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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #11  
Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

Please don't let this discourage you from sailing or single-handing. It will take a few trips*, but it feels pretty good to pull off a smartly executed single-hand tack.

It's even better if someone sees it!

Don't wear a swimsuit (that's a defeatist approach) but make sure your wallet and cell phone are somewhere dry and safe.

Good Luck! Keep us posted.

Ken


*and maybe another unscheduled swim call or two.
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  #12  
Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post

More importantly, though, why gybe? In my admittedly limited experience, that typically involves much more signifcant forces and much faster movement than a tack. Stick to (mostly) tacking as you single-hand, and life is simpler.
Jim,

That is an excellent point!

Most of my experience in sailing has been on big boats. Moving to a dinghy, was challenging to say the least. The very reason for getting a dinghy was to use this as a learning opportunity while I saved up (and learned more) for a bigger cruiser. What I have just come to realize is that many of the things that we do on a big boat (and take for granted) have to be reconsidered when working with a small boat.

Thank you for your advice and encouragement.
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  #13  
Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

AT one point someone left the drain plug out in my Capri 14.2 (hmmm)...
I agree... bring the cellphone and wallet... and ZIPLOCKS! Never let them get the upper hand! And Poseidon requires gifts from time to time.

I recall my cellphone floating and ringing inside the ziplock during that experience.

Baby bob (that's the float for the top of the mast)... google it, they can be had, and it is only marginally better than tying a milk jug to the top of the mast.

Fill the mast with foam (also sort of works).
Another option... get a float cushion, and make that step 1, swim out, place float under mast head, then your boat doesn't turtle.

LEARN to depower your sails! Allow twist off, shorten sail, and in a widgeon sail mainsail only.

Single handed sailing is an important technique to learn with your boat. The good news is if you can learn to sail this, and keep dry, you can learn to sail anything! Hang in there...
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  #14  
Old 06-15-2013
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

You were just starting to see the benefits of dinghy sailing. A dinghy can make you one hell of a sailor.

One person should be enough ballast. I have a boat with 132 sq ft of sail. It uses an 80 lb centerboard for ballast.

Gybes happen real fast but are very do-able single handed. You have to be ready for it. Gybing a dinghy is different than gybing a cruiser.
I let out the sail a little bit so that it's not as powerful, start the turn, grab the sheet and yank the main over as I transfer to the other side and hike out when she powers up. The sail fills, you steer to keep it on course, and you blast off with a huge smile on your face. Don't worry about the jib until the main is over.
It's all timing that comes with practice. I spent days just practicing gybes.
From my experience, executing a perfect gybe on a dinghy is much more rewarding than on a cruiser (I have both).

I rarely sail with a cleated main. If you go over and your main is cleated, then it becomes very hard to right the boat. There are ways to get leverage so your hands don't get so tired. If winds are very light, I'll cleat. If it's 10 kts or more, I hang on to the main. I always have a hand on the main no matter what boat I'm sailing, even on my cruiser (I cleat the main on my cruiser but things happen slow enough that I can uncleat it quickly enough).

Also, when she tosses you in the drink, get to her centerboard before she turtles (I'm assuming she did since you had mud in the mast). Once she's turtled, you've got your work cut out for you. Just use steady pressure on the centerboard and, if the main isn't acting like a huge fin (which it won't if it's not cleated), then she'll come up. Brute force isn't going to work. If she's turtled, start with applying pressure to the edge of the hull. I'll reach for the centerboard and pull it until I can get my foot on the edge of the hull. I'll put my weight on my foot and just hang on to the centerboard until she's on her side. Then just pull on the centerboard until she's back up.
Take the boat out with just the hull and centerboard and practice righting it. Anyone sailing a dinghy needs to know how to right it for safety just like anyone sailing a cruiser needs to know man overboard drills.

You can get seacocks for dinghys that you can open while underway. Moving will pull the water out, then cap it when she's drained and continue on about your day (think Sunfish).

Pushing a your limits in a dinghy is a relatively safe way to increase your skills. You're not really introduced to dinghy sailing until she tosses you into the drink.
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Last edited by Sublime; 06-15-2013 at 02:22 PM.
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  #15  
Old 07-03-2013
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

Hopefully I learn from your experience!
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  #16  
Old 07-03-2013
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

Capsizing a dinghy is not something to be feared, it is something that should be accepted as inevitable, and prepared for accordingly. Dinghy sailing IS a water sport, and you should expect to get wet.

Everything you carry in the boat should be secured to the boat so that you don't have to contend with a debris field when you dump. Centerboard, mast and rudder especially! I am sure you have learned that lesson!

You said swimming is impossible in a lifejacket? Don't use a lifejacket. They are intended to keep you afloat face up until someone can rescue you. As a dinghy sailor you need to "rescue" yourself! Get a decent PFD that will allow you to function in the water as well as having freedom of movement while sailing. (Plus you won't look like a complete noob on the water!)

Consider installing a self bailer in your cockpit. Then all you need to do is get the boat moving and the water removes itself.

Certainly you don't want to turtle in shallow waters; High performance dinghies will often break their masts when they do, but unless you are always sailing in shallows you shouldn't need to put a float on your masthead. They do it on cats because they can be very difficult to right due to their beam. Even so you usually only see them on rental boats. They are kinda like training wheels on a bike! It's better if you get out and practice righting your boat.

When you do dump it, don't try and hang on as long as you can. if you hang on to a capsized boat your body weight is just going to force it to turtle faster. Either jump in the water, or learn to do what the experts do...When the boat is going over, you go over the high side and slide down the hull to stand on the centreboard. Sometimes you can even climb back into the boat as it comes back upright without even going in the drink!

Even world class dinghy sailors capsize, the only difference is how quickly you can recover and be off sailing again!

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  #17  
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
Consider installing a self bailer in your cockpit. Then all you need to do is get the boat moving and the water removes itself.
That would be the bomb! Thanx for the idea.
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  #18  
Old 07-03-2013
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

I'm afraid anyone would find it hard to right a dinghy with the tip of the mast stuck in the mud.

The best plan is to prevent turtling.

To prevent turtling on my Wayfarer I bought an inflatable bag that is installed in a pocket at the top of the sail. It has about 30lb of bouyancy.

I had the sailmaker make the pocket.

I've also see it suggested to build some closed-cell foam into the head of the sail, like the stuff they use on the luff of roller-furling jibs.

One of the floats they use on Hobies is yet another solution.
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Last edited by MarkSF; 07-03-2013 at 03:50 AM.
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  #19  
Old 07-20-2013
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

Be safe out there and sail more, you'll get it!

I remember the first time I capsized, just happened to be when my brother and I sailed way off shore trying to watch the big boats race, the second capsize came shortly there after thanks to some water in the hull LOL

300 for a wood tiller yikes, that's as much or more than a carbon fiber tiller
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  #20  
Old 07-21-2013
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Re: Dinghy Capsize

APS has a neat mast buoyancy bag, see the link below (last item on that page). It slides into the sailtrack and looks a bit better than milk jugs, plus I'm sure it cuts down on windage.

After reading this post I'm nervous about getting knocked down in my Rhodes 19. Ignorance was bliss, I didn't know it was so easy!

APS - Buoyancy Bags
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