First Accident What Did I Do Wrong? - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 69 Old 06-26-2014 Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 24
Thanks: 5
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

Hey all! I just recently purchased a 1975 Venture of Newport 23'. I've been out about 5 times and have had the main sail up three times.

Today we were sailing with the wind at a 45 degree angle. The main sail was out port side, keel down, and we were cruising nicely for about an hour. All of a sudden the wind started hitting blowing directly port side pretty hard and the boat started to tilt heavily port side.

I tried to turn us directly downwind to take some power out of the sail while and told my friend to pull down the main. She couldn't pull it down so I left the rudder and yanked the main down.

As soon as I left the rudder the boat tilted hard and everything crashed around in the hull. I pulled the main down and ended up tearing the top of it. Which I'll post in a different thread.

What did I do wrong? When you feel the boat leaning too much leeward how do you correct it to prevent a capsize?

campbmic is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 69 Old 06-26-2014
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 12
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Re: First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

Somebody here will type a short story on procedures but my short answer is

Turn into the wind and sheet in then secure the main sheet so the boom can't crash across the deck.

Then lower the main sail.

If as you say the boom was out when you let go of the tiller and went to lower the main I'd say you are fortunate nobody was hurt.
xsealb473 is offline  
post #3 of 69 Old 06-26-2014
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Seattle
Posts: 109
Thanks: 5
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 13
Re: First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

You went wrong in turning down wind to de-power. You need to head up and luff the sails to de-power. Also when you head downwind the slugs will bind in the mast track. That is why the sail tore. Next, you left the helm. When in trouble, a move that works in most cases is to simply head in to the wind. Consider buying a good book on sailing technique. ASA has some excellent ones. Learn how to Heave-to. You also might consider taking some lessons.
hangupndrive is offline  
post #4 of 69 Old 06-26-2014
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 724
Thanks: 6
Thanked 23 Times in 21 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Re: First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

On a boat the size of a Newport 23, I would assume you can reach the mainsheet while you are holding the tiller. Ease out the sail. You will immediately reduce heel and you can make a better plan to get the sail down.
mr_f is offline  
post #5 of 69 Old 06-27-2014
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 1,054
Thanks: 0
Thanked 49 Times in 49 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Re: First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

Too much wind, dump it. Pop your main sheet and or jib sheet and the boat will right. Use your momentum to turn up wind. If you have to go forward, wrap each jibsheet around the tiller a couple of times. This will keep you on course, more or less, while you do other things. If you simply turn into the wind in a blow, the centrifugal force of the mast will cause you to heel worse, maybe much worse, until you come about.

Did you mean that you boom came crashing down? Consider a Boomkicker. About $100 for your size boat. It keeps the boom where it should be. Should be controlled with a vang.

trantor12020 and rpolak like this.
DonScribner is offline  
post #6 of 69 Old 06-27-2014
Over Hill Sailing Club
smurphny's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Adirondacks NY
Posts: 3,688
Thanks: 94
Thanked 111 Times in 108 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Re: First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

Maybe you should see if you can borrow or rent a small boat such as a Sunfish and get someone to show you the basics of sailing before venturing out again. Sailing these small boats gives you the same issues to deal with as a larger boat without the costly consequences of mistakes.

Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
smurphny is offline  
post #7 of 69 Old 06-27-2014
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Bombay, India
Posts: 76
Thanks: 5
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 8
Re: First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

First mistake: you went out solo at the helm without first having gained some experience sailing with others more experienced. Sailing is a lot of fun, but can quickly turn fatal if you don't know what to do - and it's clear you didn't know what to do because you thought that you could de-power the sail by heading downwind.

Luckily no one was hurt this time, but please do sail under some more experienced skipper before going solo again - maybe even pay someone to teach you how to sail your boat right.
eherlihy likes this.

The only dumb question is the one that you didn't ask because you thought it would make you look dumb.
Atlas is offline  
post #8 of 69 Old 06-27-2014
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 61
Thanks: 12
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 8
Re: First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

Turning towards the wind that's currently blowing too hard feels counter-intuitive. It also feels counter-intuitive to release the mainsheet (which I think many of us imagine as letting the sail get bigger or catch more air). But you have to do one or both of these things in the situation you found yourselves in.

Wind shifts can be difficult.

When I've been in that situation and have heeled the boat over too much, I've tried to convince my friend to say, "Head up" or "Spill the main" rather than "IDON'TLIKETHISIDON'TLIKE THIS".

You might be able to keep sailing with just the jib/genoa while the mainsail gets fixed. Sometimes only dealing with one sail can be simpler. Good luck and thanks for sharing your tale.
davidpm and BeejDeC like this.
juggleandhope is offline  
post #9 of 69 Old 06-27-2014
One of None
deniseO30's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bristol pa
Posts: 8,044
Thanks: 85
Thanked 193 Times in 181 Posts
Rep Power: 15
Re: First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

Yeah sailing is a mystical, mysterious "only those that had lessons can do it sport" LOL

Main sheet = the line/s that you use to control the mainsail. Sounds like you had a "gybe"

Is this what or like what happened?

You Tube = cheap lessons

Suggestion, when learning remember "When in doubt, let out" Meaning if you are over powered on the main sail "let the mainsheet out" to spill the wind but if a quick change causes it gybe, Duck!! and try to not burn your hands by pulling in the mainsheet as it goes over. (not many of us have managed to slow it down LOL )

"Next best thing to not having a boat? The knowledge from having one!" Denise, Bristol PA, On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

My last project!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by deniseO30; 06-27-2014 at 08:23 AM.
deniseO30 is offline  
post #10 of 69 Old 06-27-2014
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Rogersville, AL
Posts: 19
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Re: First Accident What Did I Do Wrong?

Heading downwind sounds good in theory. The trouble is that the moment a heavy wind hits such that it keeps you heeled over, if you have a boat with any kind of beam, weather-helm will make the boat want to round up and may not let you head downwind until the boat comes up. The more a boat heels, the more assymetric the waterline contour gets (it starts looking like a banana). Modern boats with fat ass-ends develope tremendous ammounts of weather helm when they get knocked down.

When knocked down, reef or lower the sails. However, like you, I prefer to head downwind to mask the jenny to make it easy to roll in. It is a beach to roll in a 150 jenny when it is flapping violently in the wind.

In my humble opinion, you need to get out of the comfort zone to learn good heavy weather techniques. Also, if you aren't tearing a sale up occassionly, you are probably not getting out of your comfort zone enough. You need to develope a first-name relationship with a good sailmaker. Sailing is an expensive sport.

Last edited by snotter; 06-27-2014 at 08:43 AM.
snotter is offline  

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
what did I do wrong?! FlyingJunior General Discussion (sailing related) 10 10-24-2013 10:39 AM
What is wrong here?? RandyBC Seamanship & Navigation 8 05-02-2010 11:47 PM
What went wrong? vabuckeye Learning to Sail 18 11-25-2007 06:56 AM
Sometimes, when everything goes wrong... CharlieCobra General Discussion (sailing related) 18 08-23-2006 05:08 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome