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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #21  
Old 05-03-2010
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Ed, I would guess that unless there's something really drastic calling for a rebuild (flooded cylinders, blown head gasket, etc.) it will take you more time to find out what's wrong with the engine and how to make it right, than to actually do the work it needs.

A reliable auxiliary engine is a wonderful thing to have, I'd suggest getting it in working order (or at least, finding out if that's going to happen short of a rebuild) before taking the boat out. There are many ways to get in trouble on a sailboat if you have no engine and no sailing experience. And a few more even if you have the engine and experience. (G)

An Atomic4 is an exceptionally durable and reliable engine once it has received routine maintenance. There just isn't much to break on them, and aside from the carburetor (ALL carbs need to be rebuilt about every 5 years) and dog simple ignition system (cap, points, rotor, coil, plug wires--it still isn't a lot to replace) the heavy metal parts tend to be so overbuilt and understressed that they are unlikely to fail.

I would suggest initially ignoring the carb rather than taking a chance on compounding your problems, but once you have the engine running smoothly, consider taking a weekend to either do a "major overhaul" of the carb, or swapping it out for a professionally overhauled one. That's a half-day job once you're familiar with it, a weekend if you aren't familiar and have to keep looking at the book, but the nature of carbs is that they DO clog and they WILL go out of adjustment, so a fresh load of fuel, a fresh fuel filter, and a carb overhaul will make your engine much happier. But again--don't make that an added complication right now, if you've got other problems to deal with.

One thing sailing teaches you is patience, like it or not. No wind, no tide, no engine...You're going to have to deal with the "waiting" part of it. Grab your favorite beverage, maybe some tunes, remember "this too shall pass". (G)
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  #22  
Old 05-03-2010
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ED031,
I agree with TOMMAYS. My experience was many years in ond outside of San Francisco Bay, LOTS of commercial traffic. Don't know what your area is like, but if there is much ship and barge traffic they will close on you at an alarming rate. A few times I had them get a lot closer than I wanted by the time I got the motor started and finally got some speed up. The ships can be limited to where they can go. For liability purposes they might try full astern
before they run you down. If you lose your wind with commercial traffic around you can be in great danger.

Dabnis
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  #23  
Old 05-04-2010
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Once you do get out and about under auxiliary, I suggest that you practice maneuvering under sail. Start slowly and work your way up. So many are quick on the engine button these days.

With practice, you can accomplish most maneuvers under sail alone. Here's an article I wrote a while back that might help get you started (I'm a full time writer, published author). The more independent you become, the better sailor you will be. Good luck...

How to Stop on a Dime Without an Engine!

One of the common questions from newer sailors goes something like this "How do you stop the sailboat?" This one ability will place you in the top percentage of sailboat cruising skippers that understand how to stop their sailboat--without an engine!

Multi-time circumnavigator and sailor-supreme Hal Roth once stated "An engine does not substitute for seamanship under sail..." After all, just how were those unwieldy sailing ships from long ago able to thread their way through deadly shoals, approach an anchorage, or maneuver in battle--under sail alone?

Our modern Marconi (triangular) rigged sailing craft are much more maneuverable than the old square riggers. You will become the true master and commander of your small cruising sailboat when you practice maneuvers under sail alone. Begin with these three simple techniques, which will enable you to stop your sailboat under control every time.

1. Use the "Gears" of Close Reaching

No point of sail offers more control than the close reach in tight quarters maneuvering to:

* Approach a mooring buoy in a crowded harbor...
* Sail over to a pier smooth and easy...
* Pick up a fender that fell over the side...
* Sail up to that perfect anchoring spot you've picked out for the night.

How to Gear Shift Under Sail
Get onto a close reach with the bow pointed at the objective.
Use just the mainsheet and mainsail. Follow the table below:

If you want to:
Speed up-- pull in on the mainsheet
Slow down--ease off on the mainsheet
Stop the boat--slack the mainsheet to luff the mainsail

2. When in Doubt, Let It Out

We've all experienced those out-of-the-blue situations where we run out of ideas. Now what, skipper? Steal a secret from the dinghy sailing crowd. In an emergency, let it fly!

Ease the mainsheet out all the way. Take the jib or Genoa sheets off the winches and let them go. This spills all of the sailing wind from your sails and your boat will pivot her bow into the wind faster than you can blink an eye.

3. Push the Boom against the Wind

Have you ever watched small sailing dinghies approach a dock. Maybe the dinghy skipper needs to slow down right away. So he or she grabs the sailing boom and pushes it out against the wind. This technique--called "back-winding"--will stop a boat on a dime.

Back-wind your mainsail if you approach a dock with a bit too much speed. Grab the boom and push it out hard against the wind. It will stop your boat just like stomping on the brakes!

*****************

Put these three easy sailboat cruising techniques into play today. Pump up your sailing skipper-skills to new highs when you become the true master and commander over your small cruising sailboat.

Captain John

Last edited by skippertips; 05-04-2010 at 12:49 PM.
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  #24  
Old 05-04-2010
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Thanks, I will take my time and get the A4 running good before I take her out. I'll be crewing on a friends boat for now. Patience...

Ed
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  #25  
Old 05-05-2010
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I'm reminded of a newpaper cartoon I should have cut out and kept ages ago.

Two vultures sitting in a treetop watching a man struggling through a desert, and the caption reads "Patience my ass, if he doesn't die soon I'm going to kill him!"
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Old 05-05-2010
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Well

It would depend on the boat BUT a J24 for example with the bow on a fixed point anchored OR mourned will NOT luff the mainsail

It will do its best to sail forward and abuse you until the sail is down

Just like i sailed out of the Patchogue river for YEARS on a motorless dingy without issue the same thing being risky at best on the J24 going into the same place
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If a dirty bottom slows you down what do you think it does to your boat
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  #27  
Old 05-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
Well

It would depend on the boat BUT a J24 for example with the bow on a fixed point anchored OR mourned will NOT luff the mainsail

It will do its best to sail forward and abuse you until the sail is down

Just like i sailed out of the Patchogue river for YEARS on a motorless dingy without issue the same thing being risky at best on the J24 going into the same place
Is this in response to "To stop the boat -- slack the mainsheet to luff the mainsail."?
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  #28  
Old 05-05-2010
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Yes

You can luff and control the J24 as long as the bow is free to move ONCE its is NOT your SOL
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If a dirty bottom slows you down what do you think it does to your boat
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  #29  
Old 05-12-2010
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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
tager -
More like riding a bike with no brakes?
On wet ice.
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  #30  
Old 05-15-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed031 View Post
Hi, I have a (new to me) Columbia 31 with a Atomic 4 that is not running at the moment. I am new to sailing and want to get some time under sail, practice and learn the boat. What difficulties would I have taking her out with auxiliary power? or should I just wait until I get the motor up and running?

Thanks

Ed
Maybe an 80lb thrust minn kota electric would be something you can consider for a temp solution until you get your main motor running. Not sure if it will move a 31ft, what is the displacment on the vessel? Your boat maybe too big and heavy for this option. I was using a 50lb on a Cal25 and it got me out the docks, in the lake and back. At the time that was the only motor I had on that boat. I kind of wish I would have kept my 50lb just to keep on my new boat in case I ever had engine troubles I can still dock without having to get a tow. An electric with a fully charged battery is extremely reliable I can say that much. As long as my battery had juice, I can be sure I will get docked without worries. Well, just an idea.
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