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Sailing Primer

I sat down and wrote a simple sailing primer (16 pages) and am distributing it freely on my website via a Creative Commons licence.

www.nickjenkins.net/prose/sailingPrimer.pdf

I'd appreciate any (constructive) feedback,
cheers
Nick
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post #2 of 93 Old 04-23-2007
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Nick...nice job...a lot of info packed into 16 pages. Now we'll have a new link for the newbies with questions!
I'll leave a more thorough critique to others. Would note that side-stays are typically called shrouds here. Might wanna mention spreaders as well.
Thanks for providing a nice and easy primer!
Once others have given some input and you have a "final" version, I will make this thread a "sticky" so that it is easily found.
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post #3 of 93 Old 04-23-2007
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A couple of pointers:

First towards the front of the boat is forward, not fore. However it is a foredeck at the bow of the boat.

Second, the wires holding up the boat athwartships are called shrouds, not sidestays.

Third— not all boats have keels... some have centerboards, some have dagger boards.

Tillers are not fancy...they're the most simple and direct way of steering a boat short of a steering oar. Wheels are complicated and fancy...

You also might want to define Leech and luff as the aft-most and forward edges of a sail, rather than by their relation to the mast. The mast has little to do with whether it is the luff or the leech when you get right down to it.

A topping lift doesn't raise the boom on many boats... it raises the aft end of the boom... many boats have a fixed gooseneck, and the boom doesn't move up and down as a whole.

The whole sail can luff... and if you're sailing upwind and let the mainsheet go...that's exactly what happens, as the sail aligns itself with the wind... granted, it starts at the forward edge of the sail in general...but the whole sail can luff.

I have yet to see a winch that goes counter clockwise...

You've also skipped line clutches, which unlike jammers, can generally be opened under a load. Most boats have stopped using jammers in favor of clutches for safety reasons.

Cleats are not hooks...

The illustrations with the wind and keels really don't make much sense... you might want to re-think them. There is no force on the wind... there is the resistance caused by the boat's sails in the first drawing and the resistance caused by the keel. In the second drawing you don't even have the vector for the keel perpendicular to the long axis of the boat.... which is how the forces exerted by a keel should be oriented.

Your drawing of the boat in irons should have the sails luffing and directly on centerline... rather than full and sheeted in hard.

You're also only showing a beam reach, rather than close reach, beam reach and broad reach... boat's sail at other than the four cardinal directions...

You should mention pointing when you talk about tacking and sailing upwind. It doesn't matter how fast or often you tack if the boat can't point...

The Tack is the forward corner of the sail, at the foot and luff of the sail... not the bottom edge, which is the foot.

You've also got your trimming directions wrong... You let out on the sheet until the sail luffs, and then tighten back up a bit... not the other way around... if you tighten in on a sheet till it luffs... you're gonna have a problem.

Your general description of tacking and gybing aren't bad, but could use some improvement... It also depends on the specific boat... some boats can use assistance coming about in a tack, and keeping the jib sheets tight a bit longer so that the jib backwinds and helps bring her around is sometimes a good idea.

On raising the mainsail, you forgot to mention to free any reefing lines and to loosen the boomvang and cunningham if equipped. Then ease the topping lift so the sail can shape itself properly.

On lowering the mainsail, you forgot to tighten up on the topping lift so the boom doesn't drop and knock someone upside the head.

Don't you ever anchor under sail... there's no need to motor to set an anchor... also, drifting and dragging are totally different. A boat will drift a bit, within the scope of the anchor, but dragging is bad...

BTW, if you're dragging, you generally need to reset the anchor...

Your rules of the road summary needs serious help.

In the MOB situation.. the second thing to do is to keep an eye on the MOB...losing sight of one is really easy to do... throwing floatation should be third. What to do with the boat depends on whether you're going downwind or upwind at the time the person goes overboard.

Be nice if you said what the N and C code flags look like, or had a picture of them.

Your instructions should state that you need to go to VHF Channel 16 as the first step. Might also be nice if you mentioned DSC, since most newer VHF radios have DSC capabilities.

This is a rough edit of the thing from a quick look through it. However, it is a good start and with some further work would make a nice summary for newbies...

Sailingdog

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post #4 of 93 Old 04-23-2007
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Last paragraph on p 8, about sail trim, is confusing. Don't you want to say that you let the sheet "out" until you get a luff, then "sheet in" a little until the luff stops? A sail that's too loose, not one that's too tight, will luff.

Overall, it's nicely done, with the right amount of humor mixed in with the information.
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post #5 of 93 Old 04-23-2007
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For a "newbie" I like it. Lots of information in a very concise but readable format. Great illustrations (many of the "learn to sail" books good learn from your examples. Good length - not too long (I want to sail, not put myself to sleep reading a 200 page tome). I agree with some of the comments above, but think this is well written overall. Thanks for the work.

PDean
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"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward
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post #6 of 93 Old 04-23-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
A couple of pointers:

First towards the front of the boat is forward, not fore. However it is a foredeck at the bow of the boat.

