Is using a paddle cheating?

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Chauncy, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. Dickhogg

    Dickhogg New Member

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    Why did you put the rudder up? When I have had to paddles the sunfish home after the wind has dropped I have had the rudder down and have kept it straight by having the end of the tiller between my arse-cheeks (Sorry!, sounds weird but it works) It tracks along really straight.
    (Your launch situation sounds really challenging BTW. Hope you figure something out.)
     
  2. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Can't you launch elsewhere?
     
  3. Chauncy

    Chauncy New Member

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    I have tried the but-cheek method once before and maybe that's what i should do from now on. But i thought i heard someone say somewhere that they paddled with just centerboard down to provide some direction so i thought i'd try it out. But they may have been paddling from the front of the boat which may cause much less of a rotation problem. I am hoping I may solve my problem by just keeping the sail down until i paddle far enough out. Was trying to avoid that. much prefer rigging up on land and paddling out, but this type of boat is pushed so easily by wind. Within seconds you can be 20 feet in any direction. I didn't think with the sail flapping it would catch much wind to drive it backwards.

    Unfortunately no there is only one boat ramp. I could choose a different lake further away where i have to pay admittance. I will probably do that soon just for some variety.
     
  4. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    you need the rudder over the daggerboard.
     
  5. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    I have the same paddle, and had to struggle to extend it. :confused: So now, it's about 40-inches long—and stuck at that length. It's strong, so I've used it like a lever against the gunnel, giving a sudden yank to muscle the bow around.

    Yeah, the video shows a Laser being paddled successfully, but the kayak paddle has the advantage of an equal push with each stroke. A lateen sail would get in the way, although you could cover it with a lifejacket. Maybe paddling from the bow—only facing the stern—and navigating the Sunfish backwards could improve things. Use the canoeist's "J-stroke", so switching sides won't be necessary. Here's a YouTube video demonstrating the "J-stroke".

    Here's a technique to get the grapnel out front:

    ;)
     
  6. andyatos

    andyatos Active Member

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    Hi Chauncy,

    First of all, kudos for sticking with trying to develop a technique for getting out of that cove... which sounds like a real challenge! Don't give up on it... you'll be proud when you've figured out how to finesse your way out on to the water.

    To that end, here's what I'd recommend you do step by step for leaving that cove when you've got a headwind to deal with. The following description is exactly the technique that I have used to launch Sunfishes from coves such as yours for decades when the wind is blowing straight on shore. Through thick weeds (eel grass), in shallow muddy water, out through congested areas of moored boats, long boat ramp areas with floats on either side, you name it.

    - First, rig the boat fully on shore including raising the sail. This is just to make sure everything is ok and ready to go and, in particular, your halyard and main sheet are running through what they should be running through. If you have a block that the mainsheet runs through at the cockpit, tie a figure 8 knot on the end of the mainsheet then make sure you have your entire mainsheet laying untangled in a pile in the front of the cockpit. This is so that when you raise the sail and the lower boom wants to swing way out to one side, it will be free to do so because the mainsheet will be completely free to pay out with it.

    - Now lower your sail to the deck, put the booms together, roll the sail up and put 2 bungees or velcro ties around it. Move the booms so they are sitting a bit diagonally across the boat, with the bow end of the booms sticking out to the left side (port) near the bow and the stern ends out the starboard side. Leave the mast up... if you feel that once you are on the water you can move around the mast to get on the bow area in front of the mast.

    - If you don't feel like you can move past the mast once you are out on the water, pull the mast out and lay it along side the booms and tie everything down. Now see if you will be able to sit on the bow area with the booms and mast sitting slightly diagonal. Move everything more diagonal or everything further towards the stern if you need more room.

    - Raise the rudder so it will be out of the water. Have the daggerboard ready laying on its side inside the cockpit. Get yourself off the beach and immediately start paddling from the bow. If you have the mast down as well, you can even kneel while positioned right over or just in front of the mast tube on the deck instead of sitting. The boat will want to swing back and forth with no daggerboard down below the hull so you will have to alternate strokes on either side frequently.

    - As soon as the weeds allow you to, sink the daggerboard all the way down. You will now be able to paddle from the bow with the boat going in a straight line. Leave the rudder up and out of the water. Sit up on the bow and paddle with your canoe or kayak paddle. Why a long canoe or kayak paddle vs the shorter praddle? That's because the long handle and big blade will allow you to create much longer and more powerful paddle strokes. This will give you much more horsepower to motor out into the lake.

