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Thread: Ugly Gybes

  1. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I had not thought to use my GPS to check gybe exit speeds...may try that! I guess any gybe where the board stays on the plane throughout is going to be reasonably fast but it also depends on the arc you use. You can exit with good speed but find the arc has been so large that you have lost a lot of ground!

  2. #16
    I was watching the Sotavento slalom on the live stream earlier this week and I was reminded how gybing well is one thing, and how gybing in a race is another.
    In either case, you have to use the swell or chop as your friend if you can.
    (But in a race, you have to get round the mark with speed or else in clear air and well clear of other sailors' board wake. You also have to anticipate the optimal path to the next mark).

    There's a process to get to that top level.
    First off, you learn to gybe well on flat water. Get a mate to video you so that you get the stance right heading into the turn, over sheeting the sail to tighten the arc of the turn when over powered (look up 'slalom gybe'), or pumping before the turn when underpowered, and so on. Putting your back hand back down the boom a bit always helps you maintain carving pressure on the inside rail.

    In lighter winds, we sail on apparent wind a lot, and in a lightwind gybe the real wind catches up with you as you slow – which is why we do a step gybe. Most slalom sailing involves a step gybe (unlike most of the ugly, tail-sinking gybes in that video, above).

    But my best tip is to train yourself to gybe around a buoy or other marker, as the fixed point for the turn (as I did today). That ensures you have to adapt each turn to the conditions at that moment. Any rolling swell will dictate the path you take – even on a windy lake, Capie.

    To keep good speed you try and gybe into the trough in front of you, heading downhill, and then try and flip the rig before you go uphill on the next wave. Whatever happens in the turn, the goal is to try and grab the boom on the new side and to pump away as you hook in whilst still heading downhill (dream on).

    And it is that path through swell or chop, and that alone, that determines the optimal arc for the turn.
    Unless you're in a slalom race.

    I think if I was still racing then I'd make sure I was well out in front at the gybe mark, just so I could choose my own path for the gybe in clear air. And then I'd probably wake up.
    Last edited by basher; 30th July 2014 at 09:58 PM.
    Main boards: Flare 101, NuEvo 86, Reactor 82, NuEvo 73. Powered by Severne Blades and S1s.

  3. #17
    Senior Member Capie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Cape Town
    Yes well I know all about rolling swell on a lake! I do also use the buoys in the way you suggest. Learnt that from skiing where you don't improve if you just turn when you're ready. Am wondering though if there's a minimum percentage of entry speed that you'll always lose - and if so, how much.

    If anyone here reads French, the latest Wind Magazine has excellent explanations of various gybe techniques.

    Mike, GPS Action Replay ( has gybe analysis built in. It is quite useful for analysing gybes and has many other functions.
    Last edited by Capie; 30th July 2014 at 10:05 PM.
    My Boards: 2016 Fanatic Falcon TE 129, 2014 Patrik Slalom 115 vII, 2014 Patrik Slalom 92l, 1992 Windsurfer One Design, 2012 Fanatic Freewave 85l
    My Sails: North Sails Warp f2016 , North Hero, North Volt

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