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UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN - MADISON

Hoofer Sailing Club

Windsurfing
Manual

HOOFER SAILING CLUB

Windsurfing Manual
Table of Contents

AN INTRODUCTION ............................................................................... 2
Windsurfing for Everyone ................................................................ 2
History of Windsurfing ..................................................................... 3
Windsurfing Steps............................................................................. 3
Windsurfing at Hoofers .................................................................... 4
Getting Your Ratings........................................................................ 5
Fast Tracking ................................................................................... 6

Uphauling the Sail..........................................................................15


Uphauling stages............................................................................15
Basic Position.................................................................................16
Starting Position.............................................................................16
Balance Position ............................................................................17
Sailing Position ..............................................................................17
Tacking and Jibing .........................................................................18
Getting a Light Wind Rating...........................................................18
The Windsurfing 3rd Day Lesson ...................................................18

PART TWO............................................................................................ 7

PART THREE......................................................................................20

BEGINNING WINDSURFING ................................................................... 7


Sailing Safety.................................................................................... 7
Parts of a Windsurfing Board and Sail............................................. 9
Mast Track ................................................................................... 9
Footstraps..................................................................................... 9
Centerboard & Fin...................................................................... 10
Universal Joint ........................................................................... 10
Sail Components ........................................................................ 10
Sail Areas ................................................................................... 10
Basic Sailing Theory ...................................................................... 11
Rigging a Sail................................................................................. 13
Putting the Equipment Away .......................................................... 14
Launching from a Pier ................................................................... 14

INTERMEDIATE WINDSURFING ...........................................................20


Planing...........................................................................................20
Harness and Harness Lines............................................................21
Foot Straps.....................................................................................21
Getting a Heavy Wind Rating.........................................................22
Testing Out.....................................................................................22

PART ONE............................................................................................. 2

PART FOUR ........................................................................................23


ADVANCED WINDSURFING ..................................................................23

Getting a Short Board Equipment Rating .......................................23


Waterstarting..................................................................................24
Going Fast......................................................................................26
Windsurfing is for Everyone ...........................................................27

Windsurfing Manual Editors


2010
2004
2002
1998
1997
1988-90
1986
1985

Jeanne Morledge and Jim Rogers


Jeanne Morledge and Jim Rogers
Arden Anderson, Jeanne Morledge, and Jim Rogers
Bob Holz
Arden Anderson and Jim Rogers
Jim Rogers
Dierk Polzin
Mark Lepke

Text by Arden Anderson, Tony Chang, Roman Druker, Jerry Ebert, Jane Foster, Bill Kroner, Mark Lepke,
Jeanne Morledge, Bob Pennington, Dierk Polzin, Norm Roettgen, Jim Rogers, and Marty Wilson.
Photos by by Arden Anderson, Carl Bowser, Darcy Graf and Jeanne Morledge.
Graphic Layout and Design by Arden Anderson and Jim Rogers
Version August 5, 2010 2010 by the University of Wisconsin Hoofer Sailing Club
Hoofers
Wisconsin Union
800 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706

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Part

1
Part One
A N

I N T R O D U C T I O N

Windsurfing for Everyone

veryone can learn to windsurf because windsurfing is a finesse sport. With


proper instruction and good equipment, a bit of patience, you too, can be
windsurfing.

The Hoofer Sailing Club provides quality instruction on a variety of equipment at an


affordable price in a fun setting, making it an ideal place to learn and improve
windsurfing skills. Hoofer instructors will teach you on-land on a windsurfing
simulator, and then on the water on equipment that makes learning easy.
Everyone has the potential to become a good windsurfer. With the Hoofer instruction
program, each sailor can improve at his or her own pace. Keep in mind that learning to
windsurf is highly dependent on the wave and wind conditions. Light wind (5-12 mph)
and flat water are ideal for beginners. As you practice and improve your skills in light
wind, take classes and clinics to learn skills for sailing in winds 12+ mph.
Dont get frustrated! Remember the 3 Ps of learning any new sport:


Patience
Learning to windsurf takes time. Improvements are noticeable over
days, not hours. Each time you go windsurfing you will notice some
improvement.
Practice
The more time you spend on the water with a board and sail, the more
you will learn and your windsurfing skills will improve.
Persistence
Sail with an instructor, watch instructional videos, take clinics, ask
questions, there are many fine points to learn that will improve your
skills.

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You will fall in the water when learning to windsurf (as well as at every level of
windsurfing). Everyone falls, though you will fall less often as your skills progress.
Learn to assess wind conditions and get out on the water as often as you can. As you
learn new skills, you will be able to sail in more challenging conditions.

History of Windsurfing
In the early 1960s, two guys in southern California were arguing at a bar about which
was the best sport, surfing or sailing. They couldnt agree on much, but decided that if
the two were combined it would be a good time. They tried it, and in 1967 windsurfing
was born. The product of their newly formed company, Windsurfer, became the
standard in One-Design racing for the next 17 years.
In Europe the sport exploded even more than in the United States. With companies
jumping in to see if they could make money in the new sport, boards got sturdier and
sails got easier to handle. In Hawaii, where the trade winds blow regularly and the
waves are big, the sport developed spectacularly. A native Californian by the name of
Robby Naish won his first World Championship at age 13. At that time he weighed
only 90 pounds. Since then, Robby Naish has led the sport to sponsorship and high
gloss professional events that, in Europe, regularly attract 100,000 spectators for a
weekend series.
When windsurfing was added to the Olympic Games in 1984, a wide variety of
equipment was available for all wind and weather conditions. During this time a variety
of names were used to describe this sport including surfsailing, windriding, and
waveriding. There was a brief movement to standardize the name of the sport to
boardsailing or sailboarding, but windsurfing remained the generic term, in memory
of the now-defunct Windsurfer. Only in 1991, when the US Boardsailing
Association became the US Windsurfing Association, did the name officially become
windsurfing.

