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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 05-20-2007
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Talking Newbie wants to learn to sail

Well, I'm going to be launching Tenacious next weekend. I've been learning a lot from books and hanging around here, but I'm hoping people can help with some fairly dumb questions (I do search the site first). Anyhow, with your help, maybe I'll decide to take an un-seaworthy boat down the east coast, or maybe try a catamaran trip around the world (if I can find someone as cute as that girl!)

A little background: Tenacious is a '73 Coronado 23, and I'm only sailing around a lake in Colorado. I've rented a slip for a while.

So my first question is, how do you wrap the mainsail around the boom to be temporarily stored under the cover? I can't seem to find a technique that works, and suspect that it takes two people.

Second, I haven't seen much here on dock etiquette. Common sense aside, any tips that I should know? I also don't know the regulations for using the ramp; I assume that they give me a little time to get my bearings, etc., right?

Last, I'm worried about getting in people's way, since I'll be very slow for a while, I guess. I will probably learn how to motorsail first, but otherwise, would like some advice on how to navigate a lake without bothering people.

Thanks in advance, and I promise to share any good stories I cause!

-Dave
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Old 05-21-2007
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You don't wrap it you flake it, side to side. Some velcro strips or bungee cord can help.
Before the ramp, get everything set up. ready to go, eg rudder on but up. Bungs in check - quite important.
On the ramp, landings have priority over launchings for obvious reasons.
Then it is a matter of order of arrival or readiness.
Backing can be tricky, depending on the size of the boat and visibility. Have a practise at this, several actually beforehand. If possible learn to back using your mirrors.
It can pay to have someone to hold the boat, depending if there are piers or not, certainly have a bow rope attached when you launch- it saves the boat disappearing.
Launch quickly, secure the boat, park and return quickly. All gear should be aboard.
Then clear the ramp, or dock as quickly as possible under motor.
Once well clear of surrounding traffic and the shore, you can go head to wind and hoist the sails, uncleated.
Preferably take someone experienced with you at first - it will be much less stressful.
If they are not experienced an extra pair of hands can be helpful, provided you explain what you want, eg hold the bow of the boat into the wind by pushing the tiller etc. Have a dry rehearsal at home.
Coming back you will probably drop the sails in clear space and motor in. Remember to lift the centreboard and rudder.
Some people will help some will be pigs.
Just try to be prepared so you don't hold up others, then you can get the space to learn.
I assume you know the collision regs and buoys?
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Old 05-21-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superdave
how do you wrap the mainsail around the boom to be temporarily stored under the cover?
3 basic ways:

1) 'Flaking the sail' - this is accomplished by making an 'accordion' fold starting from the foot of the sail and working up, usually using the sail attachment points as the pivots for the 'flakes'. It is easiest to do alone from the end of the boom away from the mast, probably standing in the companionway on your size boat. It is also easiest to do with 2 people but with practice can be done with one. Most sailors do this. I don't like it because it puts a 'fold' in the sail at exactly the same point every time and also seems excessively anal retentive.

2) 'rolling the sail' - this is done by taking a big swoop at the bottom of the main and just rolling up the remaining sail into it like a big burrito, try it, it will become obvious how to do it. I prefer this method myself, and it can be easily done with one person. It is a bit harder to do with full battens than with partial.

3) 'bunch and tie' - I wasn't aware of this method until I moved into my new slip and took a look at the guy next to me. The sail cover was off and it looked like he just sort of took some bungie cords and wrapped them randomly about his doused main, hooking them nilly willy to different stuff. It sort of looks like my wife's hair right after she wakes up. I would not recommend this method, nor leaving a main uncovered all winter for birds to poop on and weird green stuff to grow on. I'll have to ask my boat slip neighbor why he chooses this method over the two above.


Welcome to SailNet and to the greatest (in terms of time and money) sport on the planet.
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Old 05-21-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenuki
3 basic ways:

3) 'bunch and tie' - I wasn't aware of this method until I moved into my new slip and took a look at the guy next to me. The sail cover was off and it looked like he just sort of took some bungie cords and wrapped them randomly about his doused main, hooking them nilly willy to different stuff. It sort of looks like my wife's hair right after she wakes up. I would not recommend this method, nor leaving a main uncovered all winter for birds to poop on and weird green stuff to grow on. I'll have to ask my boat slip neighbor why he chooses this method over the two above.
This is the only method that I have found that works with my main. I have a full batten, loose footed main. I flake the sail best I can and then bunch and tie to control it so it is small enough to fit under my sail cover.
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Old 05-21-2007
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You might want to check out some books and sailing instructional videos. We found some at our local library.
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Old 05-21-2007
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Dave

I think I sent you my number, but if you don't have it anymore, send me a PM, then I can give you a call. We can set up some time for me to come up there and I can get you started.

Charlie
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Old 05-21-2007
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If there are races held in your area, I would encourage you to volunteer yourself and a six pack as crew. There is no better way to quickly learn the fundamentals as well as meet other people interested in the sport.

When flaking your main, just start at the back of the boom and pull it over in folds that hand equally on each side of the boom. Pull each fold back as far as it will go. Because the sail narrows as you move towards the head, you'll find that each flake lies a little farther forward. Ties the sail with sailties every four feet or so. When you work your way to the mast, continue laying the sail on each side of the boom. You may need to do some tucking to get it to fit neatly under the cover. Take your mainsail halyard and clip if to your outhaul at the back of the boom so it does not bang against the mast.

As for docking, go slow and practice. Spend some time motoring around the harbor. Learn how quickly your boat turns around. Practice bringing it to a halt using reverse. Practice reversing. Does it back easier to stbd or port? Learn how to use that to your advantage.

As for launching at a ramp. Get the boat rigged and ready to go before pulling up to the ramp. Move the boat to the ramp. Tie a bow line to the trailer and remove the wire and safety chain. Back up just until the boat floats. You can step hard on the brake to slide the boat back a bit if you're driving into the water (this probably won't be an issue on your boat). Engage your parking brake and tie your boat off to the dock. Quickly park and move your boat out of the ramp area.

Have lots of fun.
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Old 05-21-2007
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Be sure to check for overhead obstructions between where you set up and the ramp---that mast is a long way up!!!!
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Old 05-21-2007
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Dave

I'll give you a call later, but I might be able to come up Sunday Afternoon to help you out. I've got to check with the boss first.

Charlie
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Old 05-22-2007
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Thanks for all the replies! I have to sound like an idiot for a minute here: I tried flaking the sail down before, and it really seems to slide around everywhere. I can't get the folds to be even, and the battens run at about a 30 degree angle from the folds. It really seemed difficult; I know I'm doing something wrong though. I tried lowering the halyard gradually while I gathered up folds, and single-handedly, this didn't work too well (my sail has a rib to hold it into the mast track, not separate sliders). When I take a bunch of sail down, I just have an unruly pile to try to flake. I may try Tenuki's burrito method!

All the other advice made perfect sense to me! My plan is to go from the dock out onto the lake for a while and practice some motoring to get a feel for the boat, and then when the marina looks quiet, begin trying to dock it in the slip. As long as it doesn't start taking on water, I think I'll be okay. I will probably have a hundred questions after the first day, though!

-Dave
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