After last year I decided to get myself a waist harness to use in stronger winds. More and more you see slalom guys use a waist harness instead of the nomally used seat harness. It really made me curious on the feeling and what it would do for performance.
So a few weeks ago I went to the surfshop and got myself a waist harness. And because I never sailed with a waist harness I took the advice of the shop owner, knowing that if it was really no good I could come back and arrange for an other harness.
Well to make a potential long story a little shorter, it was time to test on last tuesday evening. The wind was strong enhough for my PD 110, the 7.0 Loft Blade and my new BOSS 4.22. 38 which I will review in a next post. This beiing my first session in 2013 on this combo I decided to start with my seat harness and first get the hang of it again! After a hour sailing I decided to change the seat for the waist. The wind stayed the same so that would really give me the opportunity to test one against the other.
What did I find:
1. No need to change the harness lines lenght. I would have expected to make them shorter but no need for tht. So that means also that switching between the harnesses is no real problem. All trimsettings remain the same.
2. The feeling, with the seat I have to hang in the trapeze with my lower back and glutes. With the waist it is more the middle and higher back that I hang in the trapeze. Therefore my legs are somewhat free er while using the waist instead of the seat harness.
3. Performance, I did not use a GPS, that’s a next test I will conduct. But I had some performance experiences right away. But first I like to state that I do not expect great difference in overall speed etc. What did I find:
– there was no difference in the ability to go upwind or downwind. But the downwind was less trouble then with the seat harness. I think this has to do with the less direct contact the harness line and the feet/board have compared to the seat harness. Probably in light winds and bigger boards it will be easier on a seat harness to free the board on downwind runs as where in stronger winds the seatharness has to much effect on the board for real control. With the waist harness the sail and board work more as seperate parts which makes controlling the gear easier in stronger winds and wavy conditions.
– the second thing is that I seemed to get tired faster with the waist then with the seat harness but this could also have to do with the fact that I sailed the first hour with the seat and the second hour with the waist harness.. This is undecided for now 🙂
Ok, to wrap this up for now, the waist harness is a nice extra piece of equipment to get extra control in the higher winds. Not yet decided where I will use waist and where I will use seat but again it is an interesting option to have. I need to test with GPS to know if there is a significant difference in speed but normally more control means more speed overall. Definitely the downwindruns where easier to control! Will see what the next tests wiil bring. Stay tuned for more updates 😉
I used to always use a seat harness for slalom but have found that I gain a lot of control with a waist harness and am not loosing any speed. Plus I have a lot more movement in the gybes making quick footwork much easier. I still use the seat for formula since you have to sit down on those big sails a lot more to control all the power.