Forums > Windsurfing Foiling

Foil Racing - Upwind technique - top tips please!

Reply
Created by berowne > 9 months ago, 29 Mar 2020
berowne
NSW, 709 posts
29 Mar 2020 11:31AM
Thumbs Up

I've been working on my technique since the first foil race series back in 2018 when I competed in the free-foil division (1 lap instead of 2) where I was 2nd in the smaller fleet. It was a great experience, and the friendly advice from all the other sailors inspired me to upgrade my slalom sails to foiling wings and my foil from a SlingShot to an AFS, and take on the nationals for 2020 (aimed for top 10, got 12th).

So now I'm working on my speed, specifically upwind in this post. To be clear, the upwind/downwind course races are the norm, and so you need to sail upwind as high and fast as possible, so this means 45 degrees into the wind, rather than say 50 degrees but faster.

However, my main issue has been racing off the start line and watching others sail away about 10% or 2 knots faster than me... or a few degrees higher angle. I'm using an AFS 1000R race foil so I can match the best for angles now, but speed is still an issue.

Go-Pro's are a great way to get some footage of what you / others are doing right/wrong, and drones are better!
I've watched a few videos like this one www.facebook.com/intformulawindsurfingclass/videos/415191725928126/ and you can see the good sailors keep the foot of the sail sheeted in and on the deck between the straps (50 seconds to 70s especially). Whereas I used to let it sheet (out a lot).

Some other observations about speed upwind.
1. Rig fast. Flat sails tend to be quick, lots of downhaul and outhaul.
2. Don't sheet out. This requires
3. Harness back. It takes a bit of getting used to but especially 10m sails are very powerful
4. Hands back. Moving your front hand back feels odd at first, but is important too.
5. Fly stable. This is probably the hardest part, as every gust affects board speed, foil lift, trim angle, ...
6. Heel foil to windward - a little higher out of the water can also help (less in rough)
7. Sitting into the harness and keep the nose down with mast foot pressure
8. Drive your legs, absorb the gusts power by pushing through your legs into the foil. Takes a bit (lot) of guts...
9. Wide board, the 91 (or even 1.0) wide boards really give you leverage over the big front wings, especially at the back foot!
10. Sail cantered over head if getting over powered, so you can keep the sail sheeted in.

When I started foiling, I could barely control a 5m sail partially sheeted in.... now I'm powering upwind (17kts board speed) in 18kts with a 10.0! . I've heard others can do 20kts upwind.

When I get it right, it actually feels similar to powerful slalom (or formula I imagine) sailing, just a LOT more sensitive to foot pressue and body position!

For a long video I've made see the full race nationals here:


or a shorter one on lift control here:


Good angles below..., hands back (not far enough?)



and not so good here... hands way forward, gap open...



Let the debate begin!

berowne
NSW, 709 posts
17 Apr 2020 11:29PM
Thumbs Up

Clear video of good technique here... at the 2. Min mark.


berowne
NSW, 709 posts
16 Jul 2020 9:38PM
Thumbs Up

Sam Ross's guide

www.facebook.com/Starboard.Windsurfing/videos/272828503773751/

Paducah
1813 posts
16 Jul 2020 11:06PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote


Non-zuckerberg version

berowne
NSW, 709 posts
20 Mar 2021 11:45PM
Thumbs Up

I learned quite a lot over the 2020/21 season from watching a lot of video's, other competitors, chats with previous winners and time on the water. I wanted to add a few more points to this post partially for myself, so I know what to focus on during 'winter training'...

FYI I also switched to Starboard foils riding the 900 front wing with 115+ Fuselage. The extra length really helped with stability, but it is definitely a more 'draggy' foil compared to the slick feel of the AFS! Also, I could barely keep the SB in the water without the rear set at -2 degrees initially, but later I've gotten used to -1 (so the -2 wing with a +1 shim). Shim adjustment is a great option to help balance the same foil in different winds.

