in. It's true that you need very little height to rotate; the fin just needs to clear the water, but all that concentration on getting out of flat water distracts from the critical effort of sheeting in. So do yourself a favor and sail into a ramp, even if it's a bit upwind, you'll sooner be floating high and ready for the next step. You'll hear all about rolling into the loop, as if you're forward somersaulting over one shoulder, and that this is important to sailing away. But don't even think about this concept until you've learned the sheeting in, because somersaulting will do just that— somersault you into your rig. The power of the loop is initiated in the sheeting in, and the roll comes after, with the movement of keeping the body compact and looking back. That's about it. Oh, and forget about intuitive, this won't be intuitive because the human intuition is to be on the ground. What you'll be doing will feel all wrong. Think of your movement as pelican-like, and the effort a flail. You weren't born to fly. But after a few times around, you'll begin to get the idea. Use a 5. 8 sail or smaller. My suggestion, once you've jumped unharnessed and felt this centered jumping motion, of being more over your board in your jump, is to aim for a spot just around the mast, downwind of where you can see, a spot on the water just 10 feet from your airborne location, and pull in the backhand as if you were steering to that spot. If I've really psyched you up and you pull with all your God-given might, you may pull off a sail-away forward. But more than likely, you'll pull like an uncertain believer, and go around flailing, and land confused, but dumb with the satisfaction that you have done the before impossible. You'll be speechless, but proud, with the words, "I loop, therefore I am," forming on your lips. And try to sail with people who loop, it gives you confidence to see others trying, it's such a strange ride. I give credit to Jer, Neil, and Angry for locally goading me, and Dana Miller for spreading the KazeDo word, Trip Forman for his always rad impulse; and Josh Stone for living the ride and teaching it. 
Frederick Vetterlein sails on Worldsails and the Star Carve 99. 
Reprinted from the June 2002 New England Windsurfing Journal, PO Box 371, Milford, CT 06460 newjournal@ aol. com 

Repairing a Footstrap Insert  by  Tom Sullivan
From the web:
1. Purchase your replacement footstrap inserts. Since these plug can be of various shapes it may be necessary to make a template for the use of a plunge router. If you can purchase round 1" deep plugs (Chinook) or simple UHMW or Delron 3/4" diameter plastic rod cut in 1" lengths. Holes for these round plugs can be cut with a small inexpensive hole saw bit in an electric drill.
2. Cut the hole in the boards skin. (as above)
3. Fit the plug and check the depth of the hole as compared to plug. The plug should be just below flush with the boards skin.
4. Masking tape around the hole so that the epoxy resin will not spoil the deck area around the insert.
5. Mix in proper amounts epoxy resin and hardener. Avoid using large amounts of resin that will create heat enough to melt the Styrofoam. An insert that fits well will help. Also add powdered fillers such as microspheres or microballoons to thicken the resin.
6. Put the thickened resin in cavity and coat the surface of the rough sanded insert. A small square of fiberglass cloth can be put into the cavity just before you push in the epoxy coated insert. Excess epoxy should escape from the cavity onto the masking tape protected deck. This is messy.   Rubber gloves will help.
7. Ensure that the insert will stay flush with the deck by using a piece of plastic film such as a bread bag or poly sheeting along with a weight. The epoxy will not stick to the plastic film. Allow the epoxy to set at least 8 hours.
8. With a sharp utility knife cut the epoxy around the insert hole and remove the protective masking tape. With a rasp or heavy 40 grit sandpaper score the insert and surrounding epoxy deck around the new insert.
 9. Again tape the deck around the insert this time leaving a small area for new fiberglass cloth to adhere to the roughened deck skin just around the new insert.
10. Cut several 4 oz fiberglass cloth squares to cover this area. 
11. Mix a small amount of resin to wet out this fiberglass cloth. Excess resin can be squeezed out by again using plastic film and a squeegee. A piece of soft foam with a weight will hold this film in place until the resin and cloth have cured.
12. Again cut away the tape and any fiberglass cloth stuck to the masking tape.
13. Drill the proper hole for your footstrap screws. A countersink bit will bevel back any cloth that can be delaminated by the screws threads.
 14. White paint can be sprayed over the epoxy or just the footstrap can be screwed into the board.

 Ed’s Note:  This repair advice is from a web page which is full of such useful answers to your board repair questions.  Take a look at the site the next time something breaks- you probably broke it, maybe you can fix it.


