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  #1  
Old 10-08-2012
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My new toy.

My first sailboat!

About a week ago, I bought my first sailboat... a Mutt 15'.... which is probably beyond my current skills ... no, not probably...

After much practice stepping the mast, lowering it, rigging and de-rigging my boat and a great deal of learning and a few mis-steps (no pun intened) I made my first trip to Bluewater last Saturday. After an hour of preparation, I finally put 'er in the water (The boat, not the wife). What i learned from that trip was that the bailers needed a great deal of maintenance... the O rings were either missing or rotted and I had about 4" of water aboard in 10 minutes or so, so i pulled her back out, de-rigged and drained her and went home for mainenance. . I took the bailers out, put in new o rings then re-installed them and put several inches of water in the boat and voila!! only a drip or so.

With the newly fixed bailers, back to the water on Sunday I went! After a few problems with the boat... self inflicted... I was out in the lake, sail (main only) up and practicing working the main sheet and rudder . I sailed for about an 1.5 to 2 hours... going from one end of the lake to the other, practicing tacks and keeping on a path to a point, trimming the sail when it "luffed", . WOW.

Then came the test!!.. I was sailing back to dock... wondering how i was going to keep going in one direction, pulling down the sail and then getting to the dock without hitting it.... and all those fishers were there so I was also trying to avoid collision and practicing the "rules of the road".

I tried to do a starboard tack got broadside of the wind and ... whooose... ... you guessed it!

I remembered the "righting the boat" procedures, loosing the sheet (should I have released the halyard too?) swam to the bottom of the boat, grabbed the center board and .... couldnt get enough leverage to pull her back up. Fortunatly one of the fishing boats came over to help. I asked him to go around and lift the mast out of the water and... wow, that was all it took to get her back up!

Next problem was getting back aboard. Since there was no rope accessable, no ladder (yet!), nothing to grab onto this proved to be harder than I thought. Again, the fishers helped me onto their boat and then got back to mine!

I dropped the sail, and asked them to pull me back to the dock (the oar wasnt sufficient to battle the winds, even with the sail down). pulled her out, gathered my wits and belongings, and packed it home!

I think the reason I capsized was I didnt release the main sheet to dumped air. I was hiking as much as I could to the windward side, pulling the rudder to turn to port, But I think I kept the sail close hauled rather than going broad. Does that sound right? I'd like to avoid doing that again, but I am not put off!! back I'll go when the weather cooperates. Yes, Bluewater winds are capricious.

As for the wife... she had wisely decided that she had other things to do, stayed home, and had a good laugh at my mis-fortune. Which brings me to some questions... was my evaluation of why I capsized reasonable? since it is mostly remembering... and no instant replay...???

I think a boat ladder would be a good investment or is it more trouble than it is worth for a dinghy?

I had been thinking about putting a small outboard on, and was initially thinking an electric trolling motor might be ok, but have now rulled that out.... somehow a 70lb battery in the water does not sound too good. I am now looking to a 2.5/3.5 motor < 60lbs. Will this make the boat a bit more unstable? If I had had one, I would have dropped the sails earlier and gone back under power. I also assume that if I had a motor and capsized, I would have needed to do a bunch of mainenance to get the motor running again...??? Yes??? no???

any help is appreciated...
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: My new toy.

Sounds like you had fun
The great thing about a dingy is it teaches you to react quickly, as soon as the boat feels like she is about to go over, you gotta get the mainsheet out. At first, you'll be dumping it when you didn't really need to, but as you get more used to it you'll get a better feel for it. You also won't be able to get her upright again after a capsize unless the sheet it completely free to run, perhaps a little float at the top of the mast might help if you still have difficulty, I know a lot of the hobie type beachcats use them.
As for getting back onboard, you should be able to scramble in as she comes upright. I don't think a motor is going to work if you are likely to be spending time under water, just going to need to learn to row better, or sail in a little more wind to get back to the dock
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: My new toy.

The best way to learn is to just jump on and go, as you are doing.

I learned as a kid on a Tanzer 16. I grew up sailing with my Dad, and then one day (I think I was 9 or 10) he pushed me off the dock and away I went.

I didn't pick up my first book on sailing until a good 10 years later. Never knew the name of most of the parts of the boat until I worked at a marina and caught on from the other guys.
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: My new toy.

