Past experience: White Sail 2 and some sailing with friends, both a decade ago. I've also spent a lot of time at sea in other capacities.
Knowledge: Mostly books and youtube.
So, I got out for my first sail a couple days ago in an albacore I've spent quite a while re-building. The rebuild included a lot of fiberglass and paint, new rigging, building a centerboard and a few other parts, and re-using or replacing hardware based on research and availability.
We launched and sailed out of the harbour under jib alone, then hoisted the mainsail when we were out in the bay. Sheltered waters. We gybed, tacked, and generally sailed around trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.
Some issues I had and the solutions I've thought of follows. I'd appreciate any feedback on this.
1) Raising sails out of harbour: I think this was a mistake. I chose to sail out under jib alone because I couldn't figure a good way to get both sails up without being blown into the docks in the time it took, and couldn't keep the bow into the wind with only the jib. My solution is to simple have my crew hold the painter in shallow water while I raise both sails (so we face into the wind) and then both hop on and sail out. I've seen instructions saying to rig while the boat is on a trolly with the bow into the wind, but I'm launching from a vehicled trailer that can only go down the ramp with the bow facing one way. Raising the mainsail out in open water led to a lot of flapping and frustration while we blew about a mile downwind - my only issue with this solution is that I can't think of many ways to rig and sail away if I'm by myself.
2) The rudder came up when we're going fast: The force of the water seems to push the rudder up. My solution is to put a pin through the rudder cheeks when the rudder is down and pull it out when it's time to retract the rudder. Also, tie the pin off so I don't lose it. If I tighten the rudder bolt further I won't be able to pull it up.
3) My outhaul: I basically don't have one, relying instead on tying the clew off at the end of the boom. I'm going to rig a block and a cleat for a simple outhaul.
4) Tiller extension broke: I made the tiller extension in a hurry from materials I had on hand, and it snapped where it went into the universal joint just before we made landfall. I'm either going to buy a proper extension with universal joint, or replace it with something more durable. I've heard a gold-club shaft works well.
5) Scuppers: I used one-way valve scuppers with a ping-pong ball that's supposed to float up and block water from entering the boat. They didn't work - the balls just bubbled around as the water came in. Sitting forward kept them out of the sea entirely, but I need to replace these with something that works. There are two three-inch holes at the stern to accommodate these and allow water to exit in the event of a capsize. Any recommendations? I was tempted to simply seal these up and bail in the event of a capsize, but I think I may regret that decision when my boat is full of water.
These are the problems I noticed with the boat. The rest of the issues were with me, such as tripping over the toe-strap while moving side-to-side, or forgetting to put the centerboard back down after I raised the mainsail. There are a few other things I haven't included, such as installing a downhaul and a boom vang, but the only problem with those (like the outhaul) is that they simply aren't there at all.
Any comments welcome