After a year, I reiterate all the notes from above and add a few more:

11. To get upwind fast a powerful foil setup is required. On the Starboard gear, -1 degree gives a lot of lift! -2 is much more comfortable but harder to drive upwind.
12. Mast forward to balance the extra power (makes me wonder if shorter fuselage and more central mast base would also work?)
13. Sail crooked! Similar to downwind, you want to pick your path. Gusts give more power and allow you to drive harder into the wind. Maintain flight and speed by bearing off a few degrees in a lull/knock.
14. While sheeted in you want to have as much power as possible. If you can hold the sail sheeted in and powering try to edge the sail more vertical, exposing a greater sail area to the wind.
15. Control gusts by leaning the sail and body into the wind, reducing exposed area facing the wind, while turning a few degrees into the wind as the gust hits to maintain control.
16. Especially in large chop leaning the board over too hard will expose the foils. Keep the board a little flatter by rotating to windward and standing more vertical
17. Set the boom high to give you better leverage
18. I had best results with a waist harness despite 30 years in the seat. Maybe this is why so many racers use them.
19. Harness lines back is a must. I've seen a few examples of people with 2 sets, short lines at the rear for upwind and longer lines mounted a bit forward for downwind. Yet to try this! Like most I'm using adjustable lines.
20. Keep that front hand back too!
21. Push hard through the harness lines to offset the power from the front foil. I'm riding upwind with over 50% body weight though the harness (impressed the tubing hasn't warn through!).
22. Drive the power through your legs too, to push the power into the foil
23. Small adjustments matter. When you need to adjust to the water state or a gust move subtly, then undo the change (at least halfway back) or you will find you have over-reacted and end up diving down instead of breaching.
24. Keep an eye out for gusts, I watched a sailor fall upwind of me and failed to account for the strength of the gust and ended up breaching a few seconds later when I was hit.
25. Sail where it is windy
26. Start well so you get clean air. The 2nd row is so much harder to point. Trust me that is where I spend most of my time, 5% slower and 2 degrees lower!
27. Adjustable outhaul is necessary to flatten the sail for the upwind run (but not too much!).



Anyone else got something to add?


Sandman1221
1778 posts
20 Mar 2021 11:15PM
Thumbs Up

I am not a racer, but here is my feedback, AFS has a new foil with a longer fuselage, your old wings will fit it. Match wing width to board width at front foot straps to have good control of the foil. Adjustable harness lines, if you do not have them, upwind takes shorter lines, down wind longer if you stay hooked in. Minimal sail downhaul, and adjust outhaul for conditions, but more outhaul for upwind. Maui Hot sails.

foilarg
46 posts
22 Mar 2021 7:24AM
Thumbs Up

berowne, when you say:
11. To get upwind fast a powerful foil setup is required. On the Starboard gear, -1 degree gives a lot of lift! -2 is much more comfortable but harder to drive upwind.

I understand the physics of the stabilizer but not the nomenclature of the spacer! if the stabilizer is -2 and the spacer 0 is nose down 2 degrees. Now if I put the spacer +1, the nose of the stabilizer would be at an angle of 1 degree down? therefore it would have less lift and more speed?

jusavina
QLD, 1402 posts
22 Mar 2021 12:07PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
foilarg said..
berowne, when you say:
11. To get upwind fast a powerful foil setup is required. On the Starboard gear, -1 degree gives a lot of lift! -2 is much more comfortable but harder to drive upwind.

I understand the physics of the stabilizer but not the nomenclature of the spacer! if the stabilizer is -2 and the spacer 0 is nose down 2 degrees. Now if I put the spacer +1, the nose of the stabilizer would be at an angle of 1 degree down? therefore it would have less lift and more speed?




The original 255 stab is 3.7deg.
The 255 IQFoil stab is called -2 because it was -2deg in comparison with the original stab, which gives 1.7deg (3.7-2=1.7). The full name should be IQfoil 3.7deg-2deg...

If you use the +1 shim with the IQfoil stab, you will have the stab at 2.7deg angle. Equivalent to the original stab with the -1 shim (3.7-1=2.7).

So if you put the 0deg shim with the IQfoil stab, you will have the stab at 1.7deg angle. Equivalent to the orinial stab with the -2 shim (3.7-2=1.7).

If you use the IQfoil stab with the -1 shim, the stab will be at 0.7deg angle.

