Suggested answers to beginner handout (version 1.13)

Click the one page handout to view or print it.

In windsurfing as in life, there are always exceptions. Different answers and opinions may be valid.

Before everything else

  • [A.2] On a south wind day turbulence occurs near shore because the wind comes over, around, and through the many large, irregular features (buildings, trees, etc.) on shore.
  • [A.3] At Hoofers, a wetsuit is mandatory if the water temperature is below 60 degrees. (See Ground School Manual)
  • [A.3] A wetsuit is advisable if the air temperature + water temperature total less than 120 degrees. (This is a rule-of-thumb from US Sailing's manual, Start Windsurfing Right.)

Handle with care...

  • [B.1] Your sail should be the last thing out of the building and the first thing in because sails deteriorate in sunlight.
  • [B.2] The "broken windows" theory asserts that if a building or neighborhood has a single broken window, then people think it's OK for windows to be broken, and pretty soon broken windows proliferate like crazy. This soon leads to widespread neglect and then serious crime. Analogously, if there's litter on the ground, then people think it's normal for the area to be dirty, which leads to yet more litter, etc. The theory was popularized in the 1990's when serious subway crime in New York City declined dramatically, ostensibly because of the city's efforts to nip petty crime in the bud, like fare jumping or graffiti writing. The theory remains controversial today, partly because of competing explanations for the decline in New York City crime. For example, Freakonomics attributes the decline to the legalization of abortion back in 1973 rather than the later crackdown on petty crime.

On land

  • [C.3] Carry your sail from its upwind side. Otherwise it will blow into you and be awkward and embarrassing.
  • [C.4] Toss your sail from the upwind end of the windsurfing deck. This gives you the maximum amount of time to connect your universal, lower your centerboard, uphaul, and start sailing before being blown into an adjacent pier.
  • [C.4] Generally you should toss your sail out horizontally. But if the wind is lighter you can aim a little high. The heavier the wind the lower you need to aim, lest the wind catch the sail and send it in an unintended direction.
  • [C.5] The boards generally alternate skag ("fin") in and skag out as they are stacked one on top of another. So before carrying your board back into the building decide which direction it needs to go with respect to the boards above and below its targeted slot.

On the water

  • [D.3.b] There are two schools of thought on knees. The Cal Sailing Club advocates bending (flexing) your knees. Here are 3 reasons:
    1. It helps straighten your back, which positions you and your rig into better balance
    2. It provides shock absorption in chop and waves
    3. It lowers your center of gravity and hence increases the stability of you and your rig

    On the other hand, Andy Brandt's highly regarded ABK Boardsports School recommends keeping one or both of your legs straight -- knees even locked -- because it unifies your skeleton with your board and rig. This improves your stability and control, especially at high speeds.

  • [D.3.c] Neutral position (aka "basic" position in the Hoofer Windsurfing Manual) is unstable in high winds because of large waves.
  • [D.3.e] Usually:
    1. Moving the mast forward turns the board downwind
    2. Moving the mast backward turns the board upwind ("back to tack")
    3. Sheeting out (opening the door) decreases power
    4. Sheeting in (closing the door) increases power
  • [D.3.f] When over-sheeted, i.e. sheeting in too much, you'll lose power. So in this case you need to sheet out ("swing the door open") to gain power.
  • [D.3.h] Depending on what else you do, your results may vary. One possibility is that the mast will move forward if you shift your hands back, which has the usual effect of turning you downwind. And vice-versa if you shift your hands forward. But if you keep the mast at about the same place, by shifting back you may feel more power in the sail. And by shifting forward you may feel better able to control the sail. Also, shifting your hands together or apart will affect how much leverage you can apply to the sail, so it'll affect the ease or difficulty of "swinging the door." Ongoing experimentation -- hands, feet, knees, arms, posture, position -- is one of the best ways to improve your windsurfing.