Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mandeville, LA
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If there are races held in your area, I would encourage you to volunteer yourself and a six pack as crew. There is no better way to quickly learn the fundamentals as well as meet other people interested in the sport.
When flaking your main, just start at the back of the boom and pull it over in folds that hand equally on each side of the boom. Pull each fold back as far as it will go. Because the sail narrows as you move towards the head, you'll find that each flake lies a little farther forward. Ties the sail with sailties every four feet or so. When you work your way to the mast, continue laying the sail on each side of the boom. You may need to do some tucking to get it to fit neatly under the cover. Take your mainsail halyard and clip if to your outhaul at the back of the boom so it does not bang against the mast.
As for docking, go slow and practice. Spend some time motoring around the harbor. Learn how quickly your boat turns around. Practice bringing it to a halt using reverse. Practice reversing. Does it back easier to stbd or port? Learn how to use that to your advantage.
As for launching at a ramp. Get the boat rigged and ready to go before pulling up to the ramp. Move the boat to the ramp. Tie a bow line to the trailer and remove the wire and safety chain. Back up just until the boat floats. You can step hard on the brake to slide the boat back a bit if you're driving into the water (this probably won't be an issue on your boat). Engage your parking brake and tie your boat off to the dock. Quickly park and move your boat out of the ramp area.
Have lots of fun.
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