Windsurfing Steps
The following outline shows the progression that most people follow as they learn to
windsurf:
1.

Basic Sailing


Uphaul

Positions

Sailing Upwind & Downwind

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2.

3.

Tacking

Jibing

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Intermediate Skills


Harness & Harness Lines

Footstraps

Planing

Waterstart

Advanced Skills


Fast Tack & Planing Jibe

Jumping & Chop Hop

Freestyle

Wave Sailing

Windsurfing at Hoofers
Windsurfing came to the Hoofer Sailing Club in 1978 with a fleet of Windsurfers
and some homemade sails. The Hoofer windsurfing fleet has up-to-date boards and
sails for learning to windsurf and for all levels of skill and wind conditions.
Boards are stored in the Lake Lab, which was named by Professor Edmund Birge
who studied Lake Mendotas ecosystem. In the early part of this century, he conducted
experiments and taught in the two-story structure, helping to make Lake Mendota the
most-studied lake in the United States. Since 1950 the Lake Lab has been used by the
Hoofer Sailing Club to store equipment. In 1980 the second floor was cut off and a
solid concrete deck was installed to provide for a better view of Picnic Point by patrons
of the Memorial Union. In 2004 the wooden sidewalk was replaced by the solid
cement walkway.
Check out equipment and get lifejackets at the Boathouse and get sails and boards
from the Lakelab. The Boathouse is located next to the tunnel where most lessons

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usually meet. Lockers are also available here to store some things during lessons and
day sailing. The Boathouse is run by Outdoor Rentals which keeps the same hours as
Harvey, the University Lifesaving Station. See Part Two Sailing Safety, for more
information on Harvey. Many of the Hoofer windsurfing instructors are certified by
US Sailing. Classes of all levels are held each week from May through September.

Getting Your Ratings


With your Hoofer Sailing Club membership you get unlimited lessons and clinics and
use of the windsurfing equipment that you have been rated to use. There is usually a
fee for use of short-board equipment or special equipment the club carries. Fortunately
for those of us who join without any background in sailing or windsurfing, the Hoofer
Sailing Club provides lessons, clinics and test outs to get rated. Lessons and clinics have
a classroom and on-the-water component, and test outs are strictly on-the-water.
If windsurfing is new to you start with the Windsurfing A lesson. This two-day lesson
will cover the basic theory and fundamental skills of windsurfing. The Windsurfing A
lesson will help maximize the amount of time that you will spend sailing. If weather
permits, youll get on the water your first day so bringing a change of clothes with is a
good idea. See Part Two.
The first day of your Windsurfing A lesson meets regardless of the weather
conditions. However, your instructor may cancel the second day of your Windsurfing
A lesson if wind and weather conditions are not suitable for on-the-water sailing. In
this event, or if your instructor from your Windsurfing A lesson feels that you would
benefit from more practice on the water, your instructor will request that you sign up
for a Windsurfing 3rd Day lesson. A Windsurfing 3rd Day lesson is a one day
three- hour lesson mainly on the water. Many students choose to take the Windsurfing
3rd Day lesson several times to continue to get instruction and tips from several
different instructors. Your instructor may choose to give you a light wind rating but
with a recommendation to initially sail at in winds only up to 12 mph blowing towards
shore. A light rating allows a sailor to sail in green flag conditions with winds up to 18
mph.
As you learn, practicing two to three hours for each hour of instruction will help you
improve your sailing skills and get you ready for more advanced windsurfing. As you
progress you may take more advanced lessons and clinics and learn skills that will be
helpful to you in sailing in heavier winds. As your skills improve you may want to
complete a Heavy Wind Test Out.
By completing a Heavy Wind Test Out, you can use the standard equipment on
heavy wind days. Also, advanced lessons can be taken showing you how to use the
Short Boards (which are particularly good for high wind days), how to use harnesses
and footstraps, and how to complete waterstarts. See the Hoofer Sailing Clubs ratings

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progression sheet at www.hoofersailing.org, or posted in the Tunnel to see what the


current procedure is for moving through classes and ratings.

Fast Tracking
If you have some advanced skills in windsurfing, start with the Windsurfing 3rd Day
lesson. This will get you familiar with the idiosyncrasies of rigging, storing, and
launching Hoofer equipment. After you take this lesson, come down when the wind is
blowing 18-30 mph (blue flag) and sign up for a Heavy Wind Test Out.