IndecentExposur
296 posts
23 Mar 2021 7:06AM
Thumbs Up

All the above pointers are in line with what I do. I'm located in the middle of the US, sailing at 6000ft, and really the only sailor that has mastered foiling speed here. Most others are on slow slingshot stuff, another had an AFS foil, but switched. Starboard is rare here, but a few have the GT setups. I'm the only one on a race type setup.
Here are a few observations:

1. The better foil designs are utilizing NACA data.
2. One trick I've heard, is to chop off the downward winglets. Winglets are built for reduced drag efficiency in air; however, optimized at specific speeds. David Ezzy chopped off his SB winglets and was able to get better performance. I haven't had the balls to attempt that to my wing yet.
3. Ensure your wings are on a perfectly parallel plane. 0 degrees. I don't know the specs on the AFS website, but they don't offer much to the consumer. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. Some of those AFS wings look overly high aspect, which means they could be counter productive with lift at certain speeds. Is AFS using CFD programs to analyze efficiency?
4. Foil control is crucial. Being able to fly stable with lifts/knocks & lulls/gusts aren't easy. But use every advantage to round up higher, or lean out more. Note that when at the drag limits, leaning over won't get you more speed, whereas going upwind will help.
5. Smaller wings/stabs. Starboard just came out with 'thin' and a 250 rear.
6. In higher winds (for Starboard), the pros are not using the long+, or ++ fuses, but rather the original 115 fuse with the -2 stab and smaller wings.


7. Your sail can be a massive drag variable. I'm not convinced cams are good. Pushing for a shallower draft and further back on sails seems to be a positive for speed. I've not tried a Severne foil racing sail, but I've experimented with a lot of sail settings. I have a few ideas on this I'm not ready to share yet.
8. Shave your legs and be aerodynamic. Road bikers do it :)

foilarg
46 posts
23 Mar 2021 7:41AM
Thumbs Up

jusavina; Thank you very much for the explanation. the grades listed on the spacers is the difference they make to the original stabilizer. Thanks again!! I am a fan of your video windfoilng Gold coast !!! that crossing between the waves meters from the coast !!!

jusavina
QLD, 1402 posts
23 Mar 2021 12:35PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
foilarg said..
jusavina; Thank you very much for the explanation. the grades listed on the spacers is the difference they make to the original stabilizer. Thanks again!! I am a fan of your video windfoilng Gold coast !!! that crossing between the waves meters from the coast !!!


Yes, the grade listed on the new stab is the difference with the original stabilizer.
The grade listed on the spacer is the difference it makes with the stabilizer you are using (original or IQfoil/-2).

WhiteofHeart
722 posts
23 Mar 2021 4:22PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
berowne said..
I learned quite a lot over the 2020/21 season from watching a lot of video's, other competitors, chats with previous winners and time on the water. I wanted to add a few more points to this post partially for myself, so I know what to focus on during 'winter training'...

FYI I also switched to Starboard foils riding the 900 front wing with 115+ Fuselage. The extra length really helped with stability, but it is definitely a more 'draggy' foil compared to the slick feel of the AFS! Also, I could barely keep the SB in the water without the rear set at -2 degrees initially, but later I've gotten used to -1 (so the -2 wing with a +1 shim). Shim adjustment is a great option to help balance the same foil in different winds.

After a year, I reiterate all the notes from above and add a few more:

11. To get upwind fast a powerful foil setup is required. On the Starboard gear, -1 degree gives a lot of lift! -2 is much more comfortable but harder to drive upwind.
12. Mast forward to balance the extra power (makes me wonder if shorter fuselage and more central mast base would also work?)
13. Sail crooked! Similar to downwind, you want to pick your path. Gusts give more power and allow you to drive harder into the wind. Maintain flight and speed by bearing off a few degrees in a lull/knock.
14. While sheeted in you want to have as much power as possible. If you can hold the sail sheeted in and powering try to edge the sail more vertical, exposing a greater sail area to the wind.
15. Control gusts by leaning the sail and body into the wind, reducing exposed area facing the wind, while turning a few degrees into the wind as the gust hits to maintain control.
16. Especially in large chop leaning the board over too hard will expose the foils. Keep the board a little flatter by rotating to windward and standing more vertical
17. Set the boom high to give you better leverage
18. I had best results with a waist harness despite 30 years in the seat. Maybe this is why so many racers use them.
19. Harness lines back is a must. I've seen a few examples of people with 2 sets, short lines at the rear for upwind and longer lines mounted a bit forward for downwind. Yet to try this! Like most I'm using adjustable lines.
20. Keep that front hand back too!
21. Push hard through the harness lines to offset the power from the front foil. I'm riding upwind with over 50% body weight though the harness (impressed the tubing hasn't warn through!).
22. Drive the power through your legs too, to push the power into the foil
23. Small adjustments matter. When you need to adjust to the water state or a gust move subtly, then undo the change (at least halfway back) or you will find you have over-reacted and end up diving down instead of breaching.
24. Keep an eye out for gusts, I watched a sailor fall upwind of me and failed to account for the strength of the gust and ended up breaching a few seconds later when I was hit.
25. Sail where it is windy
26. Start well so you get clean air. The 2nd row is so much harder to point. Trust me that is where I spend most of my time, 5% slower and 2 degrees lower!
27. Adjustable outhaul is necessary to flatten the sail for the upwind run (but not too much!).



