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  #41  
Old 05-30-2008
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Lucy, Great question, I cant wait to get home and get my wife to read the responses.
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  #42  
Old 05-31-2008
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Hi,

My wife and I (and our three kids) started sailing 5 years ago after we bought a Catalina 22. We were all complete novices. I read a few books, a friend who is a CG Master took me out once, then we were ready to go.

The first year, any time the boat heeled 10 degrees my wife gave me 'the look' and asked me to stop the boat from leaning. I would try, but didn't have enough knowledge or skill to do that much. In our defense we always picked calm days to go out.

The second year we moved up to a 28' Newport. The Newport was 'stiffer' than the Catalina, but still has a reputation as a 'tender' boat. After a year of sailing, my wife became comfortable when the boat heeled 15 degrees.

By the third year, heeling at 20 degrees was fine, but 30 degrees (and the rail in the water) still got me 'the look'. At least by then I knew enough to reduce the heel (most of the time).

Now, I don't get any comments at 20 degrees. If we go past that, I will get asked to reduce the heel because it makes doing anything on the boat difficult. Truth be told, *I* don't like heeling past 20 degrees. I don't really mind the heeling, but I don't like stressing the boat that much, and it makes moving around hard.

Last year I started racing on other boats. Talk about heeling! There are times when a big gust will hit and the boat will really lay over.

Lastly, one of my kids really hates the heeling. The other two don't mind at all. When the boat is at 20 degrees, the one who doesn't like it will go below and lay down on the low settee with music, a book, or some other way to deal with it.

Good for you for giving it another try. I'm sure that if you continue to sail, you will have some scary moments and hopefully, many more fun times.

Good luck,
Barry
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  #43  
Old 05-31-2008
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Disagree!

Quote:
...that fear is fear of the water and nothing more..
I disagree! Fear of heeling is NOT fear of water. I swim, I snorkle, I kayak, I have no problem with water, but heeling was disconcerting because I FELT OUT OF CONTROL. I didn't trust the boat, I didn't know what to do to feel safe, I was afraid of CRASHING.

The solution is not to jump in the water. The solution is to learn, learn, learn! Learn to take the helm, learn how to adjust the sails, learn how to anticipate the wind's effect on the boat, to develop a sense of trust about WHAT the boat can do and what I can do to control my situation, my environment.

It's like learning to drive, way WAY back when...learning all the things you had to pay attention to, what was important to attend to, and what needed only periodic attention, and what the signs of danger were. Same on a boat..Same, same. Just different (and in many ways MUCH more complex) environment.
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  #44  
Old 05-31-2008
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artbyjody is just really nice artbyjody is just really nice artbyjody is just really nice artbyjody is just really nice
I am scared of heights - so heeling when I first experienced it was nearly almost panic attack. In fact when I bought "Hello Gorgeous", the test sail - I almost withdrew purchasing her because it is as much of a racer as she is cruiser and honestly didn't think that I could handle the sensation.

But, with proper trim of the sails and a respect for the vessel - you eventually trust what the boat does and more importantly why it does.

I highly recommend if you have not already - check out GUI's (otherwise known as GIU) sailing videos. The more you know why something happens - psychologically, the less you worry about the effects because you know that you do this, that, or the other and sail in a manner you are comfortable with.

It all comes with time as well - probably the most stupidest comfort statement ever given to me was when I bought my first boat - the Catalina, the owners told when they saw the fear of death in my eyes - "Oh don't worry - rails in the water just looks fast and the keel will never let the boat tip over." I know a bit better now - but oddly enough it was just enough to psych myself out and push a bit when in other circumstance I never would...
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  #45  
Old 05-31-2008
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Lucy,
yes it is dunting at first but the boat will not flip over. And one you get use to the idea that unless you jump you will not fall in the water. All will be better and your confidence will build. Just a lot of hand holding the rails and crawling on hands and knees. A note to what happened, As beginer sailors you should have reefed the main and eased the traveler. When the heavy weather came your way. If nothing just for practice. This will give the boat much more righting ablity in the strong wind by giving the main some twist and smaller sail area. Spilling the excess wind off the top of the sail. Next if the wind is still too much roll up the head sail or change to the plan old jib. Hope you stick with it. Sailing give way more pleasure sails than hell rides. Enjoy those sunsets and just tuff out the few ruff rides. With experance and aquired skill you will enjoy the ruff ride too.
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  #46  
Old 05-31-2008
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uspirate has a spectacular aura about uspirate has a spectacular aura about uspirate has a spectacular aura about
yeah, when i first heeled over i was ready to jump off. now i'm in search of the heel as an adrenalin rush. took some getting use to but once you're comfortable with your boat you will understand. it's really a great tranquil sport with the freedom to travel wherever you desire. the wind is free, at present day anyway
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  #47  
Old 06-01-2008
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Here's a true story; just wanted to share our experiences with others who are new and afraid of the heel of a sailboat.

My GF is a non-sailor; who fell in love with it. She enjoys being out on the water, seeing the wildlife (seals, sea-lions, dolphins, etc) and likes the positive eco-aspects of sailing (wind power to travel instead of fossil fuel). She religously reads Latitude 38 (SF Bay sailing news) from cover to cover when it comes out each month. But, she has always had issues with the way a sailboat heels.

On the first day she ever sailed (the sea-trial of my Newport 41) she literally was freaking out. The boat heeled 10 deg; she turned white as a sheet; and I could tell immediately that she was hanging on for dear life. She had good reason to feel that way; the wind was heavy and the broker did not know a thing about sailing. The jackass surveyor (who had agreed to crew) was running around taking pictures of the sails and I was helming a boat I had never sailed. It was literally a waste of time except that it convinced me that if the boat sailed as well as it did with that crummy trim and feeble crew; well it would be great once sailed correctly. (I was not disappointed and was rewarded with a fantastic sail to her new home following the 3 month haulout).