    - Once you are way out there, stow your paddle and get positioned to raise your sail. Put the mast in. Do NOT put your daggerboard in yet and do not lower your rudder yet. This will leave the boat free to adjust to the sail being raised and staying on one side of the boat. If you put either your daggerboard down first, or your rudder down first or both together, the boat will immediately want to start sailing and turning and raising your sail then securing your halyard will be a pain in the rear end because the boat will start sailing in circles, heading up, heading off, tacking and jibing while you are trying to finish your rigging.

    - Once you have the sail raised, the halyard cleated and everything neat and tidy and the main sheet in a clean pile and not tangled, lower your rudder first. Even with the sail luffing, the boat should immediately start to pivot around the rudder and begin to bear off the wind on its own on to a close reach then a broad reach... a broad reaching being where you want to start sailing from to get flow established over the daggerboard as quickly as possible. If the boat won't bear off and do this and the sail is still luffing, move the rudder/tiller to the center line of the boat, grab the boom with one hand and either push it away from you or towards you so it starts catching some wind. When you do this, the boat will immediately pivot around the rudder and begin to head off.

    - When the boat is just about to be heading on to a broad reach heading, let go of the boom so the sail is completely luffing again and sink your daggerboard all the way down. With the rudder/tiller still on the centerline of the boat, slowly sheet in the main sheet and fill the sail gradually. This will get the water to start flowing over the daggerboard. If you sheet in too hard and too fast, the boat will want to head up and you will risk stalling the flow over the daggerbord. Once you are clearly sailing in a straight line... meaning, clean flow of the water over the daggerboard has clearly been established... sheet in all the way. That's it, you're sailing.

    Keep us posted on further developments. And don't give up on trying to figure out how to get out of your challenging, weedy, spectator packed cove with onshore winds. You got this!!

    Cheers,

    - Andy
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
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  7. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Good advice. Another option is to swim out and pull the boat if the wind isn't too strong. I've done that as long as the blades are up and the sail is down. The sunfish actually pulls pretty easy this way. Get some flippers if those might help. That way you're already cooled off!
     
  8. andyatos

    andyatos Active Member

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    I like this suggestion. You know why? Because it shows a total, 100% commitment to getting out on the water to sail. No matter what!

    - Andy
     
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  9. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    "Another option is to swim out and pull the boat if the wind isn't too strong."

    This is what I do every time I sail (two times a week). I have a dock that has a slip oriented North/South. We get 10-15 kts of Southerly winds almost every day on our lake. I lower the boat slip, jump in the water, grab the little line attached to the bow handle, and side stroke out a couple hundered feet, South off the dock. I then climb in, lower the dagger board, drop the rudder, and hoist the sail (making sure there is tons of slack sheet line available so the wind wont send me sailing), then haul in the sheet......and Im off.

    Don't get me wrong: its undignified as Hell - but it beats having the wind push me back into my dock, with the sail flapping all over the place, as my neighbors laugh out loud....ask me how I know this....... :)

    Swim and pull it out of harms way, (life jacket on -always)....give yourself some room as the wind pushes you back to shore......... you will be surprised how quickly you can get things set up. (Most of it can be set up while you are on shore, as said above....have everything ready and in place before you swim/pull it off shore. Its hard for you now....but will be an easy, no brainer soon.....take it from me).

    Hope this helps,
    Whitecap. :)
     
  10. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Boards up, and sail down, I tried paddling from the bow today. It actually works, to paddle facing aft!
    :eek: The rudder could have been left down, as it would be clear of the water—with my weight.

    It was rough on this old back, but modest control could be had in 12-MPH winds plus heavy wakes. Far better progress would be made under light wind conditions. Use of the "J-stroke" is advised.

    Before paddling from the bow, check the pop-rivets and tap-down any protruding edges. I suggest using a small hammer and a small socket—as below:
    P8210023-001.JPG
     
  11. Eddie_E

    Eddie_E New Member

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    [QUOTE="Chauncy, post: 164739, member: 41900"


    Unfortunately no there is only one boat ramp. I could choose a different lake further away where i have to pay admittance. I will probably do that soon just for some variety.[/QUOTE]
    Do you have a boat dolly or the ability to lift the boat over a 2' wall? I know a spot for N/S winds near you that's free with good parking, but the fish cops purposely destroyed the old boat ramp. Next season you should buy the DCR season pass. It pays for itself in 7 or 8 days and you can go to Hopkinton or Natick boat ramps.
     
