We received these articles by mail from Andrea Cucchi of Point 7, and we publish them on Waterwind with pleasure, to spread it among all windsurfers that will experience the next Defi wind in Gruissan (France), as Andrea will do.
Andrea Cucchi, boss di Point 7, da i suoi consigli per affrontare la Defi Wind di Gruissan (Francia)
ACT #1: THE SPIRIT
welcome to the first article of the Black Defi Project.
This is the hardest race I ever took part in my life and I've been racing for over 20 years! Its not a 4minute course like in pwa slalom, or a 15minute course like formula windsurfing, it's 45minutes for the fastest guy and 90minutes for the last competitor! Everytime I go to this event, at the first race, after the first 7km out of the 50, I wonder why I came back the Defi. It's so tough to sail on one side for 15km if you are not well prepared!
Still why do I go back every year? Why is it that at the first race I think why did I come back to the event, and by the end of the event I want to do it again? It's all about being prepared. Prepared does not mean physically, but most important will be the understanding of the wind strength, and the tuning of the gear for this course. So follow everything and you'll have a great memory from day 1.
There are different things we need to be ready with for before the start of this incredible event.
Spirit! Do we care of the final result?
What do we need during the event?
How do we prepare for the event?
What gear do we need for the event?
How fit do we need to be?
We will not go through all the points now, but we will do it in detail in the next weeks.
Just to make sure that you start thinking about the preparation of things, these are the urgent things that you need:
Reserve a place to stay in gruissan now, unless you are camping on the parking of the event. I had already problems now in getting the room in the hotel I enjoy staying normally.
The wind is from 15 to 55 knots: I normally don't need bigger then 7.9 and a 110 litre board. Be more ready to have sails from 4.0 to 8.0 (even wave sails if you don't have slalom sails!) and boards which can also be wave boards of 80litres if you don't have slalom boards of 90-100litres. Forget about taking sails over 8.0 and boards bigger wider then 72-75cm. There is no need
If you are thinking to fly, remember that Barcelona is the closest international airport to Gruissan, even if it is in Spain.
Spirit and training!
Why do 1000 people take part at this event? It rappresents the real windsurfing.
The freedom to sail with no limits over great distances. No rules, no limitation on gear.
It's 12km long x 4 times so it's a very long distance, longer then what we usualy do for fun, but this is closer to what windsurfing is, rather then maybe 4 jibes downwind on a slalom board for 500m as it's done in PWA.
It's a hard race, but this is only depending on what you want to achieve.
This event is giving the chance for everyone to try something radical, different to what we would normally do, but in total security.
So it does not matter if we need to sit on the board becouse we are tired or becouse we broke something, the rescue service is amazing.
There is a spider net of boats that takes away any fear for any danger.
So once you are on the water the only thought you need to have is too have fun! What's the deal, the target ?
Most will take part at this event for the first time, and everyone will have different goals.
If you ask me today what is my goal, my goal is to have fun, and of course to win!
So I will go on the water fighting till I will not see myself infront of 1000 windsurfers!
This is my deal, but it's different to many others deal.
Everyone one who takes part has very different targets they want to achieve.
The first should be for you to have fun. Then there are many objectives that you can add to your wish list, that will make this event even more interesting:
Pushing your limits from what your normal windsurfing session would be.
The chance to compare yourself to the rest of the world who enjoys windsurfing the same way you do.
Having a very different holiday then a normal weekend at your homespot.
Meeting new windsurfers from all over the world.
Challenging stronger wind that normally you would be scared of as there is no security.
The fun of sailing in the same direction with 1000 people.
To meet better windsurfers than you, and learn new things.
To get to the first mark, then sit on the board and watch everyone else doing the Defi wind from closer.
To be the first? First of your gender, of your age, of your country, of your group, of your family, of your shop....
Be top 500? Be top 100?
Finishing all the races?
Finishing at least one race?
Put yourself a target.
This is very important. The fun factor will be on top of the list, but if you are on the water knowing more of what you really want to achieve then you will be on the water with a great determination. You need it for when you still have many kilometers to go to keep you motivated and fight!
The atmosphere is fantastic. There is a lot of entertainment during the day and also at night. So even if there will be no wind for one day, you will still enjoy the time at the event.
