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Old 01-29-2001
Fran49829 Fran49829 is offline
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Tacking

Keylargo,
Please read and memorize 2 basic "how to sail" books. Your library should have them. You will be able to tack quite easily then. I feel a sailor must know the basics. Reading the books is not enough as you must master them.
Most tacking is done to windward with the boom sheeted in; one goes on a beat; pushes the tiller over to make the boat come through the wind while releasing the jib sheet and then when on the oppossite tack sheet in the jib. So when tacking to windward the boom is already all the way in and it does not need to be released or pulled in more. The jib has to be released and pulled in on the other side however. Tacking into the wind is called "coming about". It would be almost impossible to damage a sailboat coming about even if every thing was done wrong.
One can tack downwind which is called "gybing". While on a run the boat is turned slowly downwind and when one is dead downwind the main is pulled in to center, the boat is turned a little more and the boom swings over at which point the mainsheet is released and then eased out. Gybing corrrectly requires skill in operating the boat and sails and you must know where the wind is blowing from. Gybing should be practiced in light wind. If the gybe is done wrong things can break. Always remmember that even when running you can round up into the wind and come about then ease off back onto a run. This is very often done when it gets windy.
Please memorize a couple books and practice every time you are outside to figure out which way the wind is blowing from. There are flags, trees, dust, the boat on a mooring and finally feel. This wind thing is the hardest because it cannot be learned from a book. You must be constantly aware of the wind and learn to find its direction by feel on your face, arms, hands, neck. Happy sailing. Fran
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