Monday, April 22, 2013

Falcon Fun

East winds today brought a nice setup for some speed sailing in the properly name East Bay, 10 minutes from our house. This time, my lovely wife decided to join me to sail her Falcon 89. She had bought the board just a couple of months ago from Dani. But while she loved this and other Falcons when she sailed them the past two years, the first couple of sessions on her own Falcon had been frustrating. So we played it conservatively today, and rigged her 5.7 m wave sail that is similar to the sails she usually uses for freestyle.

The wind was in the low 20s, gusting into mid-20s, and the water in East Bay was nice and flat. Nina ended up having a blast - here are a couple of pictures:
Flying the Falcon
Despite the moderate wind, she clocked her second-fastest session ever. After sailing freestyle boards almost exclusively for many months, jibing the slalom board needed some adjustments, and she was not happy with her jibes. Nevertheless, she set a new personal best for alpha 500 - nice!

I mostly just enjoyed the sailing on my XFire 90 / Matrix 7.0 combo. I have been working on different aspects of the jibe in recent sessions, and was starting to get a bit frustrated with the lack of visible improvements. But the flat and shallow water in East Bay creates the perfect jibing playground, and I finally got the impression that all that work is starting to pay off. Here's a mid-jibe GoPro picture:
I think it helped to have Nina on the water - I really wanted to push the sail down and out of the way to see what she was doing. So my arms are like they should be, with the front arm extended and the back arm bent to oversheet. The mast is pointed about 45 degrees towards the water, keeping nice pressure on the carving rail. My posture is better than in most jibes, with a straight back, chin up, and looking into the turn; but my knees should be bent a lot more. The GoPro showed that I still tend to fall back into other bad habits, too, like not sliding the hand to the mast - but there's definite progress. The non-doppler jibe analysis gave my top jibe a score of 70%, with a minimum speed of 14.5 knots, and 12.9 knots min speed average for the top 10 jibes. The XFire 90 does do tight turns quite well, so most of my turns were reasonably tight, which means the results using doppler analysis are a lot worse; but that's a topic for another post in the future.

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