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Old 03-07-2018, 14:06   #16
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

The whole point of 15-footers is to capsize them. Honestly, if you aren’t capsizing then you aren’t trying hard enough nor learning much.

I would say, though, that you should introduce yourself at the local marina or club and/or put up a notice on the club board that you’re looking for experience. Lots of guys have boats of all sorts, and would love the chance to go sailing with a new friend. You’ll learn a great deal about boats by being on a lot of different ones, and a great deal about sailing by sailing with a number of different skippers.

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Old 03-07-2018, 14:12   #17
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

I agree with everyone's responses ... it's no big deal ..... if you haven't tipped a dink you're not trying hard enough.... it's how you learn etc.

BUT ....

I think a 50yr. old male who gets so unnerved by falling in the water from a height of 6" may want to consider another hobby. If you are not comfortable with what you are doing ..... do something else.

That hysterical laughter you hear as you sail a way in your "new" boat ..... is the seller.
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Old 03-07-2018, 14:14   #18
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

That’s true, but remember that a boat in which you can serve a good gin and tonic is a completely different hobby from dinghy sailing.
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Old 03-07-2018, 14:15   #19
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Sorry, Professor, but didn't you realize this class would have a lab component?

We've all been there. Isn't this experience part of why you chose this endeavor in the first place: to face personal challenges that your academic life couldn't offer?

ppvora, he say:
…the wind at the local lake was going 7-8 knots with gusts of upto 10. I went out maybe 0.5 NM and turned in such a way that the boat keeled over on the side that I was sitting.
I'm going to assume from your description that you unintentionally gybed the dinghy and weren't prepared for the experience (don't ask me how I (we all) know ).

The ASA course may have told you to avoid unintentional gybes, but you owned it only as theoretical information: now you know why you should keep your stern away from the eye of the wind until you're ready to initiate a controlled gybe that includes shifting your bodyweight to the new windward side in concert with the boom swinging over, or if it's gusty, avoid gybing completely by "wearing sail," i.e., turning upwind, continuing through a tack, then easing off to your new desired course. It's going 270° to starboard, say, rather than 90° to port, to achieve your new downwind heading. It's a very prudent, seaman-like maneuver, and has saved my bacon many times.

The great thing about dinghy sailing is that the feedback to your actions are immediate; the awful thing about dinghy sailing is that the feedback to your actions are immediate. It's a great learning platform for that reason: you absorb the interplay of the fundamental elements of hull, sail, rudder, wind, and their relationships to each other, unblunted by tonnage or mechanical propulsion. There is a long-standing argument that those who learn on dinghies make better sailors for this reason: they get a more early, direct experience with the natural forces at play. So bully for you for being out there. You have my respect for taking on something new and risking failure, embarrassment, and loss of, well, sunglasses.

So now what do you need to know?
  1. How to avoid a gybe until you're prepared to execute it by being consciously aware of the direction the wind is coming from, so as to not let it cross your stern.
  2. How to perform a safe gybe, including timing the shifting of your bodyweight.
  3. How to right a capsized dinghy, bail it out, and resume your pleasant afternoon.
  4. How to avoid a gybe is gusty conditions by wearing sail to achieve your new downwind course.

So go out again on a light-wind day, practice gybing until it becomes natural. Have all loose gear stowed or secured so that you won't lose anything when you go over again. Have a bailer along to scoop the lake out of the dinghy after your next flip. Expect it to happen again: I was dinghy-dumped once because a line got tangled around my ankle. I came up laughing so hard I almost inhaled a lungful of bay water.

Congratulations on your baptism. Now get back in the game. Your father isn't still holding onto the back of your bicycle seat, walking you down the sidewalk, is he? No? Why not? [/Socratic tone]

That season pass isn't going to last forever: you have a lot of experiences to have before summer's over. Carpe Diem, Man.

Enjoy these salad days: they will heighten the satisfaction you feel later on, as you gain mastery.
s/y Elizabeth— Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." — G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 03-07-2018, 14:27   #20
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

If you can't make a story out of it, it ain't worth doin'
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Old 04-07-2018, 03:01   #21
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Premal.
Not at all an unusual occurrence. That's what dinghys do.
Gord May
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Old 04-07-2018, 03:23   #22
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Hi there,
Do NOT be discouraged. This happens to us all, and small craft are especially twitchy and prone to capsize. This is how we learn, and in this instance, you learned to always keep the main sheet at hand, ready to spill wind if the vessel begins to heel excessively. A.S.A. courses are great, and provide a foundation; but most of your learning will be in the doing, AFTER the classes. When you have your own vessel, there are sometimes economic penalties for our lessons, so you were lucky with this "baptism/accidental gybe." As far as embarrassment, forget about it, it gets in the way of where you want to go. Get back on the horse, cowboy. My money's on you.
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Old 04-07-2018, 03:31   #23
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Start scrubbing the hull, like that's what you wanted to do all along
They won't laugh at you if they can laugh with you
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:27   #24

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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Oh dear, of dear — A perfect introduction to sailing ;-0)!

