Finalising the gybe

For this issue, Simon Bornhoft continues the quest to give you the best possible gybes. So if you combine the Dyno’s super smooth easy turning qualities and the core Windwise skills that have enhanced thousands of gybers, you’re going to be cranking those corners!

“I get most of the way round my gybes and it either all goes wrong or I lose speed at the ‘rig flip!’” How many times has that been said? To solve this at Windwise, we get everyone to train their ‘Rig Rotator’ to develop very specific Touch Points to ensure a higher gybe consistency and faster exit speeds. So this coaching session carries on from the Shifting and Switching of the feet and takes you through your gybe exit. It will also enhance other situations when you have to rotate rig. So here we go!

‘Sailing Clew First’… Why it’s so misleading? BE MORE RIG@90!

It’s natural to assume ‘Clew First’ as sailing across the wind (beam reach) with the sail ‘the wrong way round’ and the clew end of the boom pointing towards the nose of the board with the clew arm extended. Apart from in super light winds, this is a disaster and why so many people lose speed or get the rig ripped out of their hands at the end of a gybe!

Problem: If you sail across the wind, i.e. come round your gybes too far before rotating the rig (often due to a late foot switch), there’s way too much pressure on the rig, making it harder to hold on to and move your hands during the rotation. Plus, as a rig ‘rotates’ the board tends to spin towards the wind causing you to come forwards stand up, grab the mast and lose speed. 

Solution: Switch your feet dead downwind (See Part 7 Shifting & Switching) and rotate your rig on a broad reach. You’ll then collect the rig on a far better sailing line with more speed!


We all need to train and emphasize the following… 

  • Always rotate your rig on a very broad reach, so almost dead downwind! Basically with the wind more behind you, rather than side onto the board.
  • Before rotating, keep the ‘Rig@90 degrees to the board’ – not ‘Clew first’!
  • When exiting your gybes, make sure you stay low (in all conditions) with a wide foot spread.

** If you’re planing post foot switch, rotate your rig immediately from a Rig@90 position – don’t hold on!!

** If you’ve slowed down post foot switch, get settled, ‘Rig@90’ going downwind and then rotate your rig.

Train Your Rig@90 and Rig Rotator Touch Points

Practice these core principles and Touch Points on the land to break it all down.

This carries on from Shifting & Switching Part 7 in the series.

Windwise Principles

Vision: Chin near or touching the forward shoulder = Looking forward, not at the rig!

Opposition: A low Sunken 7 body ‘opposes’ the power and movement of the mast/rig.

Clew hand: Hang down off a wide spread clew hand, pulling in to keep the Rig@90 to the board.

Mast hand: Slides along the boom to ‘feel’ the boom clamp before & during rotation.

New mast hand: Drops underneath, grabbing well down the boom on the new side towards the harness line. 


Warrior Mid Carve

Continuing from the last feature, we’re mid gybe, dead downwind in a ‘Warrior’ carving position i.e. looking and leaning over a heavily flexed knee, accentuating your Touch Points to keep the Rig@90 degrees to the board!

Touch Points:
 – Chin on or near the front shoulder looking out of the turn.
 – Carving foot toes on the rail next to back strap.
 – Pulling in and down hard on the rear placed clew hand – imagine talking into a microphone!

Shift & Switch

Whilst ‘shifting and switching’ the feet (see last issue for full info), pull in and down on that clew hand in very tight to the body, like talking to a microphone with the chin on or close to your shoulder, looking forward!

Rig Rotator – Hinge The Hand!

Prior to, or even whilst releasing the clew hand, it is absolutely imperative to ‘slide’ the mast hand up the boom to create a ‘hinge’ at the mast. This instantly creates greater control and reduces the chances of being pulled forward when the boom is released. This tip alone has made the difference to thousands and thousands of gybe exits! As the clew swings round, the mast hand ‘guides’ and scoops the rig downwind slightly towards the tail, body LOW in a ‘Sunken 7’ keeping the rig moving before grabbing well down the boom with the new front/mast hand.

 Touch Points:
 – Chin on shoulder looking forward.
– Hinge The Hand


Rig Rotator Touch Point

IF you are low, you’ll be able to reach well down the boom.

Go underneath the old front hand and grab the boom under or over grip – whichever ergonomically suits YOU! If you can’t reach down the boom, it is telling you the feet and rig change are too late or you’re too upright with your feet too close together. 


Sunken 7 – Rig Forward Body Back

Whilst looking forward in a Sunken 7 position, keep the scooping momentum going to draw that rig FORWARD (Never to windward), don’t reach for the boom to sheet in. The action of drawing the rig forward brings the boom to you and sheets the rig in.

 Now let’s take a look on the water..


Rig Rotator

Now when you look at a gybe exit, you’ll have a much better idea of what is needed to make a smoother, lighter rig rotation to increase your consistency and speed. It comes down to an early foot switch, keeping in a low ‘Sunken 7’ and being very tuned into the Windwise Touch Points to make sure you MAKE YOUR MOVE! 

Over the next issues, we’ll look at some gybe variations to cope with being maxed out, be that chop busting ‘upwind’ gybe lines, race style laydowns and also your classic strap to strap ‘wave board’ gybe. All of which are made a lot easier on a Dyno!

Send Simon a question about your windsurfing technique or any aspect about sailing your Dyno

Simon Bornhoft Windwise offers unique windsurfing experiences combining proven fast track skills training methodology, welcoming socials and amazing adventures. Plus you can try out the superb Dyno!

Prasonisi 1st-8th Oct 2020 Freeride & FoilWise

Your Progression Starts here…

Copyright: Simon Bornhoft Windwise 2020

RIG@90 Beach Start

A great way to practice your rig control and then rotate the sail is to work on your RIG@90 Beach Starts using your Rig Rotator Touch Points. 

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