Coming from the midlands Luke grew up sailing lakes and reservoirs with his Dad, Bro and mates since the age of 11. These days Luke spends his summers as an advance instructor in Ortakent, Turkey for Neilson Holiday’s.
Here he spends his days passing on his enthusiasm for windsurfing in his lessons and makes the most of the daily winds with every moment spare.
Although Luke is fanatic about freestyle he also loves summer evenings on larger freeride kit or chasing high wind storm sessions.
11 Sep 2014
Rigging the bolt as a freestyle sail
The 4, 4.5, 5, and 5.25m Bolts are all 4 batten sails that rigged normally make fantastic, light freeride sails, but with tuning, it is easy to use these characteristics to turn them into awesome freestyle weapons too.
Before I talk about how I rig my Bolts for freestyle I will quickly summarise the pros and cons of sail tuning. Downhaul works by opening the leach of the sail ( the floppy bit at the top). Correct downhaul enables the leach to open, twisting off in the gusts to stop you getting over powered, and in the lulls twists to propel you forwards. In general too much and the sail feels gutless, too little the sail wont vent and the power shoots up, away from where you can pull against it. Outhaul tends to be easier to tune with, more outhaul (tighter sail) depowers the sail, less outhaul (baggier sail) gives you more power. Less outhaul more stable and over outhauled more twitchy.
For freestyle then we go away from the norms of tuning and for a specific set of reasons. As a freestyle sail we can use the (sometimes negative) tuning characteristics to our advantage. First ill talk about the pros of very little downhaul. Since the sail wont vent, the power shoots up in the sail, this will pull you up off your feet, annoying for normal sailing but since it is pulling you up anyway can be used to give you higher pop, especially from backwinded. A lack of downhaul makes ducking the sail to backwinded a lot easier as the sail stays very stable and wont feel super twitchy passing through the eye of the wind.
Putting an extra cm of downhaul from almost none will actually increase your early planing (the sail will start to work properly and twist a little). This small amount of leach twist will mean that your top speed will be higher than with none and you will generally be more comfy while sailing. With the power staying a closer to you its far easer to bear away into moves without getting pulled out of shape. With the sail feeling lighter in the hands, faster, earlier planing and generally more comfy you will be more confident to go into moves (and have the ability to sail in chop without feeling on the edge all the time!)
For me outhaul is a lot simpler to tune. Pull the outhaul so the sail sits in the middle of the boom (neutral setting) then either add half to one cm depending on wind. Too much and the twitchyness of the sail makes it harder to duck, not stable, and not powerful enough.
This is where personal preference, sailing location and aims for the session comes into play then. If I was sailing somewhere super super flat, I wasnt over powered but not under, and I pretty much just wanted to try ducking moves I would go very little downhaul and half a cm of outhaul past neutral. However if I was somewhere a little less idilic and wanted to do moves where you need to bear away I would put on a touch more downhaul and keep the outhaul the same. This is how I rig my Bolts and this is what I have shown with the pictures below.
Since ‘a little more downhaul’ sounds pretty vague I have shown in the pics what I think is about perfect amount. Where as the freeride setting would be the leach flopping to around the middle of the top panel I chose to pull on the downhaul untill the sail flops to between about one and half inches past the micro batten (high wind) and just past the micro batten for anything else. Here early planing, speed, ease of ducking and comfort are all maximised, a sort of mega setting for all round radness. Pictured below:
And up close see how the sail flops just past that micro batten:
For the outhaul, as I said before less is more, dont worry if at times its on the boom a fair way up:
So this is how I rig my Bolts for freestyle, to be honest they are pretty comfy for freerideing too, but if I were to give my sail out to someone who just wanted a blast id add another cm of downhaul.
The most important thing is to get out there windsurfing and experimenting with rigging, but most importantly enjoying it!
So high season is apon us here in Ortakent and the season is in full swing.
Town (Bodrum) is bustling, the bars are busy and the local beaches are alive too. For us in resort things are busy too, most lessons are full of people. I really enjoy teaching large groups, the scope for fun games and laughs is greater. The wind is here in full force as well and this is something that myself and the full crew here have been making the most of!
The mornings are, as ever, light. A great time to get out enjoying the SUPs here, something we have certanly been doing (new sport by the way – SUP rounders!)
Its the afternoons here that really are the best, I have been out on the full Bolt range, from full power 4m Bolt freestlye to chilled out freeride on the larger sizes and everything inbetween.
I personally am hoping that a slightly later start to the wind this year will result in a much later finish for it this year. Either way i’m very much looking forward to the next Sam Ross clinic on the 15th of September and am sure the wind will still be full power then!
Anyway thats it from me, hope to see you here soon, i’ll be enjoying the sun, wind, fantastic Turkish people and cuisine until then!