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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 05-07-2011
Newbie 'Wog
 
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Practice on land?

Okay, here's the deal - we live in W.Tn, quite a ways from any good-sized water. I've recently acquired a Cape Cod Mercury 15CB that my son and I will be overhauling.
Before we hit the water, I'd like to practice some basics with him - rigging, hoisting, reefing, furling, etc., so it will be more enjoyable our first time out on the water. The thing is, it can get pretty windy pretty quickly around here, and I don't want to either endanger us, or damage the boat.
Other than the boat, trailer, and whatever anchoring I can provide from the trailer to the ground, what can be done?
Or - is this strictly a "DON'T DO IT!" scenario?

I do have a shop big enough the put the boat - fully rigged - in. More trouble, but probably much safer?
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Old 05-07-2011
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If you cannot sail then you should take some basic lessons. It is very easy for a novice to make a simple error that had dangerous consequences.

And do wear life-jackets.

Raising the sails on land is not a problem on a calm day but could be a disaster in a moderate breeze.

Good luck and I hope to meet you cruising the Caribbean one day.

Phil
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Old 05-07-2011
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Sorry York, I had to chuckle when I pictured folks wearing PFDs in their driveway! Reminds me of a joke I won't repeat here!

I rigged my boat all the time in the driveway to make sure every thing is ok before towing to the lake. If you have transom straps or other straps securing the boat to the trailer, and keep all your sheets free, it would really take alot to topple the rig.

One thing to watch for, is depending on how heavy you are , and how the boat is supported on bunks on the trailer, you could potentially damage the hull by placing too much weight on just a few pressure points (rollers or bunks) that were really designed to hold the weight of the boat, and not much more. I try to avoid climbing into my boat when its on the trailer....fortunately, I have lightweight kids who are much better suited to scrubbing the deck than I am! ;-)
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Old 05-07-2011
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Thanks to both replies!
Lessons around here might be a problem...no sails on bass rigs, duck boats, pontoons, creek skiffs and pirogues!

Dittos plus on the PFDs! I wear them even when just in the pond on my Daddy's place, and make all passengers in any boat I work wear them.

Good points on the trailer, as I'm redoing it anyways.
Here's a pic as it is now:

Not the best shot, but you can see it only has a bow rest, and the three underneath. When I redo those supports, I plan on installing some fore'n'aft runners along each side underneath.
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Old 05-10-2011
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If the boat wasn't rigged for sailing when you bought it, you might want to rig everything in the driveway. You will probably find something missing, or confusing.

Sailing a small boat well (and safely) requires being able to respond quickly to situations without having to think about it too much. It is difficult to practice these things without actually going out on the water in the boat. But, the first step is to learn as much as possible before, and between each sail.
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Old 05-10-2011
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Be especially mindful of overhead power lines. Even experienced trailer sailors have had fatal accidents when rigging on land.

Looking at the photo, I'd want to see the boat secured better before the mast was stepped and any sails were rigged. Not just supported better, but strapped down. Also, choose a very calm day and don't cleat off the mainsheet.

I actually like the idea of rigging indoors in your shop (again, watching for electric lines). If the wind pipes up quickly where you live, this is probably the best bet.
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Old 05-11-2011
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When I was around 10 or 11, we did this a lot with unfamiliar dingies. A friend's family had an O'day widgeon that we sailed a lot, and his dad installed all the hardware for a spinnaker for a birthday present. We rigged and tried it all out on the beach (in almost no wind, just enough to fill the kite with the bow pointed downwind) before taking the show on the water about an hour later when the breeze filled in. Nothing wrong with your plan at all, just use common sense regarding wind. I'd get the boat off the trailer and on to the lawn as well. If the boat blows over on the grass, there's much less potential for damage and scratches than in the driveway. Have fun!
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