Learning to Windsurf
Safety, Hoofer logistics, equipment knowledge, launch, landing, uphaul, neutral position, sailing position, sailing to various points of sail, rig manipulation in water, water jibe, rigging, de-rigging, stewardship, introduction to tacking
Windsurfing 3rd Day*
More on water experience. Improvements in sailing at various points of sail. More practice executing rig manipulations in water. More practice tacking
Practice Rating may be granted for students demonstrating competence which instructor judges as almost a rating. This rating is used primarily as a means to encourage a student as well as to inform future instructors regarding the advanced status as perceived by the instructor granting the rating.
Windsurfing Light Rating
Windsurfing Light Rating may be granted if student demonstrates competence in uphaul and sailing at various points of sail. Special emphasis will be placed on ability to make upwind progress. Tacking dry is not a requirement. However, student should be able to launch, sail upwind for a length roughly half of the mooring field executing several (possibly water) tacks, and land safely. Familiarity with equipment (Long v.s. Short, B v.s. R sail, etc) and basic stewardship knowledge will be spot tested at the time of the testout.
Basic Skills and Knowledge
Jibe and Fast Tack
Sail trimming and handling for executing turns. Fast tack hand and footwork. Low wind jibe hand and footwork. More experience sailing in broad reach.
Harness and Footstraps
Mast foot pressure theory. Sail balance theory. Rig tuning (boom height, harness loop position and length) Increased awareness of safety concerns from being hooked in. How to fall safely forward and backward. How to anticipate catapults. How to protect equipment in catastrophic falls (especially nose cracks). Footstrap tuning (position and length). Theory of how (and why) to get in and out of foot straps. Awareness of advantages as well ask risks of being strapped in. Introduction to the theory of planing.
Heavy Weather Testout
Windsurfing Heavy Rating
Windsurfing Heavy Rating may be granted if student demonstrates competence in uphaul and sailing at various points of sail in 18-30 knots wind. Special emphasis will be placed on ability to make upwind progress. Tacking dry is not a requirement. However, student should be able to launch, sail upwind for a length roughly half of the mooring field executing several (possibly water) tacks, and land safely. Familiarity with equipment (Long v.s. Short, B v.s. R sail, etc) and basic stewardship knowledge will be spot tested at the time of the testout. Also expected is the awareness of physical limitation of sailing in heavy weather including wind, wave, stamina, and good awareness of how the equipment behaves (differently) in these conditions. The testout for Windsurfing Heavy rating must be done on boards with 175L of volume or smaller.
Introduction to shortboards
Short Board Clinic*
Orientation of short board equipment (Techno, Evo, Xantos). Special stewardship issues relevant to these equipments. Theory of short board propulsion. Theory of steering in planing v.s. non-planing conditions. Theory of slogging up wind. Awareness of board volume and the constraints of sinker boards. Further discussion of performance limit of sailors and his/her equipment.
Windsurfing Short Board Light Rating
The Windsurfing Short Board Light rating can be earned by simply taking this class. This class is basically an orientation/informational session with emphasis on equipment awareness, sailing performance and ability awareness, and basic steering and propulsion theory. Windsurifng Heavy Rating is a prerequisite for this class (and the rating), and it is expected that students are competent at basic sail and board handling. Ratings can be denied by the discretion of an instructor if some students demonstrate definite lack of necessary skills.
Water Start Clinic
Discussion of theory of water starts. Condition at Lake mendota makes it virtually impossible to schedule a on-water practice/demonstration session. Students often watch an instructional video with instructor making comments.
Free Style Clinic
Assortment of beginner light wind free style tricks. This class is intended to be mainly recreational. Tricks typically covered: backwinded sailing, clew first sailing, boomerang, heli-tack, duck, slam jibe.
Somewhere around this time, through practice and accumulation of time on water, students develop competence in sailing in planing conditions. (Very) gradually, students learn to use the footstrap. Most students will attempt but are inconsistent in their water starts. Student's tacking ability slowly improves to the point that they can reasonably tack a 130L board. Typical student takes at least one year after their windsurfing heavy rating to reach this stage.
Short Board Heavy
Short Board Heavy Rating
After students have gained sufficient experience practicing the short boards in moderately heavy condition (sometimes under the supervision of an instructor) a student may opt to test out for short board heavy. This rating grants members privilege of sailing in blue flag conditions. Students are expected to demonstrate good judgement concerning weather, performance, and equipment use. Tacking dry is not a requirement. Students are expected to mostly sail in reaches but with some upwind progress. Strong awareness of navigational strategy will be expected.
Experience & Practice
Students reach a stage where planing is consistent. Rigs are tuned efficiently. Harness and footstraps are utilized consistently. Waterstarts are executed reasonably.
Short Board Extreme Rating
This is a highly selective rating. Students have significant supervised short board sailing experience in heavy conditions including 30+ winds. Sailors with this rating are expected to demonstrate exceptional skill and judgement to sail safely in environments where life-saving services are unavailable. Sailors with this rating are expected to be familiar with the topographic features of Lake Mendota and exercise sound judgement in equipment use, assessment of conditions, navigation plans, stewardship, and safety. Sailors with this rating can go out in blue-red flag conditions. This rating does not necessarily require a test-out. Consent of two instructors are required in order for this rating to be granted. Only instructors with this rating are authorized to offer their consent. (The names of the consenting instructors should be indicated in the ‘instructor comments’ section of the member’s rating records.)
This is a service rating to lead members in sailing sessions when UW lifesaving is not operating. In addition to high level of sailing competence, lake leaders are expected to be familiar with and execute the rules and procedure of the lake leader session. Familiarity with the operation of motorboats and access to safety equipment (radio, anchor, floatable, paddle) is a requirement for carrying this rating. Fleet captain’s consent is required for assigning this rating.
Only instructors who are rated can assign a rating
*’s indicate the lessons for which ratings may be granted.
The windsurfing fleet encourages members to practice in heavy weather under instructor supervision. Members can approach an instructor and request permission to sign out under instruction. Instructors will use his/her discretion to grant such permissions, and provide necessary directions.