Friday 18 February 2011

Glossary for Beginners

I was just designing menus for the blog and realised I dont have much info on here yet to include.
This will be useful for anyone learning, I know it took me a while to understand a lot of the terminology.
Full explanations and detail will not be provided in this post, to keep it simple for beginners.

When Rigging.
Some of the most crucial terms you will hear when setting up your kit are as follows.
  • Extension - The difference between the length of the mast and the required setting for the sail. The actual Extension is the long metal tube with holes/measurements that are set accordingly and then placed into the bottom of the mast.
  • Downhaul - You will hear this a lot, it is important to get this set correctly. It is the part of rigging where you pull the rope to put tension in the sail vertically*.   
  • Outhaul - This applies horizontal* tension in the sail where you pull on the rope at the end of the boom. 
Vertical and horizontal tension are used loosely here to help you visualise the terms, both downhaul and outhaul have a huge affect on tension at all angles.
  • Mast foot / Deckplate - The bit of kit that connects the rig to the board.
  • Clew - The back end of the boom, or the part of the sail furthest from the mast.
  • Leech - The loose part at the top half of the sail (above the clew) that is not held in place by the mast
First few sessions on the water.
  • Uphaul - Where you stand on the board, wind coming from behind, mast pointing downwind, using the rope that goes from the boom to the mastfoot you lift the sail out of the water with leverage.
  • Beam Reach - Sailing across the wind, perpendicular to it. This will return you to the same point you started if done correctly.
  • Broad Reach - Sailing at an angle more than 90degrees to the wind, but not fully downwind.
  • Close Reach - Sailing less than 90degrees to the wind, moving you upwind.
  • Starboard - Sailing with your right shoulder/arm closest to the mast. In theory this has priority over Port, but local rules come into play as well depending which is upwind. If you are always courteous on the water you wont have a problem, if not take up kitesurfing ;-).
  • Port - Sailing with your left shoulder/arm closest to the mast, give way to those coming towards you on a starboard course.
The above terms are not as common in windsurfing as they are in boating. You will hear people talking about having to sail upwind, or needing to go off the wind or downwind to get planing.
  • Planing - This is where the board 'lifts' out of the water and moves with a lot more freedom and speed. Once you get planing you are on the road to becoming a windsurfer.
  • Tack - Turning around by going into the wind (upwind), which involves moving around the front of the mast to the other side of the sail.
  • Gybe - Turning by going downwind, this means you stay behind the mast and turn your body around, the rig needs to be flipped so you are holding onto the other side of the boom.
  • Beachstart - Holding the kit so the mast is closest to the wind and clew is downwind you step onto the board, meaning you do not need to uphaul the sail.
  • Waterstart - Moving into intermediate skills you will see windsurfers out of their depth simply using the wind to lift them onto the board. It is a lot easier to learn than it looks.
I will add to this to make it more comprehensive over time, but I hope it helps those who are starting out.

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