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Old 04-24-2013
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Hiking Leverage

newbie "racer" (thinking about it) here, so please be gentle. I bought my FJ last summer but only got it out twice, and in calm winds. My background prior is mostly chartering/cruising.

I'm thinking about racing this summer, and met some folks recently that race. Let's just say these people did not look like college racing sailors/athletes, but when I mentioned that I just typically dump the main a little or head up when things get wild, instead of hiking out, they snickered at me! I'm 43, and these are people 25+ years my senior! That's a shot to the ego. "Hike or swim" I believe is what they said.

So, I'm reading up on hiking, but have never been on a racing dinghy doing this, I have some questions....

- is most of the leverage gained by butt off the gunwale, or is it the pulling up of the hiking straps (or the two in concert) ? The reason I ask, it doesn't seem once most of my weight is ON the rail, that additional leverage could be gained by going OFF of it. Obviously, I must be wrong as that's the way it's done - I just want to understand better. Perhaps being off the rail provides more "up" power to the hiking straps (?).

- re: the racers I met - I would guess I have at least as good of ab strength/core strength as them, but it seems hiking out for even a minute or so is about all I can do without getting exhausted (at home, hiking off of my ottoman, feet held under the couch). Yes, I'm gonna work on this daily, but does that sound right? I'm 6'1", 205 lbs, and reasonably active.

- other tips ?

Thanks,

FJ
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Hiking Leverage

On a small boat like an FJ you'll make a big difference by hiking, as your friends intimated. The straps simply keep you from falling out of the boat as you lean back. I don't believe there's any righting moment from the straps geometry itself; it's getting your core outside the boat that provides the leverage to keep her flat.

It IS a serious abs workout
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Hiking Leverage

It is all leverage; like a see-saw. The farther out (away from the fulcrum) you go the more force your weight generates.
The real fun begins when your body is all the way out, horizontal to the water and you are holding the tiller extension in one hand and the main sheet in the other while still holding your FJ on a straight course.
You will get very good at anticipating gusts and lulls. The gusts get you to hike out farther; the lulls can put you in the water when fully hiked out.
Hike or swim indeed.
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Re: Hiking Leverage

see, that's what I'm failing to understand - on a seesaw, hanging past the end of it wouldn't really get anyone more leverage than sitting on the very end of it, would it?! Weight is applied ON to the board (gunwale), and I wouldn't think physics cares much where the weight is otherwise (it's the point of contact that matters). That's why I mentioned the potential righting energy ("up" pressure) applied to the hiking straps. I'm really trying to understand here. Perhaps I just gotta get in the boat when the water warms and find out for myself (?).

FJ
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Re: Hiking Leverage

No, FJ; it places the center of effort farther from the fulcrum..the rail. Simple applied physics. Just as a lever gains advantage as you increase it's length for a given weight; hiking out will do the same. You are the lever AND the weight;

HTH,
Paul
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Re: Hiking Leverage

I understand it now, my body is extending the length of the lever. Thanks for bearing with me.
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Re: Hiking Leverage

Don't take our word for it, go out and try it! On a dinghy your goal should be to keep the boat as flat as possible, and as powered up as possible. You will find out very quickly that hiking makes a huge difference. You may also find that your core and abdominal strength is not as good as you think! Dinghy racing is hard work!

Even on keel boats hiking makes a big difference. Even on a 50ft race boat you will see the crew lining the rail, and they aren't sitting casually, they are leaning their upper bodies as far outboard as they can. It is hard, and uncomfortable, so you've got to know they wouldn't do it if it didn't work!
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Re: Hiking Leverage

FJ, you've got it now... as to your seesaw analogy.. think of putting hiking straps on it and being able to extend your body further outward, as you say, lengthening the lever and moving the CE away from the fulcrum.
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Re: Hiking Leverage

If your abs need a rest... FJ's are sometimes raced with trapeezes. Then you are really getting your center of mass out over the water. Actually, it would be your crew out over the water.
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Re: Hiking Leverage

great, I'm gonna order a harness for my crew. I'll be the one at the helm with a beer in my hand.
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