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How to surf waves  Bottom

  • I sail on the beach, the waves on the surf are small but every once in a while when landing there is a couple big enough to scare me. If wind is strong enough I can be selective, chose when to go and land sailing between two waves, but with low wind it's a different story, i have to surf them necessarily. My problem is that I am not in full control when surfing, the boat wants to turn at some point and with a big wave i fear I may end parallel to the wave. Where should I place the weight? it seems that starting with the weight forward works but I tend to loose control in the last part, after the wave brakes.
  • I think this may depend a little on your boat. When I come in on the surf, I have my weight back because I don't want to stuff the nose like on a surfboard. I can't recall having lost control in the breakwater, though. Usually, I come in with a little speed until close trying to split large breakers, maintain control, timing etc.

    I've come in on some pretty good sized waves - not by choice, but it ended up being jut a surf-in. Biggest problem I have is slowing down enough to be able to jump off so the thing doesn't hit the beach at speed and grind on the bottom.

    Chuck C.
    H21SE 408
  • Been a while since I sailed on surf, but I used to avoid a shore-break and would prefer to come in on a littoral or rip tide zone. Off-shore breaks were just fun with the boardless boat, but still safer to ride behind the break.

    NACRA 5.7 (1984 Sail 181)
  • Being forward is good to catch the wave but you need to be aft with a strong grip on the rudders to surf. If the rudders kick up you need to make sure the boat stays square to the wave. If it rounds up you will be sideways to the wave and it could tip you over. Just keep hanging on and trying to pull the bows back to facing the shore if the wave hits you whilst you are sideways.
  • Ensure a rudder stays in the water to at least give you steering.. Being pushed sideways is not a great position to be in.
  • Not sure what kind of boat you’re sailing, but if it has dagger or center boards, pull them up. If the boards are done, they can have the tendency to take control, minimizing rudder control. Also, come in at a 90 degree angle to the wave itself
  • Thanks for the advice, I sail a N5.5. About grinding the bottom, I accepted it’s part of it and guess I’ll need to reinforce them more often. I’m more concerned about the rudders being pushed by the waves when stopped, they get some beating. I pull them up manually but often it’s just me so I can’t reach both sides with the boat on the water before hitting ground. So I'll try pulling the boards up earlier and staying aft after catching the wave. Also, I’m used to unlock the rudder and let it pop before hitting ground, i used to sail on a lake where it wasn’t good idea. I’ll let the pivmatic work more often and see.
  • I would certainly advise against releasing or pulling the rudders up ahead of time. As soon as you kick up a rudder (even if you just unlock it and try to hold it down manually) the boat is going to want to round up into the wind, turning you sideways to the waves. Keep the rudders locked down and let the kick-up mechanism do its job. Your rudders will take a little bit of a beating from hitting the bottom, but that’s one of the prices you pay for surf sailing, and it’s better than rounding up and getting rolled by a wave.

    You can also counter the tendency to round up by slightly over-sheeting the jib and slightly under-sheeting the main. This will help keep the bows pulled off of the wind.

  • Once the rudders kick up don't try to steer really hard, they don't have much support and if you try to counter the weather helm you will really be loading those castings. Assuming you have an onshore wind, have the main out all the way against the shrouds and have the jib backwinding. It will slow you down when your boat goes to round up.

    Bill Townsend
    G-Cat 5.7
  • OwnedNacra 5.5 SL - don’t u have bungees on daggers already they are a must when sailing. You must pull daggers out Before surfing in and secure to cat!!!!/ I had a 5.2 and relied on double bungee and had a gaguantian repair of inside well when dagger slipped down !!! I have surfed waves in Hawaii and in Del Ray Fla but mostly off fire Island in the Atlantic& Jersey shore. best surfing cat Prindle 16, gobies 16, 14 & 18 not as able to cut it-sailed Hobie 14 in Hawaii surf but t was not a turbo Your jib is most important ongoing out in surf and surfing i. Unlock one rudder but leave it down it should kick up rudder, be ready to unlock other rudder as you enter the wave most important make sure no swimmers on the beach especially young children who run to cat when you are surfing in! I have always contended that on a good wave ina steady wind cats go fastest when surfing a wave

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