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Old 19-03-2017, 10:05   #16
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

Congratulations - we've all been where you are now, and there's always room for improvement.

Practice docking as much as possible in light airs, with someone else onboard, but you do everything yourself, including casting off & securing lines when you come in.

Set up your dock lines with single handed cast off and docking in mind. I leave a springer on the dock ready to pull over a mid-cleat when I step off, grab the shrouds if necessary, then get a bow line secured. I leave my bow lines on the dock ready to cleat.

Practice maneuvering under power in higher winds around a race buoy, (or other suitable fixed point). Come to it nose-on with the wind at your beam, stern-on with the wind on a quarter - all variations.

Pay for some expert help, on your own boat. It's worth gold. Cheers!
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Old 19-03-2017, 10:09   #17
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

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Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
Crazy is the best thing to be. We have the most fun and the most adventure.

WIND DIRECTION: Put your finger in your mouth (for real, seriously) and pull it out wet. Hold it up, vertical, slightly above your head. The side that gets cold is the direction of the wind. Very low tech. Really works, even at night.

If anyone gives you a hard time, put your still wet finger in their ear, and rotate slightly.

Here's another low tech method...close your eyes...turn your face until wind is hitting both cheeks equally. Really feel the wind on your cheeks. Open your eyes...you are staring into the wind. I don't know why but it seems to work better with eyes closed.

Sometimes you have to help the jib across the bow. It happens.

If you plan to sail alone, get an autohelm. Just do it.
AutoHelm....agreed! A must have.
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Old 19-03-2017, 10:46   #18
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

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The finger thing never works for me if the winds are light.
It doesn't work below, or behind the dodger. Sometimes you have to wait a moment. This technique is only for light winds...a strong wind's direction is usually pretty obvious.

If it still doesn't work for you, then you'll need $3,000 worth of electronics (aka wind instruments), and don't forget the batteries, solar panels, and backup generator to provide the volts. Then you'll need wiring, spares, and of course regular re-calibration.

Ready to lick your finger again?
If you are really, really lucky, you have someone else there who will lick it for you. In that case, you should check wind direction frequently.
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Old 19-03-2017, 11:14   #19
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

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Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
It doesn't work below, or behind the dodger. Sometimes you have to wait a moment. This technique is only for light winds...a strong wind's direction is usually pretty obvious.

If it still doesn't work for you, then you'll need $3,000 worth of electronics (aka wind instruments), and don't forget the batteries, solar panels, and backup generator to provide the volts. Then you'll need wiring, spares, and of course regular re-calibration.

Ready to lick your finger again?
If you are really, really lucky, you have someone else there who will lick it for you. In that case, you should check wind direction frequently.
Rediculus! There are many other ways besides licking your finger or relying on instruments!
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Old 19-03-2017, 11:47   #20
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

I notice a lot of general havoc and excitement seems to occur as soon as everybody gets to the boat, right when a series of things needs to happen before casting off.

A simple checklist can be very useful, airplane pilots use them all the time and a good checklist is succinct, in chronological order, and covers all the key items. (helps to prevent forgetting opening the raw water intake on your inboard for example...) The best checklist is made by you for you.

Having tow insurance is worth more than the cost.

Even when just day sailing in and out of the marina, I like to sit down with open cpn at home the night before, and lay out my "voyage" including a short list of waypoints, reviewing the anticipated weather on NWS, looking at active captain about destination marina or anchorage I may want to go, and making my own little reference list for use at the helm. all free.

Auto pilot is very useful, even with other people aboard. Cuts down on the endless sawing of the wheel and wild course deviations casual day sails are famous for, practice with it and knowing its limitations are worth doing. You can't sail by yourself if you can't leave the helm. The windvane may be additional complexity at this stage.

I like to set the chartplotter up and use it, even if we are daysailing by visual reference. I (REALLY)like to have the appropriate paper charts any time I go out. binoculars are handy...

Those masthead wind indicators with the pivoting arrow and the 2 little diamonds indicating "dangerous gybe area" are so counter intuitive to use it is outright ridiculous. tell tales and yarn hung are a thousand times better. A simple flag on a shroud is a valid wind instrument.

