Getting into Footstraps

View count: 2164 | duration: 2:16 | date: 9 years ago on Friday, July 1, 2011

The key to planing speed and control is getting both feet in the straps

Getting into the rear outward footstraps on wide boards can be a real challenge for sailors with big feet. But as soon as you get both feet in, you will enjoy the thrills of increased speed and control.

Poor stance out of the straps

The problem with not getting your back foot in the straps on wide boards is a poor stance. It is difficult to sheet in and rake the sail back enough to close the gap. Speed and control suffer, and so do my legs - which often get cramps.

Big feet washout

However both my Starboard Go 165 and Tabout Rocket 140 have outbound footstrap positions that are placed aggressively over the rails. This leads to the common problem (at least for me and my big feet) of washout. You go to put your foot in the rear strap and the next minute its flying out the back of the board.

Big feet washout

The force of the water always wins, and it happens so fast it often leads to a total loss of control.

The need to angle the foot

The only way I can reliably get my feet in is to twist my ankle so my toe is pointing back while my heel is still on the rail. I then slip my toe in the strap and twist my foot into the back strap. My heel still hits the water as I straighten my foot, but the force pushes it into the strap rather than out.

Strap assembly

I was having so much grief on my Tabou Rocket, that I added these stainless steel straps so I could move the foot straps more inbound. While it is definitely easier to get my feet into these new strap positions, raw speed has definitely suffered. This may end up being a temporary measure as I get more adept at sliding my feet in sideways - but you have to start somewhere ;)

Better stance for speed and control

Once you can get both feet reliably in the outbound strap positions, speed and control really does improve. This is me on my 8.5 m2 sail in about 18-20 knots, locked in and blasting. I could not hold that sail down if my stance was more upright, instead I would be luffing out in gusts, rather than accelerating as I am doing here. Notice also that my legs are straighter, so there is much less strain on them.

Posted by Henry Thomas, 9 years ago on Thursday, June 30, 2011


Matt C said...

Thanks for the tips, can't wait to try this tomorrow

Posted 9 years ago on Saturday, February 18, 2012

Denis From Lancieux France said...

Thanks, this really helps me understand the whys ,as I only begin putting my feet in.

Posted 8 years ago on Friday, May 24, 2013

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