View Full Version : Planing/Tall sailors

Tom Aylott
11th September 2007, 05:32 PM

I'm having a few issues with getting on the plane and staying planing, particularly when in the harness, as a result I'm struggling to stay, let alone go upwind.

I'm a very tall sailor (6'7" or 197cm and 15 stone/95kg) so even with the boom at its maximum height, it probably still isn't high enough as a result I probably don't apply enough mast foot pressure. Is the solution to shorten my harness lines? Will positioning of the lines make a difference?

The only other factor I can come up with is that I'm struggling to get in the foot straps, mostly cause I find it difficult to get in them, with boots on (cause its very stony), without unbalancing the board and pointing the board up wind stalling it. I've just learnt a trick to keep there shape on that though with tennis balls which should help! But at what point in the process should I be trying to get in the straps??

I'm sailing a carve 145 with sails ranging from 5.5 to 7.5




11th September 2007, 10:37 PM
Hi Tom,
On your Carve 145, getting into the harness, and the footstraps, kinda go together.
The board really won't plane well until you are back in the footstraps (at least having your front foot in the front strap, for sure) and you really can't hook in and sail efficiently further forward on the board.
Here's a couple of suggestions.
First, since you are extremely tall, what prevents you from rigging your sails up higher on the mast base extension? If you already have the boom as high as it will go in the boom cutout in the sail, you can "check out" what a higher boom would feel like by simply adding some extension under your sail.
Yes, I know this is not optimum, and won't allow you to "close the gap", but at your skill level that may not be as important as getting you comfortable in the harness.
Harness line length is not so much a function of your height or tallness, as it is a fucntion of your arm length, the type of harness you are using, and to some degree the type of sails and the sailing discipline you are doing.
So, if you try the higher on the extension sailing and it works for you, then you can take your sails to a sail loft and have the luff sleeve cutout moved a little higher (as long as it does not interfere with any battens or cams.
Try to move back slowly and progressively on your board until you can get your front foot into the front footstrap, and your rear foot on the fore and aft centerline of your board between the front and rear footstraps. Since you are so tall, you may end up with your rear foot very close behind the front foot as you have to place that rear foot at a position that places your weight correctly to "trim" the AOA of your board so it will take off on a plane.
Keep your weight a little too far forward and the nose won't lift enough for the board to plane off freely (less than optimum AOA here).
If you place that rear foot too far back, the nose will be too high and the board will be pushing too much water to plane off efficiently (too much AOA in this case).
Just try to move back at a rate that matches the acceleration of your board, keeping the board very flat (rail to rail) and sheeting your sail in and raking it back in a way that keeps your board accelerating.
When you are ready to plane, transfer your weight off your rear foot and onto the rig (through the harness lines by hooking in) so that you do not put any weight on your front foot.
The board should slide onto a plane pretty effortlessly.
Hope this helps,

Tom Aylott
17th September 2007, 04:42 PM

Thanks for that, was out yesterday and tried adding more extension with my 5.5 and it seemed to be a lot better, it was stupidly windy though so I was quite over powered. Even so was in the footstraps and harness just about coping with some large swell and shore break although 145 was rather on the large side for the conditions!!

A couple of other quick questions...

When getting into the front foot strap and weight is all on the back foot the board goes all over the place, are there any tricks for keeping it balanced?

I'm thinking of getting a smaller 2nd board and have been offered an aero 127 wood by a friend who is selling all his kit to fund a move into kitesurfing. It is a 2004 model and good condition except for some slight damage to the nose which can be repaired easily. Would this board be suitable for me as a next step? I can't find many reviews on the aero so a little unsure


17th September 2007, 09:04 PM
Hi Tom,
Glad to hear rigging things a little higher helped your out.
As far as getting your board to stay straight ahead when you have your foot over the centerline, that's probably something that you will "straighten out" with a bit more practice and some "muscle memory".
I'd bet you are a little "shaky" still, not getting your foot right over the centerline, and kinda "wobbling" between your front and rear foot.
Any time you put any weight on your front foot, the board will turn upwind, and then you are probably "over compensating" a bit with a little too much pressure toward the lee rail with the toes of your back foot. So you get a little "oscillaton" going.
Just try to even out the weight all on your back foot right over the centerline of the board and keep the weight there until you can fully transfer it up to the boom through the harness lines.
Hope this helps,

17th September 2007, 11:02 PM
Hi Tom,
Somehow I completely missed addressing your question about the Aero 127 WOOD.
The Aero might be pretty good.
It's wide, and planes quite early.
I'm not sure it's what you really need to handle windier/choppier conditions however.
It's real design intent was sloppy onshore waves for larger sailors.
It's a pretty "loose" design, very turny, to make it perform in sloppy waves, and those may not be the attributes you need as a high wind board.
It's also a little too close in both width and volume to your existing board.
Perhaps a Carve 122 or 111 might be better as your higher wind board.
Hope this helps,

Tom Aylott
18th September 2007, 03:54 AM
Thanks for that Roger, does make sense. Will work on the foot position and see if I can try out a couple of boards before I go buy one

sam 2007
4th October 2007, 10:28 PM
I'm not nearly as tall as you ( 6 ft ) but when it's really windy I struggle with the straps too. I have had some hard crashes getting in the back one at speed.

What I do when I'm nervous that seems to work is to get in the back strap first.

Just be sure and don't do it too early or the board will round up. If you have just tacked be sure to push the nose off the wind before getting hooked in. Get some speed and move back. Sail a few seconds with your feet next to the straps, then gently get in the back one. You might have to lean the sail forward to bear off if you round up a bit. Then when everything is under control you can easily get in the front strap and shift into 5 th gear.

One of the the best tips I got in my ABK clinic in Bonaire is to sail with a rigid stance - arms and legs straight and my body makes a figure 7. I think that would be even more important for someone as tall as you.