Reaching is the game, FORMULA RACING TIPS by Steve Sylvester

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#1 Reaching is the game

Sailing a FW board is like sailing a slalom board. This isn’t surprising because that’s how it all started. Ten years ago, the current trend toward ultra wide boards was just beginning and a wide course slalom board was just under 24” wide, narrow compared to the 40“ width of current FW boards. The only real difference between a slalom board and a FW board is that the FW board is stable enough to accommodate a larger fin and sail but the sailing technique remains the same. Reaching is the game either upwind or downwind. As you generate either positive or negative angle from a beam reach, your overall speed will decrease. The trick is to find the optimal trade off between speed and angle for your body size and sailing style. Generally taller, heavier sailors go for more speed than angle and shorter, lighter sailors go for more angle than speed. To really work on the basics, it helps to have a sailing partner to experiment with. Find out what happens when you increase your angle. As you sail higher (upwind) or lower (downwind) at slower speeds, did you gain or lose at the tack or jibe points? After a while, you’ll begin to get a sense of what that optimal speed vs angle is that will carry you to your upwind or downwind destination the quickest.

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