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  1. #1
    Super Moderator na-omi's Avatar
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    Question Tips for sailing in onshore mush and longshore rips?

    Sooo... nearest most-oft windy beach to me is Camber and I've been getting gradually (a little bit) braver and better at coping with the often-pretty-onshore conditions, closely spaced whitewater, quite punchy little sandbar breaks, and monster longshore current, not to mention the magnetic wreck at Jury's

    Be great to gather any tips on some of the trickier aspects of sailing places like this for early-learners like me. Any wisdom or experience you can spare, corrections, etc. gratefully received by the Camber Dunce Fund (at best I keep coming in at D in the Green Zone at Las Dunas )

    Here's what I think I should be doing vs what I'm actually / probably doing....

    On the way out:

    Getting on quick in the shallows
    vs
    Struggling to steer the board in the rip when beachstarting and ending up 100 yards downwind before I've even got a foot on

    Bearing off rapidly to get some speed up to pop over the first few lines of whitewater
    vs
    Heading up too much and trying to bog out over the mush head-on until a curling one inevitably knocks me off

    Planing in the 10' gap between whitewater lines and trying to hop over them at a reasonable angle at speed
    vs
    Getting going then hitting the whitewater too broad and getting the nose knocked back towards the beach and me flung over the front

    On the way back in:

    Trying to crank upwind between and along the waves
    vs
    swooping too far out in front trying to avoid the rumbling whitewater and getting pushed in to the beach too soon

    spotting a gap and heading up briefly to pop over the incoming wave, then get going again behind it
    vs
    catching the nose on the whitewater and either getting tipped off, or knocked round off the wind and pushed rapidly in towards the beach

    hmmm... not looking too promising so far, is it?

    Right now I'd settle for being able to get out the back, and get back upwind, but eventually hoping to be able to attempt some jumping on the way out and backside riding on the way in

  2. #2

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    Let me run through the basics of 'heading out' first.

    A board planes when there is water flow over the hull, from nose to tail.
    The problem with onshore conditions is often threefold:
    1) The waves close out on the inside to create whitewatermush which means any board feels sinkier.
    2) The wind is blanketed on the inside by shorebreak waves.
    3) There is often an adverse current which runs parallel to the beach in the downwind direction.

    So if you take the conventional approach of stepping on your board and then bearing off to get going you're onto a loser from the start.
    Because:
    1)The current is running with your board so lack of water flow over the hull means you can't plane.
    2)This current makes you sheet in to an apparent wind that is actually taking you further downwind – instead of across the wind in the conventional planing way.
    3) The waves then hit you side on, pushing you back to the beach and keeping your board loose/slidey and sinky in white watermush.


    So, the solution is, more float, more power, and a more aggressive approach to getting going.
    Take a bigger board, choose a bigger sail or rig it baggier, and pump the sail and pop the board on its buoyancy to get going.
    Do not bear off except maybe momentarily as part of a popping technique.
    (And don't pump against the fin – it's more the downwards force against the buoyant tail of the board that will get you going.)

    If it is really hard to plane in the first few sets then don't even try – instead it sometimes pays to pinch out through the first few waves, slogging tight to the wind and taking the waves more head-on, and then bear away once you are beyond the rip and out in better wind.
    Last edited by basher; 10th April 2012 at 03:09 PM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator na-omi's Avatar
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    cheers Basher... looks like I need to practice pumping / popping, as well as not getting knocked off when bogging out. I'm usually alright see-sawing over whitewater at low speed unless they're actually curling / dumping then I don't seem to have a hope.

  4. #4

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    Yes, practising slogging over waves is good, as is trying to weave your way through them when just planing. In either case, you are trying to keep going – or trying not to get stopped.

    When going over a wave the nose is lifted first and you can lean forward against this lift as that happens – if you lean back then the wave will stop you. But as soon as the wave is under the hull then you need to lean back – or else the tail is lifted and you catapult forwards with the rig.

    When planing it's a bit different in that it's best to snake a path on the way out, bearing off to avoid steep sections you can't jump, or pinching to get through a gap or to score a flat section that lets you though.
    Like getting going, this technique benefits from an aggressive attitude, with you pumping the rig where necessary to maintain speed.
    Steering through close spaced waves also requires a lot of driving skills – these are so subtle that you may not notice the pro sailor actually doing them. It's a mixture of shifting body weight, moving the rig fore and aft and footsteering.
    I don't think we learn these skills with thought, but more pick them up intuitively as we get in tune with our kit. (Similarly, kids don't learn to walk do they, they just do it because they focus on where they want to get to).

