Tartan 27' owner
Join Date: Jan 2008
Thanked 118 Times in 110 Posts
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I was out on the Hudson on Weds. for the beer can races with a W-NW breeze of <= 10 knots (light conditions for my old boat). The hardest part about racing and River Sailing 101 I find is dealing with the reversing current that the ocean tides send up river against the non-tidal flow of the river.
If PHRF ratings are to be believed we shouldn't have been able to beat an O'Day 27' and a Cat. 30' (std. rig) but we did. The current often trumps the wind if the wind is low.
Normally I sail with my boat's co-owner who is all about "watch the telltales", "hold your course", "head up", "fall off, you're pinching", "go for speed", "pole out the jib", "lose the pole", "tighten the Cunningham", "bludgeon the pinholes" etc. He was absent for this sail/race and while I know we could have done even better had we tweaked everything to within an inch of perfection but we did not and just enjoyed sailing the race without so much commentary from the skipper: me, this time. Cap'n Blye will be back next Weds. to worry the crew to exhaustion but we will probably do better if the river's current, wind and time allow.
Sometimes it is just nice to be out on your boat and enjoy the overcast sunset and muffled moonrise behind the clouds without orders being barked at you in a rapid succession.
River Sailing 100. Course outline:
- learn to swim; in cold water as well. Life jackets do help.
- bring an anchor with a line/rode attached to the boat, not you.
- look at the charts, not a map for depths in the river
- learn to sail and learn to enjoy it/heeling is normal for sailboats
- learn the rules of right-of-way. There is only one rule: avoid commercial traffic and any boat larger then yours with big engines. With other sailboats you can shout stuff at them like 'Starboard' or 'WTF?' if you did not see them sneaking up behind the sails (I think that this lesson is going to have to get bumped back up to River Sailing 101 as it gets a bit complicated as does 'VHF radio etiquette. What channels to monitor.", "GPS 100- what is it?", "So it's raining hard upstream from me for 3 days, what does that mean to me/What the heck is a 'freshet'?, "What does that dark line of clouds with a greenish hue signify/I hear thunder, so now what?".)
The more I think about it this is going to be a difficult course to structure from 100 - 12X or so. When is 'Independent Study' applicable to each student? It has taken me a lifetime on different kinds of boats to learn what I think I know and I still learn something nearly every time out.
'Situational Awareness 100' should be the basis of the whole program in my humble opinion.
"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen
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Last edited by CalebD; 08-26-2010 at 11:21 PM.