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Part

2
Part Two
B E G I N N I N G

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Sailing Safety

oofer Sailing Club policy REQUIRES A LIFE JACKET ON ALL


WINDSURFERS AT ALL TIMES. Remember, a lifejacket and staying
with your board are the most important things that you can do to reduce the
chances of drowning once you are in trouble. Some emergencies that may
be brought about by exposure to excessive heat include heat cramps, heat exhaustion
and heat stroke. Drink plenty of water before going out and keep cool by falling in to
help prevent these problems.
If the environment is too cold, body heat is lost faster than it can be generated, leading
to general body cooling (hypothermia). This can happen more frequently when the
water temperatures are somewhat cool, when the air is cool, or if its windy (even if the
air temperature is warm) because water splashing onto the skin evaporates faster as it
gets windier. If you begin to shiver, put on a life jacket. Wet or dry, it will help to keep
body heat in. A wetsuit is the best solution to cool water, but a windbreaker helps to
keep you warm above water. Of course, dont hesitate to call it a day if the water or
wind temperatures are cold, or if you get cold. Develop skills to determine wind speed,
direction, and conditions in which you will be able to safely sail.

The best way to avoid dangerous sailing conditions is to check a local weather forecast
or radar imagery before you go out. At Hoofers you can also check with Boathouse staff.
When out on the lake, periodically check the weather, lights, and flags. Always stay
alert for quick-moving dark clouds since conditions can change rapidly, particularly
during the exciting Wisconsin primary storm season (mainly April through September).
Before you launch, note the wind direction and establish an area to sail within.
Continue to check the wind direction while you are sailing, as it may change and
require you to adjust the boundaries of your sailing area.
Dont let yourself drift out too far. If you are having trouble sailing back to the pier,
you might need to pop your centerboard up, and paddle your Board and rig in with

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your arms. On Lake Mendota there is a Lifesaving station available for emergencies. If
you need their services, slowly wave your arms back and forth above your head until
you are noticed by the Hoofer Sailing Club or Harvey, the UW Lifesaving Station.
Slowly drifting windsurfers are lower priority than boats in danger, so it may be a bit of
a wait.
Pier starts and landings are forbidden at Hoofers. Pier starts are when someone
steps onto the board off of the pier without first setting the sail in the water. There is a
danger of falling against the pier either during landing or take off or of having a
beginner emulate you and fall against the pier. For this reason it is a good idea to push
away from the pier while you are kneeling on the board, and to drop the sail in the
water well away from the pier before landing. Anytime you fall, the sail is in the water
acting as an anchor preventing the board from floating too far from you. Always be
careful with the sails, as they are easily punctured or torn. Be careful not to drop the sail
onto a pier. A sail dropped onto a pier is easily ripped. If you begin to get close to a
pier or other object use your uphaul to lower your sail to the water and paddle away
from the object.
In general:


Take good care of your windsurfing equipment! Its fragile, expensive


and you need it.

Stay with your board at all times and keep the sail attached to the
board. It will provide flotation and make you easier to spot. Start
paddling in before you over-extend your rangenot after.

Stay away from piers, or other objects that may damage equipment.

Stay away from the rocky or cement shore areas.

Eye protection from ultraviolet radiation is necessary. Wear a good


pair of UV-protected sunglasses when around the water.

Always wear sunscreen. Its foolish to forget about the hazardous


effects of the sun.

If at any time you injure yourself or become ill, or see someone else
who may be in need of assistance, contact an instructor or the
Boathouse staff as soon as possible.

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Parts of a Windsurfing Board and Sail

Mast Track
The mast track on the board allows the sail to be positioned fore and aft on the board.
The goal of where to place the sail is to reduce drag and allow the board to plane when
possible. In most cases when sailing upwind, the sail can be placed more forward. The
sail can be moved farther back downwind and in higher winds. If unsure, its better to
have the track a little too far forward and not too far back so the boards tail doesnt
drag in the water. If the rider is learning and standing very far forward on the board, or
if a very small sail is used in light winds, the weight distribution on the board needs to
be shifted backwards. On most boards the mast base can only be adjusted by
unscrewing it from the board, sliding it, and screwing it back to the board again.
Footstraps
Footstraps are used to control the board in windier conditions. Footstraps can be
placed in a variety of positions (fore and aft), depending on the board. In general,
straps are set farther forward for use in moderate conditions to facilitate early planning,
and the straps are set aft for use in windy conditions and to maximize speed.

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Centerboard & Fin


The centerboard prevents side-slip of the board and gives directional stability. The
larger the centerboard, the more sideslip is prevented. When going downwind or going
fast the centerboard is less necessary to be down and can be brought more up or all the
way up.

Universal Joint
The universal joint joins the sail and board together. This device is what makes
windsurfers so unique. The first account of windsurfing was in the 1930s when surfer,
Tom Blake (one of the original Waikiki Beach Boys, along with Olympic Gold Medal
swimmer Duke Kahanamoku), experimented with placing a sail on his surfboard to
save his tired arms from paddling. Blake, however, rigidly fixed the sail to his
surfboard, and steered with a foot-controlled rudder. Among Blakes other
contributions to sport was his invention of a hollow surfboard, which led the way to
high performance surfing. By the way: Tom Blake was born and raised in Milwaukee,

Wisconsin!
It was not until 1948 that Newman Darby became interested in the idea of steering a
boat without the rudder. He used a universal joint to fix a sail to a sailboat, and he
controlled the boat by tilting the sail fore and aft. In 1966, Jim Drake and Hoyle
Schweitzer got together and used a universal joint to attach a sail to a surfboard, and
windsurfing was born. The universal joint is the single most distinctive thing that
separates a windsurfer from any other sailing vessel.

Sail Components
The sail has a mast that is usually vertical and a horizontal boom which is also used by
the person windsurfing to hold on to the sail. The sail is also given rigidity by its
battens. Battens run horizontally (more or less) across the sail. At the leading edge of
the batten there may be a camber inducer, that helps force shape into the sail, as the
name implies.

