Choosing a keelboat

Beginning sailors, young and old, usually feel more comfortable on a keelboat than aboard a dinghy (see the next section for more on dinghies). A keelboat check out Chapter 1 has a heavy, ballasted keel fin under the boat that provides stability and prevents capsizing. Large cruising multihulls (that gain stability from having more than one hull) are also stable and comfortable. Here are some other reasons why these bigger boats are the best choice for families, whether your trip is going to...

Jibing Turning away from the wind

The other method of changing tacks (changing your direction so that the wind is blowing over the other side of the boat) is to turn away from the wind and jibe. (Some books spell jibing as gybing, the British style. We stick with jibing ji pronounced as in giant .) Because the downwind side of the points of sail diagram doesn't have a no-sail zone, jibing should be easier than tacking, and, in some ways, jibing is easier, because you need to change course by only a few degrees instead of the 90...

Sailing in the zone

Sailing in any direction in the sail zone is as easy as trimming the sail (by pulling in on the control rope the sheet). We show you the safest way to pull in ropes in the Pulling In Lines section, later in this chapter. Or you can just cleat the sail (tie off the control rope so that the sail stays in one place) and turn the boat away from the wind direction until the sail fills. The points of sail diagram shows boats sailing at all different angles to the wind in the sail zone. To sail fast,...

Authors Acknowledgments

We first want to thank our two daughters who were so patient (and helpful) through this revision and thanks to the wonderful Francis Parker School that is teaching them to enjoying learning about so many things. Our friend (and famous author of several For Dummies titles and lead guitarist in Peter's band) Peter Economy encouraged us to do this second edition revision and provided plenty of advice along the way. Josh Adams and John Burnham helped us find our great illustrator, Michael Boardman....

Safety One Hand for the Boat One Hand for Yourself

Managing strong winds Righting the boat after a capsize Staying on board Handling a man-overboard emergency Using the VHF radio There isn't no call to go talking of pushing and pulling. Boats are quite tricky enough for those that sit still without looking further for the cause of trouble. J 1ever underestimate the power of Mother Nature When you sail on the W water, you're her guest, and even on the most relaxing of sailing days, you need to respect her capacity for pure brute strength....

Saifing on a Catamaran

If you know how to sail a keelboat or dinghy, then you can sail a catamaran, because a catamaran, also commonly referred to as a cat, is simply a sailboat with two hulls instead of one. Figure 11-9 shows a basic cat. Sure, some multi-hulls are big, heavy cruisers, but we're talking about the kind you launch off a beach, around 20 feet (6 meters) or smaller. Note that a cat has some features you don't find on other sailboats, including a crossbar to hold its unique twin hulls in place the...

Hoisting the jib

Hoisting the jib is similar in many ways to hoisting the main. On small boats, you can hoist the jib while your boat is still tied to the dock and pointed into the wind. Make sure the jib sheets are fully slackened so that the sail can luff freely (and doesn't fill) while being hoisted. You can also hoist your jib while sailing just make sure the jib sheets are free to run so the sail doesn't fill. Hoisting a big, overlapping jib (called a genoa) on a keelboat is best done while sailing...

The Need for Speed Sailing Fast

Recognizing apparent wind Using steering methods to go faster Hiking out and trapezing Roll tacking and jibing Planing and surfing waves Delving into special catamaran techniques I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way. Sailing fast a powerboater may think that this is an oxymoron but we've gone sailing with a few professional car drivers, and they've been surprised at how fast sailboats can go. Especially on a boat that's low to the...

Using Your Dinghy

Figure 17-2 shows an idyllic cruising scene. A key component to that fun is the dinghy tied behind the cruising boat. Because your dinghy is often your ticket to freedom on a cruise, you want to make sure that it doesn't float away. The following tips can make life afloat with a dinghy more enjoyable 1 Bring a paddle. An outboard engine may power your dinghy, but make sure that you have some alternate means of propulsion just in case 1 Stop that banging. Assuming your dinghy is a rubber...

All sailboats have an underwater fin

Hanging underneath the back end of most sailboats (except sailboards) is a rotating fin called a rudder. The rudder does just what you think it does it steers the boat. Underneath the middle of most sailboats is a second, larger, fin called a keel or centerboard. The primary purpose of both keels and centerboards is to keep the boat from skidding sideways from the force of the wind and to provide lift so your boat can sail closer to the wind. (When sailing, your sails and the underwater fins...

Identifying the types of buoys

Buoys come in a variety of shapes, which can indicate their meaning, as Figure 9-3 shows. At night, some buoys display lights to help the mariner find his way. Typically, the solid red and green buoys, so important in defining a channel, are lit with corresponding red and green lights. Lighthouses and midchannel fairway buoys often feature a white light. In the Navigating at Night section, later in this chapter, we discuss how, with a chart, you can identify a specific buoy from its unique...