It sounds like you boarched.
You can rig a rope step to aid in getting aboard. Probably don't need or want a real ladder.
I think a motor is a bad idea, they don't like to get wet. Just sail up wind of the pier, drop your sail and either ghost in down wind or get the oar out and paddle. With a single oar, sculling is more effective than rowing.
Sounds like a fun day. Any sailing school worth its salt would have had you capsized on day one, just after the classroom portion. I was taught to get up on the centerboard and then slither up on and into the boat just as the mast is coming out of the water. I don't think I could do that now at my age.
Dinghys capsize, so anything you carry must be able to withstand a dunking.
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: My new toy.

Gnu,
Nice write up! Evidently you have a good sense of humor as does your wife.

Is this the boat you got? MUTINEER 15 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
Mutineer 15'?

To answer your question about tipping the boat: Yes, you should have let the main sheet out, all the way if needs be. You should also develop an instinct to head the boat up into the wind during gusts when you feel it starting to heel too much. The boat will not tip over if no wind is being caught by the sails. Both releasing the sheet and heading up will keep the boat on it's feet.

I'll agree with you on your assessment about mounting a motor on her. Neither an electric motor or a gas engine would like getting dunked in the drink.

I'd make sure you have a good paddle and a small anchor with you at all times. When the wind dies these can be your friends. When there is wind you will need to be able to sail the boat to your destination.

Good luck.
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: My new toy.

Recommendation if you want an easy motor for a small boat... try a trolling motor. You'd have to really secure the battery (aka capsize problem), but they are more tolerant of getting wet.

Baby bob, is what I recommend for the mast head (float)... if you can't do that, or it's too big, try, putting a swim noodle inside the mast and then spray foam the head of the mast (not to make it waterproof, but more watertight, when the mast fills with water, it becomes ballast when you you turn turtle)...

Yes ease the mainsheet early... My brother refers to it as "sunfishing" meaning, keep the sheet uncleated and always in hand (the base design of a sunfish has no cleat for the mainsheet). It's hard on the hands at first, but you get used to it after a bit... eventually you know when/how to release quickly.

It sounds like you went from close hauled to beam reach without letting sheet out, in any amount of blow that could really roll you over... what's worse when you are "sailing deeper" like that, rounding toward the wind (to luff up) with baggy(er) sails you'll heel harder because you are working your lower surfaces (centerboard) in tandem with the pressure of the wind, in effect making it heel more. Without a corresponding release of pressure on the sails (letting the main sheet out), you're going swimming.

So lets look at the situation...
you were trying to come back to "dock."
Avoiding bobbing fishermen.
Under sail...
So your approach should be (if you can) to finish your docking "into the wind," or as close to it as you can.
So approach from 90 degrees or better off the wind direction (again if you can)... to the dock, hopefully with the boom on the opposite side of where you dock... Example, if your dock/finger is on starboard, then approach on a starboard tack... That way there's no sail in your way docking.

Also again, if you can turn up at the last minute into the wind and against your dock, that is ideal. That way you aren't going to bother with dropping sails, you're likely just going to "flap like mad" once you get back.... Sail right up to the dock easing sheet to slow down, until you release and let flap... once you are alongside the dock, you can secure the boat, and drop the sails (release halyards)... This is a real PITA if you approach your dock downwind... Then YOU WILL Need to drop sails approaching, and your timing has to be perfect, because it's hard to get a second chance if you screw a downwind docking up (you're either paddling backwards the last several feet, or repairing fiberglass!).

By the way, in a pinch (without spending a dime)... if the boat goes over, and you don't have a baby-bob, or noodle in the mast... as soon as you splash, you can swim out to the end of the mast, and put a lifejacket under the top of the mast. It'll get you precious time to right the boat, and even if it's not secured, a great way to practice your Man Overboard drills after you right your boat, and a sail away (with lifejacket floating in the water).

Other thoughts... Sometimes you won't have stinkpotters to help... if you get turtled (boat totally upside down) like it sounds you were... you can sometimes grab a halyard (uncleated)... and swim around the boat, dragging it over the hull, since it' goes to the top of the mast, you can yank on the halyard while pulling down (climbing onto) on the centerboard, and between those 2 things right the boat, at least enough to get that life jacket under the mast head.