There is not a specific training for the Defiwind, unless you have the luck to live in a place where you can do 15km on one side. If you have, do that.. nothing better than that! Otherwise windsurfing a lot!
The next best thing is to try to trim the gear with exactly the tuning for this kind of course. The 15km are mainly half and little upwind, so there are tricks to tune the gear so that you have to use less power. If you race 5 minutes as in PWA you tune everthing extreme to get 150% out of it: to the limit to explode. If it comes to do a race of 50-80 minutes then the gear needs to be trimmed that even if it goes at 90% of its potential, the comfort allows you to go at 90% the whole time, rather then 150% for 4 minutes, and then 60% for the other 46 or 76 minutes! This topic we will see in the next weeks and I garantee you that trimming you gear perfect, is worth much more then training like crazy! Do both and it will be good!
When you will go windsurfing in the next sessions, you really need to focus on doing the longest reaches possible so that you get used to keeping your position without getting tired. Focus in keeping the sail as firm as possible, and learn to relax all the muscles of the body.
Relaxing is a very important when you sail. Sometimes we don't realize how much power we use which is not needed. We tend to squeeze the boom with our hands specially if really windy, we tend to use a lot our arms when we should relax everthing and use only the muscles that we really need. Hands and arms can be substituted by the harness. So sit more on the harness and try to relax the arms. When you are next time windsurfing you will understand better what I mean. Don't be surprised if you actually start going faster!
Doing long reaches is very hard for the legs. As the arms are relaxed, the main muscels which are working are the one of the legs. The more you press the faster you go, and in a long distance you get so tired that when you need to jibe, you are almost to tired to get up from the sailing position. It's important to do a bit of training for the legs out of the water.
When sailing we are sitting in a static position. The back leg starts burning, so this is what we need to train. How to do this? I'm not a personal trainer but I've been training with different methods during my carreer of professional windsurfing. The best exercise was for me sitting against the wall. Putting the back straight against the wall and sitting but with any chair or support under the ass! Sit there till your legs start burining, shaking, and once you can't anymore, stand up fast and do 10 jumps bringing your kness to the chest..or as high as possible, super fast. This is very helpful!
Before doing this, go running for 10 minutes warm up slowly, then start the exercise. Repeat the exercise 5 times, then at the end, go running for another 10 minutes to cool down, and a bit of stretching will not hurt. How much should you stand against the wall?The first times try to stay at least for one minute each time. Then try to increase the time for at least 30 seconds each time. If you can't keep the knees bent at 90° start even a bit higher... Do your mails with your mobile while you sit against the wall, so that you feel less the pain ;). If you can do 2 times a week this, and one time of normal running, your fitness will be good enough. Better to go windsurfing an extra hour then doing anything else at the gym!
Hope you got some ideas, and more info, we get back to you next week with more!
ITA - 1
ACT #2: THE GEAR
Gear needed to tackle the Tramontane at the Defi Wind!
STOP! We are not racing under 15 knots in Defi wind! It's a rule...
I can hold my 9.0 in 20 knots!
I was out on 7.9 in 30 knots....
Did you ever say that? Not to offend anyone, but yes, maybe it's possible to be out in those winds with these sails, but it's hard to be fast and having fun not to say lasting for a 45km race!
So... forget it! :)
This is beach talk. Real talk is that in 23 knots pro PWA guys fight in a 4 minutes race with 7.9 to try to control it and winning a heat.
'I was out in 50knots... those were maybe 30knots.'
We need to forget a bit what our dreams are, and fight with real readings from the anemometer.
We all tend to exaggerate when we talk about how windy it is, and this is one of the main problems for many when taking part in the Defi Wind. From the beach we don't realize how the wind really is and it's easy to be out there too overpowered.
If during the event they will tell you that it's 15 to 25 knots. You look out at the starting line, there are 15 knots, the wind is offshore, all looks light and flat and easy.... so why go small...? At home I can go with 9.0 in 15 knots, you would think!..... not at Defi!
The result is that from a 1000 people racing, 200 end up getting picked up by boats as they went too big to tackle the 13km reaches. If they tell me that there are 15 to 25 knots I already know, that 7.9 could be even too big at the Defi, when normally it would be the right size sail.
