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post #11 of 34 Old 09-14-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

So several of the stranded at sea are gymnasts and are made to stand on each others shoulders holding the canvas. Getting tired??Can't quit, the captain is a real meany with a machete. .Used to be 10 but one slacked off just in time for lunch. Steering the least of your problems when things are this out of control and the allusion of purpose sustains many minions
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post #12 of 34 Old 09-15-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Insane question about sails

You are all right, a sailing lesson should be on my todo list before I finish this thing. But Erindipity is also correct that this is going to be much less a story about how they build a sail and steer the boat and more about what it’s like to be stuck adrift on the ocean with a bunch of people you don’t like. So I really just need to provide enough information to make it plausible.

Erindipity’s suggestions are good ones, though this is not a modern boat so there wouldn’t be any life jackets on board. And Quickstep, without giving too much away these people are stranded there deliberately by other Very Bad People, for various reasons. Again, not a modern story so hopefully enough of a spin on what is admittedly not a completely original plot.

Thank you again, I really appreciate everyone's suggestions (and patience).
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post #13 of 34 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Quote:
Originally Posted by GiddyUpGo View Post
You are all right, a sailing lesson should be on my todo list before I finish this thing. But Erindipity is also correct that this is going to be much less a story about how they build a sail and steer the boat and more about what it’s like to be stuck adrift on the ocean with a bunch of people you don’t like. So I really just need to provide enough information to make it plausible.

Erindipity’s suggestions are good ones, though this is not a modern boat so there wouldn’t be any life jackets on board. And Quickstep, without giving too much away these people are stranded there deliberately by other Very Bad People, for various reasons. Again, not a modern story so hopefully enough of a spin on what is admittedly not a completely original plot.

Thank you again, I really appreciate everyone's suggestions (and patience).
OK.. that bit of detail makes the scenario more believable - ie how they got into that situation in the first place.

How long will they have to endure? There's a whole book or two in how such people would simply survive for any length of time under those circumstances.. presumably the VBP wouldn't have left them any food.. is this a boat with a cabin or other shelter? or your basic lifeboat. How far to safety? You need to think all this through, methinks...

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post #14 of 34 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Hmmm my first thoughts are to build a kite.. You would only need poles, fabric and line!

There have been a few sucessful kite "sailboats".
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post #15 of 34 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Morse: What do you make of this, Lewis?
Lewis: An open boat, no means of propulsion, no supplies, a thousand miles from land, and all nine dead, Sir.
Morse: Murdered, Lewis, murdered. Every single one of them was killed, and that one at the bow recently.
Lewis: Sir?
Morse: Look at the nostrils. What do you see? Or, what don't you see?
Lewis: ... Crabs, I don't see any crabs, Sir.
Morse: Correct, Lewis. That one at the Stern- hardly any eyes left on that one. They do quick work, crabs.
Lewis: Sir, we tracked the Boat. It was reported washed overboard off the Islets of Langerhans, last Tuesday, from a Ruritanian Freighter.
Morse: And...
Lewis: All Crew and passengers accounted for. Sir.
Morse: What else do you see?
Lewis: Evidence of a struggle, Sir. More than one struggle. The man by the bucket appears to have an Anchor imbedded in his chest.
Morse: A Danforth Anchor, Lewis. Very efficient.
Lewis: Sir?
Morse: Yes, Lewis, out with it.
Lewis: Are we dealing with Very Bad People?
Morse: Yes, Lewis, Very Bad People indeed.

¬Erindipity
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post #16 of 34 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Anytime I have been on a smaller boat with more than 5 people it gets awfully crowded. If the boat were to be out for more than say 8 hours I would have to throw someone overboard just for my sanity. I usually have the victim(s) chosen within an hour of untying the dock lines.
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post #17 of 34 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

You could put them on a boat that has a mast, boom, sail, and rudder. Then part of the story is how these people, who have no previous sailing experience, try to work out how to sail the boat, and then where to go. Or you could have a boat that has just one sail that gets shredded to bits in a storm because they were not smart enough to lower it. That will take care of your believability problem and also give them a chance to fashion some sort of solution while your main story proceeds.
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post #18 of 34 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Read the book Kontiki it will give you some ideas, it is the real life story of a raft with a sail being sailed across the Pacific.
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post #19 of 34 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Much depends on the cloth, and the poles, and how the cloth is fastened to them (shoelaces?).

And any sail whose force is low enough to be held up by one human, isn't going to provide all that much propulsion. So they will be doing just "light-air sailing", if that works for your plot. Steady, but really slow. Two people holding? A little faster, not much..

Steering? Without a rudder, I would suggest you just tilt the sail rig to the left to slowly steer the boat to the right, and vice-versa.

So reaching land or whatever, has to be nearly straight downwind (assume steady trade-type winds?), and how far away you "write" that island will depend on how much water, and secondarily food, you have given your characters. Consider that when it's too stormy to hold the cloth up as a sail, it could serve as a rain catchment.


I know all this 'cause I'm an English major...
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post #20 of 34 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

for steering, couldn't you drag a rope or something off one side?

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