SAILING TIPS

Section 9 to 9-6
January 1972

With the large number of books about sailing readily available it may seem strange that we would also want to venture into this area. We would like to recommend those books that deal primarily with the handling of the keel type sailboat you now own. We would also like to recommend that each owner attend the United States Power Squadron Courses given in his community. Don't let the title fool you - there is a lot on sailing and remember that when you are using the engine you BECOME A POWER BOAT! Even the experienced boatman can learn something new, but even. more important is the opportunity to teach. Take this opportunity to learn or pass your knowledge on to others. Make a free phone call to 800/243-6000 and the operator will give you the address of the nearest USPS unit. Or write to U. S. Power Squadrons, Box 345, Montvale, New Jersey 07645. This could add a whole new dimension to your enjoyment of the water.

There appears to be no ready reference to the myriad of laws, regulations, requirements, and other pertinent items that affect the owner of a large sailboat. In order to partially fill this gap, or at least make you aware of this potentially useful material, we have included a recommended "Basic Keelboat Sailor's Library", followed by a listing of pamphlets and thoughts for your perusal.

9.1 BASIC KEELBOAT SAILOR'S LIBRARY

If you cannot obtain any of these books locally you may send a mail order to Sailing Book Dept., 38 Commercial Wharf, Boston, Massachusetts 02110. Please add 40¢ for postage and handling per book.

The Adventure of Sail, Maclntyre

$25.00

American Practical Navigator, Bowditch

7.00

Around the World in Wanderer III, Hiscock

6.75

Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen, Blewitt

4.95

Cruising Under Sail, 2nd Ed., Hiscock

12.75

Deep Sea Sailing, Bruce

10.00

Dutton's Navigation & Piloting, 12th Ed., Dutton

15.00

Elvstrom Speaks on Yacht Racing, Elvstrom

8.95

Encyclopedia of Nautical Knowledge, McEwen & Lewis

15.00

Further Offshore, Illingworth

20.00

The Giants of Sail, Beken & Cowes

15.00

Hand, Reef & Steer, Henderson

5.95

Handbook of Knots, Graumont

3.00

Handbook of Knots & Splices, Gibson

4.95

Heavy Weather Sailing, Coles

12.50

History of American sailing Ships, Chapelle

4.95

The Illustrated History of Ships & Boats, Casson

7.95

An Introduction to Yachting, Herreshoff

15.00

My Lively Lady, Rose

4.95

Navigation the Easy Way, Lane & Montgomery

6.50

The New Cruising Cookbook, Jones & Norton

5.95

The New Yacht Racing Rules, 1969, Bavier

5.95

Ocean Racing & Offshore Yachts, Johnson

12.50

Piloting, Seamanship & Small Boat Handling, Chapman

11.50

Practical Sailing, Gibbs

3.95

Racing Cruiser, Henderson

12.50

Sailing Illustrated, Royce

4.00

Sailing to Win, Bavier

7.95

A Short Course in Navigation, Gardner

3.95

Simplified Rules of the Road, Will

3.50

Story of American Yachting, Rosenfeld

12.50

A View From the Cockpit, Bavier

12.50

Voyaging Under Sail, Hiscock

10.00

Weather, Water & Boating, Whelpley

4.00

Wind & Sailing Boats, Watts

10.00

A Woman's Guide to Boating & Cooking, Morgan

5.95

Your Boat & The Law, Norris

9.95

9-2 "FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR PLEASURE CRAFT"

CG-290, January 1970, deals mainly with requirements for a motor boat, but when under power a sailboat becomes a "motor boat". Numbering Requirements, Coast Guard Approved Equipment, Required Lights and Safety Suggestions form the major part of this leaflet.

9-2.1 "COAST GUARD AUXILIARY COURTESY EXAM"

AUX-204, January 1971, leaflet covers most of the above, but also explains one of the several services performed by members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. It contains a directory of the Auxiliary so you may communicate with the Flotilla nearest you.

9-2.2 "BASIC FACTS ABOUT MARINE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS"

DNOD-2, is printed by the State of California, but the information will apply to any area in the United States.

9-2.3 "BASIC FACTS ABOUT LIFE PRESERVERS"

DNOD-5-70 is the same idea as 9-1.2 You should also check your local state agency about regulations that might be different for your own area. The Department of Navigation and Ocean Development takes care of boaters in California and publishes an excellent pamphlet, "ABC's of California Boating Law" (DNOD-3A-70)1 along with a series of "Safe Boating Hints" covering selected boating areas of California.

9-3 NAVIGATION AND PILOTING

9-3.1 "RULES OF THE BOAT", CG-169 contains the International and Inland Rules and Regulations for the primary purpose of preventing collisions between vessels. To insure the safety of your boat and passengers it is imperative that ALL PERSONS operating your boat be familiar with them and conform strictly to them at all times.

9-3.2 In order to obtain accurate marine information the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey has been supplying nautical charts and books on U.S. coastal waters since 1839. Three major areas are covered: Atlantic and Gulf Coast; Pacific Coast and Hawaii; and Hawaii. A free catalog for each area may be obtained from Distribution Division (C44) Coast and Geodetic Survey, 4200 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20235.

