Effective Pumping

There is no secret…

The secret to being fast is to never go slow, during our sail coaching sessions we encourage our sailors to adopt a dynamic sailing approach.

We are discussing the effective and legal way to propel the boat forward to increase and maintain speed.

This video demonstrates the basic concept in a laser radial.

There are a few key factors to achieve this effective form of dynamic sailing.

  • Minimizing rudder movements

By using bow steering the sailor controls the angle of sailing, by heeling the boat to leeward and taking the center of effort further leeward of the centerboard she is causing the boat to luff up, and by heeling the boat to windward and moving the center of effort to the windward side of the center board she is causing the boat to bear away. This skill requires dedicated training, feeling and an understanding of the limits and how the boat behaves.

  • Rolling

By steering the boat as necessary the sailor luffs up to a broad reach maintaining the leeward heel and at the right timing giving the boat a big roll to initiate bearing away. In order for this roll to be effective, the centerboard has to be relatively down in order to allow to boat to be propelled forward; as well as acting as a better pivoting point for bow steering. A big steady and aggressive roll allows maximum mast movement that will be fast enough to propel the boat. Note that the sailor is using her pelvic area which holds most of the body weight in order to achieve this roll.

  • Main-sheet position

This factor is crucial. Whilst luffing up it is necessary to sheet in to allow the correct air flow on the sail, whilst rolling the sailor sheets in a bit more to allow the air to flow on the sail and off the leech in a direction that will send the boat moving forward. She is sailing hard by the lee in order to generate better flow on the sail and surf down the wave. A second pump, by releasing the main-sheet at the right time and stopping it abruptly at the 90 degree angle to the boat, causes the leech to have an extra flick.

As soon as the boat starts slowing down the sailors begins all over again luffing up by heeling the boat to leeward.

At Toplevel Sailing every one of these aspects are being trained separately at the early stages in order to allow our sailors to specialize in each individually before combining the needed skills together to form a fast sailor.

This systematic sail coaching approach is in the core of our sail coaching philosophy.


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