Today I did a flatwater session with my WWF gear. I used the GoFoil RS1300 with a 2.8m sail. As you may know from experience or from my previous posts and articles, the RS1300 has extremely sensitive roll. I mainly use it for its amazing glide on waves, but it also serves as a terrific training tool to improve your roll sensitivity and control.
About halfway through the 90 minute session I had a fantastic discovery. I noticed that tipping the sail in a specific direction had significant impact over how much the foil rolled in that same direction. As I paid close attention I realized that if I tipped the sail to the inside of a turn just an inch or two it would induce roll on the foil to the inside. If I tipped the sail to the outside of a turn just an inch or two it would induce roll on the foil to the outside. An inch or two made a huge difference. Up until today I've always been actively controlling roll mostly with my feet. But today I was controlling about 50% of the roll with tipping of the sail. It made a huge difference in control especially during the second half of the jibe. I was able to more precisely turn the board without as much wobble.
In my article Wind Foil Jibe - Flagging Technique I explained that tipping the sail to the outside of the turn during the second half of the jibe is a great way for beginners and intermediates to maintain balance and control. But now that I'm using very sensitive high aspect foil wings I'm learning that the improved control results more from the forces that the sail imparts on the foil rather than simple balance improvement. I think the greatest significance of this discovery is that it will help people avoid falling off the board during turns when they embrace the importance of tipping the sail, just an inch or two, in whatever direction prevents them from falling in. Pay close attention to how you are tipping your sail. Have fun out there!
Eric L. Mihelbergel is an intermediate/advanced windsurfer, kiteboarder, and foiler living in the Great Lakes Region of New York State who enjoys sharing about windsports and fitness.