Well My Uncle invited us out to see the tall ships on parade in Long beach harbor… but we sailed outside the breakwater, then headed back in. At one point I got behind the helm of the boat to get the feel of steering the boat. And my Uncle tells me to “Steer by the Luff of the sail” I was a little bewildered by this since I’ve never heard the term before. So, I hope this will be explained here!
NAUTICED COMMENT about SAILING BY THE LUFF:
When I learned to fly – the instructor’s first introduction for me to flying was to teach me to fly the plane straight and level. He did not explain any thing else about flying speed and stalling or turning or direction or anything – it was two full sessions on straight and level flying. The same needs to be done with learning to sail. Teaching from the outset to sail the luff of the sail is a bit bewildering for the new student. The best way to start some one new at the helm is to get them to point exactly at a point on land and have them continue to sail to that point. After a while a new point can be sailed to then a new point. It’s important to develop “straight and level” sailing with a new student. Sailing by the luff of the sail is too advanced for a first timer. Sailing the luff of the sail is a combination of sail set and boat heading to have the sail set at it’s most efficient setting. But with out understanding all the wind flow dynamics first – how can a new sailor be expected to understand this. The theory needs to be shown on paper – or better yet using animated graphics. NauticEd’s basic sail trim course shows the dynamics of wind flow over the sail. It’s some thing that can not be efficiently taught on a boat on the water. You might send the basic sail trim course link on our site to your uncle. Not to take anything away from him at all – it’s awesome that he gave you the helm. I think if you understood a little of the theory first – you would have grasped the practical goings on very quickly.
Please take our Free Sailing Course on Basic Sail Trim and tell as many people about it as possible especially people with boats – if they could have people go through this course before they took them sailing it would help a lot.
If you tried to email us over the holidays, you would have gotten a polite “out of the office notice”. We were busy catching up with our Canadian friends who have been sailing the world with their three kids for the past four years on a 42 ft PDQ Antares Catamaran. Early last year we meet up with them in New Zealand in the Tasman Bay (see the video in New Zealand). This year we meet with them in the inland water ways around Brisbane and the Gold Coast of Australia. Sailing with the Ellsay’s on Stray Kitty is a real insight to the lifestyle of world cruisers. They’ve certainly got it down and watching the kids in action with the lines and fenders was pretty impressive. This adventure was particularly interesting because of the intercoastal navigation issues in and around all the waterways. So here, I thought I’d relate a few stories as highlights of the issues and proof that both theory and practical knowledge is king.
Waterways south of Brisbane
One beautiful sunny afternoon we were anchored at a place called Jumpingpin. We went for a walk along the beach and came across a uniquely Australian experience by encountering a group of wallabies hoping across the sand.
Jumpingpin - A popular day stop (so long as you anchor properly)
After a nice stretch along the beach we returned to the boat just in time to beat an approaching thunderstorm. And in Ausy fashion, this one turned out to be a real beaut. About the time winds reached a peak of 40 knots we realized the washing was still on the lifelines and my bald head got a real pelting with the huge sideways rain drops as I brought in the now drenched washing. All the while that I was doing this, Chis, the skipper was pulling out fenders ready to fend off any of the at least ten yachts that were now dragging anchor.
To make matters worse, the tidal range in the area is around five feet. This creates particularly strong tidal currents in the narrow waterways. As the thunderstorm pelted us, the tidal current had risen to about 5 knots and was flowing in the same direction as the wind. This put huge forces on the anchors and it was pretty hair raising to see how fast the boats that had drug anchor were flying by. As an observation, almost all of the boats that had drug anchor and were now trying to reset them were using CQR plough type anchors.
The Dreaded CQR Anchor. Leave it at home.
Stray Kitty uses a Rocna roll type anchor and it held fast. Of course, in typical style of many boaters, the scope used was also way to low on boats that were dragging. And so we were able to watch the comedy of anchoring errors unfold in front of us. In reality there was no comedy. Some of the dragging boats were coming way too close, way too fast.
Boats anchored at Jumpingpin. Anchor scope too small and CQR Anchors caused dragging.
Next, one of the boats that re anchored abeam of us did it a bit too close and so as the current reversed later that night we began to come dangerously close. We elected to raise anchor and reset further out into the channel. However this presented quite a challenge with site selection. The wind was flowing in one direction whilst the current was in the other, and, we knew the current would again reverse before we awoke. Couple this with the difficulty in determining distance at night from other boats made us both glad of our previous anchoring experiences and knowledge. The worse scenario consequence of dragging anchor in the night and being washed out of the protected albeit high current waterway into the huge breakers coming in thought the cut was not one I wanted to spend to much time thinking about.
