Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Slalom Gybing

As promised, here is some commentary and thoughts about gybing.  In a previous post I mentioned Pascal Toselli and how he was dominating in his gybes with the new Tabou Mantas.  This brings me to the question of whether it is necessary to lay ones sail down in order to execute a decent slalom gybe.  First let us look at Pascal gybing -  

Here is Pascal screaming into the gybe.  Note his bent knees and total commitment.  The spray behind him shows how fast he is going.

He controls the board round and begins to throw the sail up into the flare.  

Here he has flared and can now step.

He steps forward but puts too much weight on the inside rail - a mistake which would cause him to turn into the wind were he not going so fast.  

Despite his error, his speed and commitment allow him to flip the board back onto the planing surface and scream out of the gybe almost as fast as he entered. Very impressive!

This is your standard lay-down gybe by one of the best.  Pascal's ferocious entry into the gybe with his spring loaded intensity throughout the move make one wonder if there is something wrong with ones own gybes.  The reality is that for most of us, sailing as we normally do, it is not necessary to lay the sail down in a gybe.  You can do a perfectly controlled and acceptable gybe while keeping the sail relatively upright. 

Here is Alice planing all the way through her gybe.  She makes one small mistake but has the skill and finess to nail it regardless -
She enters the gybe,  banking the board nicely.  The sail is pushed towards the center of the arc but nowhere near as forcefully as Pascal  did on his entry. 

Alice flares the sail and starts to step

She steadies the board while completing the step.  Note how she looks through the sail window in the direction she wishes to go.  STRAIGHT ARM!  

Her feet are nicely positioned on the inside of the board maintaining pressure on the inside rail.  This keeps the board turning.  She can now flip the sail.  Note how she keeps looking ahead.  Her slight mistake here is that her right hand should have been shifted up to the mast.  If you read my early critique of this gybe you will remember that Alice allows her hand to slip up to the mast as the sail rotates.  OK but it means that she loses mast foot pressure for a second.  Her skill is such that she still nails the gybe.  Note her STRAIGHT ARM!

She flips the sail.  Note how her body leans in towards the center of the turn.  This keeps the board turning and also provides a counter-balance to the rig which is held away on a STRAIGHT ARM!

Alice catches the boom, lowers her backside to counter the force in the sail and her straight arms allow her to pump the sail with a few decisive tugs while nudging the fin with her back foot.  See ya!

Here are some more sequences if you are interested.  The first set is by one of the RRD guys and the second set is Chris Pressler (I think) on slalom gear.  Every one of these gybes was at quite a high speed and was done on the plane right through - 

The bottom line is that laying the sail down in the gybe is not necessary for an acceptable gybe.  I hope these sequences are useful.

Talk to you soon

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