Anyone else got something to add?



You're hitting the nail on the head with this one I think!

One thing to add, its important, especially in gusts / overpowered conditions, to maintain a stance as upright as possible! Banking the board towindward and getting low is the easy way to control the power, however, if you bank the board more than necessary you will lose upwind performance. My experience is that allowing the board to ride more flat and yourself being more upright when overpowered allows to swivel the board towindward and get that extra angle!

CJW
NSW, 1707 posts
23 Mar 2021 6:39PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
IndecentExposur said..
All the above pointers are in line with what I do. I'm located in the middle of the US, sailing at 6000ft, and really the only sailor that has mastered foiling speed here. Most others are on slow slingshot stuff, another had an AFS foil, but switched. Starboard is rare here, but a few have the GT setups. I'm the only one on a race type setup.
Here are a few observations:

1. The better foil designs are utilizing NACA data.
2. One trick I've heard, is to chop off the downward winglets. Winglets are built for reduced drag efficiency in air; however, optimized at specific speeds. David Ezzy chopped off his SB winglets and was able to get better performance. I haven't had the balls to attempt that to my wing yet.
3. Ensure your wings are on a perfectly parallel plane. 0 degrees. I don't know the specs on the AFS website, but they don't offer much to the consumer. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. Some of those AFS wings look overly high aspect, which means they could be counter productive with lift at certain speeds. Is AFS using CFD programs to analyze efficiency?
4. Foil control is crucial. Being able to fly stable with lifts/knocks & lulls/gusts aren't easy. But use every advantage to round up higher, or lean out more. Note that when at the drag limits, leaning over won't get you more speed, whereas going upwind will help.
5. Smaller wings/stabs. Starboard just came out with 'thin' and a 250 rear.
6. In higher winds (for Starboard), the pros are not using the long+, or ++ fuses, but rather the original 115 fuse with the -2 stab and smaller wings.

7. Your sail can be a massive drag variable. I'm not convinced cams are good. Pushing for a shallower draft and further back on sails seems to be a positive for speed. I've not tried a Severne foil racing sail, but I've experimented with a lot of sail settings. I have a few ideas on this I'm not ready to share yet.
8. Shave your legs and be aerodynamic. Road bikers do it :)


Sorry to be a bit dismissive but you have written some interesting stuff there, almost all of which will be counterproductive in terms of this threads goal; upwind speed. We're also more accurately talking about upwind VMG here not necessarily 'speed' per say. I don't want to derail the thread too much but in summary to address some points; don't cut the curved tips off your foils. If you want to go fast in any direction on a foil you'll need cams and if you want good upwind VMG you'll need a foil (course racing) specific rig. You won't go faster upwind (or I should say with better VMG) with smaller wings and stabs in almost all situations. You're never near the foil drag limit upwind. Kordel's video, while a good video, is about a slalom setup which is entirely different to a course racing setup.

Berowne is by and large accurate with his summary and it is proven by his steady march up the fleet this year. Racing is the quickest way you will identify the deficiencies in your setup/style and also the quickest way you will improve. We are lucky here in NSW to have a very high calibre state series where we can all benchmark ourselves. Not sure what racing you have in your neck of the woods but I reckon you'd be shocked at the speed of the front of the fleet. Everyone looks pretty good just foiling around but once you bring ultimate VMG into the equation the difference can be enormous.

fjdoug
ACT, 517 posts
23 Mar 2021 9:44PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
IndecentExposur said..

Some of those AFS wings look overly high aspect, which means they could be counter productive with lift at certain speeds. Is AFS using CFD programs to analyze efficiency?



the high aspect AFS R wings are designed by Kevin Ellway , a quick search will bring up lots about what he does.

