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post #21 of 34 Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Just drag lunch from one quarter or other. When it attracts a shark throw one of the 8 others in to grab it. For a varied diet,eh! Best true story ever was recounted by Mark Twain in Hawaii. Base adventure on that.
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post #22 of 34 Old 09-16-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Big holes to fill here.

Holding the sail up while you're being rapidly dehydrated by the sun and salt air won't work for more than a day.

Without a rudder and leeboard, they can only go dead downwind. God (or deus ex machina) send that there's land close to leeward with a soft beach for an easy landing.

And then there's the question of navigation. If you do bestow a mast, rope and rudder on the survivors, how do they know which way to go?

The only dumb question is the one that you didn't ask because you thought it would make you look dumb.

Last edited by Atlas; 09-16-2015 at 08:15 AM.
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post #23 of 34 Old 09-16-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

You stated in your original post that your vessel has no motor and no sails, but you didn't specifically say that the boat has no rudder.

You mentioned using the fabric to "steer" the boat. Did you mean steer or propel?

Does that boat have a rudder?
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post #24 of 34 Old 09-16-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Quote:
Originally Posted by GiddyUpGo View Post
Thanks for all the quick replies. It is a major part of the story, but I don't need to really describe the mechanics of how they're doing it, I just need to know what's possible given the resources they have.

I could give them a rope, if they need one. In fact, I'm the omnipotent being in this scenario, so I could give them anything they need, as long as I don't make it too easy on them.

A rudder might be possible, too. If this was your story, and you needed them to have some way of propelling the boat and at least a limited way to move in one direction or another, what supplies would you give them?
In order to make a plausible sail they would need enough cordage to attach the fabric to their poles, and then a way to lash the poles in a vertical position so that they don't have to hold them up. I would think any open boat would have something to lash to on the gunwales, such as oar locks. In order to steer they would need another pole and a board to attach to the end of it to make a rudder. Then they would need to secure that oar/rudder device to the transom so it can pivot. That would give them some control over their direction, as long as it is mostly downwind! I would think finding an old fishing net drifting by would give them enough rope for the job! (maybe even give them the occational fish to fight over!)

They would also have to decide whether that fabric is best used as a sail, or shelter from the blazing sun....

2011 Jeanneau 39i Azura
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post #25 of 34 Old 09-18-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Insane question about sails

Thanks again to everyone! I am actually thinking now that I can't give them a sail, I don't think their poles are going to be strong enough to support a sail of the size needed to move the boat and I think the logistics of doing it are just going to be too much for most of them. However I don't want to leave everything that happens in the story utterly to chance, either, so I feel like I need to give them some limited control over the boat, at least.

They do have about a week's worth of food and water on board.

The boat does not have a rudder, but I'm thinking that they could build one easily enough using materials onboard. I found a picture of an emergency rudder online but I can't post the link 'cause I'm a newbie, but it looks like something they could put together with the supplies they have.

If they had a rudder but no sail, they could still do some controlled drifting, right? Like if they happened to see land they wouldn't be utterly helpless and have to drift right past it, they could sort of steer in that direction?

I know it sounds like I have a lot of holes in the plot but that's only because I'm not telling you everything. I have actually thought through most of the details but please do point out other potential problems when you see them because I'm sure I haven't considered everything.

Thank you so much, I really appreciate that you are all so willing to put out some ideas.
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post #26 of 34 Old 09-18-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

That won't work. The rudder must have velocity relative to the water in order for it to have effect.

I once had an engine fail during a passage. We got within two miles of destination using sails at night, but in the morning, as we got into the lee of the mountainous island, the wind died and we drifted with the current right on past our destination. I didn't mind because I had plenty of time, but it caused some of our crew lots of stress - they were scheduled to fly home from that island that afternoon. From our perspective, it looked like the island was gliding slowly away from us, as we sat there with nothing to do but wait for the wind to fill our limp sails.
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post #27 of 34 Old 09-18-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Better that they 'make' some oars/paddles....

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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post #28 of 34 Old 09-18-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

Why not row it? You have nine people onboard and they could take shifts. More possibilities for conflict among your characters.

If the boat has a whisker pole or a spinnaker pole, that could be the shaft for one oar. If they have a boom, that could be another. The paddle part could be any number of panels found on a boat.

If the boat is large, make it a ketch (two masts with the smaller one in the rear). The boom of the aft mast might be a good size for an oar if the boom on the main mast is too big.

Lash the shafts to the main winches and put one person on each oar. This takes care of propulsion and steering. If the winches aren't positioned well, then use the mooring cleats.
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post #29 of 34 Old 09-18-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Insane question about sails

Thanks!! I'm so glad I came here, that's the sort of thing you need to be a sailor to know.

It sounds like rowing is going to be my best bet, unless I can somehow figure out how to get them a mast.
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post #30 of 34 Old 09-18-2015
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Re: Insane question about sails

The first time I sailed Thane was with a 4x8 sheet of plywood that was lying on deck when the towing Zod suffered a mishap and drifted off to leeward. Running it fore and aft like a wind surfer, I picked up enough speed to manouver on to the ways in the lee of the marina . distance made good over 500 meters ,half a beam reach.
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