Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I have been windsurfing for 30 years now, although with maybe 15 years of breaks in between). For most of these years, I've been working on my planing jibes - and a lot of other windsurfers I talk to have been working on their jibes for many years, too.

My jibes are finally getting decent; I often plane through, as long as the conditions are what I'm used to. Getting onto the water more often since I met my lovely windsurfing wife certainly has helped, but the biggest contribution to better jibes comes from the 3 ABK camps I have attended in the last 20 months.

One of the things Andy had to tell me again and again was to slow things down. I finally really understood what he meant when I looked at my jibe analysis from yesterday's session. I knew I had done a few jibes that were rather nice, fully planing through on my small board. Here a part of the jibe analysis table from GPS Action Replay:

I had always focused on the first few columns - score, begin speed, and end speed (all in mph). This time, I noticed the duration column: each jibe took about 16-18 seconds. That's slow. I did a dry jibe in the kitchen, talking my way through it from jibe entry to getting fully going again:
"loosen up in the ankles, let the sail pull you into the turn, keep the sail tight, pull it all the way back, look forward, now swing the mast to the other side, open up, step, flip the sail, grab the new side, grab with the other hand, hang low, step back, accelerate"
That's about 15 seconds, spoken without any haste!
I then looked back at the GPS records from this year's camp at Kalmus, when I had convinced Andy do do a couple of jibes with the GPS (not surprisingly, both jibes he did were better than any jibe I did the entire day). Sure enough, the time for each of the two rather beautiful jibes also as about 15 seconds; here's video of the GPS replay:

The entire movie is 55 seconds long- two jibes make about 35 seconds (not including the preparation), and 20 seconds in between, before and after. This may not seem that slow when you watch the video - but talked yourself through a dry jibe, and watch the time it takes!

So, as Andy says: slow is fast!

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