This is going to be the first year I am competing in races. I'm going to be at the WISSA championships on Lake Winnebago. I am working on my tacking technique, which I don't usually use recreationally. How important is tacking in these races, or is a quick, small just transition sometimes more efficient?
Does anyone know of any videos online showing good race tacking technique?
So far, I have managed some good tacks, but too many end up with me on my back. I have a month to practice.
I've been in a few races. What i've learned is kite choice is the single most important part. Know your kites and your windspeeds go big but not so big you can't hold an edge as upwind legs can be very tough.
A few years back i was on a 17m race specific kite in moderate winds the day was supposed to be 40-50mph so I decided to drop back to a 9m. (thank god or I wouldnt be here today)
The race began and I was in last place. wind was light like 15-20 mph Quarter ways through the race the wind ramped up to 35 quickly. everyone was blown off course and the 9m started blasting through everyone I think I ended up in 3rd. If I had a better start it would have been 1st by a landslide.
Tacking is if you can do it in a single tack and pump the kite is the most efficient.
any back an forths to get around a pileon is a waste of time.
However you wanna stay the course but keep maximum speed you can try an arc but keep it as minimal as possible so you don't loose to much time. keep an eye on the pileon and go slightly higher up wind and stay about 10-15 feet upwind of the pileon as you near it begin getting closer and then power turn around it. Its all about how the event organisers set up the course. If possible run it a few times before it starts. Sometimes they don't allow trials. and in our racing we did tricks especially at the end were bonus points so do something stylish for finish line.
on down wind legs try not to slack the kite at all loops under tension are the best pumping the kite to make it speed up then pull back to increase your ground speed.
practice against trees and obstacles or if possible fly near other people as you need to thread a needle at start time and a bump or tangle is automatic disqualified.
depending on racing rules it can be a regatta style start where there is a pre start and a real start at whistle time which is critical to get timed right as this usually determines who sets the tone of the race. and you can avoid bumping and crowding.
(other kiters and beginers or inexperienced kiters can slow you down by blocking to the point of giving up on the race all together. If necessary I'll go downwind or upwind away from the crowd to gain speed and avoid trouble makers)
top speed that day was around 60-65 on ski's and I was around 45 on a snowboard. conditions got to bad to really let it go near the end of the day. wind was around 55mph and the snow was blown in such a way that it became dangerous to set speed records.
Conditions will dictate alot on how the race goes. Lighter winds a larger arc on upwind is necesary to make it around with out wasting time going back and forth. higher winds are easier to upwind so you wanna tighten up your arc and maximize your ground speed.
hope this helps a bit racing is fun but tough if you make a mistake as it will cost you alot of time. Practice your speed at different angles that acheive the same result. edging isn't everything in racing its more in kite choice and how you set up your tack angle edging scrubs speed and a blowout as you describe falling on your back is too much. wax the ski's/board
This year I got myself a quiver of real race kites, and I have to say...never mind. Tacking just became REALLY easy. I do need to practice some more, get a feel for how to do it in different wind conditions, or when not to if I don't have enough power in the kite, but I've gotten some tacks where I am carving a smooth curve without stopping or any sudden turn.
This is good. Thanks for posting. I don't race, but I want to learn to tack on my foilboard. I figure a good lightwind day on the snow would give me a good opportunity to practice. If the lakes ever freeze up around here. I went out the other day and in some places it was like water skiing. There was a layer of slush on top of the ~6" of ice.