Another challenge was the markers. First off, Australia abides by IALA-A system which is opposite to the America’s IALA-B system of navigational marks. I.E. red right returning doesn’t work – it’s green on your right when returning. And in the USA the intercoastal water way fairly consistently uses green to seaward along the full length of a waterway with specially marked intercoastal day marks. IE heading from New Jersey past Florida and onto Texas you would keep green intercoastal daymarks on your left. In Queensland, they don’t seem do that and so the green and red swap inconsistently up and down the waterway.
Red Day Marker
Sometimes the red and green swap sides, some times they don’t. They seemed to use the yellow special purpose marks to designate a channel intersection rather than a preferred channel marker with red over green or green over red that is used in the USA.
Special Purpose Marks designating a channel intersection
Twice we were caught out nearly heading onto a sand bar because the day mark swapped over. The Australian navigation system also uses cardinal marks. Being able to read these quickly kept us out of trouble when it came to isolated dangers.
East Cardinal Mark (Safe Water to the East of this mark)
On top of all that, sand bars move and so your highly relied upon GPS map showing the exact position of the day marks can’t be trusted. When sand bars move the local coast guard move the day marks to remark the proper deep channel. So you can be looking at your GPS telling you that the channel is in one place when the marks tell you some thing else. Which do you trust? You have to trust the day marks.
Waterway Chart. Even with GPS don't rely on the chart. Follow the day markers.
Twice we had to turn right angles to follow a day mark went the GPS was telling us that the depth was one foot. Of course a slow and easy pace combined with the depth sounder readings is essential. Still, when you have only two feet to play with below the keel, sometimes it’s not the greatest comfort.
We tried our best to time our sailings each day with the changing tidal current so that it would help our speed. On the day that we approached Surfers Paradise this was not the case however and our 7 knot though the water speed only gave us a three knot SOG (speed over ground) due to current. On one particular day we had to ensure that we crossed under powerlines at half tide or lower due to the height of Stray Kitty’s mast.
Under Sail (actually me just posing for the shot)
As hairy as I seem to have made the above sound, we definitely had a spectacular time visiting this area. It’s off the beaten track when it comes to top charter locations around the world and probably for good reason due to the complexity and also due to the spectacular and more popular Whitsundays area to the North.
There are two highly relevant NauticEd sailing courses to this article. The first is the NauticEd Anchoring a Sailboat Sailing Course. I’d venture to say that none of the power boats that drug anchor that day would have done so if they’d taken this course. First thing they’d have done was to leave the CQR in the garden at home and secondly they’d have understood scope a little better. Surely those people are embarrassed that they drug so badly.
The second course that would really help someone enjoy our intercoastal venture as much as we did would be the Coastal navigation sailing course. This course teaches in depth the navigation marks of both IALA-A and IALA-B systems including cardinal marks.
The other comfort to the whole trip was having very experienced world cruisers on board. After a hard day of tidal currents, thunderstorms, crazy reversing navigation day marks and shallow waters we were rewarded with gourmet type dinners under the southern sky. The crew of Stray Kitty, after living on their cat every day for the past four years, did not sacrifice food quality one bit and were even able to whip up a birthday cake for me on the 31st.
The Crew of Stray Kitty (next to their Christmas Tree)
Other tasty delights on the menu were kangaroo, pork roast, shrimp pasta, steaks, roast turkey, gammon (cooked in the oven on board), plenty of salads and cookies. Some great Australian and new Zealand wines were poured on top of the above in the warm southern hemisphere summer over the Christmas and 2011/2012 new year.
Christmas Dinner Table Setting Aboard Stray Kitty
Thanks to Stray Kitty and her Crew!!!!!!!!!!!
Christmas Dinner with Alexandra, Andrea, Grant, Ryan, Christine, Cari, Chris, (Vanessa photographer - Nikon D3100) on Stray Kitty - a 42 ft PDQ Antares Catamaran
Sailing last weekend reminded me of this tip so here it is.
Often times when using a roller furler head sail you’ll find that if you’re furling it in really high winds, there is not enough furling line in the spool. And this has the potential problem of damage if you’re not watching what you are doing.
