Jibing When Overpowered

In windsurfing, being overpowered is a condition when the wind is too strong or the sail too large so that the sailor is not able to fully sheet it in. As the sail is only partially sheeted in it will not be delivering its full power. Jibing under this condition requires a slightly different technique from normal. The advice often given is that, just before commencing the jibe, the sail has to be de-powered by over-sheeting it. This is easier said than done because to go from partially sheeted to oversheeted you would have to go through the fully sheeted and hence fully powered stage. This would require a great deal of effort and is very often not even possible.

There is an easier way to de-power the sail.

With your harness unhooked from the boom, lean back and pull the sail in as far as you can with your arms. It helps if you can turn the board briefly into the wind when doing this. While still leaning back, take your back foot out of the footstrap and place it on the leeward side of the board and tilt the board to leeward as you would in a normal jibe. Do NOT lean into the jibe at this stage. As the board turns into the jibe the apparent wind will move back, causing the sail to go into the fully powered position. The increased pressure on the sail will make you want to sheet out but you must not allow it to, that is why you must continue to lean back and pull on the sail. This condition will last for only a short while, maybe a second or two. As the board turns further, the apparent wind will move back far enough for the sail to go into the de-powered position. As soon as you feel the power go off, you can start leaning into the jibe. Take care you do not allow the sail to sheet out at this stage until you are ready to flip it or the power will come back on and you will not be able to complete the jibe in the normal way.

Copyright 2009 Denis Wee. All rights reserved.