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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I have this sketchy precision 15k boat.. I think it’s together enough to work with just the mainsail after replacing some stuff.. I think I have it’s rigging figured out right..
Will have a small outboard on it..

So here is the plan..
Launch it if I can back in deep enough with my WRX.. May bring provisions for launching it with a strap, or trying to, if I can’t back up far enough..
Park car and whatnot..
Motor the boat out to the middle of the lake..
Raise motor? (Or keep it handy? Idling?)
Point front at wind..
Raise the main sail leaving the main sheet pretty loose.. (no reefing eyes)
Pick a direction about 45 degrees into the wind to aim..
Control rudder with right hand and main sheet with left..
Pull tension on main sheet, slowly, which should power the sail..
Boat should move..
Get the feel for it and figure out what it does..

How to stop if I get into trouble or get out of control..
Loosen the main sheet to depower the sail..
Try not to point directly into the wind and tack, or away from the wind and switch sides, or the boom will swing and try to kill me..
If the wind gets really crazy pull the main sail all the way down and wrap it up..

I’ve never set foot on a floating sailboat before, I don’t recall..
I don’t know anyone who knows how to sail..
I’ve read a lot but I just don’t think I’m going to “get it” until I just do it..
I think when I can feel what it does I can figure it out, and it will probably magically all make sense..

Should I take my girlfriend and endanger her too? Or should I risk my life alone?

Really, I’ve never even piloted a boat with a gas engine before..

Sound like a good plan?

Edit: Almost forgot to ask..
If I fall off the boat what is it going to do?
Is it just going to keep going across the lake without me?
 

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I learned from a beginner book, and sailed my 16' Grumman Flyer by myself the first several times.

Watch your weather. You obviously want to avoid storm weather, but some fairly mild weather could give you a lot of problems. Too little wind will just make sailing a little confusing as the boat doesn't always seem to respond to your input. Too much wind is going to kick your but several different ways. Using good weather judgement is dependent on you being able to recognize when conditions may be unsafe for you, and being wise enough to decide to cancel trip if appropriate.

Heeling is going to freak you out, and you'll find out that things happen quickly on a small boat. Try to be prepared mentally for that. It's going to get your full attention.

Don't take someone with you on the boat unless it's someone who can sail well. It could be nice to have someone help you set up the boat and launch it though. And hang around on shore and watch you, and try to figure out what the hell you're doing out there.

It sounds like you've studied the how-to book, and have thought through how to perform the various procedures. That's a good and reasonable way to get started. Keep at it.

Have you studied the Colregs? The rules of the road? If you haven't already, I would stress knowing them. Unless you're going to be sailing on a lake with little or no traffic. In that case, get out there ASAP and have at it.

Sailing is fun. At least we all think so. I hope you're successful on your maiden voyage, and I hope you enjoy sailing. Nice boat.
 

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Beneteau 393
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I think you've got it.

Just go out as per your list "and it will probably magically all make sense.."

Do not take your girlfriend! This is a job for you and you alone until you've stopped looking like your going to kill yourself. Girlfriends don't understand.

Oh, and as Siamese says, pick a nice day.
 

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If I fall off the boat what is it going to do?
Is it just going to keep going across the lake without me?
The theory is that small sailboats are setup so they want to turn towards the wind (weather helm). When sailing, you have to maintain a slight pull on the tiller to keep them straight. If you let go of the tiller the boat should turn into the wind and stop. If your boat doesn't do this, you could read about adjusting weather helm.

Not sure how well this works in practice.

It's good to have some type of plan to get rescued and that will likely depend on your lake. The only lake I've sailed on was small. I had a PFD and whistle to alert other boaters, and a cell phone in a waterproof case. If the water was cold, I wore a wetsuit. I also texted a reliable friend when I left the shore and when I returned. Large lakes may have someone patrolling and monitoring VHF. If so, a handheld waterproof marine VHF is probably a good investment.
 

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Unless it's a very light breeze, I might keep the motor running with just enough speed to keep her pointed into the wind while you raise the sail. You could center the tiller with a bungy cord. Once the sail is up, you can kill the motor and raise it, then bear off and start sailing. Wear a life jacket, whistle, etc. as has been mentioned.

Also, you don't mention where you are located, but some locations require a license or a safe boating certificate to operate a motorized vessel. Know the rules before you go. Some lakes have their own rules, in addition to any state regs.
 

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The only thing i would add is spend time figuring out how to upright the bout if it tips... BEFORE you are in the water, if it has a centerboard or keel, can you stand on it etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I think I’ve decided to go for Otsego lake

It’s quite a big lake but very shallow with a max depth of about 25’ is all..
The wind is generally from the north west, and the launch is at the state park on the south east corner..

A marina on the lake told me that the south end is less windy than the north, and that their are 2 or 3 sailboats that frequent the lake.. Probably people that live on the lake…

The lake is not a very cold lake, being so shallow, lot of nice swimming areas..
It’s quite big north to south, but east to west it’s not so big, so shore is always relatively close..

The boat is the K model with a keel instead of a centerboard, and has a 250lb lead ballast in the bottom of the keel.
The mast also has a float on the tip top of it so it won’t turtle..
I think with these options, the design of this boat is very good at righting itself and resisting knockdown..
I suppose if it does lay down and stay down, I climb my weight onto the keel with as much leverage as I can to help the boat flip back upright..

