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post #1 of 13 Old 10-30-2018 Thread Starter
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Noob advice

New sailor, American 14-6, Went sailing (well maybe I shouldn't call it sailing) Sunday on the Spruce Run Reservoir, here in NJ. Was blowing a bit more than Sailflow predicted, maybe 12-15 with much higher gusts. Rigged the boat but did not bring up the sails and put it in the water from the trailer. (realized now should have reefed). Motored out onto the lake, pointed into the wind and tried to bring up the sails. Started with the mainsail and it was nuts. Very hard to raise. boom kept sticking in the track and the sail was flogging like crazy and spinning the boat. Got it up and tried to sail with just the main. Had to have the tiller all the way toward the sail to go straight. Was getting a little closer to shore than I like, so dropped the sail and motored to the center of the lake again, pointed into the wind. ( The people from the Hunterdon Sailing Club who were out in thier Force 5's and Sunfish were probably dying with laughter at this point). Brought the main up and the jib, but by then were close to the shore again, so decided to bag it. Short to tell, but that all probably took close to an hour. Other than scaring the crap out of my crew (19 year old son, with less experience than me) and amusing the other sailors, not a successful trip.

1. should I put it in the water with the sails up?

2. How do you launch in higher wind?

3. Any other advice and roasting gladly accepted



thanks

Roland
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-30-2018
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Re: Noob advice

Advice from this ASA and US/Sailing instructor:
  • Learn to reef
  • launch with both sails furled
  • If you think about reefing, you should have done so already
  • put BOTH sails up to balance your boat
  • wear your PFD if the weather is snotty
  • Reef early and often
  • learn to reef
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-30-2018
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Re: Noob advice

No roasting needed
Dont' launch with sails up except in no wind to very light wind.
Motor out to somewhere where there is no potential for collision with an object or vessel, or buoys etc. Then turn head to wind and hoist main. This is if it catches you off guard. IF you KNOW there is high wind reef right when you launch. You can always let it out
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-30-2018
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Re: Noob advice

First off. Great JOB! It's freaking intimidating getting out there in alot of wind with little experience. Pat yourself on the back for that. *beer* *beer*

Your instincts for not raising the sails until you were "out there" were good. Heading to wind to raise the sails.. good job.

Definitely learn to reef. Practice in your driveway on the trailer once or twice. (No Wind)

I'm not sure how your boat is rigged, but think about keeping the top of the sails "open" which means that air will spill off in higher winds and keep the boat more upright. So, if you have jib cars, pull them back and on the main, put the traveler to windward, and use the sheet to trim.

With regard to steering, if your boat won't steer with just the main up, try easing the main, it may flog until you get a bit of boat speed, then slowly trim it in.

Most importantly, get back out there!!!

-C2
1987 Sabre 34 "Saoirse"
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-30-2018
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Re: Noob advice

I am not sure what the official version is, but I very rarely raise dinghy sails on the water. I tend to do it on the beach or dock. Some dinghies can be pretty difficult to set sail on the water, but I am not personally familiar with an American 14-6. My Prindle 16s main sail is darn near impossible to get up on the water in any kind of wind. My Walker Bay is truly impossible to set sail on the water as it uses a sleeve that goes over the top of the mast. Many dinghies dont have topping lift so you are buried in your own sail and mast while trying to paddle out. Your dinghy happens to be equipped with an outboard, but most arent, most can be sailed away from the dock with a little bit of paddling.

Reefing is a good idea, you can do it at dock or on the beach before you head out.

I am not sure what the right answer is in your case, I am just making the observation that lots of dinghy sailors set sail at the dock where the whole situation is more, well, stable. Myself included.

Good call on packing it in before things got too dicey. Tipping with an outboard would suck.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-31-2018
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Re: Noob advice

Great to hear more are taking up the sport.

Sounds like it was a good lesson in the value of reefing. You would have really been amazed, if the fully deflected rudder had stalled!

Anyway, any sail where the crew is returned unharmed is a good sail. Any sail where you can use the boat again is a great sail.

My best advice, however, is to never take inexperienced crew in conditions beyond your comfort zone. They can be easily turned off and not want to play, even after your skills increase.

All the best with the learning.


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Re: Noob advice

For those of us that are not familiar with one, this is an American 14.6;


http://americansail.com/products/boats/american-146

It reminds me of the O'day Sprite.


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post #8 of 13 Old 11-01-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Noob advice

thanks to all for your kind advice

roland
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-01-2018
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Re: Noob advice

NJ,

As long as you soiled your shorts, you're right where you need to be. Next time, you'll know. My family and I started sailing with absolutely no experience. First day, I had my 16 year old in tears, or so I hear. But each time we hauled the boat, on the way home, I'd ask the question "So . . . what did we learn today?" That was ten years, a few humourous stories, a layer or two of gelcoat, and three charters in the BVI, one in Florida. Make the mistakes, learn and laugh. Then get your sorry butt back out there!

Be sure to report back each time. And remember, we're not laughing WITH you . . . we're laughing AT you! All in fun!

Sail lots . . . learn more

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post #10 of 13 Old 11-02-2018
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Re: Noob advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJHippo View Post
New sailor, American 14-6, Went sailing (well maybe I shouldn't call it sailing) Sunday on the Spruce Run Reservoir, here in NJ. Was blowing a bit more than Sailflow predicted, maybe 12-15 with much higher gusts. Rigged the boat but did not bring up the sails and put it in the water from the trailer. (realized now should have reefed). Motored out onto the lake, pointed into the wind and tried to bring up the sails. Started with the mainsail and it was nuts. Very hard to raise. boom kept sticking in the track and the sail was flogging like crazy and spinning the boat. Got it up and tried to sail with just the main. Had to have the tiller all the way toward the sail to go straight. Was getting a little closer to shore than I like, so dropped the sail and motored to the center of the lake again, pointed into the wind. ( The people from the Hunterdon Sailing Club who were out in thier Force 5's and Sunfish were probably dying with laughter at this point). Brought the main up and the jib, but by then were close to the shore again, so decided to bag it. Short to tell, but that all probably took close to an hour. Other than scaring the crap out of my crew (19 year old son, with less experience than me) and amusing the other sailors, not a successful trip.


Roland
I'd hope that if you were in real trouble. That the folks in the sailing club would have been making every effort to come over and help! IF any were laughing it was most likely because they were remembering times they were having troubles....

I sail 18' Buccaneer I always raise my mail at the dock

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