Dressing the jib sheet knots can make the tacking smoother, shorter knot tails faced inward wont hang up on your stays as much, and watching people yank and winch that knot violently against the stay rather than time the flight with the wind and letting nature take its course is a hard thing to do even if its a beater charter boat.

Sometimes other people aboard have to be asked to sit quietly rather than be directly involved in everything. this includes me sometimes too much assistance can be more difficult to manage than just docking the boat.

It can be liberating to remember doing a 360 degree turn in a boat is a matter of holding the tiller in one direction long enough. Thinking about tacking, jib sail, eye of the wind, wind direction, helms a lee or hard a lee etc... can make this basic manuever seem downright impossible. Sheet the main center firm, and go hard a over on the tiller. flapping jib who cares? Drop your hat? should not require a lot of thinking to just turn around...

In my life I have found the early stages of a new thing are actually the most fun and exiting. a day will arrive when you look up and what was once confusing, complex, challenging, and difficult has become a routine and is now easy. That is a nice day, but the initial stages should be savored. it is some of the best.

I am envious you have a boat, and are sailing regularly. Sail Sail Sail, and Sail some more! So lucky.
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Old 19-03-2017, 12:35   #21
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

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Originally Posted by Sea Dreaming View Post
Rediculus! There are many other ways besides licking your finger or relying on instruments!

Seadreaming, I think Hamburking was taking the mickey out of all of us; how we can make something very simple, and turn it into something very complicated. Although sometimes telling which way the wind is blowing is not simple!!
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Old 19-03-2017, 12:37   #22
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

If you intend to sail singlehandedly in the future, then either a wind-driven or electric or both, self-steering system will become almost essential. However, I would urge you to persevere without one until wind-awareness, sail balance and boat handling are second nature to you. It won't take that long. My personal method of wind-awareness is to attend mentally to my ears and face; with light tell-tails on the shrouds and sails. I find a mast-head wind-vane not very useful. Others swear by them. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 19-03-2017, 14:07   #23
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

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Rediculus! There are many other ways besides licking your finger or relying on instruments!
Of course, what was I thinking...just check your ipad:

****Current Weather Conditions - Kingston Yacht Club
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Old 19-03-2017, 14:10   #24
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

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Seadreaming, I think Hamburking was taking the mickey out of all of us; how we can make something very simple, and turn it into something very complicated.
Thank You!

I like simple systems. Simple boats that run on skills, not volts.
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Old 19-03-2017, 14:31   #25
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

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Originally Posted by nematon785 View Post
In my life I have found the early stages of a new thing are actually the most fun and exiting. a day will arrive when you look up and what was once confusing, complex, challenging, and difficult has become a routine and is now easy. That is a nice day, but the initial stages should be savored. it is some of the best.

I am envious you have a boat, and are sailing regularly. Sail Sail Sail, and Sail some more! So lucky.
Wise words.

...and if I may be so bold as to add a few more...take lots of pictures and video, especially while your kids are young.
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Old 19-03-2017, 14:51   #26
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

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Quote: "First thing I need to do is install the windvane that came with the boat. Hopefully it will be different when there is more wind, but today when we tried to tack, the headsail wouldn't make it past the intermediate forestay, so we had to go forward to help it. So the vane will help me be able to do that by myself.

Also I learned that i am not the best at judging wind direction, even though it is probably harder in light winds, I can see that be dangerous if I ever want to sail downwind."



As a former sailing instructor, let me begin by saying that you are obviously on the right track :-)

But please be careful that you don't draw wrong conclusions from what you, or other inexperienced people, observe. Your difficulty in coming about will NOT be solved by installing a wind vane. But there are two kinds of vanes: a wind vane at the top of the mast to show you the direction of the wind, and a "steering vane" that will steer the boat for you. I take it that you are NOT talking about the latter.

Installing a vane at the top of the mast will not solve the failure to come about.
You solve that problem by learning what the cause of it is, and what to do about it :-) Failure to come about is ALWAYS the consequence of LACK OF SPEED. So how do you make the boat go faster when there is "little wind" as you describe?

