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keylargo 01-28-2001 05:42 PM

I am very new to sailing. I have only sailed Hobie Cats. But I am going to buy a West Wight Potter and my question is this: How does one tack properly? I fear that I could dismast the boat in a hard tack. When turning, does the boom swing hard over? Or is it like the Hobie, a dead calm, then manually throw the boom over? I dont want to hurt the boat or get stranded. Thank you.

Fran49829 01-29-2001 06:14 AM

Please read and memorize 2 basic "how to sail" books. Your library should have them. You will be able to tack quite easily then. I feel a sailor must know the basics. Reading the books is not enough as you must master them.
Most tacking is done to windward with the boom sheeted in; one goes on a beat; pushes the tiller over to make the boat come through the wind while releasing the jib sheet and then when on the oppossite tack sheet in the jib. So when tacking to windward the boom is already all the way in and it does not need to be released or pulled in more. The jib has to be released and pulled in on the other side however. Tacking into the wind is called "coming about". It would be almost impossible to damage a sailboat coming about even if every thing was done wrong.
One can tack downwind which is called "gybing". While on a run the boat is turned slowly downwind and when one is dead downwind the main is pulled in to center, the boat is turned a little more and the boom swings over at which point the mainsheet is released and then eased out. Gybing corrrectly requires skill in operating the boat and sails and you must know where the wind is blowing from. Gybing should be practiced in light wind. If the gybe is done wrong things can break. Always remmember that even when running you can round up into the wind and come about then ease off back onto a run. This is very often done when it gets windy.
Please memorize a couple books and practice every time you are outside to figure out which way the wind is blowing from. There are flags, trees, dust, the boat on a mooring and finally feel. This wind thing is the hardest because it cannot be learned from a book. You must be constantly aware of the wind and learn to find its direction by feel on your face, arms, hands, neck. Happy sailing. Fran

reecardo 01-29-2001 03:25 PM


i would say something sarcastic, but i dont know anything either. i have carefully watched the booms, tho and i suggest taking or keeping a low profile.

reecardo 01-29-2001 03:25 PM


gwilli 02-08-2001 03:26 AM

Yeah, I agree. Certainly if you''re gybing and whether accidentally or intentionally and that horizontal spar comes flying across and hits you in the head you''ll then know why it''s called the "boom" !

kgannett1 04-06-2001 07:36 AM

I am also new to sailing and am trying to figure out what to do with my Traveler when tacking or Jibing. The Traveler is not controlled by a line. It is set manually with two pegs. I have a 31'' Allman with a 56'' mast and roller furling.

kgannett1 04-06-2001 08:23 AM

Date: Apr. 06 2001 11:36 AM
Author: kgannett1
I am also new to sailing and am trying to figure out what to do with my Traveler when tacking or Jibing. The Traveler is not controlled by a line. It is set manually with two pegs. I have a 31'' Allman with a 56'' mast and roller furling.

Jeff_H 04-07-2001 04:23 AM

Well the first step is to install traveller control lines. Trying to adjust a traveler with pins can be dangerous as you are restraining the whole weight of the mainsail while you make the adjustment. To tack or jibe without control lines the traveler should be centered so that it can''t slam across the boat. Depending on wind strength, after the tack, in light to moderate winds,the traveller car should be brought to windward of the center of the boat. In heavier air it should be dropped to leeward.


paulk 04-07-2001 04:52 AM

Taking another tack.... just as a suggestion, but if you''re more used to sailing in Hobies, you may be dissapointed by the performance of a West Wight Potter. A Hobie Cat in 10 knots of wind will easily go 8 or more knots through the water. A WWP in the same breeze will seem VERY slow in comparison.

kgannett1 04-07-2001 05:21 AM

Thanks for responding. When centering the Traveler prior to tacking should you also center the mainsail as well by tightening up the main sheet?
What is the purpose of placing the traveler windward or leeward as per current air?

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