The next time her and I we sailed (after the survey); it was on a fellow N41 owner's boat. He was going to go with us on the sea-trial; but we re-scheduled and he could not come. After hearing about the lousy sea trial he offered to take us out on his boat with a 3'rd N41 owner visiting from New Orleans.

So it was two N41 owners, myself, my GF and a 5'th visiting friend. We went out on SF bay and it was Gale conditions. The wind was at least 35kts, at times 45kts or more and we were sailing with a reefed main and a full +100% jib. The boat was never heeled less than 45 degrees; except when we first left the marina. I have not been out on SF Bay since in winds so heavy as they were that day ~2 years ago. At one point when we were tacking in front of the Golden Gate Bridge; we were heeled so far over you could see water lapping mid-level in the leeward portlights. We were not bracing against the leeward cockpit side-walls; we were standing on them! I'd estimate ~60 degrees of heel; maybe more. The N41 owner from New Orleans was at the helm; having the time of his life. The owner of the boat was not concerned or bothered by the heel, he never suggested reefing further and we never reefed the main. That was the "sea-trial" I wanted while out on the boat I was going to purchase; and luckily I got the full experience before I ever sailed my boat because it gave me a sense of how much more the boat could handle than I would ever normally expect from it.

So how did my GF do? Well she was never afraid or anxious about the heeling during the whole trip. She was too busy chatting with everyone and enjoying the socializing, view, and becalming aspects (nobody else was worried) to realize that the boat was on it's ear and she -should- be afraid. I did not say a word to her about the severe heel or safety concerns that I was having while we were out that day. She knew it was challenging/windy but she had no clue that the boat was totally over-canvased and we were approaching the limits of what the boat could handle without just laying on it's side in a knockdown. In fact; I still don't know what it would take to achieve a knockdown in this boat because we just don't push the boat hard enough to even get close to what we experienced that day.

Following the "thrill ride" we took the ASA classes together through Coastal Crusing. I took the Bareboat class also; and it was a good refresher/preparation for owning my boat. For her it helped her gain confidence in sailing and become competent in handling the lines, helming and knowing how the boat sails, windpoint, etc.

Now, here's the strange part. We've been sailing together regularly for almost 2 years; we regularly doublehand my boat and we have never had any trouble. A few months back I spent ~1.5 months re-routing deck hardware and re-bedding deck fittings. We did not sail during that time and when we finally set sail again it was a bad day. The wind was not good; it was threatening rain and when we dropped sail it was so windy we had to just gather it in a pile and lash it to the boom (usually we flake it as we drop). The next sail was good except that there was a couple of crossing situations with boats that were headed to a starting line (I yielded right-of way but they gybed in front of us and we were starboard to begin with). This was in the middle of a channel and we could not tell they were sailing for position. 2'nd situation was with a sailboat flying a spinnaker that was somewhat out of control (doublehanded; turning to port/starbord wildly). We managed to stay clear of them; but she was helming and backwinded the jib when I asked her to head up and it was just bad timing (because then they then gybed in front of us). I should have been back at the helm earlier.

Anyway; she got nervous after those two sails and it has been very difficult getting her "back on the horse" so to speak. She knows how to sail; she has been out in much more severe conditions than we normally sail, yet she is having anxiety when the boat heels beyond 15 deg or if we get a gust. It's very strange because she was not paranoid about it at any time other than that first day when we sea-trialed.

We sailed with another N41 owner 2 weeks ago who I have been coaching on his purchase. We sailed with the PO who is a friend of the new owner. We had a great day; watched the Master Mariners Regatta (Lynx was awesome to see under full sail) and had a nice, easy sail aside from lots of tacking/gybing to stay clear of the race. Hopefully that day with plenty of other things to concentrate on aside from the heel of the boat will settle her back into the sailing groove (fingers tightly crossed).
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  #48  
Old 06-01-2008
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Seems the pattern is..

Again, its a matter of control and TRUST. When I am with a captain who obviously knows his boat and controls it well, I have less anxiety about heeling, etc. When someone who is obviously NOT relaxed and in control of the boat is in charge (me or another person - my boat or another boat), then my anxiety and tension goes up.

A good captain should radiate control and confidence, and his/her actions will demonstrate that he/she knows what they are doing. That's the definition of a good leader (on or OFF a boat...)
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  #49  
Old 06-01-2008
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One more thing about those who hate the heel.
This might make you feel a little better and show the beauty of sailboats over motor boats. If yo get hit with a big blow and the boat lays down. she dumps the wind out the the sails like a teapot and pops right back up like a weebill. It will wooble but won't fall down. Same thing If you get knocked down by a big wave broadside. Try that in a motor boat. Sailboats might be unnerving at first but there the safest thing on the water also safer than driving your car lol.
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Old 06-01-2008
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cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough
Lucy, there a pile of great responses in this thread.

I especially like the "hammer" analogy, that one was great!

I love the confidence you've gained.

I'm not saying you'll never experience a "knock down" but they are indeed rare.

take a gander at some of Giu's video's, remember that he is a very experienced sailor, and most likely you'll never be going that fast, or that hard. But look in particular at how close the rail is to the water. I know if I was to do that thecuban would pluck out my back hair with a lawn mower.

I don't know if you'll get used to the "heeling" or not, only time, more sails, and the boat y'all choose will detrmine that, but you've got a great attitude. Keep the wind in your sails, enjoy the day, and always remember, its the journey, not the destination.

Much luck to you and yours.
Paul & Rosa
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