Harness line length is down to one’s personal taste, however harness line position has a sweet spot. I always knew there must be an easier way to find this sweet spot than the various methods you may have heard, like ‘six fists back for a six metre’ or ‘the length from your fingertips to elbow from the mast to your front line (?!)’. I guess if we all had hands, forearms and sails of uniform size these methods may have helped, but we don’t.
Way back in 1998 I sussed it, a simple method which worked for me and seemed to work for the world’s best sailors (judging by their pictures in the magazines). I started trying this technique with our guests in 1999 and by 2000 got the chance to really put it to the test, measuring Bjorn’s, Polakow’s and Nik’s lines. All different sized people using different kit with different styles. But you know what? They all have the harness lines in the exact position I do, and you should do after reading this.
So where is it? It’s the place that enables you to windsurf using minimum strength in your arms, as it trims the sail in sufficiently to accelerate easily and handle the gusts comfortably. If you think about it, your harness lines are the epicentre of you and your windsurfing kit, the crank shaft determining your stance and control. Using this new harness line position to develop your stance will enable you to handle
the biggest gusts like Bjorn, get planing with ease, virtually never spin out, crank upwind, learn how to use your harness sooner, sail for longer and faster, with either bigger or smaller rigs, the choice is yours and the world is no longer about mussel, it’s your oyster.
The back harness line should be about one third of the way along your sail (from front to back). The front line should be about four to six inches in front of the back one. (Approx a fist to a hand-span).
The exceptions are:
Sails over 7.0
People under 5'6"
As a rough guide in these circumstances your lines should be up to two inches further forward.
Thanks to Guy Cribb