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post #1 of 15 Old 10-23-2017 Thread Starter
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Sailing a boat off a beach

I got my butt a little bit kicked today, and I am wondering if people have ideas that I might be able to apply.

I have a 21 foot boat that my son and I took to spend the week end at the beach.

This morning wind was weird, 9 knots gusting to 20, on shore at about 45 degrees. I set the main on a double reef (cat rig), swung the bow through the wind, then jumped aboard. My bilge boards weren't down (due to depth) and I blew backwards and landed on my bloody rudder. And damaged it.

Rather than fart around worrying about my rudder, I just kept moving forward with getting the boat to windward off the beach.

It didn't take long and I was sailing nicely away from the beach. But annoyed about the rudder damage.

How the heck do people single hand a mono off a beach into blustery winds without damaging their rudder.
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-23-2017
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Re: Sailing a boat off a beach

you get wet... VERY wet. Push out until you are chest deep, and for God's sake release the sheet!
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-23-2017
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Re: Sailing a boat off a beach

Agree. Can't imagine how you would beat off the beach without the board down. Don't suppose the rudder kicks up?
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-23-2017
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Re: Sailing a boat off a beach

Another proven option is to kedge the boat off the beach. Of course, you have to get the anchor far enough out. Dinghy? Something with good flotation to carry the anchor while you swim it out? And you'll need a windlass or at least a decent winch that can help you haul in a line run off he bow...And you may need to wait--anchor out and line taut at low tide, kedge off at high tide when the boat is at least partially floating...
See this: 8 uses for a kedge anchor
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-24-2017
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Re: Sailing a boat off a beach

Yeah, my suggestion is you get deep enough to get the board and rudder down a LITTLE... then reach or close reach off the beach. Its why I had to get rid of my sailing dinghy... I got tired of getting soaked to go sailing.

I used to power push my boat out and ungracefully body-flop onto my Capri 14.2.

Another option you won't like is to leave your sails down and paddle out.

I finally got aggravated and installed a battery and electric trolling motor. No worries then about spilling gas into the water (with a capsize) with a regular outboard, and the electric motor was light and easy to move around. You still have to push out a way to get the motor down, but not chest deep at least. A new electric outboard will be about $130, and a battery is about $110. After that, I concluded that taking 50 minutes to rig and launch and again to derig and go home was eating into my fun. Also I didn't like the potential of me missing a single errant puff, and going swimming (then spending my "fun" time trying to get back onto a boat), so I decided to go the keelboat route and a boat slip. OK I'm lazy I guess.

These days the lazy sailor has set in full-time. I'm getting tired of bolt rope mains, and laminate sails where I must roll my sails every time I'm done sailing. Furlers and stack packs sound like a great way for me to be lazier than I already am.
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-24-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Sailing a boat off a beach

Good ideas. I think the key is, I needed to walk the boat further out into the (cold) water.

I do have a well maintained gas outboard with a custom shallow water mount that just submerges the prop (in addition to my well mount).

But I wanted this to be a no motor week end for asthetic reasons. I was sailing on and off beaches all week end but I found this Gusty on shore wind scenario tricky. I was shooting a how to sail a boat off a beach video for YouTube during this particular beach start, which I think will now need to be posted as a how not to lol.

I think walking an anchor out would have worked to. I don't have a winch but my boat doesn't weigh much.

I did end up reaching parallel to the beach until I had enough speed to round up to a close reach and drop my board.

It was a fun learning experience except for the glass work I'm going to need to do on my rudder.
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Re: Sailing a boat off a beach

[QUOTE=Arcb;2051255833]
I do have a well maintained gas outboard with a custom shallow water mount that just submerges the prop (in addition to my well mount).

But I wanted this to be a no motor week end for asthetic reasons. I was sailing on and off beaches all week end but I found this Gusty on shore wind scenario tricky. I was shooting a how to sail a boat off a beach video for YouTube during this particular beach start, which I think will now need to be posted as a how not to lol.
/QUOTE]

Forty some years ago, I had a daysailer that came with a small motor. I wanted to be a sailing purist, however, and initially sailed that boat without the motor aboard, including through 2 drawbridges and short-tacking for over a mile in the channel. (Didn’t think about how that must have annoyed the bigger boats in the channel.)

Well, that was fun until one day I got caught with a decreasing wind and increasingly adverse current about 4 miles from home. We were about to beach the boat 3 miles from home when I got a tow from an empathetic power boater. He got me to within 2/3 mile from home and I had to paddle the rest of the way. Did I mention that the wife, 2 small kids, and the dog were aboard and looking for relief after a long day on the water?

Lesson learned: having a motor is not only about convenience but safety when conditions change. From then on I always sailed with the motor aboard.
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-24-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Sailing a boat off a beach

I did have my motor on board, for the exact reasons you mention.

I was just determined not to use it, unless I really needed it.

I don't think I needed it in this case. I think I should have done things differently. I'm thinking maybe the anchor idea. Except instead of walking it out in chest deep water, I should have dropped it while sailing into the beach the night before.

I could drop the anchor off my stern, maybe 50 ft out from the beach, pay it out as I sail in.

Then kedge off backwards, transfer the anchor from stern cleat to bow cleat. Set sail, and already be sailing when I pull up the anchor. Might work pretty well. Still, I can imagine ways this could go wrong.

I am curious to hear of ideas others have to improve my system.
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Last edited by Arcb; 10-24-2017 at 10:17 AM.
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-24-2017
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Re: Sailing a boat off a beach

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
I did have my motor on board, for the exact reasons you mention.

I was just determined not to use it, unless I really needed it.

I don't think I needed it in this case. I think I should have done things differently. I'm thinking maybe the anchor idea. Except instead of walking it out in chest deep water, I should have dropped it while sailing into the beach the night before.

I could drop the anchor off my stern, maybe 50 ft out from the beach, pay it out as I sail in.

Then kedge off backwards, transfer the anchor from stern cleat to bow cleat. Set sail, and already be sailing when I pull up the anchor. Might work pretty well. Still, I can imagine ways this could go wrong.

I am curious to hear of ideas others have to improve my system.

Actually that's what I was going to propose as a possible method. It would leave you bow-onshore at closest approach, so your rudder would have more water.
And yes, much could go wrong, and in ways neither you nor I would necessarily predict. And in general, getting close to a beach that's a lee shore, is asking for (or at least flirting with) trouble. But in light winds, it could be okay. while well offshore, round up and drop your main, then approach the beach jib-only with anchor dropped from the stern when the time is right, since it's easy to douse the jib even when downwind. Pray (in advance, and at the time too) that the anchor digs in immediately and solidly.

I'm assuming a sloop rig. If you're main-only, then same approach, but drag the anchor of the stern as you approach the beach, to keep your bow downwind while you are "bare poles" (pole)

Also pray that the light onshore wind doesn't increase. And don't tell your underwriters, they will tell you to go the the beach by car instead.
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Last edited by nolatom; 10-24-2017 at 12:15 PM.
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-24-2017
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Re: Sailing a boat off a beach

I don’t think that kedging off backwards will be a problem, and I agree that it should help protect your rudder. One point of vulnerability here will be the transfer of the anchor rode from stern cleat to bow—maybe snub the rode to stern cleat, so that uncleating the rode from the stern and transfer of the rode’s end to the bow cleat are more easily controllable? A second point of vulnerability would be getting the anchor back aboard if you’re solo and trying to sail it off… having another crew member would simplify this.
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