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How to: Switch Tack

Published on 25 April 2021 at 08:00

After you are nailing the gibes, you can start thinking of doing tacks. The switch tack is the easiest of the two. With a gybe you bear away from the wind, with a tack you turn into the wind. As you go into the wind it is much harder to stay on the foil as the drag increases significantly. The wind is now pushing against you instead of pushing you along from the back. 

 

Tips:

  • Find a spot with flat water, no current and stable wind. The flatter the water, the easier it will be. Waves will make it significantly harder. If you do have waves, consider to take a longer mast. 
  • Take a bigger foil. This will keep you on the foil at slower speeds and normally the glide is a lot better too. As larger foils have a wider wingspan they go slower rail to rail which is a benefit while learning tacks. 
  • Make sure you make a long drawn out turn. Snappy turns are harder. If you can, take a longer fuselage and/or bigger tail wing as this pushes out your turn.

 

When comfortably cruising along, spot the place where you want to tack. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and are not interfering with someone else. Make sure you check up wind. Tacking into strong gusts is harder as the drag increases even more. 

Carve up wind. Remember, keep your body centered over the board, in line with the foil. When you carve up wind, your wing will become more neutral and you can let go of your back hand. This helps in getting the wing in a neutral position which is essential during the tack. 

Continue to carve up wind. Your weight is now more over the back of your board, causing the foil to pitch up. Compensate for that by pushing down with your front foot. This avoids a breach. 

Move the wing forward, into the wind. This create room for you to grab for a handle with your free hand. This wing has Y handles, so it is pretty easy. You can grab the opposite Y handle with your free hand. This crosses your arms. You are now holding on to the wing with both hands.

Let go with your other hand (the hand that was in front while going into the tack). Drop that hand so it wont be in the way.

Move the wing over to the other side of your body. Extend your arm fully and push it forward. The more you extend you arm, the easier it will be to complete the tack. You are now going fully into the wind. This is the critical moment to keep your foil parallel with the water. 

Push the wing forward and down. You still have your arm extended fully. You can now look at the back of you wing to see where the back handles are. 

Grab the back handle of your wing with your free hand. Keep pushing it down. Your head will now touch the canopy of your wing. This is okay and will actually help you to complete the tack. 

You are close to completing your tack. You continue to push the wing down. Your head is  pushing into the canopy, acting as a lever to help whip the wing round. 

Your board is now also through the turn and is already heading the other way. 

Recover from the tack by placing your wing upright, powered up. This will increase the speed and ensures you can focus on flying the board again.


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