Sail Areas
There are four main areas of the sail. The bottom of the sail is called the foot, and the
top is called the head. The head of the sail includes the curved portion that runs until
the vertical part of the trailing edge of the sail, which is called the leech. The angled part
of the sail that joins the leech and the foot is called the clew.

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Basic Sailing Theory


Sailboats and windsurfers get their
propulsion by the wind blowing past the
sail. As the wind flows past the sail, air
travels more quickly past the leeward
surface of the sail, and more slowly past the
windward surface of the sail. This creates a
high pressure on the windward surface of the sail, and a low pressure on the leeward
surface of the sail. The result is a net force, called lift, that acts between the pressure
difference. We can thank Bernoulli for describing the physics that apply here.
Most of this lift acts perpendicular to the
direction of travel (when sailing upwind or
on a reach), but the combination of the
centerboard, rail, and fin counteract this
force and allow minimal side-slip.
Fortunately, the rest of the lift acts in the
direction of travel and propels the board
forward.

Lift

Side component of Lift


Forward component of Lift

Fin Force Centerboard Rail Force


Force

Wind

WIND

You can never sail straight into the


wind source, only about 30 degrees
or more away from the source of
the wind. This is because at small
angles to the wind, there is no
component of lift pushing you
forward; this component actually
begins to act backwards. Think of
the possible angles that you can sail
as points on a wind clock. The 12
oclock position is where the wind
is coming from and 6 oclock is the
direction the wind is going.
Between 10 oclock and 2 oclock your board will not sail. In fact, youre very likely to
stop moving or to move backwards. This area of the wind clock is called in irons.
To get to a point directly upwind, it is necessary to sail out toward 2 oclock and then
tack, moving the bow through the wind until the wind is coming over the right or
starboard side of the board to sail toward 10 oclock. Sailing at 10 or 2 oclock is called

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beating or sailing close hauled, with the back of the sail hauled in close to the
centerline of the board. Sailers frequently call the process of getting upwind by sailing
close hauled and tacking sailing upwind. On a sailboard this is tricky for beginners to
master, but is a necessary skill to acquire.
Sailing across the wind to either 3 or 9 oclock is the easiest on a sailboard; however, it
does not get you upwind and often times it does not help you to get back to the pier.
This point of sail is called a beam reach because the wind is perpendicular across the
beam of the board. Heading up is when your board turns toward the wind source.
Bearing away or falling off is when your board turns away from the wind source.
Since falling off has its own unique (but well-known) meaning for those who
windsurf, bearing away or turning away from the wind are the terms frequently
used.
Sheeting in is when you move the back of the sail more toward the middle of the
board (by pulling in on your back hand). Sheeting out is when you move the back of
the sail out away from the middle of the board. As you steer downwind (going from
close-hauled to a beam reach, for example) you should generally sheet out (although if
you are going very fast you will usually be sheeted in any direction you can sail). As you
steer upwind (going from a broad reach to a beam reach, for example) you should
sheet in.
Having your sail over trimmed is a common mistake among sailors. Its when the sail
is sheeted in beyond the point where the sail is working efficiently. You only need to
sheet in until the sail becomes powered up. The clew, or back end of the sail, should
never cross over the back of the board. When the sail is powered up it will feel as
though the sail is trying to pull you over the front of the board. Counteract the power
of the sail by leaning back with your body weight. You should always be trimming the
sail, sheeting in and out to make sure the sail is powered but not over powered. It
should feel like the sail is pulling hard that you can barely support it with your body
weight.
The sails have battens. Battens give the sail shape and stability by preventing the sail
from luffing, as well as keeping a constant sail shape when the sail is powered. Luffing
is when the leading edge of the sail (the luff) flaps or luffs in the wind. For sails with
full battens, such as for wndsurfers, this usually does not occur. To avoid over
trimming your sail, never pull the sail across the centerline of your board.
There are many other useful sailing terms to learn. Check your Hoofer Sailing Club
Tech Manual to learn more of them. The lingo is half the battle.

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Rigging a Sail
Rigging your equipment correctly can make the difference between an enjoyable day
on the lake and a frustrating struggle in the water. At Hoofers most of your rigging
should be done on the Windsurfing Pier. The pier itself is a high traffic area so you
should try to move your sails on and off the pier as quickly as possible and, particularly,
reduce the amount of time the sails are in the sunthe ultraviolet light exposure
greatly shortens the life of the sail.
STEP ONE Choose your sail from the Lake
Lab according to wind speed and your sail rating.
STEP TWO Choose a boom from the boom
racks according to sail size and need for harness
lines.

STEP FOUR Outhaul the sail. If the boom is

STEP THREE Place your boom on the


mast. Adjust the length of the boom to about 23 centimeters beyond the clew of the sail.

adjusted to the proper length, it should take very


little force to pull the clew of the sail to the end of
the boom. The outhauled sail should have a
wing shape and it should rotate easily on the
mast.

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Putting the Equipment Away


Hoofers maintains windsurfing sails being rigged on their masts/universals. This
reduces equipment wear and tear from rigging and derigging and also saves time.
Detach the boom and return it to the boom rack with the uphaul tied up to the
outhaul line.
Rehang the sail in the Lakelab according to its size.
Place the windsurfing boards back into their current proper location, usually staggering
skegs so the boards fit. Having someone help you carry windsurfing boards is not only
social, but it reduces the chances of killing a windsurfing board by dropping it.

