Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

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FletcherG
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Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby FletcherG » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:39 pm

Looking for advice on what I can try to get the proper softness in the top of the sail. I am using the recommended 460 mast with the 6.5 Pilot. I am not adding any additional inches with the mast extension and I have the proper length on the boom. Last two times I have rigged the sail I can't get the top to soften. Should I add a few inches to get more down haul to see what happens?

The boom was balanced between my hands when I sailed but was overpowered with the gusts on West Lake yesterday.

Cheers,

Lynn

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Re: Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby FISH » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:16 am

Most even remotely modern sails usually have some floppage in the upper part of the leach even with the lowest downhaul settings.
As you mention there, experiment a bit with the downhaul and use a downhaul tool to make it easier. If you are pulling with your bare hands, not only will they get hacked up a bit, probably, but you may think you're giving it tons of downhaul when you are not even approaching what the sail needs.

Add a bit to the extension and downhaul until the leach gets floppy - perhaps so the floppiness extends inward to about half the width of the sail between the top batten and next batten down. In absence of having any knowledge about Gaastra's or the Pilot specifically, I would start there as a mid-range setting. It sounds like the only way you will accomplish this is by adding a bit of extension. Do the downhaul first, then tighten the outhaul just so it takes up the slack in the sail near the boom and the sail doesn't press up against the boom when powered.

Perhaps next time you are rigging this sail, you could ask some other sailors for advice too.

Cheers, and good luck with it!
FISH
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FletcherG
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Re: Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby FletcherG » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:13 pm

Thanks Fish.

I have gotten the leach floppy before with an older, heavier mast extension. I am trying to use a new, lighter, but shorter extension so now fiddling with different settings. I use a hand cleat to down haul - and my husband's stronger muscles, if I can't manage.

I wasn't adding any extra length in the extension as I had the proper length mast. Is the mast length just meant as a guide?

In front of Tubbs on West Lake I rarely see another windsurfer. Generally a few guys with kites are out the same time I am, so no one to ask for input. It is a lonely sport when you have stalled at the intermediate stage - water start, use the foot straps, but can't gybe - so the talented sailors are out on Lake Ontario. Given I sail only when the water is warm and the winds are between 28 km - 40 km so I get out from 2-10 times per summer for the past 30 years so hard to improve. Now I am at the age I don't want to get injured and have to miss the summer tennis season.

I had hope to get a gybing lesson while in Greece in April, but the windsurfing centres do not open until mid-May when the tourists start to arrive and the Med warms up. Ideally, I would love to practice the footwork and sail tilts on a land simulator. I had offered my daughter a week in Bonaire to learn and she thought she would be bored after she had finished her lesson??? Hope you give Hatteras a try this Fall now that I am retired.

Happy winds,

Lynn

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Re: Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby MarekBad » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:46 pm

Lynn,
no experience with the particular sail you use, but when I had similar issues with my own gear, someone suggested 2 solutions: using a downhaul crank, and using a white colour line (such as spectra).. Why is that?

The crank is easy to understand, it eliminated the brute force required to achieve proper tension, and I have not rigged "by hand" once since I got one... add 1cm? No problem! Add 5? Still easy... Break a mast? Done that too :)
The white downhaul line is just a rope like the other black/blue, but the big difference is it allows you to mark-up with a permanent marker the exact spot/tension you liked - based on a previous session of course. Just thread the line always same way, and with same mast/extension you will see over few sessions how various (marked) settings do feel. Few times out, and no more guessing games, you just crank it until your preferred markers meet - tadaa!
Spectra lines also last longer, if that makes any difference. You need 6 feet of it, but its relatively inexpensive and worth the hassle IMO

Marek

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Re: Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby FISH » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:09 pm

Hi Lynn,

You are luck in that in the County are several other sailors. While they might not hit West Lake as much, they do frequent Sandbanks - usually a wave spot we call Mac's, which is in Sandbanks park at the sharp bend in the road where county rd 12 veers away from Athol Bay (between the two beaches). If you are struggling with getting it right, pop by there during a windy day and there may be anywhere between 2 to 50 sailors there more than happy to help.