Here’s the scenario: You’re trying to stop the sail from flogging whilst furling so you’re holding the sheet on the winch and releasing slowly. The high wind puts a lot of tension on the sheet and thus you require a lot of tension on the furling line. The sail then furls up very tightly. This means that it takes more turns to furl to sail. Turns that you don’t have stored in the furling drum.
Now you’re cranking and cranking and all of a sudden it becomes very hard to pull in more furling line but the head sail is still a little bit out and needs a couple of more wraps. If an inexperienced crew member is doing this then, with the power of a winch, something is going to break. Ouch!
This happened to us last weekend sailing in a 30 knot blow in Tasman Bay, New Zealand on a 42 foot PDQ Catamaran. Fortunately I was doing the furling cranking and determined the problem instantly. Not that I’m the world’s greatest expert, but I’ve just seen this plenty of times before.
Oh oh - no more line left in the furling drum
I’ve got two solutions for this issue – of course once you reach shelter you can unfurl the sail and furl in back in with out all the back tension and problem is solved right? Well sort of. Not really because you might not be so lucky with the next crew member. So that’s not counted as a solution.
Here’s number one. Get some more wraps into the furler so you don’t have to deal with this again but how do you do that? I can remember the first time taking the end of the furler line, lying down on the deck with my head cocked all skew and feeding the line in and around the drum with great difficulty and frustration.
No the solution is much simpler.
(1) Pull out the head sail sheets forward and out from the fairleads, coil the sheets and bring them forward.
(2) Wind the sheets around the furled sail until the sail is fully wrapped then three more times for good measure.
(3) Pat yourself on the back that you read this blog.
(4) Uncoil and feed the sheets back through the fairleads – you’re done.
Wrap the headsail sheets around the furled sail
BTW – notice the awesome bay in the background.
A quick note however, some drums are really small and you might find that there is not enough room for those extra wraps. In that case you might consider a smaller diameter furling line.
What a small fine point of learning to sail this tip is. And now you’re understanding that it’s impossible to train your crew members on all the things like this on a sailboat but it can be a real problem and ultimately who pays for something on your boat when a crew member breaks something. You do!
So here’s the second part of the tip – A) Send this blog onto your crew members and also send to them your personal NauticEd Promocode. They’ll get $15 off their first NauticEd sailing course and you’ll get friend kudos and $10 credit towards your next NauticEd sailing for beginners Course. Cool eh!
Don’t know about the personal NauticEd Promocode? See here.
It’s an old song but it certainly rang the bells for me recently. Over this last new year’s break 2010-2011, my family, extended family and friends that we call family all traveled to Matauri Bay in New Zealand for probably one of the best aquatic experiences one could imagine. Unfortunately it was sans sailing cruising but sometimes it’s good to see the other side of the ocean (meaning other than sailing).
Matauri Bay - New Zealand
Here is the list of aquatic/camping toys we took
6.7 m Surtees aluminum fishing/diving boat
5 m wakeboarding/party jet boat
6 sets of scuba gear
10 fishing rods and reels
2 lobster snare hooks
4 sea kayaks
2 skim boards
5 boogie boards
1 performance jet ski
An uncountable amount of tents
A huge marquee tent
5 sun umbrellas
Probably 2 liters of sunscreen
23 dozen eggs.
Our Campsite at Matauri Bay
The result, as with all vacations, was achieving absolutely nothing except good times. See the video here.
Matauri Bay is about a 4 hour drive north of Auckland. The bay is about 1 km wide with a beautiful sandy beach. A 250 m high upside down bowl shaped headland sits at one end and the top of that provides a commanding view out of the Cavalli Islands 1 km off shore. You can also see 30 kms south to the famous Bay of Islands.
The Cavalli Islands provide an abundance of sea life and spectacular anchorage bays. The water temperature at this time of the year is 20 deg C (68 deg F). In fact the entire Coastline is pretty impressive with high rocky cliffs leading down to beautiful bay after beautiful bay.
If you ever think about sailing in New Zealand, spend the almost required 4-5 days exploring the incredible Bay of Islands, but do not miss the Cavalli Islands and then venture slightly further north to Whangaparoa Harbour, a remote harbour with bush right down to the shoreline. If you’re not thinking about sailing in New Zealand – you should start. One of our Sailing Charter business friends here in the Bay of Islands is Sailing New Zealand, http://www.sailingnewzealand.co.nz give them a call or contact me and I’ll hook you up.