Launching from a Pier


When getting ready to launch, slip on your lifejacket and choose your board from the
Lake Lab placing the board right side up on the pier with the fin hanging over the pier.
It is easiest to carry it with the bottom flat against your body, one hand (the right, if you
are right-handed) on the centerboard knob and the other hand underneath. If you have
problems, ask someone to help!
Next, with another person get your sail and carry it out to the pier. It is easiest in a
breeze to carry your rig horizontally, with one hand on the boom and the other on the
mast, supporting the mast on one hip. Carry the rig with the mast towards the wind. (It
will be obvious if you do this wrong!) When you are ready to go out, throw your sail
perpendicular to the wind direction as far away from the shore and pier as possible and
on the upwind side of the pier.
Rapidly launch your board by positioning it perpendicular to the pier with the fin
over the water. Grab the nose of the Board and slide it into the water (fin first). When
the back end is in the water, the flotation will make it easier for you to bring the board
alongside the pier.
Get on your board, lower your centerboard. Paddle out to your rig and connect it to
your board.
To connect the rig (sail, mast, and boom) to the board, put the universal into the hole
of the mast base and then lock it in place.
You may want to paddle a bit away (preferably, upwind) from the pier as possible
before you try to lift your sail out of the water. One (somewhat advanced way) of

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doing this by laying the rig on the back of the board so that no part of the sail touches
the water. To avoid damage to the sail or board, stay away from piers, shoreline,
and other boats! Drop your sail when you are within two mast lengths of ANY
object so you do not drop your sail on ANY objectthe sail must always be
lowered or dropped ONLY into the water.

Uphauling the Sail


Grab the uphaul line and carefully stand up and assume the back-to-the-wind position
with your front foot instep against the mast foot and your back foot, shoulder width
away on the centerline of the board.
Uphauling stages

Photos by Jeanne Morledge

Bend your knees and adjust your hands on the uphaul so your arms and back are
straight then take up the slack on the uphaul line.
Push up with your legs and lean back a bit to start lifting the sail. At first you should lift
the sail slowly to let the water drain off the sail. Small sails will clear of water more
rapidly than large sails which can hold a lot of water.

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When the top of the mast is level with your head, pull hand over hand on the uphaul
until you can place both hands on the mast, keeping your arms extended.

Basic Position
In the basic position your back is to the wind and you are holding onto the mast with
both hands with the sail flagging downwind.
Your front foot instep is against the mast base and your back foot is behind the mast
on the centerline. Your feet are roughly a shoulders width apart.

Arms are extended and holding onto the mast just


below the boom. Knees are slightly bent. The sail
is flagging downwind and a V is formed
between the mast and your body.
From the basic position you can:

Lower the sail to get off the board or


assume the rescue position,

Turn the board,

Go to the sailing position.


Photo by Jeanne Morledge

Starting Position
Holding the mast with your front hand, release the
back hand from the mast letting it fall to your side.
Take a step back along the centerline with your back
foot and move your front foot so it is pointing
forward behind the mast. Keep the mast
perpendicular to the board and the sail flagging
without power.

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Photos by Jeanne Morledge

Balance Position
In the balance position you are back of the sail and
facing forward. You are balanced on the center of
the board and you will tilt the sail towards the wind
(with your front hand) until it is balanced over the
board.

Sailing Position
Place your back hand on the boom just in
front of your back shoulder. Rotate your
shoulders about 10 degreesjust until you
feel the wind begin to fill the sail. Balance
your weight against the pressure generated
by the sail, arms extended, shoulders back,
hips under
shoulders and toward the sail.
Tips incliude:

The centerline is the most stable


part of the board. Keep your feet
near it when you are learning.

As you sail with a little more wind,


you will move your feet further back
on the board.

As you are able to lean back to counter balance the pull in the sale, strive to get
to the 7 position (your arms are the top of the 7 holding on to the boom and
your shoulders-hip-legs are the long somewhat vertical part of the 7) with your
hips squared to the board and sail. About 75% of your weight can be on

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your back foot. Have your back leg flexed and front leg and arm more
extended. Keep you hips tucked way under your shoulders.

Tacking and Jibing


Turning the front of the board across the wind source (from about 2 to 10 or back) is
called a tack. Turning the back of the board through the wind is called a jibe. Both
turns require you to maintain your balance while moving to the opposite side of the
board. You may want to consider only tacking when you are learning windsurfing as it
keeps you and your board from drifting downwind. From the Basic Position you can
turn the board 180 degrees.
To tack the board, stand with your feet on the centerline evenly spaced from the mast
base with arms extended and hands holding onto the mast. Slowly swing the sail in the
direction you want to head toward, keeping your feet in place until the sail touches
your back leg. Taking small steps, move your feet half way around the mast and then
continue to swing the sail towards the direction you want to head until it again touches
your back leg. Complete taking small steps around the mast until you are in the basic
position, now on the other side of the board and you are ready to assume the Sailing
Position

Getting a Light Wind Rating


The Hoofer Sailing Club light wind rating allows you to sail in winds up to 18 mph
from any direction (green flag). (1 knot, one nautical mile per hour, equals 1.15 mph
miles per hour). The light wind rating is based on the following criteria:







Can you sail upwind and downwind, given plenty of time?