ReDeck How to:
Allright! Yer starin at yer board it’s dry, and you’re in a place that you can do this without your wife goin ballistic. You’ve got all the stuff there too and yer itchin to get started. 
Try not to get too freaked. "You can do this Homey. Just take it slow and easy."
Begin at the beginning… 
Remove the footstraps. Unless you’ve got additional footstrap screws you should be careful not to strip the screw heads when backing the screws out. Put the screws where you can find em later
Tape off all the parts of your board that you don’t want to get goop on or sand down.  That includes taping:
a) the rails Note: follow the line that exists for the deck grip. Let the tape be double wide on the rails because you want drippings to fall on the ground, not wrap around to the bottom of the board. 
b) the foot pads if you want to be extra careful you can completely cover them but it’s probably not necessary 
c) any and all vent plugs.  After you’ve got yer stick lookin all protected you can break out the sandpaper.
Some people don’t sand off the remaining deck grip but I like to start with a clean slate. It’s sorta tricky cause you don’t want to start grindin off the top of the board cause it might be particularly ugly with blotchy "no paint" spots, so just take off enough to get the old grip "kinda" smoothed off. 
a) use 100 grit sandpaper or higher. You don’t want to grind gouges in your deck. 
b) don’t sand off the tape 
c) wipe all the dust off the deck with a clean cloth sprinkled with acetone You want all the dust on your deck to be history.  Be sure to have a window or two open when dealing with this stuff. In fact, take a moment to think about what’s coming up next by getting some fresh air…. 
Welcome back to the jobsite! As you know, the "gooping" part is next. This stuff goes off quick. So, when you’ve got it all mixed up you want to have had all the other stuff like your gritting medium all dialed and ready to go. 
a) get the "grit" ready first 
b) put on your dust mask 
c) get the grit medium in the shaker. I say "medium" cause some people use:
acrylic deck dust or refined sugar or salt.
As I said earlier, the only thing I recommend is the acrylic deck dust cause it doesn’t dissolve in the water and therefore makes a "grittier" surface.
When you’re confident that the grit is ready at a moments notice you can move on to... 
Mixing the goop… 
            a) follow the directions that come with the product to the letter. Unless specified otherwise, it should be equal parts
         of A and B.  Make about 4-6 ounces or epoxy resign
 b) Thin the mixture with about 20% acetone 
Getting the goop on the board… 
 a) Spread the mixture out quickly. You don’t want it to go off while yer working. You can get the goo on quick by pouring directly on the deck and brushing it all over quickly. Do it a section at as time. Say, the aft, then the middle then the tip section. It’s really important to check that you have the goo everywhere. Remember, missing spots will mean there will be no grip there. 
 b) don’t spread the goo on real thick. In fact, you may wanna kinda press it out thin with your brush strokes. Let the gunk fall to the floor freely. The idea is to have the smallest amount of goo that will hold the grit on your board. Less weight, yeah?
"Shake Rattle and Roll" 
 a) Immediately after getting the goo on you want to get the grit on. One of the most common problems is not getting the grit on before the goo goes off. Don’t let that dweeby thing be your problem. You can check the deck goo on a small spot with your gloved finger. Make sure it’s still at least gummy. If it’s already hard yer gonna have problems. (*see The Fix below) 
 b) Shake the grit on in an even, spread out pattern. If you’ve got the goo the exact thin, yet tacky, workable form then this part could be done by a monkey. Just be sure to get some grit everywhere. (I’m assuming yer a good boy (girl)and have your dust mask on)
 c) to sorta spread out the grit on the board you can blow the dust around with a cardboard piece by fanning it or shake the board by grabbing it by the rail or maybe come up with another clever way. Again, you’ll have got the grit on, made sure it’s everywhere before the goo on the deck goes off.
Clean up and bail 
 a) Don’t be messing around with touching it here and there cause it makes ugly spots on your board. You know the term, "gettin air?" Yeah, well do that! 
 b) After about a half hour you can come back and carefully pull off the tape. It still may be wet but it should be not totally hard. You may want to use gloves again as you don’t want any junk on your hands. Chuck that stuff in the rubbish and bail again. 
 c) Now, don’t come back till tomorrow.
That’s it! 
 a) The deck is totally dry and you’ve got excess grit on the board. Put your mask back on and flip the board upside down. Most of the excess dust will fall to the floor. If you wanna be slick you can run a hose on your deck to really get an idea of what it’s gonna be like. 
 b) You can now go out and sand your feet off in the water. That is, unless you somehow screwed up……
If it ain’t right…. 
 a) *There’s places where there ain’t no grit. 
 b) Don’t freak, it can be easily fixed. Get a can of NAPA or other quality, clear acrylic enamel. Spray that stuff on where it’s bare and quickly shake on some deck grit. Frankly, some people use this technique to do the whole board. You’ll find that there’s a certain amount of "enough spray but not too much" on the bare spots that works. Be sure to wear all your protective stuff.
I certainly hope this works for you. I tried it myself just the way I’m describing it. I made all the mistakes too. Let me know how it works out will ya?
Aloha   -Tim Orden

