Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gybing 2

I promised to discuss gybing in choppy water but before I do this it may be useful to discuss some basics.

A successful gybe requires 4 things:
                                                     1.  Speed
                                                     2.  Mast foot pressure
                                                     3.  Continuous pressure on the inside rail
                                                     4.  Correct timing
Specific actions are required through the gybe to attain each of these things.

Speed is the currency of the gybe.  Good entry speed makes a smooth exit possible and allows the gybe to succeed even if our technique is flawed.  Gybe into a patch of high wind accelerating, not into low wind slowing down.  Go faster than you think you should.

Mast foot pressure keeps the board level, the tail from sinking and maximizes planing distance through the gybe.  We create mast foot pressure by pulling down on the boom with the front hand.  To do this you need to bring your weight forward (you simply can't pull down on the boom if you are leaning backwards)  and this all helps with keeping the board level.

Inside rail pressure is what carves the board of course and we need to ensure that this is constantly maintained throughout the turn.  If the board rocks back and flattens at any stage, momentum is lost and the movement can stall.  To ensure good railing, sheet in with the back hand, bend the legs and point the knees at the middle of the turning circle.  Your weight needs to be thrown to the inside of the carve, your knees bent and pointing towards the middle of your turning circle, your pelvis forward of your heels and shoulders in front of your pelvis.

Proper timing is essential and failing in this aspect ruins so many gybes.  You have entered the gybe at high speed, you are railing the board nicely and you begin to carve smoothly round.  Your weight is properly distributed to the inside of the turn, your legs are bent and springy.  As soon as the board is downwind you need to flare the sail.  This keeps power in the sail and creates space for you to step.  You must now change your feet while retaining pressure on the inside rail.  This involves twisting your hips towards the new direction and hanging your backside down to keep weight on the inside of the turn.  This switch needs to be done very quickly.  Move the front hand to the front of the boom pulling down all the time (mast foot pressure) and flip the sail.  Your arms are straight throughout the gybe and you look at the point you are sailing towards on exit. Look out of the gybe, not at your equipment

The previous post mentioned Alice Arutkin's gybing vid and what I will do on the next post is to critique her style.  She is good but not perfect so we can look at some of her actions in detail   If you are interested you should download the vid to enable you to use it as a training aid.  If you aren't all that IT literate and struggle with downloads get someone technical to help (or call a 14 year old if you have one lying around)

Talk to you soon



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