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And... if the wind drops??

Created by ADinis 23 days ago, 23 Sep 2021
38 posts
23 Sep 2021 4:15AM
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Yestereday i was doing formula with my 11m sail. The wind was very good, was a very good session, but in less than 10m the wind drops completely, luckly i was very near to the shore.

but if i was 1 or 2 km away from shore, what should i do??

if i lay down the boom on the board, the boom doesnt touch the board, i need to "unhook" the mast foot and then lay down the boom and put me between the boom and the board and swim

Another option is unrig everything and swim? But its hard to unrig on the water.

this could happen to foil also. when we are on marginal winds..


20 posts
23 Sep 2021 4:31AM
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Just sail back, it will take time but it is both faster and easier than swimming.

316 posts
23 Sep 2021 4:47AM
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I had this happen once about 1.5-2 miles out into the bay with a buddy. We had started to swim a bit, but after 45 minutes the wind picked up and we sailed back quickly at that point.

Not ideal but very glad i didn't derig. Dragging the board and sail, however, is very slow going. Good thing there was no current.

1040 posts
23 Sep 2021 4:49AM
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with a board I can stand on easily I just pump back, if it's hard to balance I start swimming.

NSW, 396 posts
23 Sep 2021 6:50AM
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I've had this happen on an 85litre wave board with a 5m sail.

A formula board with an 11m sail should be able to be sails in like 1 knot of wind.

QLD, 2364 posts
23 Sep 2021 10:43AM
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If the wind drops and the board has enough volume to float me, then I sail home in displacement mode. It's slow but it works. I swim or paddle only as a last resort and only if I've fallen in and the board does not have enough volume for me to uphaul the sail.

178 posts
23 Sep 2021 9:21AM
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With that setup you can actually pump home in no wind at all if the current isn't too bad, but paddling home is faster. Here's one self-rescue approach which works well - also works for a broken mast or boom:

Release downhaul, release the boom but leave it sort of looped around the mastfoot, clew first. The other end of the boom will be off the tail of the board. Remove the sail from the mast and roll it as tightly as you can. Don't lose the top half of the mast! Thread the rolled up sail onto the lower half of the mast. Now take the top half of the mast and either standing or kneeling astride the sail, use the top half as a double-ended paddle to paddle back in. It's surprisingly fast, even trailing the boom, and you won't lose any parts on the way.

Clue Thirst
44 posts
23 Sep 2021 9:53AM
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Many years ago when I was living in Africa, we had two main wind conditions. In spring and summer it would be onshore sea breeze. In winter it would be offshore. The onshore wind was consistent and would fade gradually. However the off shore wind had a habit of dying suddenly. It would literally lift upwards off the ground with still air at ground level but still blow above you (something I learnt attempting skydiving at the same location).

We learnt to be very attentive in off shore conditions. At the first hint of the wind dropping you made sure you got closer to shore.

I would say it is important to understand the conditions. What drives the wind. A seabreeze is more predictable than frontal winds or berg winds. Know your wind.

691 posts
23 Sep 2021 10:06AM
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When it's stormy, watch it, and look for signs of dropping. In general, you want to be as far as you feel comfortable swimming back.

Wind drops often here, if I'm on 4.2 and less than 80L, it's nearly impossible to sail back. On 4.7 and 85L+ I can stay up and ride the swell in no wind.

I have paddled on top of my board, swam under my board, or just with the sail in my hands. Depending on where I am, it takes no longer than 1h and a half to make it to shore.

I never derigged in the water.

38 posts
23 Sep 2021 8:00PM
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Thanks for all advises!!

Can you see this video?? Is a very good ideia.

651 posts
24 Sep 2021 5:42AM
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The wind here can just stop completely with no warning,It's the mail reason I take out a board bigger than needed most days. Only had to swim back once this year. Had about 500meteres to the beach and it took a bloody long time, thought about de-rigging but getting a 8.6meter race sail de-rigged while sitting on a tiny board is tricky

977 posts
24 Sep 2021 9:05AM
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never had it die completely, but have pumped the sail to get back.

3200 posts
24 Sep 2021 9:11AM
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Wind can die suddenly everywhere.
Paddle, kick your feet, use half your mast as a paddle, wave for help.

WA, 8329 posts
24 Sep 2021 10:40AM
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Had the wind disappear, gone bye byes nothing but glass, had to flap the sail for 5km to get back

NSW, 9119 posts
24 Sep 2021 12:49PM
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Had it happen waaay off Greenmount (Kirra) one day.

I know the Hawaiian lads derig and roll it all up, but i'm not hardcore ; (

That was a very slow, somewhat scary swim.

NSW, 1870 posts
25 Sep 2021 1:29PM
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I had this happen in Maui, Kanaha. 4.2m sail on 85l board. About 1.5k offshore and wind completely switched off. Fortunately I was with another sailor for moral support.

The island sure looked small from that position. The currents are strong there so we were going sideways as fast as we were swimming forward. We'd sailed through two reef breaks which now looked a lot knarlier when your in the wash. There was intense concentration to make sure we didn't get wacked with or lose the gear.

About half way back, which seemed an eternity, the wind started to come back. I ended up About half a kilometre down the beach so it was a long walk of shame through all sorts of obstacles. I didn't want to take the risk of trying to sail unwind.

Lesson learnt that day.

NSW, 7373 posts
25 Sep 2021 2:31PM
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Years ago I sailed out to one of the anchored tankers off Nobby's beach.
The wind died and I had a long swim in trying not to think of sharks. I made the mistake of using sidestroke and not swapping sides..I could hardly move the next day..
I didn't go that far out again..

198 posts
25 Sep 2021 3:58PM
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The furthest distance away from the beach I sail is in Poole Harbour where the best spot is 2 miles away on the other side of the harbour.
I only go over there when the forecast is sound and my smallest board I take there is 110l & 6.5m sail. I've had the wind die on me and its taken 30 minutes to get back. But that was still 8 knots of wind. I doubt I will be going over there on the foil as thats light winds to start.

Nils Bach takes that a bit further here. He had to de-rig and use the mast to paddle back.


3200 posts
26 Sep 2021 1:39AM
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1985, wind drops at Crissy, SF, at 5pm.
Friend drifts out the gate on a 2 knot ebb, around Pt. Bonita, 1 mile out, on my 85 liter board and 4.5.
I struggle to beach and start calling on pay phone. Now dark.
Get Admiral, USCG, out of Alameda, who says she got picked up by CG on 343 foot Cutter heading for Pier 43 about 2 miles inland.
So I meet the ship there, at 10pm, she's fine and 20 CG men are flirting with her up on deck.
3 cases of beer next day.


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"And... if the wind drops??" started by ADinis