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Leeside Save

Oct 20, 2008

Author: Jason Voss

1. Getting Leeward
Transitioning around the sail during a shortboard tack can be quite the handful, as the sail’s bulky mast sleeve isn’t easy to grab even when using a reduced-diameter mast. The only way to lighten the rig for easier handling is to keep it upright and balanced, eliminating as much clew weight as possible. The key to stability while tacking a shortboard is to transition early (before reaching the eye of the wind) so you keep forward momentum and end up standing on the leeward side of your sail.

2. Making the Save
Once on the leeward side, the sail becomes light, often catching us off-guard. The sail boom falls beyond your reach down toward the water. Human instinct causes you to grab for the sail and lose balance over the board. Instead, go against this natural impulse and push or tap lightly against the foot of the sail behind the balance point (harness lines). Impressively, the rig will return back upright toward your body. The key is to sheet-in the sail just enough for it to return to you and then let it sheet-out or luff.

3. Controlling the Power
If you don’t allow the sail to luff once it’s upright, it will have too much power and push you off the board. Just a tap or light push is enough to save the tack while allowing you to maintain your spot over the board’s centreline. With a little practice you’ll be amazed at how close the sail can get to the water and return to us.

Jason Voss teaches in California, Maui and the Gorge. He rides RRD, Hansen, HPL, Powerex and Dakine.


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