9-3.3 "MARINE AIDS TO NAVIGATION" CG-193 is a publication dealing with the basic principles underlying the marking of coasts and waterways of the U.S. with lights, day beacons, fog signals, radio beacons, loran and buoys.

9-4 "COAST GUARD ASSISTANCE" is a form that must be obtained from your local Coast Guard District Office and contains important information explaining "How you can help us to help you". The material contained on this form could really get you out of a serious situation and its importance to you cannot be overlooked.

9-4.1 "EMERGENCY REPAIRS AFLOAT", CG-151, deals mainly with engine trouble shooting, but also contains some good tips on emergency repairs and staying afloat, along with basic tools and parts to have onboard.

9-5 UNDERWAY - AT LAST!

Well, not quite. There are still a few things to do before we are actually sailing, and these will be covered immediately.

9-5.1 PREPARATION AND CASTING OFF

To minimize confusion after leaving the slip, and to avoid leaving the sails or something of equal importance ashore, it is a good idea to have ALL the sailing gear rigged before casting off. Unless you will be under power for some time, sails should be bent on and ready for hoisting, or at least be stowed in their order of need.

The only items on deck should be those that are absolutely necessary for sailing. Anything else should be properly stowed below or, in the case of a dinghy, well secured on deck or in its davits or towed astern. Loose deck gear such as winch handles, spinnaker poles, flashlights, spare line, etc. MUST be secured to keep them from going overboard EVEN when under power. The wake of some power boats is enough to toss even the largest sailboat about and could do considerable damage. Naturally all items stowed below should always be in the same place to simplify the job of locating them when they are needed.

If you have an inboard engine, remember to let the BLOWER run for at least 5 minutes prior to starting the engine. During this time check over what we have just been discussing, along with the engine check-list, and if all is in order start up the engine, cast-off, and LET'S GO SAILING!

P.S. Don't forget to pull in the fenders and dock lines.

9-5.2 BENDING ON AND HOISTING SAILS

Normally the mainsail is left on the boom, so just insert the battens, thin ends first, into their proper pockets, and attach the main halyard. But first look aloft to make sure it is clear. With the mainsheet and downhaul slack, head into the wind and hoist to the BOTTOM of the black band at the mast head. Loosen or cast off the topping lift and adjust the outhaul and downhaul tension for the anticipated wind strength - light winds, light tension - heavy winds, heavier tension.

While still powering head-to-wind, hoist the jib and apply halyard tension in relation to the expected wind strength. There must be at least enough tension so that the luff of the jib is straight without the "scalloped" effect between the jib hanks. As helmsman, position yourself so you will be on the windward side, turn 90º so the wind is abeam, secure the engine, align the prop as recommended in Section 5-4.6, and let's SAIL.

9-5.3 REACHING AND STEERING

 

You will probably be able to learn more about sail trim and steering on this point of sailing than any other. It also will be the fastest and probably the most fun! When the wind is at right angles (90º) to the boat, you are BEAM REACHING and the sails should be let out as far as possible so they present the maximum area to the wind. You will also note that when the sails are properly trimmed there should be little pressure on the helm.

The trick in getting this proper trim is to balance the pull between the sails and usually the JIB is trimmed first. In order to properly trim the jib, the lead block will normally be set so that the sheet will bisect the clew angle. As the jib is gradually let out it should "break" or luff evenly along the headstay. If the lead is too far forward the jib will break down low; if too far aft it will break up high. It is usually better to set the leads too far back than too far forward, especially on a reach.

Next we want to tape a couple 6" to 8" lengths of light yarn as "Tell Tales" about 6" to 7" up on both sides of the jib and 6" to 8" back from the luff. The jib is now trimmed so that BOTH yarns are flowing aft. If the jib is in too tight (over trimmed) the windward yarn will stall, and visa versa. This also is a great help in steering, as once the sails are set, if you steer too HIGH the WINDWARD yarn will stall, and visa versa. You will find that by following the advice of these pieces of yarn you will NOT be steering a straight course, but a course that follows the slight shifts and velocity changes of the wind. This is the FASTEST and PROPER course to steer as the sails are always at their proper angle to the wind without having someone constantly trimming sheets.

The mainsail is now eased out until it is backwinded or caused to luff slightly by the jib, and then trimmed in just enough to remove this "bubble" from the luff. At this time the BOOM VANG should be rigged to control the leech tension, thus getting the optimum shape and drive from the main. Keeping weight on the windward side (except in drifting conditions) and aft, will also help reaching performance, while keeping everybody dry and happy!