Cavalli Islands, New Zealand - Sailing Paradisese
Scuba: We scuba dived so much that on one particular day I actually turned it down and opted for a day on the beach. We dived mostly for New Zealand Lobster which is referred to as Crayfish. The New Zealand Crayfish has no pincers unlike the lobster most people in the USA think of, but they do have a very spiny crustacean shell which makes it necessary to use a dive glove to capture them. One variety called the Pack Horse Cray can get pretty big.
Matauri Bay is also the sunken location of the famous Green Peace protest boat, the Rainbow Warrior. It’s wreck was moved here after being initially attacked and sunk by the French Secret Service in 1985 in the Auckland habour. And so we were able to dive this wreck situated in 23 m of water. The sea has taken pretty good hold of it now and it thus inhabits a really great display of reef life. There are a few places for advanced divers to swim through the wreck and whilst it’s very ominous to swim through a sunken ship it is a fun thing to do to see the fish attending school inside the hull.
A memorial to the Rainbow Warrior and it’s crew Member who died in the attack is erected atop the Matauri Bay headland.
Rainbow Warrior Memorial
Thanks go to Craig Johnston who saved my dive. We showed up at the dive site in our 6.7 m dive boat, suited up (5mil wet suit required preferably with a hood), almost ready to tip over backwards into the water when I discovered that I’d left my mask behind. Although air is pretty important down there – a mask is probably the next most important. Craig was the Dive Master on the Paihia Dive boat that tied up to us. Paihia Dive is a professional dive company that takes tourist divers out to the Rainbow Warrior and Matauri Bay area for a 2 tank dive. Embarrassingly, I called over to their group and pleaded for a temporary borrow of a spare mask and offered up a bag of Salt and Vinegar chips as compensation. Graciously Craig accepted the highly unfair trade. Thanks Craig – the dive was great. Hope you enjoyed our chips.
Scuba Diving in the Cavalli Islands
Fishing and Sea Life: It’s hard to put a hook on the bottom in New Zealand with out catching something. In the north, it’s mostly snapper and thus the 12 days were mostly spent eating superbly fresh snapper although we did hook (and eat) quite a few other varieties.
Snapper - about 11lbs
All in all we sampled 11 different sea garden foods, including, lobster, local abalonie (called Paua), scallops, and fish fish fish.
Crayfish catch of the day
At Matauri Bay you launch your boat off the beach – there is no ramp. Dean is the local tractor driver and for $20 he’ll expertly launch and retrieve your boat. I say expertly because sometimes the waves can be a little challenging and an expert tractor driver can save you from a lot of damage should a wave come in at the wrong time.
Launching the boat
Windsurfing: It’s been a while since I’ve windsurfed but now from this trip, I figure it’s time to get back into it. I used to be pretty good about 10 years ago. My 15 year old niece, Steff, wins local competitions and so we went out on a couple of windy days together. I got a few good rides on one particular day when the wind was blowing 30 knots. I chickened out when I ventured out further and started getting into a 2 meter swell. Although I could handle it fine the small voice of caution was speaking PRETTY LOUDLY.
Windsurfing in Matauri Bay
The principle of windsurfing is pretty cool. Once you start to understand sailing and forces it doesn’t take to much to figure it out or get back into it. Raking the mast forward moves the center of pressure of the sail forward and thus positions the force on the board more forward causing the board to turn downwind. Conversely, raking the mast backwards, turns the board towards the wind. The raking movement is done with your hand closest to the mast. Your aft hand works the sail like a mainsheet, pulling the sail to center line on upwind runs or letting out on downwind runs. It acts like an accelerator and helps with your balance.
Steff showed me some technology advances in windsurfing equipment. She told me that tightening up the downhaul made the top of the sail twist out. Wow I had to think abou that for a sec. Turns out it’s pretty easy to understand and is the same principle that I wrote a blog on a few months back. On a flexible mast, tightening the downhaul puts a significant bend in the mast. This bends the tip of the mast down closer to the aft of the boom and thus reduces leech (aft part of the sail) tension on the sail. New windsurfing sails have a large roach in the sail, ie the line from the head (top of the sail) to the clew (back bottom of the sail) is not straight but curves out significantly. Thus reduced leech tension allows the curve of the sail to twist out under wind force. In my previous blog the same twist out on a large sailboat is achieved by releasing the main sheet but bringing the traveler to windward. In both cases you are effectively reducing the size of the sail and more importantly forces aloft on the rig. It’s cool to know that once you understand the principles you can just figure it all out from there.
