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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #81  
Old 12-02-2008
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Smack, do you have the inboard or outboard on your 27? An outboard might not give you the thrust needed to maneuver in close, windy quarters. To get around a marina in windy conditions, you must be very proficient in boat handling. You might want to think about driving your boat around the marina on a Sunday morning, practicing backing and filling and going in and out of different slips (preferably ones with a cross-wind). Proficiency will give you the confidence to maneuver in windier conditions. A couple more thoughts. Wind is stronger at the mast head than at the deck. It sometimes pays to not hoist the main until you are well past the jetty. Always favor the windward side of any channel or fairway. Learn the fine art of “crabbing”. Find a crew – they come in handy with a boat hook. Observe the wind. It tends to follow a rhythmic pattern and if you time it right, you can leave during a lull. Finally, we are yachtsmen, we sail for pleasure. A broken boat is real slow and your insurance broker will take you off of his Christmas card list once he has to pay for the half dozen stern push-pits you wiped out.
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  #82  
Old 12-02-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
Learn the fine art of “crabbing”.
George,

If you don't mind, what's "crabbing?"
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  #83  
Old 12-02-2008
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You know - I've said it before and I'll say it again...this is the coolest damn site in the world. To be able to hang out with and learn from really experienced sailors is a real privilege. Thanks for all the feedback fellas.

Valiente - you hit the nail on the head with the chicken thing. See the problem is that I've been talkin' smack for so long about big sailing - and now that I'm learning more about how hard it really is...well you know how it goes. It's easy to talk ain't it! I like your advice. I've been fortunate to have already been out when the wind came up to 25+ - and that was just about as good as it gets. I absolutely loved it and can't wait for the next one. So, I'm all over the ramp up thing. And I'll keep at it.

Mgig - I'm really starting to see the advantages of a mooring. Seems like it would make life a lot easier not to have all that hard crap around.

George - I've got an outboard (6hp) that came with the boat. So I think I'm pretty underpowered right now and it really shows at times like these. I'm looking for a new pusher. And I'll definitely continue to practice in the marina. It's always fun to weave around all over, slurring the words to "Roll Out The Barrel" at the top of my lungs, and scaring the women and children on a nice Sunday morning. Seriously, thanks very much for taking the time and offering great advice.

Now as for the insurance dude...back to the "smack". I honestly DO like sailing in stiffer stuff. I like pushing it. That's me - I can't help it. At the same time, I do want to be smart about it and always come home.

So thanks again for the advice for a newbie - and for the absolution. I'll now say 25 "Sail Mary"s.
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  #84  
Old 12-03-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
"The chicken thing" is interesting, because while you assume it comes from a place of "I am scared of doing something", it is frequently coming from a place of "I am scared of appearing scared to others and/or to myself".

Thus is "chicken" confused with "prudently cautious". Thus is expectations of how one should appear confused with how one is, in perception, in self-evaluation, and at correctly assessing one's surroundings and the need to put a boat into the middle of them...

You can't operate from fear, or from a negative, "I have to prove something, I have to not be afraid." People get killed unnecessarily that way. If you want to practice solo heavy weather sailing, I would suggest picking days in summer when the likelihood of storm fronts, squalls or otherwise big air is strong. This means you go out with a reef already in (because in "real life" you put in the reef early, right?) and basically tool around waiting to get clobbered. You can practice docking with a handy buoy nearby, you can see if you can hove-to, you can chuck stuff overboard and try to retrieve it with a "quick-stop"...hell, light air summer days are great for practice.

Of course, you've filed a sail plan and you have a means to contact shore.

Then, if the forecast is correct and you get 30-50 knots and square waves in the afternoon, and lightning and rain and spray and ugliness...you can clip on and try out stuff KNOWING that the "class" will only likely last a half-hour or so.

Then you take the boat back in the nice cool breeze behind the front and enjoy a rum-based beverage at the bar while calculating the cost of repairing the stuff that broke and figuring out how to stop it from happening again.

Do that ten times and you'll have a better sense of what you and the boat can cope with, and so when circumstances find you "caught out" on passage, it won't be much more than a fun ride...because you will have corrected your errors and improved your reactions.
Good post. Solid advice.
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  #85  
Old 12-04-2008
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True - Bob. Val's analysis and advice is spot on. Except, that is, for the glaring error that, frankly, I'm shocked that a man of his mental caliber would overlook...

He used the singular when referring to "rum-based beverage". I mean, who has just one? Really.

I'm speechless.
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  #86  
Old 12-04-2008
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You haven't seen my flagon, with spring-loaded lid for heavy weather, have you? One is enough.
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  #87  
Old 12-05-2008
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I just logged onto this thread for the first time and read the whole thing with great interest. I never had much opportunity to sail on OPB and had to learn pretty much by myself. I do have a couple of observations.

Reading never hurts. I can't tell you how many times I got in what was, at that stage of my development, a bad situation and said "Hey, this is what I read about in "Heavy Weather Sailing". I've been sailing for over 40 years and just went back and re-read "Sailing for Dummies". Guess what? I learned something new. If I don't learn something new I am reminded of something I already knew.

It's surprising how your definition of heavy weather changes. In my early days I never reefed. When the wind blew harder, I braced my feet on the lee seat and stood up. The first time I reefed I was amazed how gentle the motion became. Not only that, but the boat actually went faster. Lee rail under only looks cool to those who aren't on the boat.

My "chicken factor" has grown slowly over the years as my skill grew. I (almost) never feel out of control. I've been out in a lot of stuff that, later in the yacht club, elicited the "Wow! You were out in that?" comment, usually from guys who never left the dock. What's the moral? Practice, practice, practice.

The reality is rarely as bad as the expectation. I moved to Michigan in 1976 and the theme song of the trip was "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". I bought a new boat and, the following April, went out in the small inland lake connected to Lake Michigan. It took me until July to work up the nerve to go out on "THE BIG LAKE". About five minutes after I passed the end of the breakwater it was "Is that it?". I had a delightful sail, the first of many, on a great body of water. I had spent three uncomfortable months dealing with shifty winds and sandbars and tight spots because I was afraid of something that was only to be feared a small part of the time.

Heavy weather isn't my idea of big fun. Ghosting along with a "rum based" drink in my hand is pretty much my idea of heaven. Still, when the wind pipes up and the waves build, there is a real sense of satisfaction when you drop the hook and say "We got through that OK".

Dick Pluta
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  #88  
Old 12-05-2008
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Welcome Dick! And thanks for the great write up. It's very encouraging for a sailing newbie like me to read of others' approaches. Practice. Yeah, I gotta try that! Actually going out tomorrow. Ain't this sailing life the best thing ever!
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  #89  
Old 12-05-2008
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Crabbing, the fine art of angling the bow (or stern) into the wind so you can hold a course when strong winds are abeam to the boat. The problem of wind age on boats is when under power both the thrust and steerage is at the stern allowing the bow to blow down. I think that this problem is greatest when motoring slowly in a fairway. That is why I favor the windward side and angle the bow very slightly to the wind. Crabbing takes on a whole new dimension when motoring in reverse. The wind really makes the bow swing down. I will point the stern into the wind to counteract, but the bow really falls off. So again, I favor the windward side. Wind age can be a big problem for me when shifting from reverse to forward. I have had times where the bow just won’t swing around and I have had to back all the way out of the marina. Once again, in windy conditions it pays to have a crewmate with a boat hook and fender handy.
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  #90  
Old 12-05-2008
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Same technique when navigating my way through my marina with a constant 3kt current across my approach.
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