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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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  #11  
Old 06-19-2006
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I would emphasize to your wife, the risks of a knockdown if you are attempting to sail upwind on the Genoa alone.

Sailing with vastly reduced sails, and making sure the kids are wearing PFDs, harnesses and tethers are both probably prudent measures. Adding lifeline netting is also probably a very good idea.

I hope your boat has fairly high coamings around the cockpit as well. Some boats have an almost completely open aft end to the cockpit, which I think would be very disturbing to your wife.

A good automatic inflatable PFD is probably the way to go for your wife, as they are far more comfortable than the bulkier foam-filled PFDs.

It also might still be a good idea to have your wife take a sailing course that discusses sailing theory a bit. Then she will have a better understanding of how the boats work, and why... that should make it a bit easier for her to accept that heeling is a natural part of sailing a monohull.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #12  
Old 06-19-2006
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Sabre 28s have a relatively low cockpit with good coamings and lifelines. Our dockmate has one and it sure seems much easier to adjust to for newbies compared to our Nauticat, which has a 5'-6" aft-helm freeboard, due to a full height aft cabin.

My wife was a new sailor last season and became very anxious when heeling under full sail. Our tall masted ketch rig carries a lot of sail for a 33 ft motorsailer and actually sails very well on sail only. The motion is amplified however, due to the higher aft helm/cockpit. I have learned to ease out the main sheet & traveler on both main & mizzen, resulting in less heeling but acceptable speeds (for my wife anyway).

As was said, in time, she and the kids will become comfortable with heeling - once confidence in the boat's physics and their captain increases. My wife was hysterical in winds over 15 knots during the first season, but now loves to sail any chance we get.
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  #13  
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Afraid of heeling?

Heeling is as natural for a sailing boat as wind forces acting on the sails to keep the vessel going. Then, how on earth can you expect to obtain balance if you deny the boat a natural tendency at all costs? While the mainsail makes the boat luff up, the headsail cause it to bear away and thus some balance is achieved. When the yacht carries too much canvas and it appears overwhelmed, you just have to reef. Moreover, you let the mainsail sheet car go a liittle to leeward or you avoid a direction much to windward. In any case, you don't disturb balance. Under light wind force conditions you are allowed to sail with either of your two sails without much effect on your boat behaviour, but with force 5+ winds you better observe well established practices!
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  #14  
Old 06-19-2006
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Jack?
"My wife is convinced that in order to minimize healing and to sail "safely" we should only sail with the headsail (135% genoa). "
Meaning no offense, but your wife obviously knows nothing about boats or sailing and just as obviously is terrified of sailing. There's nothing wrong with that, we all started by knowing nothing and she's just concerned about the safety of her family.
So I would suggest that the first thing you need to do, is to send HER (or both of you) off to something like Womenship, a women-only sailing school in Annapolis, or a similar "ladies it is just us" class.
The Sabre28 is a good boat. Matter of fact, Sabre might recommend something closer to you, they're outstanding folks. But your wife is operating out of FEAR not FACT and that's something that needs to be corrected immediately. Both for safety and for harmony.

Many boats in that size range will be able to carry a 150 and mainsail, both full, up to around 14-15 knots without reefing. If you trim wrong, sure, you may be heeling way more than you should. But then again, on a small boat it is NORMAL to walk on the walls, so to speak, and if that's what is bugging your wife, she needs a chance to come to grips with it. (She may simply not have faith in your sailing skills or experience, or she may simply have seen Poseidon Adventure once too often)
If you ring up the folks at Sabre I *know* they will be glad to speak with you. They can tell you exactly how soon you should be reefing, and how much sail to carry in what winds. Typically around 15 knots you can be reefing down one reef line in the main and rolling the furler up to 130 and you'll flatten out the boat without losing any speed. And by 20 knots you'll need to have one reef line, maybe two, in the main and roll the genny down to 100%. But the exact speeds will vary with the boat, and I don't know yours. The folks at Sabre certainly do. If there's any way you can take your wife there for a VISIT...that might be the best way to get started of all.

