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post #1 of 11 Old 09-23-2013 Thread Starter
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Teaching the wind techniques

I know some of you are experienced trainers and others have had a lot of unofficial experience in teaching people to sail.

How do you get someone to figure out which way to turn the boat to jibe or tack.

Because of the wind yesterday we did a few dozen jibes and I noticed that one student got it backwards pretty often.

Any tricks to help folks get it?

I was trying the standard:
Helms person keeps it steady on a broad reach.
say ready to jibe
mainsheet trimmer pulls in main as much as comfortable. Says ready
Helms person says jibing and puts the helm over.
mainsheet trimmer pulls in the remaining slack then lets the main out after the pop.
Helms person settles on new broad reach.

The helms person had trouble finding and staying on the broad reach then she had trouble remembering which way to turn the wheel.

The mainsheet guy almost never was able to be fast enough to remove the slack just before the pop.

Any tricks other than not trying this in 15 to 20 knots for beginners.

They had great time and were not scared I'm just not sure how much they learned.

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post #2 of 11 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Teaching the wind techniques

It is rumored that Einstein never really got it
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Teaching the wind techniques

With a wheel the 'tiller confusion' should not be a factor.. In the past I've indicated with an outstretched arm the 'new course', and keep the arm out as the boat turns and aligns with the new course, moving around with the turn.

I also stress to 'new' helmspersons that once you've completed your turn, you need to make sure the headstay is not still sweeping the horizon.. I think some feel the boat should straighten itself out like a car, and they end up continuing to turn despite moving the wheel back towards 'center'..

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post #4 of 11 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Teaching the wind techniques

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Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
one student got it backwards pretty often.
The student may just need some time on a boat by themselves. It gets a bit exciting when there 6 crew and an instructor.

Maybe if he went and hired a Laser for a few hours it would click.



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post #5 of 11 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Teaching the wind techniques

The person at the helm might just have been stupid. Seriously.
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Teaching the wind techniques

Hi David, For the helmsman, I have found that explaining what they are trying to accomplish in a general sense helps a little. ie: The wind is behind you, over your left shoulder for instance. You want to turn your stern across the wind to put it on your right shoulder. Ask them, before the maneuver which way they "plan" on turning the wheel. Now you have confirmation that they know which way they are turning, instead of waiting to find out. I always ask them to show me ( point) where the wind is coming from too. They tend to lose track.

So...if you want the wind over your right shoulder, you turn Right...over the left you turn left....etc.

To get them settlled in to the new course..on a broad reach, I have them use tell tales on the shrouds. When the tell tales point to the jib...they are on a broad reach.

Do the maneuver slowly at 1st as you head dead down wind the jib will get blanketed first and luff.. Point that out to them. The mainsheet person has more time..to get the boom centered as well. Then when you continue..and the wind pushes the boom over they can ease it out under control. No need to snap it..imo. Do it slowly at first until they all understand their jobs and get the timing right and the memory sets in... then you can speed it up.

If you go slowly, there's less chance of over-steering up to a beam reach as well.

I would probably do fewer jibes and do them more slowly and under control, than try to jibe dozens of times... New sailors tend to lose track of wind direction when you constantly change course... let them sail a course for awhile and feel the boat.

There's a balance between getting the mechanics..and understanding what they're doing.. It sounds like you might want to spend a little time with their understanding of the manuever. Make them explain it to you..before..they execute it.. have each person tell you what they are doing...and.. why.. they are doing it...

And , of course, having reasonable wind speeds for beginners helps immensely.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Teaching the wind techniques

The wheel is the problem.
Sailing by a tiller is second nature once you figure it out.
On top of that it has been quite windy so any mistake (accidental jibe) is amplified by the force of the wind. In light wind a mistake like that is not such a big deal.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Teaching the wind techniques

I find that it is really hard for people to figure out from which side of the boat the wind is coming. They are used to tuning out that sensory input because, in their daily lives, it's just "noise". For me, I have them (and I do it myself) look at the sails. If I want to tack, I turn the nose of the boat (with a wheel, that means I also turn the wheel) in the direction of the sails. If I want to jibe, I turn the nose of the boat away from the sails.

The timing issue is different; you mainsheet guy needs to step up his game! OK, more seriously, have the helmsperson not steer quite so agressively until the sail is in the neutral position.

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post #9 of 11 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Teaching the wind techniques

As long as they've got some basic steering down, ie know which way to turn the wheel to get the boat to go in the direction they want, a jibe is pretty easy to explain. Turn the bow towards the same direction that the boom is on. Wanna jibe from Starboard tack? turn the bow to port. Or in rookie terms, if the boom is over the left side of the boat, turn left to jibe the boat. On the right side? Turn right. For tacking, it's the opposite Turn away from the boom.

This in an example of a dinghy sailor having the advantage. On a reach the dinghy sailor sits on the high side of the boat. Usually. tacking is turning the boat towards the side they are sitting on, a gybe is turning the boat away from the side they are sitting on. ( and ducking!) It's very easy to pick up.
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Teaching the wind techniques

I agree tiller is easier for learning and don't like teaching beginners on a wheel.

I just say, "tacking, tiller towards boom--jibing, tiller away from boom". And when jibing, as soon as you see that boom swing over your head, reverse your tiller so it's "still" away from the boom "now". That will check the swing. Then, I just tell them "midships" (which I explained on the way out, much quicker than "Put the tiller back in the middle") and we should steady out on the new broad reach.

Usually works okay.
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