If you knock down do you loose the main sheet before trying to right it?


So I’ve read the colregs a bit and basically the point is to turn to starboard (right) to avoid collisions for the most part..
I’m glad to see that I would have priority over powerboats for the most part..

Their are no commercial shipping lanes or commercial fishing on this lake..
It’s a pleasure boating lake..

A whistle is a good idea.. I think I will try to get one..
I’m also thinking about some sort of high vis neck gator so I can be seen in the water easier, or can take it off and wave it in the air..

The thing I’m MOST worried about is getting hit by a boat if I’m out there floating/swimming in a life jacket..
That and getting tangled up in ropes in the water is also quite concerning..


Another question..
My mainsail is of quite questionable integrity.. What happens when a sail “blows out”? like if it shreds itself..
Pretty much just going to act like I let the main sheet out? Or will it do something crazy?
 

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Beneteau 393
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If the sail blows out its hard to tell what happens immedietly. Have a paddle on board if you need to row back.

But it's all fun so just (try to) relax and play with it like it's a big toy 😍😍😍

Mark
 

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Forgive me but I did not read all the replies. Precision makes a very good boat.

Your boat, or ANY boat with any kind of motor (gasoline, electric, propane) on it, is considered a powerboat while you are motoring. Therefore, you should equip your boat to meet (or exceed) the state and federal requirements of a powerboat.

You can find them here: https://assets.kalkomey.com/boater/pdfs/handbook/michigan-handbook-entire.pdf

Here is a good summary: A guide to Michigan’s boating laws: What you need to know

In general, you should motor to the middle of the lake, and then using the motor to keep you aimed into the wind, raise the main. Then lift the motor.
 

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If the mainsail is "blown out" it is deformed from its ideal shape. In essence the sail will act like a bag that catches air and makes you heel, instead of a foil that redirects the flow of air and propels the boat through the water. It is highly unlikely that it will shred itself...

You do you, but; there are people that can show you all this stuff, and many will even do it on your boat. It is far faster for you to learn by having an experienced guide onboard your boat, than it is to ask questions of how to handle a hypothetical situation in a forum.
 

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What could go wrong? - go for it.
It'll be fiiine, no worry.

In the real world, you can take a few precautions and anticipate the "worst."

First, does the boat have enough flotation (foam or sealed air pockets) to remain afloat if filled with water?
-you can test this at the shoreline, in waist deep water, without going sailing! If it doesn't have positive buoyancy, fix that! Small sailboats need to be able to float after capsize.

Second, make sure you have a lifejacket that has a built in harness, "D" ring attachment point, and leg or crotch straps and use them. If you are properly wearing a proper sized lifejacket, it doesn't matter whether you can swim - you will float. Go in the water with the jacket on, get comfortable with the fact you float!

Third, get a proper tether. A tether is a line with quick release shackles (latches) on both ends that you use to attach yourself (the D-ring on the life jacket's harness) to the boat (usually padeye or ring pads at various locations around the boat). For a small sailboat, you can substitute a strong attachment point on the tiller instead of a padeye.

Those three points should minimize your issues with the risks of tipping the boat or falling overboard. If you tether to the tiller, you also have the assurance that should you go over the side, the tether will pull the tiller hard over and your boat won't sail on without you. By the way, in a small sailboat it is very unlikely that the boat would continue sailing with a dramatic change in weight distribution (you going over) and no hand on the tiller.

When you do get on the water with your boat, stay calm. The boat will naturally try to turn into the wind, which is exactly what you want to do if you feel overpowered or the boat takes a big gust. If the wind is blowing too hard, just get the sail down and motor or paddle for a while.

My top suggestion is to go by a sailing club (yacht club) and volunteer yourself to crew for the sailors there in exchange for a few lessons. You will be pleasantly surprised by most sailor's willingness to have you aboard!

Go for it.
Fair winds!
 

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If the condition of the sails is THAT bad, then you have a nice little powerboat with some rodent bedding.

Again, you do you, but if it were me, I would not bother even trying to sail until you get new or used SERVICABLE sails.
 

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Beneteau 393
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When you raise the main sail with the mail halyard is it also supposed to take the weight of the boom, raise the boom a couple inches, and then pull the boom down tight with the blue line (don’t know it’s name)?

How tight?
Pull it down so the tension just starts to make a vertical crinkle in the mainsail.

If this boat has an engine then I wouldnt put the engine on the boat for your first few times sailing. Just take a paddle.

Its quite a small boat and you could easily flip it.

I would take it out first in a very light wind day, say less than 10 mph wind. Take it out only a few hundred yards from shore, maybe just 200 yards till you are comfortable. You want to be where you can paddle back to the boat ramp.

Anyway, best to read the advice of others here because I havent sailed a dinghy for years :) :)

Big thing to keep in mind: Its a little , old boat, if you do wreck it, sink it, rip all the sails etc etc, youre not going to end up destitute. So go out and have fun :)

I think the white bauble on top of the mast is there to stop the boat turning right upside down (turning Turtle). This means that, yes, you can certainly tip the boat over.

Mark
 
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