Simon Bornhoft identifies a counterintuitive eureka moment that enables beginners and intermediates to master helicopter tacks, and links the same theme into the granddaddy of counterintuitive moments, the forward loop. Photos: WindWise / Karen Bornhoft
In 1968 a relatively unknown athlete strode with pace and leapt skywards, but rather than projecting his lithe body forward, Richard Douglas Fosbury twisted and arched uniquely over the Olympic high jump bar. Fosbury literally flew backwards into the record books and a gold medal position! In that defining, counterintuitive moment, the ‘Fosbury flop’ changed the way people perceived, approached and went for the high jump. There have been a number of breakthroughs in windsurfing where new actions, skills and tricks are discovered. These evolve from gradual progress, but often they are also linked to an individual acting counterintuitively.
When coaching I’m often illustrating that what you might imagine to be true isn’t always the way it’s learnt or done, so I’d like to share with you a counterintuitive moment linked to helicopter tacks (heli-tacks) and other aspects of the sport. Please don’t turn the page if you’ve never fancied doing a heli-tack – it’s such an achievable light wind move that does wonders for rig handling and gybe exit skills! I’ve taught beginners to heli-tack in light winds, and many more experienced sailors to master them in stronger winds.