What's the deal? It's simple. Where we start there is the city and the wind is more gusty so you could have 15knots where 7.9 is good, but 15knots could already mean gusts of 20 knots which start to be a nice power for 7.9 for even my 100plus kg. Once you are going passed 7km of the reach and you enter on the second half of the course, the wind increases as it has no more obstacles. You get to the other side where the 25 knots are actually 30knots! And after having done 10km, the last 3km on 7.9 would be killing the last powers you have....oh I forgot.... you still then have another 35km to go more or less to finish the 2 laps.
So the wind readings they give are normally 2. The lower reading is normally at the starting line, the second on the other end of the course. Add 5 knots to what they say and then you will be sure that you won't go with a sail you can't handle for such a long distance.
If you don't make the mistake to go too big in the first race, you will be healthy for the whole event. If you make the mistake that 95% of the people do, you lose all your power at the first race, and for the rest of the 3 days you will be feeling tired and in pain as the first race will have made you feel like having been under the truck when you wake up the next morning... It's hard to recover.
I hope it's clear to everyone that at the Defi wind you can actually do two long distance races a day, for 4 days. So it's a lot of kilometres. Over 80km a day in a racing mode. This is why the race becomes tactical. Better to go little underpowered or with the right sail, so that you can be efficient the whole 4 days. It's actually better to go a bit bigger with the board so that it's easier to go upwind when needed, and to pass light wind areas in case it should be needed. Pick a smaller sail which makes us use less energy, rather than lots of power from the sail, and a smaller board which is less comfortable for starting, passing places with less wind and such.
Last year I did the mistake. I was in each race of the first day always a size sail too big. The day after I was destroyed. Then the last 2 days I just went less for the idea of being a hero, and with the right sail size I had even better results and it was a kind of a relaxing walk in the forest.
So my advice is to go one size smaller then you think. The wind is offshore; it gets stronger on the other side of the course. If you see that it's a nice sunny day, and tramontane is blowing be sure that the wind will get stronger. If it gets cloudy it could drop. If the forecast on windguru says 15 knots, you can easily add 10 knots to it.
Which is gear is needed?
I'm 100kg and I never used more than my 7.9 and a 115 board with a 38cm fin.
I have used 5.0 slalom sails on a speed board and 28fin.
If you don't have very small slalom gear, you have 2 choices. Bring with your 4.0 wave sail. 3.6 If you are a girl. Take your wave board. Trust me that many will race on this type of gear, and on flat water you won't be slow! Leave home all sails over 7.9 and boards over 75 wide.
Even if we will get 40 knots don't worry the water is shallow, you can rest in any part of the course by going a bit upwind to the beach, as said before there are so many boats nothing can happen to you. If you are in panic, sit on your board enjoy and watch the people passing by, and after few seconds you will be picked up by the security.
Very important thing is the status of your gear. You are racing 80km a day when windy. Imagine if you break something when you are only few km away like it happened to me last year. My harness lines broke. I used them whole winter for training, did not remember to check them before the event, and right off the start of the third race, they snapped, and lost an important race, which was determining my chance to be first instead of second!
So check list should be the following.
tack pulley and top pins of the sails.
board straps: make sure that they are tightened well!
What you might not think of:
You need 2 wetsuits. If you have a short arm and a long arm wetsuit with long legs it can be good.
We do 2 races a day, and there is a break of 2/3 hours in between. It can be that the first wetsuit does not dry up... so you do need a second wetsuit in order not to wear a cold wetsuit for the second race. Its May, but the Tramontane is cold all year round. Its nice to have 2 wetsuits, and its good to change between the 2 races, otherwise you lose too much heat and energy. Of course bring a lot of warm clothes!!
Starting watch. You need a starting watch. Pro riders use the big Rostan watch or Optimum watch. Its shows easy to read big numbers for the starting procedure. It costs around 60/70 euros. If you don't want to spend them, you can use a simple wrist starting watch. If you want to look for the optimum or rostan just google them.
Now you should be clear on which kind of gear you need for racing. Get organized so that you are fully ready and not to panic during the event that you would maybe have brought the wrong gear, not only to the event, but also chosen the wrong sail to be on the water.
