Lots of top riders can almost see the correct positioning of the mast foot by looking at the board from the side. Still the best to get the sweet spot for the positioning of your mast foot comes from jumping on the water and testing it out.
Going straight to the point, there are 2 aspects.
- If you are overpowered and you have problems in control, move the mast foot forward.
- If you need more power more acceleration, move your mast foot backwards.
From where do we need to adjust more forward or more backwards?
Simple! From where you have your mast foot at that moment! There is not one perfect position for the mast foot, but this varies according to the conditions there are, your weight, how the sail pushes on the board, and many other aspects. The positioning will be more or less always the same, but by changing even 1cm its place, you will be surprised how much extra comfort or power you will get!
So how does it work if we have a new board? NO! Dont copy from your friend who has your same board! He could be stronger, 20KG more heavy, have a different sail and fin, so you need to test it out yourself! Its quite simple to find the correct position. Put the mast track in the middle of the mast box, and jump on the water and start testing!
Once you are planning and you feel the following:
- the nose of the board lifts up
- it`s difficult to close the sail on the deck of the board
- the front foot is going out from the front foot strap
- you do a lot of spin outs
- the fin goes too much side ways
This means that your mast foot is too further back, you have too much power, and therefore you need to move it forward. How much forward? Does half a cm change our life? Yes it does! If it is the first time you try the board you might move the mast track 1cm so that you feel more the difference in extra comfort to eliminate the points we mentioned above. If the problem are not yet solved, move the mast track again another 1cm, and keep on advancing it till you completelly don`t feel anymore the above points. Once you feel comfortable you have reached the right position for the mast track, and if you like, move it half a cm more back…. this way you go to the perfect position if you feel like it`s that touch better!
In case you feel that:
- the board does not accelarate and feels heavy on the water
- does not go upwind
- you don`t get enough power on the fin
- you feel slow
- you feel like you are not doing any sports as everything is too easy
..the solution is simple, move the mast track back again by 1cm at the time, till you feel that you get more power, performance and speed for that condition, without getting to the point where you start losing control!
It`s important not to confuse that strong wind needs the mast track forward, light wind needs the mast track backwards. It can be strong wind, but if the water is flat compared to a wavy condition in lighter wind, you might find out that you can actually use the mast track further back even if it is easier. So go on the water, and don`t be lazy to test out new position till you don`t reach the point where you have the most power and control compromise.
The result of finding the perfect spot for the mast foot, should be to get to a point where the board is flying over the chop and waves, without touching, a nice constant pressure on the fin, with a bit of power on the back leg, but still a nice comfortable stance. The nose of the board should not get lifted but stay easy over the water and from hitting the waves. In case you feel that from time to time the nose of the board gets lifted move that half a cm of the mast track a little forward.
Same sail, fin, person on a flat water service could you use the mast track even 5cm more backwards against a conditions where you have chop and 2/3m swell and strong wind.
This is why you should not focus in a having only one position for your mast foot, but to open your mind to have at least 3 places to position it according to the conditions. When you find them, mark them with a felt tape directly on the board, so that you wont lose time each time. Maybe you might need to adjust it again more times, but at least you will go more or less to the right place at first shot.
Remember that the mast track position is also working with the boom height. As we explained in the article in the last issue, lowering the boom gives more control, highering the boom more power. Mast track positioning and boom height are very connected for the adjustaments. So these are to things that you can play about to find the right compromise for max power and control of your gear.