Paducah
1813 posts
23 Mar 2021 9:18PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
CJW said...... Racing is the quickest way you will identify the deficiencies in your setup/style and also the quickest way you will improve. We are lucky here in NSW to have a very high calibre state series where we can all benchmark ourselves. Not sure what racing you have in your neck of the woods but I reckon you'd be shocked at the speed of the front of the fleet. Everyone looks pretty good just foiling around but once you bring ultimate VMG into the equation the difference can be enormous.



"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth to the starting line. " - Mike Tyson

IndecentExposur
296 posts
23 Mar 2021 9:24PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
CJW said..

IndecentExposur said..
All the above pointers are in line with what I do. I'm located in the middle of the US, sailing at 6000ft, and really the only sailor that has mastered foiling speed here. Most others are on slow slingshot stuff, another had an AFS foil, but switched. Starboard is rare here, but a few have the GT setups. I'm the only one on a race type setup.
Here are a few observations:

1. The better foil designs are utilizing NACA data.
2. One trick I've heard, is to chop off the downward winglets. Winglets are built for reduced drag efficiency in air; however, optimized at specific speeds. David Ezzy chopped off his SB winglets and was able to get better performance. I haven't had the balls to attempt that to my wing yet.
3. Ensure your wings are on a perfectly parallel plane. 0 degrees. I don't know the specs on the AFS website, but they don't offer much to the consumer. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. Some of those AFS wings look overly high aspect, which means they could be counter productive with lift at certain speeds. Is AFS using CFD programs to analyze efficiency?
4. Foil control is crucial. Being able to fly stable with lifts/knocks & lulls/gusts aren't easy. But use every advantage to round up higher, or lean out more. Note that when at the drag limits, leaning over won't get you more speed, whereas going upwind will help.
5. Smaller wings/stabs. Starboard just came out with 'thin' and a 250 rear.
6. In higher winds (for Starboard), the pros are not using the long+, or ++ fuses, but rather the original 115 fuse with the -2 stab and smaller wings.

7. Your sail can be a massive drag variable. I'm not convinced cams are good. Pushing for a shallower draft and further back on sails seems to be a positive for speed. I've not tried a Severne foil racing sail, but I've experimented with a lot of sail settings. I have a few ideas on this I'm not ready to share yet.
8. Shave your legs and be aerodynamic. Road bikers do it :)



Sorry to be a bit dismissive but you have written some interesting stuff there, almost all of which will be counterproductive in terms of this threads goal; upwind speed. We're also more accurately talking about upwind VMG here not necessarily 'speed' per say. I don't want to derail the thread too much but in summary to address some points; don't cut the curved tips off your foils. If you want to go fast in any direction on a foil you'll need cams and if you want good upwind VMG you'll need a foil (course racing) specific rig. You won't go faster upwind (or I should say with better VMG) with smaller wings and stabs in almost all situations. You're never near the foil drag limit upwind. Kordel's video, while a good video, is about a slalom setup which is entirely different to a course racing setup.

Berowne is by and large accurate with his summary and it is proven by his steady march up the fleet this year. Racing is the quickest way you will identify the deficiencies in your setup/style and also the quickest way you will improve. We are lucky here in NSW to have a very high calibre state series where we can all benchmark ourselves. Not sure what racing you have in your neck of the woods but I reckon you'd be shocked at the speed of the front of the fleet. Everyone looks pretty good just foiling around but once you bring ultimate VMG into the equation the difference can be enormous.


I wish I had someone (anyone) to race with! Perhaps you're right on all the above, I only have relative information to go on; that being my own. I tried cammed sails and they sucked, but they were made for windsurfers, not windfoils. points granted.

Sandman1221
1778 posts
24 Mar 2021 12:51AM
Thumbs Up

IndExp, From what I can tell, my AFS Wind95 foil wing and stab. are set to 0 degrees, that includes the F1080 and F770 wings, and it feels that way with no stab. shim because it wants to stay right on the surface of the water, add 1 AFS stab. shim (-0.5 degrees, front of stab. moves down/away from the board) and the foil lifts off the water. Do not know about the new 85 and 95 foils.



Subscribe
Reply

Forums > Windsurfing Foiling


"Foil Racing - Upwind technique - top tips please!" started by berowne