Point7 will have a special area at the Defi for all those who want to stay with us, so I'll be there too and happy to advice the gear before each start!! If we are all realistic and will not try to be heros to go too big with the sail in the race, a good result and more fun will be granted!
Till next mail.
ITA - 1
ACT #3: THE TRIM
The trim for the Defi wind!
Two months away from the Defi Wind are you getting ready?
I hope with the warm spring days are allowing everyone to be on the water more often! I got feedback from some of you, who started swimming, running and training, great start!
The Defi wind course is an figure eight long distance slalom. Meaning that you have to go half wind from one side to the other 4 times on the 12km reaches. In theory it should be half wind, but often at Defi because of the way the bay is arched and the wind shifts, you end up doing half wind reaches, at a slight upwind angle. It comes also natural as you want to be sure to reach the mark on the other side so you point upwind without thinking... and also closer to the beach, the flatter the water.. but this is tactics and we will look at these next time. As you will not see the mark where you will have to jibe as it`s too far, you will either follow the organization boat if you are first, or follow the competitors in front of you. Everybody is pushing upwind, even the boat, so you need to trim yourself to be more comfortable upwind.
Upwind. What does this mean? Simply having more power on the gear to push upwind. Do you though want more power on a long distance? Normally to be more comfortable to go upwind, you need the following setting.
- Tighter foot straps.
- Bigger fin
- Short Harness lines
- Higher boom position.
Will this be the trick at the Defi? NO!
In PWA we are mostly sailing downwind, so the tuning we have on our gear is completely the opposite. At Defi wind, the PWA pros are tuned for having a lot of power in their gear, tuned up for max 5 minute dowinwind slalom, comfortable for exactly that target. If you do the first race in the Defi with this tuning, you will suffer a lot and be tired for the rest of the days. I think most of the pros would agree with me.
Defi it`s not about having the highest top speed through the 50kms, but it`s about having the best average top speed for the 50k’ with a trim which allows you not to be exhausted after one race. It’s not about going at 120% as in the PWA for few minutes, as you see on the live ticker in the PWA, but about going at 90%of the top speed you will need for 1hour. Some of you are thinking 1hour is nothing... I sail for 3h. Yes but never 15/20 minutes on one side!
So how do we trim our gear? Let’s go back to our 4 points. You need the comfort and power for going upwind, but unfortunately you sometimes need also to go downwind, therefore you also need to tune up for having control in that direction. So let’s see what we mean by this.
Normally in slalom you keep them a bit wider, so that if the wind picks up, or you need to go more downwind, you can push your feet more inside the strap, towards the centre of the board and gain control. At the Defi wind you want them to be tight that your foot feels the footstrap all the time. This allows, especially for the front foot, to pull up in the strap to go more upwind. If it is too wide, then you have to force your foot up even more to feel the strap, to pull upwind, and this kills the tibias in your legs... and for 13km in one reach you feel like crying. So do calibrate your foot straps so that your feet fit in nicely, and not only the toes, but that you feel the strap tight on top of your foot.
For going upwind you need a bigger fin. In this case you don`t. The water is flat. So there is no need to push upwind with power, but you can go more upwind with speed. There are 13km to go to the next mark so you don`t need to point high, but just enough to stay sufficient upwind from the mark. Also if you use a too big fin, where you have to go downwind, or where you have to go in a stronger gust it gives less control.
3 Mast Track
This is very important. Normally we have it balanced to get the most power, speed, and comtrol/. For Defi, your normal position will not work. Put your mast track 2/3cm further forward than normally. This will allow the weight and profile of your rig to keep the board down for you so you get less tired in keeping the board on the water when gusts or waves hit the gear. Sure you could be a little slower, but better than being half way through the race and having to slow down 50% of your potential, as you are too tired.
To go upwind you normally keep your boom higher to get more power out of the fin as you would be able to push more with your legs, but in Defi wind, as we said before, the upwind is done over a long distance so you don`t need so much power. Having the boom too high will get you tired. So lower the boom from even your normal position. A couple of cm will not hurt your performance over 50km.