First off: A 15-ft dinghy has NOTHING in common with the sort of cruising boat you aspire to, so your experience signifies the square root of whatever it was. I forget ;-)!

In the day's when I taught university students on 14-Ft Enterprise dinghies, a
"dump and recover" was a mandatory evolution required to pass the final test that permitted the student to use the club's dinghies sans instructor aboard.

In a dinghy YOU are the ballast, and you gotta put yourself where ballast is required. Clearly you didn't, and we are making note of that so we can tell you where you SHOULDA sat in the dinghy.

In a cruiser the ballast that keeps it upright is a lumpa lead or iron fixed in the boat so you don't even have to think about it. A cruiser simply CAN'T capsize as long as that lumpa lead is there.

Now if you'd like, we can chat ("interactively" - is that the mot du jour? ) about just why you did capsize, and how not to do it again.

As for the dock gorillas laughing at you - that just means that you've been accepted. You got wet - so now you are one of us ;-0)!

Stick around

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Old 04-07-2018, 09:31   #25
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Originally Posted by GrowleyMonster View Post
If you have never capsized or swamped a dinghy, you haven't really sailed a dinghy.
Totally, absolutely agree. So many kids are afraid of capsizing and/or heeling because they haven't done it, especially in warm water and a safe environment. It changes their sailing lives to learn that it's normal, not terrifying, and can be a lot of fun.

It caught you off-guard. I get it. But it's normal. You need to "normalize it" more by capsizing with permission from the rental company so that you are 100% comfortable with it. Try different boats. Especially ones that come up with lots of water (good lesson about the benefits of self-bailing boats...

Have fun. No better way to become a better sailor than to experience the sensitivities of dinghies.

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Old 04-07-2018, 09:34   #26
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

When leaning to sail in a Laser 2 more years ago than enough, one one of the basic techniques we learned was to deliberately capsize the boat. Then scramble back onto the upturned keel, turn it into the wind, then using the dagger board as a lever, stand up and lean backbackwards, to bring the boat upright.
With a bit of practice a person learned to time it right and scramble back aboard before the boat went over again. Great fun!!
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:35   #27
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Anyone racing dinghies hasn't been pushing hard enough for 1st place if they haven't capsized, many, many times! The first thing you do is to swim to the cenberboard and climb on, to right the thing!
The wind, also, is unpredictable and it will blindside you all of a sudden. You develop sensitivies, starting at the seat of your pants to the tiny hairs on your cheeks and you start READING the wind. And, with that, the capsizes decrease!
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:36   #28
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Sailors are forgiving folk... I agree with all the responses. The one thing missing is that half the fun of sailing is being able to re-tell those stories of the scary, goofy, and embarrassing things that happen on the water. And sailing a dinghy will teach you well the basics of wind, waves, and balance. Consider it a badge of honor! Capt Rich
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:44   #29
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

Apart from the fun, the benefit of learning to sail on a dinghy is that you know when you've made a mistake and thereby learn to sail well. On a large keel boat, unless you go out into very heavy weather, the boat won't flip you overboard, but you won't know whether you're sailing well or have the set of the sails all wrong and are moving at half speed.
Also, bear in mind that the divine purpose of recreational boats is to humiliate men and women. A little daily humiliation is good for the soul and frequently leads to humility, an admirable trait.

Don't give up, ever.
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:53   #30
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Re: Embarrassing story, seeking advice

We have a Hunter 306 cruiser, but until recently I had never really sailed a dinghy.

I enrolled in an adult sail training course, which is dinghy based to get a better feel of position on the wind and full appreciation of sail trim methods.

There are other people on the course from complete novices who have never sailed, to others who did some dinghy sailing when they were a kid.

Probably the most disconcerting thing when dinghy sailing is capsizing, and when completely unexpected can be terrifying. It doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong, you are just learning the limits of the boat you are sailing, and when you have experienced it, then you can deal with it, right the boat, and carry on sailing.

I think the problem you experienced, was that a large sailing keel boat feels a lot more stable, and unless very heavy weather is involved, it will not capsize. (Well, unless the keel falls off...) When you experienced this on the dinghy, it was something you were completely not expecting, which explains your reaction.

I have found that dinghy sailing is a very enjoyable addition to cruiser sailing, as the dinghy reacts to the wind and conditions a lot more rapidly than a keel boat, and you learn a lot to complement your sailing skills.

I suggest you maybe find an instructor that you can get a few dinghy lessons from, and you may find this restores your confidence in your sailing ability, as well as learning more about sailing techniques.

Keep at it, and good luck. Don't let the capsize put you off.

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