This month it is all about speed here on Boards, so with that in mind we’re catching up with one of the UK’s fastest, Steve Thorp, to find out how he hits top speed.
I only have one set up for speed regardless of wind and water, and that’s:
40′ wide Moo Custom Speed
5.5 Hot Sails Maui GPS
K4 17cm fin
Weight 78kg + 12Kg lead when it’s windy (change lead not sail!)
My only concern when speedsailing is holding onto as much power as possible, as efficiently as possible, in as much wind as possible! With my light weight a waist harness means I can sail a lot more powered-up, as I don’t get lifted off my feet and spin out, I can always hang my arse out and/or keep weight going down through the board.
I also have my lines miles back on the ‘speed’ side so that I can keep the sail locked in at all times. With lines behind the COE the gusts find it much harder to open the sail up, so I can stay locked down and sheeted in. Obviously when the wind isn’t as strong I have to trim the sail by being sensitive and pushing the sail a little more open.
My boom is exactly level with the top of my shoulder and my lines are pretty short by most standards. I guess this helps me ‘sit’ on the power, rather than hanging off too far out, overloading the fin and stretching my arms to the point I can’t sheet in/out easily. That said my arms are pretty straight, but I’m leaning out. In the gusts I bend the arms a little, drop my butt, and hunch over to keep control.
None of this is particularly efficient I guess, but my main aim is to sail in a **** load of wind and get blasted along (whilst staying in control and sheeted in).
Notice my lines are different on the other tack. That’s for heading back upwind where I just want to sit in the harness and chug upwind.
Leg wise, I’ve always copied Bjorn as I grew up with him smoking everyone so he was always the man to emulate. So I’ve a more or less straight front leg and slightly bent back leg. Pretty normal stance I think.
Want to know more about setting yourself up for speed sailing? Find out more from Oisin van Gelderen.
Check out these two videos of Steve in action…