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Old 08-08-2015, 15:25   #1
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Need help with onshore wind beach launch

Hi all,

I am an absolute tenderfoot at dinghy sailing and am having real problems dealing with launching from the beach with any strength of an onshore wind.

I know from windsurfing that I am supposed to point the boat into the wind, decide on which tack to take, jump in and raise the sail fully but it doesn't always work out that way. Even with the centerboard partially down or at least inserted, I find that the bow gets blown back into shallow water before I can get going off the shore. Jumping into this boat without taking on water at waist height is not possible for me. So my first problem is that when I get planted in the boat I am in very shallow water. If the wind
is light I can paddle or row out but I would really like to know if there is something I am missing during my beach launch routine.

This is my best attempt to describe my steps:

1. I am in just above knee deep water and the throat halyard is up all the way but the peak is down so I have about half of my sail area out.
2. If I put the peak up and get full sail area I am afraid of keeping control of the boat. It can take off to either side of the wind to shore and
I have to start all over.
3. I get my body into the boat and center myself as fast as possible. Not a pretty sight. Then I raise the peak and have full sail I have never been able to sail
off without full sail up.
4. I keep my hand on the daggerboard to make sure that it is not impeding my progress. As soon as I can I lower it all the way.
5. Sometimes I manage to get off without hitting any paddle boarders or swimmers. Oft times the bow gets blown on shore before I can get out.

Any tips or suggestions on launching with an onshore wind would be most appreciated.

Thanks very much,
Jim Lee

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Old 08-08-2015, 18:15   #2
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Re: Need help with onshore wind beach launch

It's a tricky one of the winds right onshore. Haven't done it for years but your steps seem about right. A big push of really helps. If someone else can do it for you it's great. I'd try peaking up the main first.

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Old 08-08-2015, 18:23   #3
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Re: Need help with onshore wind beach launch

Getting full sail up before you get in the boat would help a lot; but I'm sure you realise that and light boats can really take off. You're already doing what I've done in the past. My one suggestion is that if the water is shallow enough to walk out a few meters to waist deep, drop a lightweight anchor there (I often swim out my 15 lbs danforth) and then take your time back at the boat. When everything is set up, just sail forward and pull the anchor.

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Old 08-08-2015, 18:49   #4
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Re: Need help with onshore wind beach launch

Full sail straight upwind and wiggle the rudder like a sculling oar till your off the beach enough to bear away and make way. Rudder and centreboard can be raised, assuming it's a pivoting type rudder and not a dagger type.
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Old 08-08-2015, 20:51   #5
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Re: Need help with onshore wind beach launch

Full sails up ( main and jib). That gives you control. Leave the jib eased and keep the main in, that will bring your COE aft . Center board down as far as it will go. Rudder the same and keep pushing the boat out. Then climb/slide on from the stern if needed. Btw, you can also use no rudder and drag yourself along behind the boat using your legs to steer depending on the design of the boat.

What design is it?
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Old 08-08-2015, 23:10   #6
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Re: Need help with onshore wind beach launch

I don't have a lot of experience doing this, but as I understand it leave the jib fully out, the main sheeted in until you get aboard. But instead of trying to beat out, bear off to a reach and get some boat speed up before turning up to make it off. This gets some water flowing over the keel and rudder an allows them to work. From a dead stop it is almost impossible to control the boat.

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Old 09-08-2015, 08:23   #7
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Re: Need help with onshore wind beach launch

I have many, many Sunfish and Laser beach launches under my belt, and in my experience, the best way is to have two people, both of whom are willing to swim. Lead person tows the dinghy (sail up) into the wind while stern person pushes, and then in chest deep water the stern person jumps aboard and takes control of tiller and mainsheet and bow person jumps aboard. If you have oars, you could row out with the sail furled around the mast, and then unfurl at a safe distance from the beach. But normally, you resign yourself to getting dunked. Of course when I was much younger, I did all of the above by myself, and only came close to getting killed once....;-)
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:04   #8
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Re: Need help with onshore wind beach launch

Best thing is to have a partner to launch you.
You get in the boat while the partner holds the boat by a painter tied to the bow.
On the boat - raise mainsail and lower centerboard as much as you can without touching bottom.
Lower rudder similarly just enough that it has some bite in the water but does not reach sea bottom.
Take jib/genoa in and leave main free.
Ask your partner to push bow downwind on your preferred tack to the point that the jib catches wind and let go of the boat (he may jump in if you want him to sail with you).
As boat gather speed - lower centerboard (this should be done as quickly as seabed drop allows!) and take main in to sail higher into the wind.
Takes practice but doable easily after training.
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Old 09-08-2015, 13:22   #9
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Re: Need help with onshore wind beach launch

Get the full sail up, but leave the sheet overhauled...really slack, sail luffing. That way, you can have the boat ready to go. Big push, jump in, sheet in, sail away.

I help my daughter do this all the time with her laser, although she does appreciate if I hold the boat while she climbs in.

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