5 Harness lines
This is something that we do adjust a lot according to how wavy and over powered you are. Normally in overpowered condition and waves you tend to have longer harness lines, and in light wind or flat water, you tend to shorten them. At Defi the water is flat or choppy. Plus as you are going half wind and a bit up, the best is to have shorter harness lines than usual. I would check what harness lines I have on my boom, and be prepared with some adjustable harness line for the race. I would use them a size shorter then what I would normally use them, but I recommend you to have the vario models, as sometimes, the course can get very choppy and very downwind if you went too far upwind by mistake, or to use the flatter water by the shore, so to go down to the mark, if you can make them longer for that moment that you go downwind, it will make life easier. In the next article I will show you a map of how the race works, and explain all the tactics, and also where you can actually make your harness lines longer and shorter during the course
6 Do you have the adjustable outhaul system?
This is very important. As said in the previous article, the wind can be 15knots on the starting area and 25knots on the other side of the bay. So it’s not an optional but a need. This way if you feel that you have too much power or you are getting tired, just pull the adjustable outhaul, flatten the profile, depower the sail, and get some energy back. Or if you see that the wind is dropping, you are losing speed, and you have energy to take advantage from more power, then release the adjustable outhaul, and gain some speed.
The concept is that you need to think that you will be on the water for a longer time on one side of the board. Longer than you normally would- Much longer. What you think is not tiring after 5km, can destroy you physically after 10km. A bit like carrying weight; for a short time is ok, but then for a longer time you need to start switching positions, hands, arms to keep carrying the same weight. When you are there on the water, you don’t have time to switch anything, so you have to plan your trimming that you are comfortable for the whole race, and for all the races.
From the explanation above the concept is that you need to depower your gear to what you are used too (lower boom and mast track more forward), add the trim the gear for flat water (shorter fin and harness lines), be able to point little upwind when needed (tighter straps and shorter harness lines), at the same time be able to have comfort downwind when needed in some areas of the course ( vario harness lines and adjustable outhaul).
Next time you go sailing, go out with your gear as normal. Come back to the beach. Shorten your harness lines, move the mast track 3cm more forward, lower your boom 4cm, check your foo strap sizes, and go back on the water. Find out if this new setting feels easier as that will be a kind of trim you will look for at Defi! Don’t worry if you lose a bit of speed. All we care about is to feel like we use less power than normal...as the ride is long!
Till next mail.
ITA - 1
ACT #4: NEEDS AND DUTIES
What do I do when I get there?
First thing to do is to go to the hotel or apartment and drop off all the things you won't need on the beach. If you stay in your van or camper you better get organized to be comfortable.
One of the tricks to be prepared is to go to an event only with useful things. Leave home anything which you are 100% sure you will not need. Take with you spare parts which fit to your gear and not things which were good on booms of the 80s etc...
Make sure that you have all you need. Don't come to the event knowing that you are missing an extension, rope for one boom, harness lines etc. You need to set you mind free to focus on the race. Even at the PWA there are some riders hoping that it will not windy for that sail for which they don't have a boom then you see them rushing to see if they can borrow one if it's needed. Or running around looking for a screw for a fin! So make sure you rig everything you plan to bring, check that everything works, and that nothing is missing.
At the event there is a big parking place right by the beach. First ones to get there have the closest place to the beach. Let's say that there it's not so far to walk though even if you are not first line.
There is also no space problem to rig the gear on the beach or at the parking. Unless you are sleeping next to the sails, the best is to de-rig and rig every day. Takes a bit of time, but you need to rig maximum 3sails, so it does not take more than 15minutes. The skipper meeting is not super early in the morning so there is time to rig the sails, and from the skipper meeting to the start of the race there is 1hour.
Anyway, for those who get there for the stage, we will help sorting you out on the 28th. Those who will come the after the stage they need to carefully read the next lines.
The best is anyway to arrive at night the day before the race starts. This gives you time to have a good sleep, wake up have a good breakfast and arrive in shape at the event. The inscription can be done the day before, and that is the best time. You do it in the evening, get all your bag which contains all the information that you need to have, some gadgets and the lycra. Then go to have a good dinner with lots of pasta. Dinner will make you sleepy and give you energy for the next day. The lycra costs 35euros. If you give it back you get the money back, if you keep it for memory, you know the price.
The inscription is at a tent behind the beach. In the middle of the parking so the place is easy to find.
How does a day at the Defi work?