Skim boarding: I doubt there is very many people at my age hydroplaning on a skim board in the 1 cm wash of the beach waves but anyway I gave it a pretty good go without busting a hip. My 11 year old nephew, Rafi, mastered it quite well and was doing 180’s by the time we left.
Surfing: I’m not a surfer. Give me a sail. But my 60 year old brother-in-law rode the 1.5m waves on several days and showed up every one on the beach.
Jet Skiing: OMG – this jet ski was a high performance version built for time trials and wow it could accelerate faster than you could hold on almost. The requirement to make the tight turns at speed make it very unstable to sit on. In deep water it’s very difficult to climb onboard . One day, it was hosing down with rain and so we figured that the only thing to do on a wet rainy day was to get wet in a big big way. The jet ski was the answer – that was fun.
Sea Kayaking: The rocky coastline around the headland and further up the coast provides a most awesome sea kayaking location. The surge from the swell washes water through cracks between close to shore rocks and reefs. Running the kayak through these is pretty exciting at times. But you also can see into the water and watch the kelp below flow side to side with the occasiona fish venturing along. Seagulls protecting their young dive from the rocks above.
Seakayaking in Matauri Bay
We paddled quite a way up the coast to a house set slightly back from the beach – but there was no road into the house – just a very basic farm track. Which brings up another point – I just can’t think of any other place in the world where you have working farms that go right down to the shore in such a high percentage of coastline than New Zealand. This little (beautiful) house was just sitting there in the most gorgeous bay with a backdrop of a green grass valley and 100 feet from a deserted beach and an ocean loaded with sea life. Wow!
The Beach: Great place for the kids to play. My Daughter and (great) Nephew had the best time of their lives.
Alexandra and Cooper
Whales: I left the high light for the end. We were blessed with 2 visits from a pod of Orca Whales.
Orca Whales Right Next to the Beach
On one occasion they were swimming all around us on the boat when we were returning from a scuba dive on my birthday. On another, they came right into the beach next to us. My sister and I promptly jumped in the sea kayaks to go for a visit. They were breaching all around our kayaks so close that we were getting wet from their blow holes. Although seemingly slightly scary because they have big teeth, our Captain Nemo friend Alex (who we are sure has gills on the sides of his neck, assured us that Orcas in the wild have never eaten anyone. Despite this – I my heart raced a bit when one breached about 5 feet away from my kayak.
So that’s what one can do in 12 days in paradise with a big family and lots of toys. Now it’s back to work with NauticEd – we’ve got some exciting advances coming this year. Right now we’re working on a referral program to be launched in the next few days and a Skipper test out exam for advanced sailors. Beyond that we’ll launch more courses this year including a sailing race regatta clinic. Some large companies are approaching us for alliances and … whew it’s exicting being at the forefront of technology, education and wrapping it up with something we love – SAILING. I hope you all can take advantage of everything what we offer and get your sailing certificate!
PS - if you’ve ever been to Matauri Bay – add your comment below.
Join us on an 80 ft Maxi Yacht in the Rolex Regatta.
In the movie “Hunt for Red October” the XO came to Sean Connery and said: “Captain, it is time”. It was the time to make the decision to go for it – or not. And it is now one of those classic movie lines you just can’t forget.
Well everyone, that time for you is now!
Join us on Kialoa a 80 ft maxi yacht
NauticEd along with sailing adventure partner, Safe Passage Sailing, and members from other sailing clubs are chartering Kialoa V, an 80 ft (25m) Maxi yacht to participate in the Rolex Regatta (the “Crown Jewel of Caribbean Racing”) in St. Thomas in March next year.
On board will be world-class sailing and winning professionals Rich Stearns and Brian Thompson along with NauticEd’s Educational Director, Grant Headifen to lead us through the weeklong event and … hopefully win.
The event consists of 2 training and preparedness days followed by 3 race days out and around the various island of St. Thomas and St. Johns.
Because of the reasonably serious nature of operations on such a large yacht, we will be requiring a certain level of sailing experience to sail on this Maxi yacht so you’ll need to ensure you fill out your NauticEd Sailing logbook under your login account.
