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Old 22-07-2014, 16:42   #1
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Third Trip Out

Sunday was my third trip out ever on my sailboat. First trip was a disaster (http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f9/just-bought-my-first-sailboat-126349.html), and there was almost no wind the second time out, so we just did some floating about. This time, though, there was a bunch of wind and Rob (my brother-in-law) and I were ready to go. The wind was gusting so hard just before we launched that I was having second thoughts and even said ďI wonder if this might be the worst decision of my life.Ē Anyway, we pushed off from shore (didnít even use the boat ramp), and as soon as we pushed off, we were MOVING. Rob and I had a great time for a couple of hours. I didnít realize how fast we could actually go, and this was with just the mainsail. Eventually, we ran into some problems; as rookies are want to do. We went to tack (or jibe, donít remember the difference), and put the mast in the water. Swam around and pulled on the dagger, but couldnít pull myself up, and I didnít hear Rob, so I swam back around to the other side to make sure he was okay. When I let go of the dagger, the boat kept going over until the mast was pointing straight down. From everything that Iíve read, you want to keep the mast pointing up. I climbed up on the bottom of the boat and put my weight on the dagger and we rolled back over and someone who was motoring by towed us back to shore where we were able to bail and then sail back to where we left the trailer.
The problem happened when we tried to turn, and I can only assume that we didnít get to the other side of the boat fast enough when I turned the tiller. Itís very difficult to get both of us to the other side fast because the tiller is in the way and you have to keep your head down unless you want to eat the boom. Is this a common error when tacking?
I assume that on a bigger sailboat that tacking doesnít have as much of a risk of dropping the occupants in the water. A lead keel will prevent the boat from rolling over. What other differences are there between a one design sailing dinghy and a larger boat?
Also, we had our hands full with the just the tiller and the main when tacking. If we had a jib as well, I donít know how we would have handled it. I canít imagine single handing and having to deal with the jib sheets, the main sheet and the tiller. Of course, it may be easier if there was less wind. There definitely was a bunch of wind on Sunday.
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Old 22-07-2014, 16:55   #2
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Re: Third Trip Out

Sounds like fun!

On a small boat crew position is pretty critical to balance. You can tack a bit slower in the beginning but you want to practice both crew getting across the boat quickly and efficiently.

Search some YouTube videos on dinghy sailing and you'll get an idea.

Mainsheet and tiller handling is generally the Skipper's job on a dinghy. Get a book like "Start Sailing Right" to see how this stuff works.

On most dinghy's the sheetblock is attached at the stern of the boat. As the Skipper crosses in a tack the standard method is to pass both tiller and sheet behind your back as you cross, while still looking and facing forward. It is an unnatural act at forst but you will get better at it with practice.

If you and the crew are constantly "late" in crossing the boat, sheet out quite a bit as the boom crosses, this way the sail won't fill immediately and capsize you.

The other focus on tacking is to hit a heading. Just prior to the tack, look 90 degrees upwind. Pick a target on shore - turn the boat cleanly and smoothly until it is aimed at the target and steady the heading.

In the beginning it seems like a lot to do on the tack and it is. But remember when you first drove a car - that seemed complicated at first too - especially if it was a stick. Soon it will be muscle memory. They key is to start doing it the "right" way so you build the right muscle memory.

Capsize - You had the right idea - get up on the daggerboard as soon as you can to stop it from going turtle. If you time it right you can be standing on the daggerboard and as the boat rights itself you can step-in/dive into the boat.

Get a 1 liter plastic milk jug (1 Qt). Lay on its side with the handle up. Draw a 30 degree or so diagonal from the top/handle end towards the bottom of the jug to make a cheap "bailer" with a convenient handle. Add a piece of string and tie it to the mast. With a crew mate, make two and bail 2X as fast. After capsize recover you can bail the boat and forego the tow!
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Old 23-07-2014, 05:24   #3
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Thanks for the advice. I like the milk jug idea. We have a hand pump, so one of us used that while the other used the ice chest to bail. We probably could have just bailed on the spot, but the guy offered the tow, so we just took it.
The way we were sailing, I had the tiller the entire time and Rob operated the main sheet. The sheet block is attached to the back end of the daggerboard trunk, so there is a little room to cross between the tiller and the sheet block. I kept lifting up the tiller when we crossed. I think Rob was keeping some tension on the sheet during the tacks which might have been the problem.
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Old 23-07-2014, 05:46   #4
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Re: Third Trip Out

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Originally Posted by salmonlv View Post
I think Rob was keeping some tension on the sheet during the tacks which might have been the problem.
When single handing on our racing dinghy we have a cam cleat on each side of the boat to lock in the mainsheet during tacks and can tack the jib before taking the mainsheet back in hand. So if you do everything else correctly the tension can stay on the mainsheet and you will lose less speed through your tacks

I'm with Ex-calif, find some videos and start working on your technique and crew position.

Google and watch videos on "roll tacking"

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Old 23-07-2014, 06:04   #5
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Just watched a few videos on roll tacking. There is a whole bunch going on in a short amount of time. We'd have to do a lot of practice to get that down.
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Old 23-07-2014, 06:15   #6
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Re: Third Trip Out

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Originally Posted by salmonlv View Post
Thanks for the advice. I like the milk jug idea. We have a hand pump, so one of us used that while the other used the ice chest to bail. We probably could have just bailed on the spot, but the guy offered the tow, so we just took it.
The way we were sailing, I had the tiller the entire time and Rob operated the main sheet. The sheet block is attached to the back end of the daggerboard trunk, so there is a little room to cross between the tiller and the sheet block. I kept lifting up the tiller when we crossed. I think Rob was keeping some tension on the sheet during the tacks which might have been the problem.
I Googled some images of your boat. Nice looking boat.
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Old 23-07-2014, 07:46   #7
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Re: Third Trip Out

You might try tacking into the wind (coming about) rather than gybing, which is trickier. Also no need to go out in a blow (at first). Wait until the wind is about 5 knots, and just a nice little putter of waves. And go for just a hour or so. As you get confidience, you can go in stronger winds and longer periods.
BTW, thunderstorms are to be avoided. Look for a safe place while your sailing that you can get to quickly and beach your boat. If a thunderstorm appears on the lake, don't wait- get out of the water.
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Old 23-07-2014, 07:58   #8
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Yea, I think light winds is a good idea for us so that we can build our skills. Definitely need to work on the tacking.

There are hardly ever any thunderstorms here. Lake mead is in the middle of a desert. Don't need to worry about that.
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