You will also notice that with a balanced (spade) rudder, the boat reacts very quickly to the slightest movement of the helm. The balanced rudder is somewhat like a high aspect airplane wing and can also "stall out" if moved too quickly or turned too far beyond 30º in either direction. By now it is also apparent that steering with a TILLER is different than with a WHEEL. Wheel steering is common to many boats over 35' , as it allows for more power to be applied to the larger rudder. Naturally wheel steering is just like your car. With the TILLER, everything is opposite and there is greater "feel", since the action of the rudder is transferred directly to your hand. By keeping a light touch on the tiller you can easily tell which way the boat wants to go and make the necessary steering corrections. Usually a slight weather helm is preferred. In other words, if you let the tiller, or wheel, loose, the boat will gradually turn into the wind. The best control is found by using steady pressure on the helm and this feeling will become more apparent with the following maneuvers. We can't keep on reaching in one direction forever, so we better turn around and try the other tack.

9-5.4 TACKING AND GYBING

If the boat is turned INTO and ACROSS the wind we have tacked. If we turn AWAY FROM THE WIND, we GYBE. Tacking is the safer, especially in strong winds, as there is better control over the mainsail. When gybing, the trick is to trim in the main as fast as possible and let the sheet run out quickly when the main boom swings over to the other side.

Before you tack or gybe, let go the BOOM VANG, unless it is led to the base of the mast, and set it up on the new, lee side. Trim sails for the return course, and then tack and gybe a few more times. The advantage of tacking and gybing from a reach to a reach is you have more time for the turning maneuvers and it gives the crew a chance to figure out where to move and who does what without rushing. It also is excellent practice for the helmsman as he can get the feel of the balanced rudder and how much, or little, rudder angle is needed to turn.

9-5.5 BEATING

Probably the most difficult point of sailing is going to windward or BEATING. From a REACH, gradually trim in the sails while coming up to about 45º to the TRUE WIND. This point will be reached when the jib is trimmed in so it ALMOST touches the spreader tip and the main is sheeted in hard. By watching the yarns on the jib a course is steered that will keep BOTH yarns flowing aft all the time.

Now the fine tuning takes place, and it will require many hours of concentration and unlimited patience. A compromise must be reached between pointing and boat speed. The closer you head into the wind the slower you will go, but will "point" closer to the windward mark. As you bear off you pick up speed, but lose distance to windward. This compromise is also affected by wind and sea conditions; you can point higher in smooth water but must fall-off more in a chop. The sails must be trimmed in harder and flatter as the wind increases, and eased out in light spots. The adage that "races are won or lost on the windward leg" will soon become apparent!

Since a boat cannot sail directly into the wind, changing course by 90º through the eye of the wind is tacking. The main will take care of itself, but the jib must be changed each time; which can be a hard job unless the helmsman helps out. A large keel boat has enough weight so that it can "forereach" a few boat lengths while pointed directly into the wind without losing headway. This gives the jib time to swing over to the new leeward side and your crew time to trim it in BEFORE it fills with wind! Nice smooth tacks keep your winch grinders happier and results in a better, more efficient tack. Prior to tacking BE SURE EVERYBODY IS READY! The command "stand by to come about", gives ample warning in case somebody or something isn't ready for the actual "helm's a-lee!" Don't forget to be sure and check that the new sheet is led CLOCKWISE around the winch with no more than three turns. Once the sheet has been pulled in as far as possible by hand, throw on a couple more turns, put in the handle and grind in the rest, but WATCH THE SPREADER TIP!

9-5.6 RUNNING

"Even a haystack will go downwind" ---. After beating to windward long enough to make everybody tired and hungry, turn "down hill" and relax! This is the easiest point of sailing, as the main is let all the way out until it just rests on the lee spreader and shrouds. By keeping the wind just off the windward corner of the transom the jib will also slightly fill on the lee side, or it can be winged out to windward with a pole. By not sailing directly "dead-down-wind" there is less chance of an accidental gybe and steering is easier. Setting up the vang will also keep the main from accidentally gybing if you do happen to sail by the lee momentarily. Of course this is the point of sailing, where the spinnaker is used. This is really a racing sail, and we're just out for fun. We will refer you to a local expert for help with this beautiful, yet extremely frustrating, sail!

9-5.7 DOCKING AND SECURING

Since all good things must end, the blower is again turned on and let run for 5 minutes, or the outboard is dropped into its well. After checking the engine it is started and the boat is headed into the wind to lower sails. The jib is dropped directly on deck, un-hanked from the stay, the sheets removed and gently stuffed below to be later folded on the dock. Hook up the TOPPING LIFE to the main boom and then lower the mainsail. Remove the battens, slack the outhaul and flake down smoothly on the boom and put on the cover.

All halyards should be led away from the mast and secured to the rail. This saves the mast finish and also does away with the annoying clatter of halyards against an aluminum mast when at anchor.

When leaving the boat be sure the Master Electrical Switch has been turned off and close all thru-hull valves EXCEPT the cockpit drain, if it is so fitted.

Care should be taken to tie the boat in the slip or to the mooring to weather any conditions which might develop prior to using the boat again. Nylon mooring lines are recommended as they are durable, strong, and have sufficient "give in the event of sharp jolts or rolls of the boat. Bear in mind that boats are often left unattended longer than anticipated.

 

9-5.8 (I.O.R.) International Offshore Rule
(coming)

Section 9-6 Sailing Centers
(missing)

 

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