STOP PRESS: UPDATE: – Due to great response we are adding a second boat which will be a Swan 51 with an all women crew. If you’re wanting to be apart of this unique opportunity (and you’re a woman) then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Rolex Regatta Interest Women Crew Member”
We have space for 10 more crew members only on this 80 ft yacht so in order to participate you must register your interest with us NOW. Accommodation in local rental Villas is available but these will disappear fast after that the hotels can get quite pricey so contact us now to get moving on this opportunity.
Accomodation can take place in several rental villas that we have identified – BUT … these will go fast so you really should contact us fast.
Send us an email to: email@example.com / subject line: Rolex Regatta Interest
Leeway is just one of those things that is a law of the universe that we have to put up with. It’s just like gravity. Still with gravity – the advantage is that it’s highly predictable. And so then is leeway.
Leeway is the sideways slip motion of our sailboat down wind from the pressure of wind against our boat and sails. It results in a course that is less than desirable.
Leeway Slips Your Boat Side Ways Down Wind
Airplanes suffer from the same issue. When flying in a cross wind, the plane crabs (slide slips) downwind. The course becomes different from the heading.
Not accounting for leeway will have you sailing (or flying) in a fairly unnoticeable arc to get to the mark. To represent an example with a mark to the north and a westerly crosswind, here’s what happens; you aim for the mark at 000, your boat slips sideways to the west. Now your mark is at 359 but you don’t really notice it. After a few minutes your mark is at 358 still in noticed. Minutes later your heading is 355 then 350 etc. All because you keep aiming at the mark but you’re being pushed to the east by the wind. Your course over ground becomes an arc and is the long way around.
The prudent sailor will account for the leeway and sail a constant heading depending on their known leeway of say 350 for the example above. The sideways slip motion will deliver them to the mark in a straight and shortest line.
Now that we’re in the electronic age, navigators will plug in the destination to the gps. The autopilot which is cross talking to the gps takes care of the rest. The gps analyses the cross track (the boat’s distance away from a straight line to the mark) and feeds back to the autopilot the proper heading to minimize this in real time. Thus resulting in a straight course to the mark.
I’m doubt that during the Wednesday/Friday night beer can race such electronic methods are utilized. So I’m suggesting that to take line honors and win the bottle of rum at your club race by taking account of leeway.
Leeway is particularly more prevalent when you are sailing on a close haul or close reach and can be as much as 20 degrees depending on the wind conditions, water conditions, your sailboat design, your apparent angle with the wind and how your sails are set.
However, other than buying a new boat, the only thing that you have control over is the trim of your boat and sails.
Here’s a couple of general rules to follow:
Over sheeted sails cause more sideways force and thus sideways slip (leeway). Fly the telltales diligently.
Aim for a position to windward of the mark you’re trying to go around. The more you are sailing on an upwind course, the more the degrees upwind you should aim.
The higher the wind speed, the higher above the mark you should aim.
In general, on a close haul, allow 10-15 degrees. Adjust this less if the wind is light, more if the wind is strong. Reduce this amount linearly as you bare away from the wind.
Make sure your boat is trimmed with slight weather helm.
In continuing our learn to sail series of blogs we discuss the annoying problem of autotacking.
Scenario – A gust of wind comes ripping through and causes the sailboat to round up and autotack or you’ve given the helm to a novice, they’re not paying attention and sail too close to the wind and they autotack. How annoying now you’re heading in a direction you don’t want to and have to re-tack the sailboat back. Worse yet – if you’re in a race you’ve probably lost 200 ft. And in other circumstances it can be dangerous because you have essentially lost control of the boat and especially if there is high traffic, you might tack right into another boat.
To explain, an autotack is the process when the sailboat tacks over with out your permission. Most often caused from a severe roundup.
Here’s a cool little trick whereby you can prevent most of them.
Once the sailboat’s center line has crossed the line between it and the point where the wind is coming from, your head sail is going to back wind and begin to really push your sailboat further around to the other side. Thus you now have a huge force at the front of the boat pushing it right around to the other side. Once this happens, it’s all over – you’re going to autotack.
Preventing an autotack of a sailboat
So … here is your prevention technique. As the boat comes up to the line of wind or even if it is through the line of wind, no problem, simply release the head sail sheet. This prevents the wind from back winding your head sail. Since all forces to round the boat up or to push the sailboat around to the other side have now disappeared, there is only one force left on the boat and that is your rudder going through the water. Since you have head way you can just steer the boat back to it’s original position. As the wind come back to the original side, just tighten up the head sail and go on your merry way.
Sounds all good in theory but does it really work? Yes as long as you are quick with the release, it works almost every time.
