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  #1  
Old 09-02-2014
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Humbled

Just thought I'd share a quick story. As some of you may know, this is our first year on the water. We've relied on the internet, a few books, and brass balls to self-teach until the wedding is behind us and we can afford a proper lesson.

So far, things have been going swimmingly on our 40yo C&C 30. We're careful to avoid questionable weather and have managed in excess of 500 miles under sail so far in our first season. A few overnights and a number of daysails.

Anyhow, having "mastered " the big boat, we opted to rent a sunfish at one of our state parks. I really anticipated "feeling the tug of the sails and the subtleties of steering with a rudder."

Let's just say it didn't go quite as planned. We capsized twice just trying to board and get under way. With no wind vane, I quickly realized just how poor I am at judging wind direction. We made halting progress upwind and enjoyed an hour of "sailing," but a new problem presented itself. The aged vessel wasn't even close to watertight and our frequent swims had almost totally filled the hull with water.

We turned down wind and made a desperate run for the rental dock, but it was too late. We'd turned into a semi-submersible that would have made a drug-smuggler proud. Bailing seemed to have no effect and even the slightest heel would now fully roll us. We waved off numerous "rescue attempts" from 14 yo girls in kayaks and canoes... clinging to our dignity and experienced, self-taught sailor identities. Eventually though, the open sea (pond) wore us down.

On the plus side, we were able to pitchpole.. sorta in slow motion... so that's something. Finally, the 17yo that assembled the rig for us came to our rescue and towed our stricken vessel back to base while we made the long walk of shame up the shoreline.

Next time!
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Humbled

body ballast is not quick to move or learn. little boats aren't forgiving like larger boats. And some won't even stay upright when rigged with no crew and in a slight breeze.
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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Humbled

Thanks for sharing!

I don't consider it merits a "walk of shame." Far from it.
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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Humbled

there is no shame in that my friend...dinghy sailing will humble many a sailor...and capsizing is just part of the fun

many many cruisers have never set foot on a dinghy fwiw

now about old sunfish and lasers and other small dinghies many many fill with water over time saturating the foam core to act basically like you describe...

just have fun and do not let these things slow you down

its not embarrasing if you are learning and willing to improve

look at the brightside.
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Islander 36 refit still going on...

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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Humbled

My partner's first sail was 1500 miles from Newport to St. Thomas via Bermuda on a 53' ketch. Another 5000 miles of interisland sailing, pulling strings and things, and she rightfully felt some pride in her sailing abilities. But no matter how well she knew how to do those things she did so well on our boat, she had not yet learned, why.
Enter an 11 foot dinghy loaned from the Bequia Youth Sailors and the lessons could begin. I paced her in the Zodiac and, oops, she's over. Looking rather bedraggled, she found that sitting on the dagger board was the method of choice for righting this boat, and off she went, and over again. "You might want to bail out all that water, before you haul in the main sheet again." I suggested. Long wet story short, after several hours, she had a pretty good understanding of the forces and reactions to actions, that aren't so apparent on the big boat.
IMO, one must at some point, no matter how many miles one puts under their keel, get in a small sailing dink if one truly wishes to understand sailing.
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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Humbled

dont say that so outload capta as some beleive you can and are perfectly fine getting your first boat a big cruising boat learn as you go and then for some magical reason sell the fully equipped boat in paradise cause it just wasnt your thing, ejem.

jajjjaaja

all jokes aside...dinghy sailing is fun, one of the best ways to understand the physics of sailing at its essence and one of the better ways to get BETTER, please excuse the redundancy!

...especially regarding trim, sail shape, weight distribution, effects of rudder control, keel or daggerboard position, how to backwind and sail backwards, how to tack faster, how to do controlled gybes, how to round marks well, FLAT IS FAST, man I could go on...

but wont

peace
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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Humbled

Love the story - been there, done that (as I think many of us have!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
IMO, one must at some point, no matter how many miles one puts under their keel, get in a small sailing dink if one truly wishes to understand sailing.
Great comment. It's worth persevering. The acute sensitivity to trim in a smaller boat, and the feel of the water on the tiller, will teach you many lessons which can be transferred to your bigger boat. On the bigger boats the sheer weight - and often a wheel - tends to isolate you from the environment, so it is a lot more difficult to "feel" what is going on. IMHO sail as many boats as you can, in addition to your own. It's fun and a learning experience; each boat (and skipper) has its foibles.

Keep it up!
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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Humbled

I sailed a dinghy for the first time this summer. My first time sailing any non keeled boat other than windsurfing. I think the cold water temperature in Washington was the motivation for not falling in.
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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Humbled

I took a Laser out last summer. When I brought it back a the end of the day the guy asked me how many times I tipped it. When I said "none" I thought he'd be pleased that I hadn't capsized his boat, but instead he said "then you weren't pushing it hard enough!"
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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Humbled

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
My partner's first sail was 1500 miles from Newport to St. Thomas via Bermuda on a 53' ketch. Another 5000 miles of interisland sailing, pulling strings and things, and she rightfully felt some pride in her sailing abilities. But no matter how well she knew how to do those things she did so well on our boat, she had not yet learned, why.
Enter an 11 foot dinghy loaned from the Bequia Youth Sailors and the lessons could begin. I paced her in the Zodiac and, oops, she's over. Looking rather bedraggled, she found that sitting on the dagger board was the method of choice for righting this boat, and off she went, and over again. "You might want to bail out all that water, before you haul in the main sheet again." I suggested. Long wet story short, after several hours, she had a pretty good understanding of the forces and reactions to actions, that aren't so apparent on the big boat.
IMO, one must at some point, no matter how many miles one puts under their keel, get in a small sailing dink if one truly wishes to understand sailing.
Does a soling count? Not a dinghy, but you do feel everything you do and you feel it quickly.
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