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Tips for towing broken down sailers
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afolander



Joined: 22 Jul 2002
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:27 pm    Post subject: Tips for towing broken down sailers Reply with quote

I helped tow in a sailer with a broken mast at Powerlines Monday (4.7, op eb ). Made decent progress body dragging with the sailer hanging on to the back of my harness. My learning was that trying to waterstart with towing weight is much different than normal and potentially hazardous if you do not adjust to the extra weight and friction on your board during the waterstart.

With the broken down sailer holding on to my back foot strap and a big gust of wind while waterstarting, I ended up smashing into my rig hard enough to get a little laceration on my kneecap through my wetsuit and a sore quadcrep that seems to have healed up after a couple days. I probably would have been fine if had set the nose of board up wind and/or did a really slow, controlled water start. Sharing this so the next would be rescuer does not repeat my mistake.

Not sure if trying to surf /slog over the swell to set up a tow with me standing on the board would have been a better technique or not, but I might try that next time. I think that is how a sailer at the Hatchery successfully set up a tow for me when I broke a mast there a few years ago.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2388

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've towed over 15 sailors at Crissy, a couple at Flying Tigers, and several at MarinaBay.
Easiest to have them grab your rear footstrap, so your board stays across the wind mostly. You get used to the extra load, know to put your feet in SLOG position, sheet in and out slightly to maintain control.
Of course, you shouldn't just sheet in and expect to plane.....it's a slow slog manuever only. You can go across the wind just fine.
SteveYong at Crissy is credited with towing in over 25 windsurfers. He's 112 lbs., uses a 90 liter board mainly, and tried to get the downed sailor to derig if given enough time for the longer tows.
My longest tow was RickVoss, all 200 lbs and a 7 meter sail, broken mast, from the outgoing shipping channel to the St.Francis, on a ebb going to slack. I weighed around 150 at the time, 5.0 sail, 82 liter glass board.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3371

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The key is not to stand up to tow.let him lay on your board while holding your harness and you lay in the water in water start position all the way to shore.
Keep both of your feet on the board.
Helps to laugh and joke with the sailor to ease the tension on the way home.
Towing in other ways risks crashes and gives you control issues. You are going to slog anyway. You will find this method relaxing and pleasant.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2388

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it hard to believe it's possible to have someone lay on your board, grab your harness, and you have a spot to put your feet while slogging, but if you've done it, you must be riding Formula board.
My harness is at least 3' away from my board, so the guy would need really long arms. And if he's laying on my board, why can't he grab onto the rails of my board?
Me, I need the EJECT button. I need to be able to eject the dead weight at a moment's notice, not have him part of my equation thru heck and high water.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5224

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only done it once on a short board, but I simply butt dragged back downwind with him holding on to the foot strap. Lots of energy required, but if you stand up you are going to go down--a lot--and use far more energy.

With a formula board you can take pieces of the broken equipment down to the launch and come back and pull him in with a line. You can stand on a Formula Board--but don't hook in.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3371

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I works fine. We do clinics on this method at times. By holding the harness or tying a line to the harness or better to the harness lines you are free to control the board.
The load is carried in the same place as in normal sailing, from your sail to your harness through the lines.
If they hold your straps the load is carried through you and resists your control movements of the board.
We keep a spare line 6ft long wrapped around the boom near the clips.
Even when not rescuing you will have the line ready when you notice a frayed down or out and are more likely to change them before they break.
My board is a 69 liter Thommen but it doesn't matter much as long as he isn't being dragged by the rear straps.
Everyone is being dragged directly by the sail through the harness lines.
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LeeD



Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 1012

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is interesting, and confusing.
If the downed sailor is laying ON my board, am I towing his rig and board? Why not have him lay on his board? My board is usually around 90 liters, not much float for TWO guys and still dragging a load.
Why do I need to footsteer when I'm dragging a rig, sailor, and his board? Why can't I just head directly across the wind, in a straight line?
Now if the towed person was laying on HIS board, directly upwind of me, he can grab my harness for sure, but I'll be dragging my butt, compounding the SLOWNESS of the entire procession.
Better I stand on my board, drag him atop his board, and hopefully, a thrown away sail, boom tied to his rear footstrap, his mast inside his front straps, his mast base across the rear straps.
Do you know how fricken far the outgoing shipping channel is from the SanFrancisco shoreline? It's over THREE miles! Butt dragging for 3 miles is a lowly regarded entity for me.
And just HOW MANY rescue tow jobs have you successfully attended?
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LeeD



Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 1012

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had to re read Keycocker's post again.
Really, attach the towee to your HARNESS LINES ???????????? Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
Fun time waterstarting with HIM attached to your booms.
Have you tried that technique? I'll bet not.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3371

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry if it was confusing.
In Belize we have many rescues. There is no Coast Guard no life guards, no other way to get back and the wave site is about 5 to 7 miles out in the blue,, but not all rescues were that far out.
I have been a victim or helper in more than thirty rescues.
With this rescue method you DO NOT water start.
You butt drag. Since the distances are so great It is important to reduce drag.
This is done by putting both feet on the board so that your feet don't drag.
It helps to get the guy up on the back of your board as much as possible so he doesn't drag as much.
If it is directly across the wind to land that's good but that is rarely the case for us.
His board trails behind with the rig taken down and lashed if you can.
If the board trails too far it flips back and forth. It is better to tie it right up on the tail of your board and have the guy lay part on it to stabilize but that takes some practice.
The long distances meant you had to be able to steer your board in the water start position to get back to the tiny island we live on.
Hooking any load to the straps makes steering difficult.
Windsurfer gear is meant to carry the load through the harness lines and no where else. Any other attachment point to a dragging load makes the gear not work properly.
As the OP pointed out, we found that other methods which involve standing throw you off the board. Long distance recues like ours cramp your legs if you stand.
I teach windsurfing at my high school so every kid has practiced this at our site.
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fxop



Joined: 13 Jun 1998
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you are butt dragging hooked in? The sail can get up high enough to provide some lift? If the wind has dropped will the sail stay up on its own?

The spare line you carry on the boom is the tow line for the victim's gear? The tow line is attached to the rescuer's harness?

If you've done a 7 mile rescue with this method it sounds like a counter-intuitive advance in the art and deserves a youtube video -- just an iphone, nothing fancy, so we can see the setup!
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