Re: the mast. If you look on the sail, somewhere you will probably see some rigging specs including one called 'Luff'. The luff is the approximate dimension you need to match with the combination of the mast length + the extension length. So, even though your sail may spec the ideal mast as a 430, it might have a 450cm luff, in which case you'll need to add 20cm (give or take) of extension to make it long enough. I typically find I need to go 2-5cm longer than the specs, but that is on my sails which are a different brand.

Cheers
FISH
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fathom
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Re: Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby fathom » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:09 pm

All good point up there.

I presume you're not a 200lbs wrestler build woman.
In which case you don't need the grunt to get going and need the sail to be forgiving in the gust.
To do that you better off downhauling to max specs pretty much all the time and set the power at the boom.
Some sailmaker allow for more downhaul range than others, I have the feeling Gaastra does not have a lot.

Another way of looking at it is to downhaul enough so the batten above the boom sit at most half in front of the mast (too much and it sits behind the mast and you have no power at all).

The other advantage with Spectra lines is they have a LOT less friction so downhauling is a lot easier.
http://www.windspirit-direct.com/windsu ... pro_id=733

Definitely think of the downhaul crank also, pricey but worth it unless you're 200lbs gear breaker rINR:
http://www.windspirit-direct.com/windsu ... ?pro_id=47

Like FISH said, you are always welcome to drop by Mac, rig up and ask for opinion when it's blowing above 20 SW or West (and enjoy the wave sailing show !)

FletcherG
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Re: Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby FletcherG » Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:06 pm

Thanks everyone. I know understand what Luff means!! Finally. That's what happens when you let your husband (former) rig your sails for 20 years.

Going to pick up a longer mast extension at Silent Sports this weekend so that should solve the problem. I have just switched from my very old 165L Mistral Malibu to a 125L JP so I needed a new mast step and extension. The short extension should work with my old 5.0 cambered North Sail.

I am looking for a second hand sail about 5.3 M. Any suggestions? All of the smaller sails around seem to be for wave sailing. I am about 125 pounds and only 5.1 so the cut out for the boom is often too high for me.

The wind is supposed to be just perfect for me to try everything out - 30 km on West Lake is the forecast for Thursday.

happy heat wave,

Lynn

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Re: Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby andyz » Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:07 am

I would recommend a light and well balanced sail like Gator or Blade - they have a very light feeling, soft power and, most important for you, a huge wind range with the effectively working top part (important in the gusty conditions). The only downside is that you would better have a hard top mast (Vandal, MauiSail, Gaastra RDM 100), but the constant curve will work too with a little more down haul.
The loose leech works perfect there - I can sail at least a couple of sizes up compared to other sailors, so I don't need to switch sails often as conditions change.

FletcherG
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Re: Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby FletcherG » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:05 pm

Picked up a new mast extension at Silent Sports and got to try it out yesterday on West Lake in front of Tubbs. It gave me the additional 3 cm I needed to get the looseness in the sail in the upper 2 sections of the sail. That is 2 cm more than the sail specs.

Definitely helped as it was gusty at times and I wasn't overpowered. Was finally able to at least get in to the front footstraps without fear of being catapulted (it's a middle-aged female thing). Still getting used to a 125 L board compared to an old 165 L Mistral Malibu. My this new board is fast :lol:

Was going to practice pivot gybes but with a fulled hamstring from dry tennis courts, that will have to wait. Gave me a good (or rather, bad) feel for how often you use your hamstrings when windsurfing though.

Thanks guys for the help,

Lynn

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drewb70
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Re: Sail Trimming Question - 6.5 Gaastra Pilot

Postby drewb70 » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:39 pm

Splash has a pilot, and he rigs it to the max most of the time if not a bit more. He might get back to you if you pm him.


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