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Old 02-24-2013
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First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

Hello,

My wife and I took our Vagabond 14 to the lake today and had an interesting experience. We read a book and watched a video, and off we went!

We started by just using the jib and sailed on a beam reach across the lake, tacked and sailed back. I could not steer into a close reach and kept sailing further and further away from the dock. We ended up getting towed in by a helpful powerboat. (see diagram)

I'm thinking this was because we only used the jib, and had we had put up the mainsail, we would have been able to sail close reach. And before anyone asks, I cant give a good reason why we were only using the jib except it was simple and we were moving along pretty well. Anyone have any suggestions?

This was my wife yesterday after we set up the boat in the driveway. She is a little mad at me right now!
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Old 02-24-2013
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Re: First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

The main will definitely help. Next time throw it up, trim it, and you'll be able to point...and get right back to that ramp.

The most important thing is that you got out there and did it. Keep at it. It just gets more and more fun.

PS - It looks like you were gybing (turning the stern through the wind) - not tacking (turning the bow through the wind). Be aware of the difference when you do get that main up.
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Old 02-24-2013
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Re: First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

First - Welcome to sailing! You did fine, just keep at it.

From what I can see of the diagram, you didn't tack, you gibed when you changed direction. You don't say why you couldn't sail toward the dock, Was the jib flapping when you tried to do so?

The small jib is certainly a contributor. A Mainsail would have given you much better pointing ability. I will also assume that when you were reaching, you jib wasn't pulled in very tight. When you tried to go back to the ramp, did you pull it in as far as possible? If not, that's a big part of the problem. I also assume that the centerboard was down the whole time? You can't tack back to the dock without it - you sideslip and not make any progress.

Keep at it and keep asking questions. I learned to sail on a 14' boat. It's the perfect size to learn on.
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Old 02-24-2013
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Re: First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

Welcome aboard! Nice looking boat! I see it's got a motor mount, might be a good idea to take the wife back when she is bored. When your having fun time flys , when your not it time to let them out!...Dale
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Re: First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

Thanks for the responses so far! Now that i think about it i was jibing. Thanks. I think i should try just the mainsail next time. The problem is my wife says she wont go again unless i get a little motor!
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Old 02-24-2013
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Re: First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

Electric trolling motor and good deep cycle battery. Could be the answer!..Dale
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First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

You don't need a motor, IMO. If you learn to sail without relying on those things , you'll be a better sailor and have far more confidence in a very short amount of time. You didn't do badly, just a hiccup. Get back out there.

But get two paddles. THEM you need.
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Old 02-24-2013
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Re: First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

Books and videos are okay, but find a sailing buddy who would be willing to spend a couple hours on the water with you and your wife so that you both can gain the skill and confidence that will make sailing enjoyable for both of you. Very important that you understand the difference between tacking and gybing -- either of you getting clobbered by the boom as a result of an accidental gybe could end the day really badly. Okay to add a small motor, but as others will attest, in short order you won't need it. Two small paddles will be enough to get you back to shore if the wind dies on you. If you do add a small motor for matrimonial peace and harmony , I would suggest buying used (check Craig's List) and then run it periodically to make certain it will start when you want or need it to. You *and* your wife should learn to sail and know how to start the motor. BTW, an electric trolling motor isn't likely to get you upwind to the dock/beach if the wind comes up to where you feel you can't handle the boat (and a deep cycle battery is very heavy and doesn't float). A better motor solution would be a small two-stroke gas engine with an integrated gas tank, but again, I don't think it's really necessary. Some time with an experienced sailor combined with practice will get back to the dock in any conditions.

Have fun and welcome to Sailnet. Lots of good advice here.
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Old 02-24-2013
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Re: First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

They called the Mainsail the MAIN sail because its the MAIN sail.

The jib is just the thing to make sailmakers more money.

Go out again and just use the mainsail. Then have a go with the jib too, but always with the main up first

If you got proficent with the jib today you may be able to start next time with both sails, but I would just go the Main.

Have fun. It does get easier. Its very easy drunk.

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She is a little mad at me right now!
Why do men go out with women? If we were out on the boat with all our mates and the same things happened we would just laugh and go to a bar and watch football.
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Old 02-24-2013
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Re: First time on the water today, I could use some advice!

Sounds like you had fun, and the good news is that the basics of sailing is actually pretty easy, and you get better every single time you do it regardless of how many times you do it.
Put your location in your profile, you might find a local sailnetter willing to go out with you to show you the ropes. You'll learn a ton more in an hour of that than weeks of reading books about it.
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