Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kiri Steps Leeside

KUMA Movies  just published another great movie, this one featuring Kiri Thode:

It's a great movie with excellent tricks - the 2013 PWA World Champion in freestyle shows that he is still a serious title contender. Besides the "usual" aerial acrobatic, Kiri also shows some light wind freestyle, including a clew first tack on the rail.

But two other segments caught my attention - here they are:
Twice, Kiri stepped around the mast at full speed before leisurely getting into the foot straps on the lee side and then jumping into a Funnel (to be exact: a Funnel 900 and a Funnel 1620 - that's 4 and 1/2 turns!).

The regular readers of my blog (not you, Jon!) may remember my interest in the Funnel. The usual entry for a Funnel is going switch into the straps while planing, and then ducking the sail. Looks easy and elegant, but is not really easy at all. Walking around the mast sure looks easier!

For once, this is not entirely theory. I have actually played around with the planing backwind jibe during two ABK camps, and found getting onto the other side while planing almost easy. I did not try to get into the straps on the leeside, nor did my backwind jibe attempts succeed, but I got pretty close in fewer than 20 tries. So getting onto the other side and then into the straps appears doable! Whether I will have enough speed left is an entirely different question; even Kiri goes "only" for Funnels, not Burners that require more speed. It may take quite a while before I get to the point where I get into the straps without loosing all speed; but on the way, I may just get the backwind jibe, which is a pretty cool looking move. Stepping around the mast early is also great practice for the planing tack, and my planing tack sure needs some practice!

Let me just point out one big advantage the "step around" approach to getting leeside in the straps has: it works better with larger sails. That's not just what I think, that's what the great Andy Brandt said. So there. When I am comfortable enough to fool around with freestyle, I usually need a 6.0 or 6.5 m sail to get planing; but luffing sails this big from the clew for the duck gets a bit harder. Every once in a while, I may get a perfect day where I can plane on a 5.3, and still feel like doing freestyle. But if it picks up to 4.7 (which means upper 20s for me), forget about it.

Big-sail freestyle; better tacks, cool jibes, Fu's and Switch Konos; and imitating Kiri - what's not to like?

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