Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New Jersey
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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.