Can you determine wind speed and direction?
In light wind, can you complete most tacks and jibes you attempt?
Can you avoid unwanted contact with other objects such as piers and
boats?
Do you have the confidence and competence to handle all green flag
conditions?
Can you get back to the pier on your own in any green flag conditions?

The Windsurfing 3rd Day Lesson


Sailing in light wind and flat water is usually pretty easy after a few times out. If youre
having trouble, feel free to take another lesson. The Windsurfing 3rd Day lesson
serves a dual purpose, letting you practice with an instructor or test out for a Light
Wind rating.
Practice these skills:

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M A N U A L

Seeing when a puff is coming


Knowing when your sail is sheeted in too far
Knowing when you hands, feet, or body are in good position
Sailing towards a point, turning, and returning to the pier

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Part

3
Part Three
I N T E R M E D I A T E

W I N D S U R F I N G

s your sailing skills improve you will find that you are able to sail fast enough
to get your board planing and youll want to learn to use a harness and
footstraps.

Planing
When the board is planing the only wetted surface is the back third or less of the board
and the fin. To get the board up on plane you must maintain adequate mast-base
pressure, and power in the sail. When the board is planing, and with your feet in the
footstraps you can steer the board with your feet. In order for high wind foot steering
to be effective, the centerboard must be all the way up.
Up to this point you may have been steering the board primarily by moving the clew of
the sail towards or away from the water. This works well in light winds for making slow
turns but it is unsuitable for high winds or faster turns in light winds. Foot steering is
the answer.
In light winds, when the board is not planning and the centerboard is down, the
board is tilted in the opposite direction you want the board to go. For example, to head
up, sink the leeward rail; to bear off, sink the windward rail. In light winds you will also
have to steer with the sail but your turns will be much quicker. This technique can be
used to make your jibes and tacks much easier and quicker.
To jibe, bear off as much as you can by using traditional sail and foot steering. The next
step is crucial: step back, way back on the board. With the bow of the board out of the
water and the tail sunk, tilt the board to sink the windward rail. If all goes well, the
board will spin astonishingly fast. To stop the turn, simply step forward. This will level
the board. At this point you should be able to sail on the new tack with the sail clewfirst.

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Now, grab the mast with one hand and let the sail swing around to its new tack. Be
careful not to let the clew hit the water on its way around. Watch the more advanced
sailors to get an idea of the timing of the sequence of events.
In heavy winds, bearing off by raking the sail is a good way to get launched. When the
board is planing, it can be steered like a skateboard. Tilt the board in the direction you
want to go. To bear off, put pressure on the leeward rail; to head up, put pressure on
the windward rail. Also, in order for high wind foot steering to be effective, the
centerboard must be all the way up. Even the longboards will respond well to foot
steering if the centerboard is all the way up.

Harness and Harness Lines


Oh, my aching arms! If you find that your arms are getting tired, though youd like to sail
longer, you are ready to use a harness. You will be amazed at how much longer you will
be able to sail without fatigue by wearing a harness and using the harness lines on the
boom. Using a harness also helps you and the board to plane earlier and more
efficiently.
There are two different types of harnesses available; the waist harness and the seat
harness. Waist harnesses give back support and encourage good sailing posture. Seat
harnesses give some support and tend to stay in position. Attend a clinic on harness
use and youll be able to try some different harnesses before deciding which to buy.
Set your harness lines on the boom on shore by standing your rig up and holding onto
the boom with one hand. Set the universal against your foot and pull the sail into the
wind. The spot on the boom at which you can balance the sail is the center of effort
on the boom. Set your harness lines equidistant from this point. The harness lines
should be long enough so that you can easily hook in and you can sail with extended
arms. If you are hooked in too close to the boom, you will quickly learn the meaning of
doing a face plant. When a gust hits, bend your knees as you normally would (or sheet
out if the gust is very large) or you will find words like launched, catapulted, and body
slammed added to your sailing vocabulary. Your usual boom height will work fine for
the waist harness, but you may want to lower your boom a few centimeters if you are
using a seat harness.

Foot Straps
After you have learned to use the harness effectively, you can progress to using the
footstraps. Footstraps enable you to carry a more powerful sail because they keep your
feet planted when the sail is lifting you by your harness and waves are trying to sweep
your feet off the board.

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M A N U A L

Getting into the straps can be awkward at first. Footstraps are meant to be used only in
planing conditions.

Getting a Heavy Wind Rating


The Hoofer Sailing Club heavy wind rating lets you sail in winds at 18-30 mph (blue
flag) coming from any direction. The heavy wind rating is based on the following
criteria:






Have you mastered the criteria for the Light Rating, or do you have
that rating?
Are you using a harness and footstraps?
Can you make necessary sail and equipment adjustments for heavy
conditions?
Can you get back to the pier without help in blue flag conditions?
Can you continue to care for the equipment in heavy wind conditions?

Testing Out
During blue flag conditions, Windsurfing 3rd Day lessons are canceled and the
instructor will hold Heavy Wind test outs. Check the written sign by the Boathouse on
a blue flag day for information about how to test out.

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Part

4
Part Four
A D V A N C E D

W I N D S U R F I N G

ow that youve reached the point where you feel comfortable sailing
longboards, you are ready to learn some of the advanced techniques that
make windsurfing such an exciting sport.

