Join Date: May 2013
Location: glen burnie, md
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Re: Near disasterous first sail
i don't know the waters you sail but, i'd say forget the motor and sail from the dock. i have a 20' holiday. it's a centerboard sloop. it's the second boat i ever sailed. my first was a 9' dinghy with a single sail that i taught myself how to sail by reading books ( it was 18 years ago. no internet to learn from ).
here is what i always did to set sail in the hioliday:
bend on your sails. keep them all down. use your topping lift to keep the boom out of your way. as others have noted, there should be a gate or something to keep the slugs from slipping off the track. then, i'd back the trailer down the ramp. determine which way the wind is coming. using the bow line and stern line, maneuver your boat to the side of the dock that allows it to face into the wind. i am assuming a square or rectangular dock like at most ramps.
then, i'd tie the lines to the cleats on the dock and go park the truck.
once back in the boat, i'd raise the main. then, i'd lower the centerboard and rudder. sometimes about halfway if the water was too shallow to lower them all the way.
then i undo the bow and stern lines and shove off so that the boat heads off the wind as it leaves the dock. sheet in the main. once it fills and you are sailing, adjust your heading to where you aim to go and trim the main accordingly. after i was underway, i'd secure the tiller ( or have my girlfriend hold her steady as she goes ) and i'd go forward of the cuddy and unlash the jib ( which i'd have lashed to the fore deck to keep it from getting in the water). back in the cockpit, i'd hoist the jib and sheet it in ( or have my girlfriend sheet it in as i took my place back at the helm).
after i'd sailed her a number of times and knew her better, i'd hoist both the main and jib before shoving off and sheet in whichever was most advantageous first, as i launched. so, if i needed to fall off the wind to take my desired heading, i'd sheet in the jib first. if i needed to sail close hauled, i'd sheet in the main first.
if i had to leave the dock with the centerboard and rudder halfway down, i'd lower them both all the way as soon as the water was deep enough.
if you can't face into the wind, it's ok to be beam to the wind. if you have to do that, it's better if the wind blows you from the dock rather than to it. just remember that, when you hoist the main, you will want to let it run free. then, when you shove off, you will just sheet it in.
if you must set sail with the wind blowing you towards the dock, you need to shove the boat away from the dock as you shove off and you also need to make sure your sail, boom, and running rigging don't get fouled up on the dock, itself. i have set sail this way a loads of times, if the side of the dock i needed was occupied.
if you must set sail while facing down wind, hoist only the jib and sail til you can point up and raise the main. some boats don't balance well enough under jib, alone, to point but, most boats should be able to reach under jib, alone...at least long enough to get the main up.
that would be my advice. in the 17 years i have owned that holiday, i never used a motor once.
The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do.---Captain Jack Sparrow
1971 Cal 27
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