Tips t o improve your sailing game
DON’T GET CAUGHT
In waters where currents are this strong (above), a boat isn’t usually going where she’s pointing. When a buoy is making a bow wave, and you are shaping up anywhere near it, the question of whether you are going to hit it is a lively one. It’s no use noting that it’s 20 degrees off the bow as you sail along at 5 knots. In any sort of current you might easily be drifting 30 or more degrees from where you’re heading. The only sure-fire answer is to observe whether the object is moving against its background. If it is, you’re OK. If it’s not, alter course in good time. Where there’s any doubt, go downstream of it. One more thing: never listen to folks with a scientific education telling you this doesn’t work. It does, and it has since Noah beached his ark.
TWISTING THE DAY AWAY
This skipper has set up his rig perfectly for the mysterious “twist” that makes boats go so much better (right). The heads of both sails are trimming farther from the boat’s midline than the lower parts, yet they are driving well all the way up. There’s more wind aloft, so its apparent direction is affected less by the boat’s progress. Less wind bend means the apparent wind up there is freed. By twisting the sail to use this, more forward drive is accomplished. It also reduces heeling. The interaction of the two sails exaggerates the effect. Start by checking the genoa telltales. If the upper ones lift before the lowers when you steer above the course with the sail trimmed right, move the sheet lead cars forward. If the lowers lift first, shunt it aft until they all fly together. The twist built into the sail will do the rest.
TEACHING WITHOUT LESSONS
This little sailorman
halyard onto a pirate flag his parents must have bought for him. He’ll be opting for a sheet bend, and he’s obvi- is setting up a doll’s clothes line. She’s clove-hitched it around the backstay and backed up her knot with a single half-hitch. When that yacht docks, the pair of them are in charge of fenders. They are proud of being a genuine part of the crew, and they will want to come again. Taking the chance to teach a hitch or a bend when it’s obviously needed is much better than sitting kids around the table for a boring “session on knots.”
Watching the sky to windward is always meat and drink to us sailors, but when a deep depression has passed and the cold front is trailing unstable air in its wake, it really pays. The first sign of a heavy squall is often a long, slightly arched black cloud. A minute or two after the a merry domestic scene of what a great time I was having as it spoiled cloud and was already reefed down to the headboard! s