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Old 23-05-2011, 13:30   #1
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A Day Sailing

I went out last weekend for a day sail. I've logged a few years on power boats, but still learning the sail thing.

Sloppy weather confused seas, waves coming from two different directions the wind a third, and a fourth, and a 5th, ...

The day started like any of my power boat trips, check out the boat, (a rental), and crank er up and head out. It was a bit different being the passee, instead of the passer as a line of power boats went around me as I headed out the channel.

The problems started as I decided to transition from power to sail. First the crew I brought along as helmsman had a little trouble keeping headed to wind. Understandable as I couldn't tell which way it was coming from either. When the boat was pointed to wind the waves were broadsiding us causing the boat to roll wildly, and fall off. Raising the sails didn't go like the class either. I started with the boom loose but it swung so wildly from the rolling I couldn't get the sail to feed, (and I feared for my fingers). I tried to put in a reef and found it was easier said than done, trying to control the swinging boom without being carried off of the deck, sometimes catching the railing by my toes. It wasn't any eaiser with the mainsheet tight as the main alternately powered and depowered with the wind shifts. There were no lines for the reef point, I had to improvise from scratch. Finally I got the reef in and finished raising the main. I was very happy to have a furled jib, as the deck was bouncing around so much I could only even get to the mast by crawling on hands and knees and hanging on with both hands. To raise the main I had to leg lock the base of the mast, which worked except the pitching repeatedly bounced the mast on a very sensitive part of my anatomy. I'm very happy I could open the jib from the cockpit, (I'm going to be looking at main furling boats from now on). After the sails were up and the engine off, the boats motion settled down and it even became pleasant, unfortunately I had already lost my crew to seasickness, who were all hanging over the rails feeding fish.

Then there was the question of were to go, there was a strong wind blowing to a lee shore, so I sailed as close to the wind as I could, but was only going about 4 knots. If I moved to a beam reach I could make better speed, but then I was being pushed toward that shore. I tacked a couple of times to get out as far as I could, and then set a good compromise course that wouldn't hit anything.

That of course is when the wind died down and the boats speed settled into a screaming 2 knots. Then I had to choose unreef, or take it slow. Well the jib was no problem, but I didn't really want to go to the mast again, especially since there would be no one at the helm. With full jib and reefed main tacking would be hard.

So I decided to go back, now on a broad reach my speed was even slower, worse the jib wouldn't stay filled. It would fill then luff. I let it out as far as it would go, still no luck. if I pulled it in it would backfill, the boat would spin and I would be heaved too. I thought that maybe the main was blocking it, also I may have not gotten the main jib ratio correct (60% jib 1 main reef). I tried running, but the jib still alternately luffed and filled, but not as often and not as severe.

That got me back to the channel, so I held the wheel with one foot, while loosing the jib with one hand, the mainsheet was being stepped on by my other foot, and the other hand furled the jib. The main was lowered simularly, with a line from the wheel around a cleat to the mast so I could flake with one hand and lower with the other.

Finally back to the dock, while my crew ran to the parking lot ,threw themselves on the ground, and kissed it.

Overall I don't think the trip went at all badly. I learned you CAN singlehand a 30 footer with a wheel and a roller furled jib.. And the hardest part of sailing is getting the #&*^&* things up and down. I'm sure I made many mistakes, feel free to armchair quarterback, (thats why I posted it).

I knew the weather would be marginal at best, but I'm not a peaches and rainbows moterboater, I'm sure not going to be that kind of sailer.
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Old 23-05-2011, 15:27   #2
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Re: A day sailing

Sounds like a good sailing day to me. You went out, came back, didn't break anything, and no one got hurt.

That's a good day!
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Old 23-05-2011, 15:38   #3
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Re: A day sailing

I've always thought sailing to be a great way to keep your friends away! Relatives too. I once took a couple of cousins out on a Lightning I owned about 40 years ago. We sailed smartly out into LI Sound, beautiful day, drank a few beers and headed back as the wind kicked up over 30. On the last 1/2 mile, under full sail, I jibed, ripped the gooseneck right out of the mast and all hell broke loose. Haven't seen much of them since.
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Old 24-05-2011, 07:29   #4
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Re: A day sailing

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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
Sounds like a good sailing day to me. You went out, came back, didn't break anything, and no one got hurt.