Ok, this is a tough, one, and one I never was good at... when you feel the boat going over, climb over the high side, if your timing is good, you can get right out onto the centerboard, before she goes completely over. REALLY good timing, and you can drop over the side, bounce off the centerboard, and back into the boat... I've been known to release mainsheet, and body slam the high side of a boat to flatten it, but then I'm so big, I usually outweigh the hull of these smaller dinghies. This fat man can jump (if he's avoiding swimming). I got tired of sailing like that, so I moved up to a keel boat.

Dinghy sailing can be a blast, but it's also a harsh teacher.. with a couple "tricks," you'll be pushing it JUST to get wet. By the way, life jacket for you until you get a few more miles under your belt, um, K? Also good idea to keep the wife and or Significant other away from the boat until you get a better handle on things, no need to turn her off to sailing (just yet).

You have the right attitude! Keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: My new toy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
Gnu,
Nice write up! Evidently you have a good sense of humor as does your wife.

Is this the boat you got? MUTINEER 15 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
Mutineer 15'?

To answer your question about tipping the boat: Yes, you should have let the main sheet out, all the way if needs be. You should also develop an instinct to head the boat up into the wind during gusts when you feel it starting to heel too much. The boat will not tip over if no wind is being caught by the sails. Both releasing the sheet and heading up will keep the boat on it's feet.

I'll agree with you on your assessment about mounting a motor on her. Neither an electric motor or a gas engine would like getting dunked in the drink.

I'd make sure you have a good paddle and a small anchor with you at all times. When the wind dies these can be your friends. When there is wind you will need to be able to sail the boat to your destination.

Good luck.
No, this is the one:

Chrysler Mutineer 15', 1978, Tijeras, New Mexico, sailboat for sale from Sailing Texas
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: My new toy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
Gnu,
Nice write up! Evidently you have a good sense of humor as does your wife.

Is this the boat you got? MUTINEER 15 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
Mutineer 15'?

To answer your question about tipping the boat: Yes, you should have let the main sheet out, all the way if needs be. You should also develop an instinct to head the boat up into the wind during gusts when you feel it starting to heel too much. The boat will not tip over if no wind is being caught by the sails. Both releasing the sheet and heading up will keep the boat on it's feet.

I'll agree with you on your assessment about mounting a motor on her. Neither an electric motor or a gas engine would like getting dunked in the drink.

I'd make sure you have a good paddle and a small anchor with you at all times. When the wind dies these can be your friends. When there is wind you will need to be able to sail the boat to your destination.

Good luck.
Ooops... Shoulda read your post better :-S Yes... and the link I posted is THE actual boat, just not the actual helmsman
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: My new toy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
... Sometimes you won't have stinkpotters to help... if you get turtled (boat totally upside down) like it sounds you were...
Thanks, SHNOOL, and the rest for that matter... All good info
... I wasn't turtled ... once I knew I was taking a dunk, i released the sheet totally and got around to the center board as quick as i could.. then hung on 'til I got some help.. I forgot about the life vest under the boom ... i'll try that next time (as I am sure there will be ). and, yes, I did my homework so I had on my vest...

The other thing I omitted was that once on the water, the winds kicked up to 12+ knots so I was definatly sailing beyound my experience... oh, yeah, this was the first time I ever sailed on my own... but now I am a vet! or at least no longer a virgin!
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: My new toy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
...

Ok, this is a tough, one, and one I never was good at... when you feel the boat going over, climb over the high side, if your timing is good, you can get right out onto the centerboard, before she goes completely over. REALLY good timing, and you can drop over the side, bounce off the centerboard, and back into the boat... I've been known to release mainsheet, and body slam the high side of a boat to flatten it, but then I'm so big, I usually outweigh the hull of these smaller dinghies. This fat man can jump (if he's avoiding swimming). I got tired of sailing like that, so I moved up to a keel boat.

Dinghy sailing can be a blast, but it's also a harsh teacher.. with a couple "tricks," you'll be pushing it JUST to get wet. By the way, life jacket for you until you get a few more miles under your belt, um, K? Also good idea to keep the wife and or Significant other away from the boat until you get a better handle on things, no need to turn her off to sailing (just yet).

You have the right attitude! Keep us posted on your progress.
I've actually done this trick with climbing over to the center board and back to the cockpit on a Sunfish. Can't do it so easily today but...

Great advice and post from the SHNOOL. You are likely to keep capsizing until you get better at controlling the boat so a life jacket is a good call.
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