Dan Holman gives us some tips about hiking effectively
1) Leverage – In a narrow hiking boat, getting your weight outboard gives more righting moment (leverage), which is like horsepower to a sailboat. When the breeze is up, the harder you hike the faster you will go.
2) Fitness will help your hiking – whether it be aerobic activity, strength / endurance in the specific muscle groups (quads, abs, hip flexors, core) or even flexibility. Hiking out is the best practice for hiking out though!
3) Posture is important – try to watch yourself on video to check your hiking posture – you should look to maintain a straight back so look to engage those core muscles. Legs should be fairly straight to keep your arse out of the water – shoulders back but upper body not horizontal – save that extra for special moments! Totally straight legs is much harder for little gain in righting moment. Keeping good form is important to maximise economy of effort and minimise injury. Warm up! Do some drills ashore, and do some hiking at 75% effort and stretching before the racing starts.
4) Adjustment – make sure your toestrap is adjustable – in marginal hiking or reaching conditions, there is little worse than a loose toestrap. A nice tight one keeps you “locked into the boat” and arse out of water on these occasions where righting moment is not king, but accurate transmission of your body movement into the boat is. Upwind in breeze, have a “maximum off” toestrap position that is appropriate to your height, fitness and sailing style.
5) Gear – get the right tools for the job – hiking is an athletic activity so will always make you hurt. No matter how good the ergonomics of your boat, a good pair of hiking shorts and boots will make your effort go further.
the champion’s choice (image credit: BBC/Getty)
6) Sail Smart – everyone gets knackered! Know when it is happening to you! When fatigued, it is more important to maintain accurate sheeting and steering than absolute righting moment, so don’t be afraid to tighten that toestrap and take some of the load off if you think you risk doing everything badly because of fatigue.
Hike out bitches! Pain is fear leaving the body