Mesh lifelines are a "must have" if the kids will be on deck, as are comfortable PFDs for everyone. I've made a habit of keeping mine ashore, so it comes out of the car with me and I set the example that it gets put on BEFORE getting in the launch, and stays on until we're back. Kids complain less when they are just imitating what the big folks do, and the comfort level (mental and physical) is a big thing to work on. For the wife and kids to be comfortable about going in the water, for their PFDs to be comfortable too.
The big thing is, don't let it snowball into a fight, go for the confidence and the facts and the rest will smooth out. (And if she's really just terrified of the water...welll...sometimes that happens too.)
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  #15  
Old 06-20-2006
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One other thing... in stronger winds, you should be doing everything you can to depower the sails, before you start reefing—backstay tension, more tension on the cunningham, halyard, outhaul, adjusting sheeting fairleads for the genoa—will all help to depower the sails and reduce the amount of heel.

Giving your wife a solid education and foundation in sailing theory and technique should allow her to understand why the boat acts the way it does, and accept that the behavior of the boat is normal and safe. It is also a good idea to have her learn at least the fundamentals of sailing, just in case you four are out and anything should happen to you.

Last year there was a sailor lost while sailing with his son. His son did not have the knowledge of how to use the VHF or to do a man-overboard recovery, and the sailor and his boat were lost. The son was eventually rescued by the USCG IIRC.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #16  
Old 06-25-2006
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Originally Posted by JackRent
I guess I am soliciting responses to best explain the whole situation to my wife.
Don't explain. Get her to run the boat herself in light airs and then progressively stronger stuff. She'll get a sense of the difference between "eager" and "dangerously over-canvassed". Also, nothing beats spilling the main to get a boat upright again.

Practice leads to mastery, and both trump fear.
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  #17  
Old 06-25-2006
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Ignorance causes the fear... education and experience can cure it...

All your wife sees is the boat tipping over...without the knowledge of why it is tipping, and why the tipping is normal and safe—all she can do is panic.

I highly recommend that she get some foundation in sailing–not from you, but from an accredited sailing school. Given her current beliefs, it is unlikely that you'll be able to explain this in a way she can accept and believe. This is not an insult, but a statement of the way things probably are.
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #18  
Old 06-26-2006
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I would strongly agree that a class like ASA 101(Basic Keelboat) would be an asset. If your wife understands how sailing works,she may have a higher comfort level,and can be a valuable asset if things go wrong.
As to being comfortable heeling,my wife(she took ASA 101,and I did it with her)was really nervous the first few times the boat really heeled. I gave her control of the mainsheet,and told her to haul in to her comfort level. She controlled the heeling and got very easy with it in no time. We were out recently in Greenwich Bay with the wind blowing hard,boat heeled to 25-30,and she's sitting on the windward,feet braced,totally relaxed!
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  #19  
Old 06-26-2006
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Smile Me thinks ya got it all wrong!!!!

Sailindog did not say his wife was afraid of healing. She was concerned when in the cabin with 2 little children and a strong puff comes the boat suddenly heals without warning, and they being the wife and children go flying across the aformentioned cabin.

When people are below they cannot see what is happening, I tell them we gotta puff and they know that the boat will suddenly heal. It's a little prewarning. Another thing I do is dump the main out at the same time.

It also helps to do this if someone happens to be in the galley making somthing to eat. When I find a galley slave I like to keep em.

Fair Winds

Cap'n Dave
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  #20  
Old 06-26-2006
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Well, sailing under the genoa alone is a good way to end up in trouble. It will tend to leave the boat with lee helm and could make things very dangerous. Have a boat that is difficult to control because you don't have the right sails up, is probably a greater danger than having the boat heel a bit.

The children should be someplace with some degree of safety...wandering around the main cabin is probably not such a good idea, at least until they are old enough to take a little responsibility for themselves.

I agree that shouting out a warning to the galley slave and others below is a good idea... but a two-year-old is not going to be able to react intelligently, and being a two-year-old, needs to have some precautions taken to protect them. That's why most of my friends with little ones have padding on the furniture that is at "skull level" for their little ones.

A little common sense, and a little education will go a long way to making sure that the two and four year olds get to be three and five.
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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