After a great breakfast, make sure that you are at the beach around 9am. This gives you time to get some equipment ready before the skipper meeting. Check the forecast in the morning so you already know more or less which sails you need to rig for the day. Bring the gear to the beach and make sure that nothing flies away. Once everything is ready, go sit down out of the wind if it's cold and out of the sun. Don't waste energy walking around. Enjoy time with some friends relaxing. This is also the perfect time for drinking a lot of water, up to the start of the skipper meeting.
The skipper meeting is almost 1hour long the first time. So take a sit and don't be in a hurry. The skipper meeting is behind the beach on the stage. During the skipper meeting they will tell you a lot of things that I will tell you in the next mail.
Bring your starting watch at the skipper meeting. They will give one hour count down to the start of the race. That means that when that hour is finished, you will have to cross the starting line! So get ready!
As the skipper finishes, one hour is a lot for those who are used to race normally as they are used to only 15minutes! If it's the first time then you still have enough time, but there are a lot of things you need to take care about.
- Go sign out with the organizers (Informing that you will enter the water, so they know who is out and who is in). If you forget and you will get disqualified. There is a big table with all the names on. Go sign your name that race which you are going to race!
- Make sure that the sails you have rigged are good for the given wind. Otherwise rig an extra sail. Always rig minimum 2 sails. If one breaks or the mast breaks, then you have a second one ready to go. No panicking then few minutes before you needs to be on the water!
- Get changed, and if it is cold wear a jacket over the wetsuit until you go on the water. You can leave your jacket tied to your other sail you will leave on the beach.
- If you are ready before starting time, go on the water to see if the sail is big enough and not too big. Don't ask around which sail the other will use. Think to be at your home spot and that you go sailing by yourself. Imagine asking someone with 20kg more than you, or someone who had 20years less experience than you! You know what you need, don't get insecure all of a sudden by asking others.
- To get to the starting area you take 10 minutes, so try to leave the beach when 20 minutes are due... so that you warm up a bit. Don't go to early otherwise you get tired!
Once you finish the race, first thing to do, apart from getting interviews because you won, put your warm jacket on, run to the table where you were signing out, and sign in. Otherwise you will be disqualified. Don't waste time talking, go back to the car, get changed into warm clothing. Leave the wetsuit out for drying. Normally it take 3 hours before the second race of the day. So it's get to cold to wait in the wetsuit!
Drink and eat. If you can eat some white rice it's not a bad advice. Try to stay away from junk food! Keep drinking the whole time.
A second race will be called with a second fast skipper meeting of the day. Repeat all you have done in the first race. Sign in and out! Remember. Its for your safety, and for not getting DSQ!
Once the second race is finished, get changed and only after you start de-rigging and putting your equipment away. Check your harness lines, the screws of the straps if they are still tight.
Get a quick appointment with all your friends to go out or meet for dinner! Go back to your apartment, hotel to have a super warm shower and do a lot of stretching. The main stretching to do is for the legs. The best is to put your bum against a wall, and your legs straight against the wall. This way is like you are sitting on the wall. It relaxes your back and the main part of the legs which suffer this long distance. Stretch you calves by standing only with the toes on a step and letting all your weight on them and drop the heel down. Stretch your back muscles as well. Take time for this. It will help you recover faster for the next day. Drink a lot, eat rice, pasta again and sleep more than 8 hours.
We had some people asking us for the parties! Well every night there is a party at the event site. If you are not tired go for an hour, but be home by 11 if you want to be fit for the next day... ! Stay longer only if the forecast is less than 5 knots!
Each day is the same, so follow the routine. Take time during the day to visit the stands, and meet people if there is no wind.
The last day of racing, normally there is only one race instead of 2. In the afternoon there is a great price giving and you can give back your lycra to get back your 35euros.
Next article you will get all the info you need for racing.
When you arrive, we are at the stand. Check the image.
ITA - 1
ACT #5: LET'S RACE!
Have you ever raced in your life?
This is the time where adrenaline kills, pain, cold, and all the worries you had in your head. Was you go throught that starting line you automatically go 10% more then when you are freesailing!
This race is long so the adrenaline will only work for a certain time. Then the fact that you will get tired will be turning up.
In a windsurfing race there is one big problem. Too many people around talking, walking around, sailing around, specially in this race.