Getting a Short Board Equipment Rating


The Hoofer Sailing Club short board equipment rating lets you use the short boards
and a selection of high performance sails. The rating is based on the following criteria:






Have you done a heavy weather testout?


Can you take care of expensive, fragile equipment?
Have you started using a harness?
Can you attempt waterstarts?
Can you sail upwind and get back to the pier without help in blue flag
conditions?

Short Boards are the most exciting and easiest to


sail in high winds. They have less flotation than
long boards, and they have no centerboard.
Because of their smaller size, they are easier to
steer and control in high winds than are long
boards. Tacking is very difficult because the bow
will sink if you step forward of the mast. Carving
jibes (right) are the way to go. Before trying a
short board, try sailing a long board upwind
without a centerboard. Its not cool to have to get
rescued every time you sail a short board because
you cant sail upwind. Also, make sure you can
waterstart the board or uphaul it before you go
zooming off on a one-way trip. Waterstarting a
Photo by Juan Gonzalez

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short board is different than waterstarting a long Board and takes some getting used to.
Take care of the short boards that the Hoofer Sailing Club has they are in high
demand when its blowing! You wouldnt want to be responsible for denying someone
a great ride because of damage due to carelessness. Remember to secure your sail and
board while they are on the rigging deck, and put all high wind equipment away when
youre done.

Waterstarting
Waterstarts can take much time and effort to master. They are, however, one of the
most important skills you can learn before you attempt to sail short boards in windy
and wavy conditions. Uphauling in high winds and waves can be extremely difficult
and tiring. On a short board, it can be next to impossible. Dont try to learn waterstarts
on a short board. Use a board with plenty of flotation that you will be able to uphaul if
you have to. Ask others if there is enough wind to practice waterstarts. Use a large, fully
battened sail if possible. If you wear a wetsuit, it helps you float, too.
The first step in waterstarting is to clear the sail off the water. Swimming under the
sail and pushing on it is tiring and you will probably drink lots of water in the process.
The easiest way is to start with the sail on the leeward side of the board with the clew
of the sail closest to the front of the board. What if the clew is closest to the back of the board?
Simple. Grab the clew and swim it around so that it is pointed into the wind. Then lift
the clew up so that the wind catches underneath it. When the wind wants to tear it out
of your hands, let it go and it will flip over to the correct position.
To clear the sail from the water, place one hand on the tail of the windsurfer and the
other on the mast near the boom. Sink the tail of the board with one hand while
pulling the boom across the tail of the board with the other. When the boom is
balanced on top of the tail of the board, let the buoyancy of the board lift the sail out
of the water. As the sail fills with air (with the mast into the wind), it will want to fly
away or flip over, so hold on to the mast and dont let it get away. Once the sail is clear
of the water it should set comfortably on the tail of the board.
Now, keep the board perpendicular to the wind. It will want to head up. You will
need to use your front hand on the mast to keep pressure on the nose of the board to
keep it downwind, or you can use your back foot to pull the back of the board towards
you. The next steps happen quickly and will require much practice. Grab the boom and
swing the sail over your head and place your back hand on the boom, about 10
cm back from the back harness line. and into the wind. Keep it low to the water so
that it doesnt waterstart without you. Check the position of the board. Is it still on the
beam reach? If not, you may need to swing the boom closer to the nose of the board
to point the board downwind. Practice these steps until they are comfortable to do. If
your Board and sail are in the wrong position, your waterstart will not work and you

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will need to start from the beginning. Wearing a life jacket will make things easier and
you will swallow less water.
Before proceeding, lets think about physics a little bit. Would it be easier for the sail to
pull you out of the water if you held on to the tip of the mast or if you held on to the
universal joint? The lower you are on the mast, the easier it will be for the sail to pull
you up. It has more leverage that way. When waterstarting, you want to get your weight
as close to the board as possible with your arms extended over your head holding on to
the boom. (This is when its nice to have a life jacket). Put the heel of your back foot
onto the board in front of the back foot strap and feet towards the centerline.
Check again to see if the board is still in position. When youre ready, place your front
hand on the boom just in front of the front harness line, sheet in and let the sail
catch some wind. With the foot that is still in the water, kick and try to bring the knee
of your other leg up to your chest. Think of ducking your head under the boom and
towards the mast. This will keep you low on the mast, giving the sail maximum
leverage. It is very important to keep your knees bent. As the sail comes to a vertical
position, begin to stand up and place your other foot on the board. Easy, huh?
Remember, stay low and go slow.
Experiment, talk to other people about problems you are having and find out what
works best for you. The strength of the wind also determines how you do your
waterstart.
Here are some common mistakes that everyone makes while learning. The first is
called the chin-up syndrome. It happens at the point when the sail is just starting to
pull you out of the water. The natural reaction for everyone is to try to pull themselves
out of the water by pulling down on the boom. You go up a little but the sail comes
down into the water. Keep your front arm extended, hold your breath and let the sail
pull you up.
Another common problem is called butt drag. This happens when you dont bend
your knees when being lifted up or you place both feet on the Board at the same time.
The sail has enough leverage to lift your torso, but not your rear end, out of the water.
You end up sailing rather quickly with your arms and legs extended and your butt in
the water. Bend your knees and waist and wait until you are up, before placing your
other foot on the board.
Rounding up into the wind is also a problem encountered by many learning to
waterstart. There are several reasons why this happens. Make sure the board is pointing
no higher than a beam reach when you initiate your waterstart. Remember to waterstart
one foot at a time. The other foot dragging in the water helps keeps the board pointed
off the wind. Rake the sail forward with extended arms as you stand up.

