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Old 12-31-2011
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CalebD CalebD is offline
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Concerning dub420sailor's #5 recommendation above, about being able to right the boat in the event of a capsize or turtle. The best preparation for this would be to intentionally capsize your FS in benign conditions in a relatively protected area first, just to see what it takes to get it righted.
Righting it is the similar procedure as a Sunfish; mast pointing across the wind, jump on the center board, then hold on as it comes up and bail like a madman.
I'm guessing it would be pretty easy to right with 2 people and a bit harder solo. If nothing else your crew member can gather the stuff that is floating in the water around your boat.

I flew the spinnaker on my Lightning with just 2 of us on board - what a Nantucket sleigh ride that was. I wish I had a GPS along to see how fast we were going. We came close to dumping the boat over but I am pretty chickenspit and did not want to learn how to right it and deal with the consequences. The Lightning was my 2nd or 3rd boat at the time so I had to let it go. I miss the way that boat sailed.

Compass for sure.

I'm not surprised no one has mentioned a GPS as a must have piece of equipment. They are a bit expensive to be carrying around on a boat that can swamp or go over and you'll almost always stay within sight of land, right? Not much fog down in FL either so the only benefit I can see for a GPS is that you can use it to help tell what the current is doing to your progress in an inlet. Your eyes can also help you with this so I'll say that a GPS would not be on my 'must have' list for what you intend to do.
On the subject of inlets I thought that the Gulf had fairly minimal tides most of the time? If that is true the current at the inlets should not be terribly strong. It is the hurricane storm surges you really have to watch out for and consistent strong winds that pile the water up in one part of the Gulf or another.
Enjoy your FS down there. I am jealous that you can sail now and up here, well, the water isn't hard yet but it is cold.
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