You need to focus on yourself and forget the rest! Don't look what the others are doing, don't look for buddy on the starting line. Do your own race. The race is between yourself to do less mistakes. The less mistakes you do, the bigger your success. Don't ask anything to anybody. You should know yourself by this time. You risk to get the wrong information.
As we said before, you will have one hour after the skipper meeting so 1 hour before the start.
The start is between a sailingboat and a flag. When the hour is over, a fast rubber rib will start from the flag and speed up to the sailing boat. You are not allowed to cross the starting line before the rubber rib has passed. So once the rubber rib has passed, then you can cross the starting line. You can cross it also one meter behind the rubber boat has passed. Important is that you don't go infront of the rib, otherwise you get problems! So when 5 minutes are missing to the start, don't cross the starting line anymore, but stay behind it. 6 minutes before the start the best is to start sailing from the starting line, to the opposite side of the starting line. Sail for about 2minutes to that direction slowly. Jibe. Wait in that position for about one minute, then you will have about 3 minutes to sail to the starting line where you took 2 minutes to get there. So at 2,30 start planning slowly to the starting line, very slowly, get closer to the starting line, and calibrate your speed to get to about 50 meters to the starting line that 10 seconds are missing. The rubber rib at zero will start its route, and as you see it comming close to you, start accelerating top speed to pass right behind it. There will be a lot of people around you. Ignore them! Do your own timing. Don't look at the others. Most will go to the line to early and will stop standing waiting, so starting with no speed. A lot will be late. So the start is between you, your watch, the starting line and the boat! The best spot for starting is down low by the flag. Less people, and the boat passes 10 seconds before the top part of the starting line. So you win some time.
If you see a lot of people in one area, move more down or up, away from the crowd. Stay away from others. If a group falls together you get stuck. Concentrate, focus, think for yourself. Have a good start and you are already have a bit part of the race done! Better to be few seconds late at the start at full speed, then being at zero on the starting line floating with no speed! Once the race is starting the rubber rib will go straight to the mark on the otherside and the first will follow the boat, the other will follow the first. The beach has the shape of an arch. So if you go straight, in the middle of the course you will be pretty far out from the coast. This means that can be choppy. If you follow closer the beach, the distance as it's arching is longer, but the wind being offshore will make you sail in flat water. So shorter distance and choppy water, or long distance and flat water? From my expenrience if the wind is lighter, the chop is not that big so you can go the short way. If it's really windy, is not bad to go a bit upwind to the beach slowly, and then sail next to the beach. Going to the first mark it's halfwind a bitdownwind. Comming back the course is more upwind. I tend to have shorter harness lines on the way back to be able to have more power to point. It's important that you point upwind on the way back from the start, as it's possible that it could get difficult to get to the finish line on the other side. There is less choise of course on the way back. Normally the wind is 5-10knots stronger on the other side from where we start. So be ready for it. Use the adjustable outhaul to make your sail more flat as you go towards the strong wind if you need less power.
Close to the beach there are some sand banks. So be sure not to go too close. The sand banks are signald by marks and organizers standing on them. If they see you going too close they will wave to you to go more offshore. There are not many jibes, but beleive me that the jibes are difficult. Normally you jibe around a boat. So you need to make a long jibe. If you make a long jibe you risk to fall. So the best is to go more downwind and than do a normal jibe, instead of trying to make a curve long like a boat. You will be tired so it's easy to fall. Your legs will be feeling tired to get up and do the jibe. So before you jibe, 300m before, relax a bit. Focus on what you need to do, and go for it. If you fall, you loose so many meters and it means even 50 places! So in the last 100 meters if someone wants to overtake you, let him do it. Relax and go for the jibe standing. You'll get him back later... If you fall don't rush! Prepare your gear to water start without hurrying. If you hurry, you stress, and you can fall again. So take your time. You will do it one shot, and save time. If you are feeling tired and you really can't finish the course, go upwind to the beach and take 1 minute break. You will feel like new. In case of physical or technical problems: Do never leave your equipment. Under no circumstances. Do never leave your rigging. Under no circumstances. (Your board will be your best raft and your rigging will avoid you from going away). Do not swim alongside your equipment, you would be less visible for the help. Sitting down on your board, move your arms slowly up and down.
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