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Discussion Starter #1
The sailing season is officially over for us in CT. So unless I can find something this winter someplace warm I'm back to the regular office grind until the spring.

As a sailing instructor, I would like to offer the maximum benefit for my students. We recently had a thread where the consensus seems to be that folks can learn how to sail by themselves and maybe a class can help a little. I don't disagree. If people are going to insist on paying me to learn to sail I figure I should do the best I can to at least save them some time and mention things that might not be in the book or are not obvious and common sense.


The following is the list of possibly useful tips that wouldn't be in a typical book that I previously posted plus a few more.
Also, some items that are in the book but don't seem to translate to real life.

What would you like to recommend that I add?


Engine
1. If you switch the main power switch to off while the engine is running on many boats you will fry the diodes and the alternator will no longer work.
2. If you have trouble starting the engine; shut off the raw-water thru-hull so you don't pump water into the cylinders. You have a plenty of time to open it up if it starts.

Navigation
3. How close do you think we will come to that buoy ahead that is leeward to our course. OK, why did it look like we had 150' clearance but only missed it by 20'.
4. Why did I ask you to call for the bridge even though four other boats are ahead of us and we heard them all call?
5. Why did I ask you to make a wide turn a dozen boat lengths before the bridge before we headed to go through instead of just coming around the corner close to the bridge and going through?
6. Why did I ask you to hang back and not follow a small powerboat through the bridge so we would both be in the span at the same time?
7. There is a ferry a half mile off. Do we have time to cross the channel?
8. Where are the rocks in reference to the danger mark?
9. Lots of live practice on rules of the road. Answering questions on paper and getting it right on the water seem to be different skills.

Boat Systems
1. Use as much toilet paper as you need but flush the head after every 6 pieces.
2. Flush with fresh water if leaving the boat for a few days to keep down smells.

Cool Tricks
11. Sail Backwards (jeff_h)
12. Lighting method of tying a bowline
13. There seem to be many docking tricks and strategies, with spring lines, ferrying, prop walk and wash that books can get you started with but practice makes perfect.
14. Steer the boat towards the Woolley that is fluttering.


The more I get to thinking about this the more I see that there are probably hundreds of things that are not in the book.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
No love, I'll add more myself.

Carefully check-out the boat regularly.

Oil, Water, voltage, belt tension, sea strainer, cotter pins on turnbuckles, winch caps tight, smooth idle, Test forward and reverse at the dock.

Put transmission in reverse (on many boats) when under sail.

Scan the boat for overboard lines

Have-to on starboard if possible.

Come on guys/gals, there must be something you learned the hard way.
 

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Sailing in and out of dock?

Learning how to do this with a toasted engine is the wrong time imo. Plus, you get to combine it with sailing backwards (maybe).
 

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Or, how about sailing with no sails?

I covered about 3 downwind miles through a twisty river with no sails up on Saturday. My son was napping in the cabin and I didn't want to wake him by reaching our destination too fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ah. Never heard a telltale called a Woolley before.
I picked that up from just finishing the Nauticed.com online courses.

Must be a Kiwi thing, but I liked the sound of it.
 
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Engine
1. If you switch the main power switch to off while the engine is running on many boats you will fry the diodes and the alternator will no longer work.
2. If you have trouble starting the engine; shut off the raw-water thru-hull so you don't pump water into the cylinders. You have a plenty of time to open it up if it starts.
3. Crank the engine for no more than 30 seconds before you close the through hull (if that).
4. Turn off everything that is not currently in use (lights, fans and faucets)
5. Turn off the breaker for any systems that you don't need at night.

...
Boat Systems
1. Use as much toilet paper as you need but flush the head after every 6 pieces.
2. Flush with fresh water if leaving the boat for a few days to keep down smells.
3. EVERYBODY sits when using the head (Guys and Gals - #1 & #2)
4. Pump enough water to move the contents from the bowl into the holding tank.
5. Put the lid DOWN after using the head (I don't want it to fall and crack/smash the bowl when we tack)
 

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Here's a surprising one that if you've run boats for too many years like most of us, you take for granted.

Boats steer from the back, not the front like cars.

This can help a newcomer get over close quarters maneuvering under power. I have always been amazed at how quickly a new boat handler improves after this simple instruction.

One of the best demo's of this it to approach an easy end dock at a 45 degree angle. Just about when the student is sure you are going to smash the bow into the dock, make the turn to flare-in.

Another exercise is go head to wind and hover. Just keep the boat here while we wait for the fuel dock to be empty. If you loose the bow, it's all over. If you make quick small corrections keeping the stern behind the bow into the wind, you can hover forever. This reinforces you control the stern, not the bow.

I know it sounds stupid, but I've gotten great boat handling results quickly with this simple observation.

After they get this, you can add backing/filling, prop walk, etc...but get this first IMHO.
 

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12. Lighting method of tying a bowline.
I know a whole bunch of different ways of tying a bowline. I can do it with one hand -- either hand. I can even tie a "flying bowline," which isn't a true bowline, but is really fast to tie and looks pretty cool when you do it. But I have never heard of the "lighting method." Did a google search, but did not find anything. So, care to elucidate?
 

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I know a whole bunch of different ways of tying a bowline. I can do it with one hand -- either hand. I can even tie a "flying bowline," which isn't a true bowline, but is really fast to tie and looks pretty cool when you do it. But I have never heard of the "lighting method." Did a google search, but did not find anything. So, care to elucidate?
I assume that he means this;
 

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In heavier weather use longer tails on the bowlines attached to the head sail. That way if the sail flogs it takes longer for the the bowline to shake out.
 

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Never use a winch on a jib furling line.
That's good. It is so obvious except that it is not.
Just last night I was reading Hal Roth's "Handling Storms at Sea" and he recommends using a winch to furl in the jib.

I believe he has a Santa Cruz 50, which presumably has a very large jib. Perhaps that affects his advice.
 

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Just last night I was reading Hal Roth's "Handling Storms at Sea" and he recommends using a winch to furl in the jib.

I believe he has a Santa Cruz 50, which presumably has a very large jib. Perhaps that affects his advice.
Perhaps it is.

Unless something is as it shouldn't be you should be able to furl the jib by hand on most production boats. I can't tell you the number of times that newbie sailors have tried to use a winch on the Colgate-26 (really?), the Hunter 33 (come on!), and the Hunter 41 that I used to teach on.

I used to teach on a Lippincott 30 that had NO blocks for the furling line. Instead, the furling line ran through eye straps on the deck. If there was any wind on the sail, there was too much friction to furl. This was a contributing factor to my being dismasted on this vessel while teaching an ASA 103 class.
 
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