Tech Talk: Planning Through Jibes in Light Winds

Here are some tips from the Sailworks loft on how to plane through your jibes in even the lightest winds.

The general arc of your jibe should initially be tight, then widening. So you want to turn hard initially, then open up the radius in order to exit with board speed.

Come in with speed. In light winds you're going slower when entering a jibe, so you can be proactive and give your sail 2 or 3 pumps to bring up your speed before entering the jibe.

Enter the jibe aggressively, exit the jibe smoothly. Play around with the placing of your back foot in different positions along the leeward rail when entering your jibe and feel for how that affects your board carving. If you feel drag from the rail try moving your foot back. If you feel your board bouncing try moving your foot forward. The ideal spot will vary depending on your board, rig and water conditions. Experiment with this and learn to become one with your gear.

Use the chop. When initiating your jibe look for a spot where messy water conditions won't slow you down. Time the changing of your feet on the jibe to go down any chop or swell you might find. As you sheet in it will lead to immediate acceleration.

Do a step jibe. Either before or as you flip the sail, step forward with your back foot right behind the mast base. Keep the board carving smoothly on your heels, ideally down a chop or swell as you flip the sail. Flip the sail actively, don't just let it flip. Flatten out the board as you flip your sail. Catch the sail in a way that your sheeting in leads to a pump. Do this by keeping the sail out in front of you and slightly towards the nose of the board. Your goal is to be just at the edge of catapulting as you power up on the new side.

If you find yourself catapulting when sheeting in on the new side make sure you are going down a chop or swell, that you're dropping your butt low anticipating the power from the sail, and that you're flattening out the board.