That's a good day!
Yes that is the bottom line.

Plus I learned a lot more about sailing than I did the day before.
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Old 24-05-2011, 11:54   #5
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Re: A Day Sailing

I'm still curious as to why I couldn't set the jib, ...any takers?
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Old 24-05-2011, 12:08   #6
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Re: A Day Sailing

Quote:
When the boat was pointed to wind the waves were broadsiding us causing the boat to roll wildly, and fall off. Raising the sails didn't go like the class either. I started with the boom loose but it swung so wildly
Instead of directly into the wind try 20 degrees from it and just let a foot or 2 of mainsheet out.

Just take it slow, like you've been doing.

When the main is up then put a reef into it, again at the 20 degree wind angle.

You were right to keep working off the lee shore. get lots upwind and then you can reach and have more fun with boat speed.

4 knots is quite adequite!

Screaming along at 2 knots will still get you home before all the beer is nicked.

The reality of sailing does take a bit longer to get than shown in Sailing For Dummies

Keep at it and each time out you will pick up more and better tricks to using your particular rig


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Old 24-05-2011, 12:17   #7
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Re: A Day Sailing

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I'm still curious as to why I couldn't set the jib, ...any takers?
Maybe your broad reach was a bit deep off the wind and the jib was shaddowed by the main. Mine does that from 150 deg to 180 deg.

There is another even more basic trick.... just go out under the main alone. When you have done that a few times then start using the jib.

A main is like learing to walk, a jib is like running

(A spinnaker is like your first Olympics )
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Old 24-05-2011, 12:21   #8
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Re: A Day Sailing

PS: the last thing you need it to take care of Chuunder Bunnies while you are trying to sail.

Get better crew or try to do it yourself
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Old 25-05-2011, 12:03   #9
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Re: A Day Sailing

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PS: the last thing you need it to take care of Chuunder Bunnies while you are trying to sail.

Get better crew or try to do it yourself
That nails it right there.

Thanks for the tips on the jib. I'll have to try that. Also going out with an experienced sailer would be great. Any takers???
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Old 30-05-2011, 08:28   #10
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Re: A Day Sailing

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I started with the boom loose
Why would you do that? You described very eloquently the reason I never do that.
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Old 30-05-2011, 08:59   #11
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Re: A Day Sailing

I agree with Don and the rest. You didn't hurt anyone or the boat, you learned a bit in the process. Sounds like a good day to me.

I went out with an "experienced" sailor and his friend one day hoping to pick up on some pointers. I ended up taking control after an accidental jibe that almost took the boom off. He was doing the same thing, had the main sheeted out to far, his friend was an idiot, and I was into the whole surviving thing.
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Old 30-05-2011, 09:43   #12
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Re: A Day Sailing

Up on deck & trying to raise the mainsail with the boom loose ... ? you are lucky not to have gone overboard with a busted head ...
Next time try it with the boom secured ... once you get the mainsail halfway up it begins to act like a windvane & the boat will point into wind ... then get your reefs in if required .... finally, when the main is set, release the boom & get underway ...
Your episode was a rented boat ... when you get your own boat you can organise the mainsail halyard back to the cockpit ... also organise your mainsail reefing so that you can do most of that from the cockpit too ( some call it "jiffy reefing ) you will need to get up along the boom to secure the reefing ties but, again, secure the boom through the whole reefing process ...
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Old 30-05-2011, 14:22   #13
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Re: A Day Sailing

Letting the boom flail about in a beam sea is not the thing to do. I second svtadpole's theory of leaving the boom sheeted in until you've got some sail up. With the rudder free the boat will just come about, fall off and do it again if left to its own devices. If it doesn't, you've got lee helm which is dangerous.

When you're on a run (or nearly so) it is very difficult to keep the jib full unless you run wing on wing which requires constant attention to the helm and is most often more trouble than it's worth. That's why they make whisker poles.
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Old 31-05-2011, 07:59   #14
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Re: A Day Sailing

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Originally Posted by Last_Mutineer View Post
Why would you do that? You described very eloquently the reason I never do that.
Thanks for the replies. I'll have to try it again, hopefully with a little less chop, and steady winds.
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