The NauticEd online sailing school is full of tips like this. And once you’ve registered for a sailing course you can always comeback to retake any sailing lesson with out cost. Learn to sail with NauticEd.
If you liked this article, please Share it, Digg it or Tweet it below. It helps spread the word of NauticEd.
Yesterday we launched our most requested clinic. Coastal Navigation! We’re very excited to have this course completed and up. It was written by our resident faculty member Captain Ed Mapes with Offshore Voyages. Ed has taught navigation courses with thousands of students on board his ocean learning passages.
The Coastal Sailing Navigation course incorporates most all the elements required by the United States Coast Guard Captain’s License Navigation section. Some of the topics covered are Coastal Sailing Navigation tricks and techniques using lines of position, gps, running fix, bearing fixes, true versus magnetic bearings, using navigation tools, calculate set and drift from tides and current, determine your heading with a known set and drift etc. In addition there is a review of the ATONs (aids to navigation) during the day and at night which was presented in the NauticEd skipper course.
The course is presented with lots of graphics and video’s explaining the navigation techniques from very basic terms to ensure everyone grasps the navigational concepts.
In the previous blog we dealt with end ties. Now we get onto the more common configurations of boats in a slip.
(5) Wind coming into the slip channel. Your boat is stern to.
Wind from behind
This is best handled by steering out of the slip and then immediately down wind. Back out of the slip channel and well into the main channel before engaging forward.
(6) Wind blowing into the slip channel. Your boat is bow to.
wind from behind
Simply back out of the slip into the slip channel and then into the main channel. You may need a bow line to the windward dock to prevent the bow blowing downwind as you engage reverse.
(7) Wind blowing out of the slip channel. Your boat is bow to.
wind from ahead
Back out into the wind and then engage forward. Watch for traffic as you enter the main channel.
(8) Wind blowing out of the slip channel and your boat is stern to.
wind from behind
Simply drive the boat out to the main channel.
(9) Wind blows across the docks and your boat is stern to.
wind from a beam
Again, simply drive the boat out to the main channel.
(10) Wind blows across the dock and your boat is bow to.
wind from abeam
Simply reverse the boat out of the slip, into the slip channel and then into the main channel. If the wind is light you may elect to turn the boat in the slip channel and come out in forward. However if the wind is strong, it’s safer to follow the above diagram.
Other wind/current configurations are solved using variations of the above techniques.
Most wheels have a center marker such as decorative knot or tape that indicates the centered position.
Post a lookout to make certain there are no other boats either in front or to your sides that may pose a potential collision condition. Courtesy and patience are always signs of a skilled and thoughtful helms person.
Controlling departure speed is important, you must have enough speed to steer, but no more than necessary in case you need to stop and/or maneuver in order to negotiate a turn.
Once in an open area of water you can proceed to start, unfurling sails. See NauticEd’s Module 7 in the Skipper Course or Register for the Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power Clinic.
After a cold front came through last week we decided to go out sailing – hey it’s Texas we can still sail this time of the year. The wind was up 20-25 knots. The not so great thing about sailing on Lake Travis in Austin however is the high hills and valleys surrounding it tend to create pretty severe gusts. So when the wind is up that high, it’s pretty interesting sailing. But you can see the ripples from the gust across the water so you know when each gust is coming.
Knowing the wind speed from the anemometer we prepared the boat as we motored out of the harbor by reefing the sails. Turns out not enough however. When we go out to the main basin the boat would constantly round up in the winds. That’s pretty frustrating so we reefed again. But the trick is to know in the first place why the boat rounds up.
If you imagine a coke bottle in the water.
Representation of a sailboat in the water
The arrow represents the action of the wind pushing on the sailboat. You can see that the neck of the coke bottle will round up into the wind. Similarly on a sail boat. If the combined action of the wind is towards the rear of the boat then the boat will round up.
To lessen the effect – you simply move the combined action of the wind forward. Do this by reefing the main sail. You can effectively test this by releasing the mainsail sheet and the boom vang to spill the wind out of the sail.
So we reefed the main sail some more and then as a gust would approach we’d simply let out on the traveller to spill out wind from the main sheet. Then tighten it back up again as the gust passed.
We’re not sure if the boat that was in front of us was racing but they do say two sailboats heading in the same direction = a race. So in using this technique we quickly passed the other boat.
Hope that little tip helped. Contribute to this blog if you’ve got other trimming techniques.