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Quick Sailing Tips and Techniques

I like to begin my first sailing lesson by explaning that there are three basic rules that MUST be followed to be a successful sailor or crew member. They are simple rules and easy to remember.

Rule 1: When handling halyards, make sure that:

Why you ask? So one end of the halyard doesn't fly to the top of the mast causing the skipper to ask you to do the same and bring it back down.

Rule 2: When working with winch handles, make sure that:

Why you ask? A winch handle left unattended in a winch or on deck can suddenly be lurched overboard by a sudden wave or a slip of the foot. Speaking of lurching overboard, it is usually the skipper's command to the one committing the violation as he explains that those cost $75.00 as you hit the water.

Rule 3: When sailing on a beautiful day, make sure that:

Why, you ask? Guess!

More quick tips...

Always at your fingertips

Keep a nail polish bottle (complete with brush) full of your favorite varnish. It will come in handy to cover scratches, dents, etc. prior to the wood discoloring.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

For a quick evaluation of a nightime crossing situation, note the position of the vessel being observed in relation to a star. If the star and the vessel remain in the same relative position for several minutes, that signals that a constant bearing exists and you should start to make plans accordingly.

Rubber Boots

Have a leaking mast boot? Replace it with a waterproof and inexpensive repair. Wrap an ace bandage tightly around the bottom of the mast. Find that can of Dip Whip that you have been putting off using to whip the ends of all those frayed lines. Paint three coats of Dip Whip over the ace bandage. The result is a flexible, waterproof repair that will last for seasons of use.

Thanks to Ed Schorr for adding a few more quick tips. His email message follows: -- Capt. Matt

Dear Capt. Matt,

I am a faithful reader of your web site, I really enjoy the fact sheets and courses which are available. I'm also a small boat sailor myself, catamarans actually (NACRA 5.8) and I race quite frequently (both regattas and long distance races). I noticed this week's tips for vacationing sailors and thought you may have missed a couple of things which I encountered during a recent race in Florida.

If you do end up sailing on a nice day where the birds can stand (because they weren't there when you decided to sail to where you are now stuck and the chart did not indicate a recently grown mud flat);

Like I said, I sail small boats which can sail with only four inches of the boat in the water so we encounter some strange conditions in that respect. During our race we also found that the crew weight was not needed on the trapeze off the side of the boat but off the rear cross-beam due to the point of sail and heavy wind and sea conditions (a reach with twenty to twenty two knots of wind and four to six foot seas).

Thanks again,

Ed Schorr
Catamaran sailor

 

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