Around the dock for sure longitudinal direction needs the keel down.
When sailing I would add a couple of points to check.
- Make sure you aren't over sheeting. A lot of new sailors
over sheet when reaching thinking that sheeting in is faster. A result can be what you experienced where the boat heels the rudder
loses traction and the boat heads up
- Sail with the mainsheet in hand (a racing skipper
would kick anyone's butt for cleating any sheet but you're pleasure sailing). Get the boat up on a good heel and "dump" the main sheet - Learn how much power comes off the boat when you do that. This is important to learn to sail fast, especially in gusts. On my boat we can be fully powered in 20 knots wind
, clipping along at 5.5+ knots and around 15-20 degrees heel. Dumping the main and not touching the genny drops us instantly to like <10 degrees heel and 2.5-3 knots
(It's nice to show newbies this because they tend to get nervous about heeling. I show them I can "dump" the gas pedal instantly and get the boat back under control if needed)
- Next learn to read the gusts. Look to the windward side for increased ripples in the water, learn to anticipate their approach and then "sheet out" the main a bit - you'll learn how much over time.
- That method can be a bit slow in terms of boat performance so the alternative is to anticipate the gust and head
the boat up slightly when the gust hits. You lower the angle of attack on the sail so the forces don't heel the boat. The momentary increased wind speed translates to a higher lift
and not only does the boat not slow down you get to "climb" to windward a bit - always a good thing on the boat.
- Both strategies are important - In racing
you may be on the correct line and don't want to go higher, you sheet out. However if you want to go higher you head
up. I always lean towards heading up - it's like gas in the tank. You can always head down later...
Maybe this is TMI but I hope you find it useful.