Rigging the Board

The great part about sailboards is that they're easy to rig. The more highperformance sails, with their long battens and camber inducers, can be a bit trickier to rig, but a beginner's sail should have few (if any) battens. Rigging your sailboard (especially the sail) is similar in many ways to rigging any sailboat (see Chapter 4). Like some dinghies, you don't have a halyard to hoist the sail's luff sleeve simply slides down onto the mast. The trickiest part can be securing the boom to the...

When the boat handles well with the mainsail alone For more on boat balance see Appendix C

I When your boat has a roller furler (see Chapter 4). Rolling the jib partway is really easy see whether that setting works, and then roll it up all the way if necessary. Do this as an interim step as the wind builds, and then plan what your next move is going to be. Sometimes, however, dropping the mainsail and sailing with the jib alone is appropriate, as in the following situations i On dinghies that are rigged in such a manner that dropping the jib causes the standing rigging to loosen...

Launching without a trailer

Because most are lighter than keelboats, you can often launch smaller dinghies off a dock or ramp or even off a beach without the need of a hoist or a trailer. You can transport small dinghies on roof racks on top of your car. To get the boat down without damaging it, find several friends and follow these steps 1. Find a dolly (lightweight trailer for movement by hand) or padding to put the boat on. 2. Find enough people so that lifting the boat is easy. 3....

Sizing up your sailing wardrobe

Although a wide range of sports-specific clothing is available, you don't need to be in any rush to spend large amounts of money as long as you can find clothing in your current wardrobe that works. After you identify the type of boat and sailing you prefer, you may consider heading to the marine store. If the speed and thrills of a sailboard attract you, a wet suit may be your big clothing purchase (see the left photo in Figure 3-1). Or you may decide to go dinghy sailing and wear the gear...

Setting a symmetrical spinnaker

Setting a spinnaker when going on a reach or downwind can be like lighting up the afterburners on a jet aircraft. Sailing with a spinnaker is fast, but because it's attached only at the corners, you can easily get into a love-hate relationship with this potentially unruly sail. Fortunately, you have this book, so get ready to love this big, fat, colorful, nylon parachute. Two types of spinnakers exist symmetrical and asymmetrical, as Figure 12-9 shows....

Remove all the various lines and straps used to secure the boat except for a line or cable that attaches the boat to

Go slowly down the ramp and correct any tendency to jackknife by turning the back of your car in the same direction the back of the trailer is turning. Make sure you can see or have a person outside your car help direct you. 5. Back up until the boat is just floating off the trailer, before the wheels (or at least the brakes and wheel bearings) of your car touch the water. 6. Make sure that your parking brake is set before getting out of your car to disconnect the boat from the trailer....

Sailing Flat Is Fast Ease Hike and Trim

The best small-boat sailors can anticipate the changes in wind speed by reading the wind as it comes across the water. They keep their boats as flat as possible (not heeled over by the wind) when sailing close-hauled (toward the wind). Keeping your boat flat is easy in light winds, but to sail like a pro in more breeze when a puff (an extra bit of breeze) hits, take one or more of the following three actions to keep the boat from heeling I Hike out Lean your weight over the side. Read the next...

Interviewing a potential school

If you decide to go to a school, you need to pick the right one for you. Besides asking the obvious question about how much it costs, you want to find out as much about the prospective school as possible. This short section provides you with some factors to consider about different sailing schools during your selection process i Curriculum Does the introductory course offer certification to a national standard Don't settle for an answer like, Our program is better than ASA or US Sailing...

Tacking Turning toward the wind

Earlier in the More about that darn no-sail zone section, we point out that you must use a zigzag route to reach an upwind destination. First, you sail on a close-hauled course on one tack, and then you tack (turn the boat through the no-sail zone) and sail a close-hauled course on the other tack. This maneuver of turning the boat through the dreaded no-sail zone, or through the wind, is called tacking. To get to a point upwind, you can either tack once (assuming that the harbor is wide...

Climbing aboard a dinghy

Dinghies, as we explain in Chapter 1, are smaller boats (usually under 20 feet, or 6 meters) that carry no ballast (weight) in their movable centerboard (underwater fin). Dinghies can also tip over. Because with this book we want you to master sailing and not swimming, make sure that your first step into a dinghy is as near to its centerline (an imaginary line that runs down the center of the boat from end to end) as possible, near the midpoint from bow to stern (front to back). (If you're not...

As you attach the standing rigging carefully inspect all the fittings that support the mast

Tighten any shackles with pliers, and make sure that the fittings are secure. (Check out Chapter 15 on shackles and other rigging gear.) Some small dinghies have free-standing masts without any standing rigging. On these boats, you may slide the sleeve on the mainsail luff (the front edge of the sail) over the mast before putting it up, as Figure 6-11 shows. Rigging a Laser sail by sliding the sleeve over the mast. Rigging a Laser sail by sliding the sleeve over the mast.