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Getting launched is another common problem that people have when waterstarting.
This occurs when the sailor successfully gets out of the water but then is not prepared
for the power from the sail filling with wind, and the sailor gets pulled over the
handlebars. You can avoid this by coming up on the board slowly and being prepared
for this pull as you come out of the water. Start to shift some of your weight to your
back foot as you mount the board, and use this weight to counteract the sail filling with
wind.
The only way to learn waterstarts is to practice every chance you get. You will probably
miss some great rides while trying to waterstart but remember in the future there will
be some rides that can only be caught if you know how to waterstart.

Going Fast
Congratulations! If you have made it this far, you have refined your skills to the point
that you are pushing the equipment to its limits. Not satisfied with just going fast, you
are looking for ways to tune your sailing and rigging to go even faster. One of the most
exciting aspects of windsurfing is going fast. Here are a few tips to get the most speed
out of your board.
Mastering waterstarting is a must. You wont have the luxury of uphauling when its
nukin and youre sailing a sinker. This is a major component of high performance
sailing along with getting back to the pier without help.
A comfortable harness system is a
must. Using the harness effectively
holds the nose of the board down, to
help the board plane and go fast.
Because leaning back on your harness
gets you so close to the water, the
sensation of speed is phenomenal.
Your harness lines should be
balanced at the center of effort of the
sail. Your stance should look like the
number 7, with your hips toward the
sail, and your arms and legs extended.
This allows the sail to be as vertical as
possible when youre hooked in.
Youll notice that you will have to
sheet in as you go faster due to the
apparent wind coming more from in
front of you. Move your feet back
and place them in the foot straps,

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keep your hands as close together as possible, and extend your arms and legs fully.
Remember to keep more weight on your back foot. This will prevent most launches.
Try to settle into a comfortable position so that you make very few movements that
could stall your sail or cause spin out. As speed increases, you will be able to close the
gap by raking the sail back until the foot of the sail nearly touches the board.
After a gust hits, bear off to a broad reach. This keeps the sail from backwinding and
throwing you backwards in the water. Undoubtedly, after your first good ride youll
want to broad reach all day. But remember, you dont get anything for nothing and
eventually you will have to sail back upwind.
On days when the wind is blowing on shore, lake Mendota becomes quite choppy and
wavy. You may find yourself catching air even if you dont want to. As you land, its
important to bear off to reduce your chances of spinning out and rounding up.
Learning
how
to
sail
overpowered will save you
frustration and rides from
Harvey. Being overpowered is
not simply sailing too large a
sail. When overpowered, the
draft moves backwards and the
sail shape deforms. Stiff battens
and camber inducers can
diminish this somewhat, but
more importantly, rigging with
tons of downhaul to get a floppy leech with lots of twist at the top of the sail will help
spill off wind when you get overpowered. If your board is bouncing around and tail
walking, then move the mast foot forward. That will keep the nose down and help you
regain control when youre sailing overpowered. If it feels like you actually have to
push with your front hand to keep the sail up, then its time to rig down a size or two.
Thats always a good sign.

Windsurfing is for Everyone


ANYONE can learn to windsurf. Because windsurfing is a finesse sport, it takes no
great strength or endurance to enjoy. Remember, with patience, practice, and persistence
you will be shredding it up in no time.

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Index
LIFE JACKET .................................................. 7, 24
lift.......................................................... 11, 14, 23, 24
light wind rating ................................................ 5, 18
Long Board A ......................................................5
Long Windsurfing 3rd Day........................... 5, 6, 18
Longboard .................................................................3
longboards......................................................... 20, 22

B
balance position ..................................................... 17
basic position ......................................................... 16
battens ........................................................ 10, 12, 26
beam reach................................................. 12, 23, 24
Bearing away........................................................... 12
Boathouse........................................................... 4, 21

overpowered ..........................................................26

camber inducer...................................................... 10
centerboard...................................7, 10, 11, 14, 20, 22
clew................................................. 10, 12, 19, 20, 23
close the gap........................................................... 26

P
Planing .......................................................... 4, 19, 20
S

sailing position .......................................................17


sheet in ........................................................ 12, 24, 25
sheet out ............................................................ 12, 20
Sheeting in..............................................................12
Sheeting out ...........................................................12
Short Board .............................................................22
spin out...................................................................26

downhaul................................................................ 26
Downwind................................................................. 3
F
Fast Tack................................................................... 4
Foot Straps .............................................................. 20
Footstraps.................................................................. 4

Tacking ..................................................... 3, 4, 18, 22


Test Out................................................................ 5, 6

Harness.................................................... 4, 20, 22, 25


Harness Lines.......................................................... 20
Harvey............................................................ 5, 8, 26
Heading up............................................................. 12
Heavy Wind ................................................... 5, 6, 21

universal joint.................................................... 10, 24


Uphaul.......................................................................3
uphauling the sail ..................................................15
Upwind......................................................................3

in irons ................................................................... 11

Waterstart..................................................................4
waterstarting................................................ 23, 24, 25
waterstarts ................................................... 22, 23, 25
wind clock ..............................................................11
Windsurfing A .....................................................5

Jibing......................................................................... 4
L
Lake Lab............................................................ 4, 14

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