BASICS and DIFFERENT VARIATIONS
- Prepare for jibing just as you did for sailing downwind: (1) head off on a broad reach; (2) move your hands back on the boom. The lighter the wind, the further back on the boom you will need to move your hands. In addition, prepare to jibe by moving your back foot further back on the board. The further back on the board you are, the snappier the jibe. Finally, look before you initiate the turn so that you do not turn into the oncoming path of another vessel.
Initiate the turn by swinging the sail to windward across the front of the board (just as you did to turn downwind). Just as before, move your front foot back to be even with your back foot. Keep this position until you pass the point with the wind directly behind you. Keep turning the board until you are on a broad reach on the other tack. Only then should you flip the sail (but see below).
To flip the sail, first slide your front hand forward on the boom all the way to the mast. Then let go with your back hand. If you have turned far enough (past directly downwind), the sail will flip itself. Grasp the boom on the new side, step forward to a normal sailing position, and sail off. You might have to move the sail to the back of the board to head up higher.
Note that first you have to move both of your hands back on the boom before you initiate the jibe, but just before you flip the sail, you must slide your front hand forward all the way to the boom.
In the sequence above, you flip the sail after you are well onto the new tack (a broad reach or higher). The only exception to this method is if the wind is very light. Then your turn will stop when you are pointed directly downwind. If this happens, flip the sail and muscle it onto the correct side and to the back of the board to finish the turn.
You can do several things to make your jibe snappier. First, after you move your front foot back, put more weight on the windward rail than the leeward rail (only if the centerboard is down). Second, step further back on the board. Finally, these two strategies can be combined in the following way. Instead of moving your front foot back to be even with your back foot (as in the Running Position diagram), move your old front foot even further back and put most of your weight on it. Most boards have a "sweet spot" way in the back of the board. If you move your old front foot way back to that spot and put your weight on it, you can turn on a dime.
Variations on the Jibe
There are many different variations on the jibe. The variations can be divided into two broad categories: nonplaning jibes and planing jibes. Different versions of the nonplaning jibe are called the snap jibe, scissor jibe, and power jibe. These are all slight variations of the jibe described above. In all nonplaning jibes, your weight is moved to the back of the board, and most of the turning power comes from the sail. Nonplaning jibes can be used with long boards (e.g., 3.7 meter boards) and short board (e.g., 2.7 meter boards without centerboards). The nonplaning jibe is a skill that will always be useful. The nonplaning jibe is fairly easy to master.
The planing jibe requires one to be sailing very fast on a plane. Do not worry about learning the planing jibe until after you can use a harness, waterstart, and sail fast in high winds. In several ways the planing jibe is the opposite of a nonplaning jibe: Your weight is forward in the board, you sink the leeward rail, and most of the turning power comes from carving the leeward rail through the water (like skiing or snow boarding). The planing jibe is considerably more difficult than the nonplaning jibe. Whereas each of the 10 steps in this guide can be broken into at most 4 components, there are approximately 17 things to think about when making a good planing jibe. When an advanced windsurfer is talking about jibing, they are most likely talking about planing jibes. Variations on the planing jibe
<< Back to Moves Main Page