Danger bearing

Often a narrow entrance channel to a harbor is marked by two navigational aids one on land and one farther away that, when aligned, indicate a safe course, sort of like landing an airplane on an aircraft carrier. Sometimes lighthouses display a different color light red instead of white in a sector of their sweep. The edges where those colors meet are danger bearings On one side the boat is safe on the other could be shallow water. The navigator can also determine a danger bearing from...

Cleaning up all that rope

After you've hoisted raised your sails, you need to clean up all that spaghetti of rope you create while rigging. Some sailboats have a daunting number of sail control ropes, and ropes left to their own devices have an amazing capability to knot themselves. As Murphy's Law suggests, after you're sailing, the line that you absolutely have to let out now is in a huge knotted mess with every other line on board, including your shoelaces. A good sailor takes the time and effort to clean up the mess...

Launching a trailerable sailboat

Getting your boat into the water can be an involved process one that sometimes even includes putting up the mast. Many small keelboats shorter than 25 feet, or 8 meters and dinghies are dry-sailed that is, you store them on dry land on a trailer or dolly. Storing a boat on dry land means less maintenance no barnacles or weeds to scrape off the bottom and no docking fees. Storing your boat on a trailer makes sailing in many different places quite easy. Keep in mind that objects wider than 834...

Docking between pilings

In many parts of the world, you won't have a nice, protected dock to tie alongside. Often, the sailor's best friends are pilings large wooden poles driven solidly into the bottom. Your array of dock lines depends on the position and orientation of the pilings, and you have to be creative as you plan your strategy to keep the boat from getting banged up no matter which direction the wind or current flows. One of the most common dock arrangements is a short dock on one side and pilings on the...

Hoisting the mainsail

As we say earlier in the Preparing the mainsail section, you must feed the mainsail luff usually a covered rope or slides into the mast for hoisting. Unless you're vigilant, the luff invariably gets pinched and stuck as you hoist. On a dinghy, you may have to feed the luff in yourself as you hoist. On a bigger keelboat, assign one person to stand next to the mast to feed the luff into the groove, as Figure 4-12 shows. Someone else and, if need be, a third person can then slowly and steadily...

Steering a compass course

When the navigator sets a course to sail, he announces it to the helmsman, expecting him to follow that heading like a railroad track. Hey, dream on. Holding a compass course is difficult, especially at night in really wavy conditions. Getting accustomed to the natural movement of the compass card takes a little while. Sometimes, like when sailing close-hauled in shifty winds, holding a compass course is just about impossible refer to Chapter 5 for more on sailing close-hauled . However, at...

Tie up the middle of the lowered sailcloth

This step is optional, but it aids in your visibility and makes the boat look neater. We recommend using bungee cord to lace up the middle reef points. Then if the reef line breaks or slips, the sail doesn't shred. You can see a properly reefed main in Figure 7-2. Some mainsails have more than one set of reef points. Which set you use is determined by how small you want your mainsail to be. The first step down in size is the first reef the next step down is the second reef. Very few mainsails...

Anchoring Mediterranean style

Guess where this system is popular Docking in the Mediterranean style, also referred to as stern to, enables you to tie up with your stern back end close to the shore, man-made bulkhead, or dock when the water is deep enough. Stern-to is the way the mega-yachts tie up in Saint-Tropez. Of course, many places on the Mediterranean Sea have mooring buoys to facilitate your docking. If no moorings are available and you must use the anchor, simply pick your spot on the shore where you want the stern...

Rounding up

Broaching, or rounding up, can occur on any type of boat on any point of sail, but it's most common when you're sailing off the wind. Rounding up occurs when a massive amount of weather helm which we describe in Chapter 11 from all the forces acting on the boat causes the boat to round up swiftly toward the wind. In a round up, you feel as though the rudder is gone, because you have no steering control. Actually, the rudder is just stalled. Telltale signs increasing weather helm and increasing...

Heading up and bearing away

The two phrases heading up and bearing away describe any turn on a sailboat. Like almost everything in this chapter, their definitions are also relative to the all-important wind direction. When you make a turn toward the wind, you're heading up. When you're steering with a tiller and sitting in the proper position on the windward side, facing the sails, as we show in Chapter 4 , you push the tiller away from you to head up. The term bearing away is more common than heading down or bearing off,...

Leaving the dock under sail

jijMiEfl The key to easy arrival and departure from docks is to avoid tying up on the v STA windward upwind side of the dock. If you try to leave the windward side of the dock under sail, the boat slips sideways as it gains speed and drags along the dock not good form Plus, tying your boat to the leeward side of the dock is better because the wind pushes the boat away from the dock, minimizing the chance of scratching the hull against the dock. If you must tie up on the windward side, ideally...