Ed’ Note   The article was lifted from a website:  When asked for permission to reprint his article, the author responded with the following short blurb and his permission to reprint his work 
   “Tim Orden is marooned on Maui with only himself to blame.  He will drink with anyone, for any reason.  If you find yourself on Maui, at the beach, staring at an aging, long haired, kinda Filipino windsurfer,.... ask him if he'd like to go out for a beer. If he says, "let's go", you just met the author.” 


Wanna a Broken Nose?  by  Roy Tansill
     Three years ago light wind shortboards experienced a breakthrough of sorts with the wider, shorter, thick in the tail style boards first mass produced by Bic in the form of their Techno.  I was working at Worldwinds at the time and before long, nearly every Techno in the rental fleet was making the trip to the board shop to get a nose job to repair the carnage the new style boards were experiencing.   Its not a flaw in Bic’s construction;  the problem exists in all boards that move the volume rearward and leave the nose thin and usually flipped up at the tip.  Its necessary to save weight and its part of the price you pay to plane in winds that before were the domain of the longboard. 
     A year later, I bought my first such board, a Tiga 281.  I had seen better sailors than I knock the nose off the Technos and figured I’d better work on a solution to the problem because sooner or later I was certain I’d break my new board’s nose as well.  There were commercially available nose pads but they didn’t look sufficient to protect my board from my crash and burn capabilities so I designed my own. 
     A few days later, I was watching two kids happily thrashing one another while armed with ‘pool noodles’ and that gave me the idea for a functional nose protector that could stop even me from breaking my new board’s nose.
     Since the Tiga was bright yellow, I went looking for a yellow pool noodle.  I soon discovered that pool noodles are close celled (so they don’t absorb water) very flexible, and cheap ($2.98 at Circle K).   They also come in at least two forms, either round or hexogonal.  Arleen Ward had found a yellow hex type on the beach and donated it to my project.  After purchasing a fresh bottle of contact cement I was ready to begin. 
     First, I split the noodle length wise.  The hexogonal variety makes this task easier since its flat surfaces provide an easier cut location than the round type.  A hastily nailed together simple jig and a crosscut saw easily made two equal halves out of the noodle each 4.5 feet long.  Diagram 1 shows the end view of the pool noodle before and after the cutting.  I tested the noodle’s ability to take a hit by setting in my work bench and hitting it with a hammer.  Repeated (and harder) swings all produced the same cushioned ‘thud’ and the hammer never made contact with the bench underneath the halved noodle.  The half noodle was set onto the Tiga’s deck and a penciled outline showed me where the glue would be needed.  Glue was liberally applied to the bottom of the noodle and inside the pencil lines on the board and after it got tacky I carefully put the two glued surfaces together.  The color match wasn’t perfect but once on the board it was pretty good.  I suspect the blue would look equally good on an AHD or Bic as well.  The photos below show the completed job and its survived nearly a full 
Tiga 1 Tiga 2
season of abuse since it was mounted on the board.  More importantly, the Tiga still has its original nose despite a few minor hits and one fin crunching crash into a shallow oyster bar  which would have definitely broken the nose of an unprotected board of similar  design. 
     Since Arleen donated the noodle,  my entire cost was the price of a bottle of contact cement and about 45 minutes of labor.  That’s a vast improvement over the cost of board repairs.   The long pad protects the entire nose area from both the boom’s front end hits and from boom arm hits further back from the nose.  I haven‘t repeated my ‘hammer test’ on the board itself but I think it would protect the board just as well as it protected my work bench in the original test.  Bottom line:  a soft thud is far better than a resounding CR-RUunch.
For more windsurfing tips, check out these links:
Lefebvre's Windsurfing Moves CCAF Windsurfing