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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #21  
Old 05-19-2008
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Good Advice here...

Lucy

I would agree with the others on this thread;

1) Accept that you are learning a new thing and your body is going to freak because it doesn't "understand" yet

2) Learn about the physics of sailing so you can say the mantra of "the further it heels, the more force it takes to go over, the more it wants to right"

3) Take the helm. Nothing like taking control (and learning to control the boat), eases the "out of control" feeling. Being an active participant beats the heck out of being a passive "victim" of your fear.

4) Be patient with yourself. Learning something new takes time.

Stick with it. I did and a whole wonderful new world opened up. Feel free to PM me if you want to chat!
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Old 05-19-2008
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I sailed my boat for the first time over this past weekend. The first time the boat heeled over scared the crap out of me. We probably didn't even heel 45 degrees but it may as well have been 90. I knew it was going to heel but I just wasn't ready to experience it I guess. Every time we heeled over I had to remind myself that it is supposed to be nearly impossible for a sailboat to capsize on wind alone, that the further we heeled the less wind the sails caught, and that there is 1700 lbs of lead on the other end of this teeter totter pulling it back up.
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  #23  
Old 05-20-2008
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okay whwere is he when you need him? this is one of the best i could find at the moment although i know there are at least a dozen more
YouTube - Giulietta sailing high winds with rail under water

and here
YouTube - Fred sailing Giulietta 4
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  #24  
Old 05-20-2008
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Thanks again everyone. I will be saying "the further it heels, the more force it takes to go over, the more it wants to right" this weekend and let you know if it works. I like that!

Also, I watched the videos on YouTube that uspirate shared the links to. I'm thinking that's about where we were - the deck of the boat was just about or in the water, but I'm sure the rails weren't - so is that fairly typical on a windy day? What degree/angle would that be?
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Old 05-20-2008
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Lucy, you are a beginner and learning the basics, if you are uncomfortable, I would just reduce sail area and put in a reef, or two, roll-up the genny a bit, even if you do not "need" to, sure you will loose speed, but that does not matter now, reefing, or reefing 'too early', will allow you to build confidence in helming the boat and managing the sails. Sailing should be fun.

Also, keep in mind that not all boats sail well with excessive heel / rail in the water, some boats should be sailed relatively 'flat' while others can track well at 25+ deg of heel, the key is to balance the boat and helm, sometimes a boat is faster and has less leeway with reduced sail area rather than sliding sideays at 35 deg of heel.
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Old 05-20-2008
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Actually, most boats sail far better with less heel and often will go faster if they are reefed and sailing flat than they will if they are overpowered and heeled way over. The forces on the tiller will be much more manageable if the boat is sailed flat as well.
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Old 05-20-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucy54 View Post
Thanks again everyone. I will be saying "the further it heels, the more force it takes to go over, the more it wants to right" this weekend and let you know if it works. I like that!
Lucy,
The best 'hands on' description I come up with of the physics of keelboats is to take a hammer - head down - and hold it between a couple fingers at about mid handle (or have your husband do it if you can't). Move the handle end from side to side and notice how easy it is when it's close to vertical how much-much harder it gets as you move (heel) it more than 20 or 30 degrees. Also notice that the handle above your fingers if it was a sail is going to be spilling a lot of its wind. So...... It's a "lose - lose" for the wind and a "win - win" for the keel in the constant battle of moving the lever of your keelboat. All the talk in the world may not help... but maybe a different form of hands on might help you ..... Feel it.
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  #28  
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Hi Lucy

There are lots of good advice in the previous post's I will not repeat them.

It is difficult to estimate the degree of heel from the videos, people tend to estimate heeling to be more than it actually is. The only accurate way to determine it is to use a inclinometer I have one on my boat.
If I was to guess the heeling on the videos I would say something around 35 degrees.

I would not sail with this heeling if I had an inexperienced crewmember on board, my first priority would be to make sure that everyone on board are comfortable with the sailing – the purpose of the sailing is not to scare anyone away from sailing.

Most skippers tend to reduce sail to late and not to early..

The fact that the boat sailed with an instructor at the main sheet indicates to me that the skipper where a bit uncomfortable with the sail area the boat was flying under the wind conditions.

Normally the boat should be sailed by the students with the instructors guiding the students and look after the safety of boat and crew.

Please remember that most modern sailboats stop sailing effectively around 20 degrees of heeling, so there is now reason to sail with much heel.

Reducing sail area by reefing is (or should be) a easy procedure to perform, there are no excuse to sail with too much sail up.

Happy Sailing
Knut
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  #29  
Old 05-20-2008
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I believe I read thru all the posts here and was surprised I didn't see any mention to the fact that you stated you were'nt wearing a life jacket. Anytime the weather even starts to look like it might get nasty I make sure I have my life jacket on. Granted, I have an inflatable jacket so it's not as cumbersome, but I guess that relates to being comfortable as someone else said. It is so comfortable that I wear it most of the time - bad weather or not.
Back to your concern about heeling. My wife was the same way, and decided she didn't want to sail anymore. I convinced her to come with me one more time - and I haven't heeled more than 10 degrees since...at least not when she was with me. If reefing early and/or sailing with a reduced sail area are what it takes to have her comfortable and want to be with me, I'm more than happy comply.
Here's wishing you all the best!
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Old 05-20-2008
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We nearly all felt some discomfort!

My wife wnd I have been sailing nearly 30 years, and have never taken formal sailing lessons. I turned over a Sunfish on our first outing, but we had so much fun we bought a 14 foot O'Day. Five years later we moved to St Louis, and on our first outing on the Mississippi I got careless and let a gust nearly capsize her. She righted with wet sails and a foot of water in the cockpit, but my beloved knew there was fun in sailing, so she stuck with it even though scared. We went from 14 feet to 25 feet to 28 feet, and finally I got her to take the helm in our 37 Endeavour. Now she heels over more than when I have the helm, and we plan to retire next year and live aboard on the Great Lakes six months out of each year until we are too old to handle the sails. (Her suggestion, not mine!) Yes, you will get used to it----Yes, reading about hull dynamics will help ---and Yes, taking the helm and learning to personally control the gusts will accelerate the learning curve! After reading about sailing dynamics, I suggest Suzanne Geismann's book, "It's Your Boat, Too!" She advocates that you must not be a guest on your husband's boat, nor the cook and housemaid, but should become an equal partner. Learn to dock the boat, take her in and out of the slip, control the helm near 50 percent of the time, and even learn to change the oil and the pump impeller so you appreciate the work we husbands do. As you grow more accomplished you will relax and enjoy it more! Best of luck, and welcome aboard!
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