The answer is two-fold: 1) IF you can make the boat go faster by getting your SAIL TRIM right, she is likely to "come over stays" because both her additional inertia and the greater effect of the rudder at greater speed will drive her "through stays" (to use the old expression). 2) if your trim is right, and she just won't go any faster, then you simply turn the other way. Making, say, a 260 turn to port will bring you to exactly the same heading as making a 100 turn to starboard. Doing the latter is called, "gybing" (as you probably already know). An older, and better, term you will hear experienced sailors using is "wearing". "Wearing" means "turning the long way about". "Gybing" is the act of bringing the boom over on the new side in a controlled fashion, so you can actually "gybe" without "wearing" :-). For your present purposes you can use the terms interchangeably. Because wearing means bringing the wind, such as it is, in from the stern, it requires handling the sails just so. We can return to that. Just learn from your first time out that it is NOT a vane you need to get, but understanding :-)

Many, many small boats that have "intermediate forestays" require somebody to go forward to "sort out the mess" when sailing in conditions of very low wind. When the wind is stronger, it will do the work for you as long as you "fall off" a little upon coming through the wind, i.e. you turn away from the wind a little. You can always correct your heading once the sails are on "the new side" and correctly trimmed.

Remember also that there are TWO wind directions, the "true wind" and the "apparent wind". When the boat is NOT moving, what you feel on your face is the "true wind". As the boat picks up speed what you feel on your face is the "apparent wind". Once you are moving the true wind is pretty much irrelevant. You trim to the apparent wind. Tie a bit of wool to a shroud or a stanchion and it will always show you the direction of the apparent wind. So will the wind vane at the top of your mast - if you have one - but I find that the wool on the shroud works works a lot better, particularly in low wind when the boat is rolling on a swell because it is not affected by the swing of the top of the mast.

So that will solve your difficulty in "judging wind direction".

Play around with those things next time you go out. See how that goes. After that we can talk about handling the boat under power. As you've learned, it is NOT like driving a car :-)!

TrentePieds
Thanks for the advise. I meant a steering vane when refering to a wind vane. I might hold off on installing it so i dont learn to rely on it. My westsail has a boom gallows so i think im going to tie a line and loop it over the tiller if i need to go aloft.
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Old 19-03-2017, 16:36   #27
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

"Pay for some expert help, on your own boat. It's worth gold. Cheers!"

Good advice. Or even befriend some dock mates and ask them if they'd come out with you. I've done it with a newbee and he told me he learned more with me than with a guy he hired- he just looked at his phone the whole time.

I have seen many many guys get a (fairly large)old sailboat which they can afford. They go out once or twice and discover they can't go anywhere- they can't handle it or even sail. "I want to go back to the marina but the boat won't go. The boat is broke." The problem being they don't know how to sail upwind.

The sailing adventure being so miserable the boat ends up sitting at a slip for years and neglected. My marina if full of 'em.

Not saying this would happen to you. Just saying I have seen it- a lot.

My point is: don't give up, get help. Sailing is one of the very most wonderful things a person can do. Read books, forums, blogs, watch youtubes, etc. I started on small boats 50 years ago and worked up. Consider lessons or sailing a small guy till you get it figured out. Be patient- it doesn't all come at once, but with time sailing becomes second nature and you will "feel" it. Best wishes!
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Old 20-03-2017, 00:31   #28
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

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Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
Of course, what was I thinking...just check your ipad:

****Current Weather Conditions - Kingston Yacht Club

You're kidding of course or I hope --

How big is your boat?
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Old 20-03-2017, 06:57   #29
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

Do you have any friends that sail if not join a club talk to sailers in your Marina many years ago when I first went into my Marina a man walked up to me and asked me if I was looking for crew (kidding around) I invited him out for sail finding out that he is an extremely accomplished sailor and I'm still learning from him I think you'll find that most sailors would be more than willing to be helpful and sharing what they've learned and how they do things
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Old 21-03-2017, 18:17   #30
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Re: Just had my first lesson on my boat

I just did the same thing. Have a little exp. with sailing small boats and dingys. Been around power boats most of my life. Took a sailing 101 class just to make sure I knew what I thought I knew !!! And Yah, I Jumped Right Off The Deep End !! Plan to sail Puget Sound and Gulf Islands for a couple years and maybe go South . One Day At A Time . The new life starts every time we leave the dock. Have a nice time !!!
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