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Arf's Avatar
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    As basher says, pumping pumping and doing everything possible to maintain forward motion and keep the board above water, whilst absolutely refusing to go down no matter wot happens! Ride the bull!

    do this long enough, and eventually there'll be gap in the waves or a puff of wind. I've gotten quite sensitive to knowing when this moment happens, and then I hang off that boom and point the power through the toes, and actually tighten basically all muscles in my whole body and bear in the right direction and get planing. I sometimes bear off loads, almost like going downwind - but this is usually to plane past a breaking wave and squeak over the unbroken downwind shoulder. after doing this you are usually flying, so you can turn back upwind, sheet in, and go for it. The bearing off bit is only when planing already though.

    Another approach that works very well when it works, is to start in very shallow water with a runup - basically start planing and never stop planing. You need a big enough sail though, this approach unfortunately doesn't work all that often.

    Finally - damage control. Whatever approach I use, if I am not planing and not making progress and getting deeper than waist deep, do an aborted slam gybe/fielding or whatever measn of jumping off the board is easiest, flick the rig, push hard off sand (to momentarily stop body and board from moving with rip), waterstart and pinch back up to where you started and try again. Sometimes I lose only 20 foot of ground doing this, and I might do it 3 or 4 times over.. but it's never more than a few times before the wind is there and everything goes right and you find yourself planing out and wondering why it seemed so tricky before. Doing this abortion technique is much less tiresome than struggling for ages, then having a long walk. Abort early though - if you abort in water too deep to get a foothold to steady your body + kit against rip, then you'll struggle to waterstart while going wreckwards like a train. Or if your Fielding is clumsy and you don't keep the rig flying/rotate it dry and it ends up in the water, then you've a 50 yard downwinder rig wrestle to perform and you lose energy and lots of ground.

    I do like the quick in/quick out strategy, its really worked for me.
    * -Scourge of the Seven Seas-*

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    “As I bit into the nectarine, it had a crisp juiciness about it that was very pleasurable - until I realized it wasn't a nectarine at all, but A HUMAN HEAD!!”

  6. #6
    Super Moderator na-omi's Avatar
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    hee, hee, excellent local knowledge... all the Camber 'fail' scenarios sound horribly familiar!

    think I'm nowhere near aggressive or tactical enough... not to mention pretty crap at pumping and in awe of the running-beach-start technique that the locals seem to perform with ease, when I can barely get the board to point in the right direction

    almost looking forward to next time now

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Arf's Avatar
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    Another thing that flummoxed me early on, was trying to beach start with the rip always seemingly ensuring the back of the board is as far away from me as possibly.

    So my technique when faced with that situation, is to use mast foot pressure to move the board upwind (press down with back hand, up+towards chest with front hand, and then actually push the boom to the right with both hands). If done quickly this makes the riderless board ride (for a few feet) on top of the water. When the board has gotten to this upwind point, I very quickly take a step or 3 forward. Stepping forward makes the mast foot push the boards nose forward, while the fin comes towards you (actually you move towards it, not it to you, but its all relative). So now your board is slightly upwind of you and angles 45ish degrees, nose away from you - a vast improvement. Anyway now that the board is in this position, I do the opposite thing as I did in step 1 - use MFP to bear the nose off. Push with front hand, extending arm, pull with back hand. If you can continue to step forwrds while doing this, all the better. The action of doing this brings the nose back around so its pointing out to sea. Now your tail is right near you and the board is pointing the right way - hop on and start pumping!

    Note - all these movements have to be done really quickly as they rely on the board 'planing' on top of the water and pivoting the board rotation around the fin.

    I don't know if that makes any sense at all, but will show you wot I mean next time if its greek!
    * -Scourge of the Seven Seas-*

    DESTRUCTION LOG:
    - Discontinued :-)

    “As I bit into the nectarine, it had a crisp juiciness about it that was very pleasurable - until I realized it wasn't a nectarine at all, but A HUMAN HEAD!!”

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