Second, the wires holding up the boat athwartships are called shrouds, not sidestays.

Third— not all boats have keels... some have centerboards, some have dagger boards.

Tillers are not fancy...they're the most simple and direct way of steering a boat short of a steering oar. Wheels are complicated and fancy...

You also might want to define Leech and luff as the aft-most and forward edges of a sail, rather than by their relation to the mast. The mast has little to do with whether it is the luff or the leech when you get right down to it.

A topping lift doesn't raise the boom on many boats... it raises the aft end of the boom... many boats have a fixed gooseneck, and the boom doesn't move up and down as a whole.

The whole sail can luff... and if you're sailing upwind and let the mainsheet go...that's exactly what happens, as the sail aligns itself with the wind... granted, it starts at the forward edge of the sail in general...but the whole sail can luff.

I have yet to see a winch that goes counter clockwise...

You've also skipped line clutches, which unlike jammers, can generally be opened under a load. Most boats have stopped using jammers in favor of clutches for safety reasons.

Cleats are not hooks...

The illustrations with the wind and keels really don't make much sense... you might want to re-think them. There is no force on the wind... there is the resistance caused by the boat's sails in the first drawing and the resistance caused by the keel. In the second drawing you don't even have the vector for the keel perpendicular to the long axis of the boat.... which is how the forces exerted by a keel should be oriented.

Your drawing of the boat in irons should have the sails luffing and directly on centerline... rather than full and sheeted in hard.

You're also only showing a beam reach, rather than close reach, beam reach and broad reach... boat's sail at other than the four cardinal directions...

You should mention pointing when you talk about tacking and sailing upwind. It doesn't matter how fast or often you tack if the boat can't point...

The Tack is the forward corner of the sail, at the foot and luff of the sail... not the bottom edge, which is the foot.

You've also got your trimming directions wrong... You let out on the sheet until the sail luffs, and then tighten back up a bit... not the other way around... if you tighten in on a sheet till it luffs... you're gonna have a problem.

Your general description of tacking and gybing aren't bad, but could use some improvement... It also depends on the specific boat... some boats can use assistance coming about in a tack, and keeping the jib sheets tight a bit longer so that the jib backwinds and helps bring her around is sometimes a good idea.

On raising the mainsail, you forgot to mention to free any reefing lines and to loosen the boomvang and cunningham if equipped. Then ease the topping lift so the sail can shape itself properly.

On lowering the mainsail, you forgot to tighten up on the topping lift so the boom doesn't drop and knock someone upside the head.

Don't you ever anchor under sail... there's no need to motor to set an anchor... also, drifting and dragging are totally different. A boat will drift a bit, within the scope of the anchor, but dragging is bad...

BTW, if you're dragging, you generally need to reset the anchor...

Your rules of the road summary needs serious help.

In the MOB situation.. the second thing to do is to keep an eye on the MOB...losing sight of one is really easy to do... throwing floatation should be third. What to do with the boat depends on whether you're going downwind or upwind at the time the person goes overboard.

Be nice if you said what the N and C code flags look like, or had a picture of them.

Your instructions should state that you need to go to VHF Channel 16 as the first step. Might also be nice if you mentioned DSC, since most newer VHF radios have DSC capabilities.

This is a rough edit of the thing from a quick look through it. However, it is a good start and with some further work would make a nice summary for newbies...
Sailingdog, maybe you should write your own manual, the first chapter could be titled: "I Think I'm an Expert on Everything".
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post #7 of 93 Old 04-23-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickj69
I'd appreciate any (constructive) feedback
I hope this doesn't come across as nasty, certainly nothing against your work, but I hate PDF files and avoid them whenever possible. I'm probably not the only one, so my "constructive" suggestion would be to consider an HTML conversion for online reading if wide audience is a goal.

I'll admit they're easier to download & reference later, but ick.

Pete
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post #8 of 93 Old 04-23-2007
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I took a quick look and I was very impressed.
I did not read everything word for word so I can't comment of specifics.
I will tell this, I will print it and give a copy to my wife to help her in furthering her boating education.
Thanks.
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post #9 of 93 Old 04-23-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guesser
Sailingdog, maybe you should write your own manual, the first chapter could be titled: "I Think I'm an Expert on Everything".
Actually, while some of 'dogs' comments may be a bit picky for a newbie's 'need-to-know', none of it is incorrect. In my short time here on this board I have come to both enjoy and rely on Sailingdog's input as I know it will always be well researched and informative. Besides... it is his opinion and you can take it or leave it, and I have never seen him stoop to name calling. If your response was meant to be humorous, perhaps an emoticon would solve this, however I would still find it puerile.

"It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better."
Sir Francis Drake
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post #10 of 93 Old 04-23-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guesser
Sailingdog, maybe you should write your own manual, the first chapter could be titled: "I Think I'm an Expert on Everything".
I'll Second
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