  12. Chauncy

    Chauncy New Member

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    Andy I've been meaning to reply to your post for several days now. Thanks so much for such a detailed response. Looks like lots of good info here. I will definitely try some of these techniques.
     
  13. Chauncy

    Chauncy New Member

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    mixmkr and whitecap, thanks for suggestion of swimming it out, but the tall weeds in this lake would give me the willies if they touched my legs. They're all over the place like a mine field. I believe I would completely freak out.:eek: Good suggestion for another lake though. I hadn't thought of that.
     
  14. Chauncy

    Chauncy New Member

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    My 4th time out today went much better but that mostly had to do with different direction of wind. It was a light south wind so i was actually able to put the sail up to start and just slowly float out on a run. I did so some padding too just in case. I kept daggerboard up, and sat on rudder, and did some paddling just to make sure i got out far enough before anything bad happened.

    As i was coming back in the wind kind of died as i approached the nook, so i kind of did the reverse of Andy's suggestion, pulled everything up, then lowered sail, and paddled in. Didn't try paddling from the bow yet, and I'll have to remember Light Winds suggestion that you can face aft if it's easier.

    Here's a picture i took today of where i launch. But it doesn't really do it justice because it appears much wider and shorter than it really is. 2nd time i got pushed sideways and stuck in weeds to the left (you can't see but the shore is just past where the picture ends). 3rd time i got pushed backwards (in weeds to the right of the picture). Today was fine :)

    Also i hope i have not sounded too depressed with all these challenges/complaints i have been talking about. I am actually still having a blast. Wish i had started doing this 10-20 years ago. Really love it. Right now just wish there was stronger winds more often.
    upload_2017-8-3_22-37-44.jpeg
     
  15. Chauncy

    Chauncy New Member

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    No i don't have a dolly and probably couldn't lift the whole thing by myself. If i could get close to a beach i could probably lever it down off my trailer by myself.

    Where do you go? The only places i have figured would be good for sailing near me besides this lake are Quinsigamond, Hopkinton State Park, maybe Ashland State Park, or maybe Lake Maspenock. Most everything else is either too small, too shallow, doesn't allow boating, or is too far away. Would love to hear your advice on any other options in this area.
     
  16. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Have you checked the forum for ideas on adding a motor?
    Motorizing a Sunfish... | SailingForums.com

    Now that you mention it, I haven't seen any boats on Quabbin. It would seem that motor-less sailboats shouldn't be a problem on a reservoir. Maybe check with them—or "start something"?

    A sensitivity to weeds is something I got over. Twice a year, I sail on a lake where I watch for weeds being parted—a sign of a turtle or an alligator! :confused:

    .
     
  17. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Here is a good thread about home made dollies. Read the whole thread. The dollies at the end of the thread seem to be the best (as the dolly product seems to evolve over time).

    Maybe this will help you.
    El Cheapo Sunfish Dolly | SailingForums.com

    -Whitecap
     
  18. RickL

    RickL New Member

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    Chauncy, I have sailed for over 55 years and a lot on a Sunfish or Force 5 and on each boat I always carried a paddle for just in case. My harbor has an opening narrower then the length of a sunfish so cannot tack out if I wanted to so usually a few paddle strokes to get me out or in are required. No shame in being prepared. Rick
     
  19. RickL

    RickL New Member

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    Chauncy, I have sailed for over 55 years and a lot on a Sunfish or Force 5 and on each boat I always carried a paddle for just in case. My harbor has an opening narrower then the length of a sunfish so cannot tack out if I wanted to so usually a few paddle strokes to get me out or in are required. No shame in being prepared. Rick
     
  20. Eddie_E

    Eddie_E New Member

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    The secret spot is on the back side of Cochituate in Natick. But I haven't been sailing the Sunfish there because I can't lift it over the wall alone either. It was my old windsurfing launch before my back got bad. The road is off rte 30 on the opposite side from the official gate. It's a dirt road 250 yds East of the real gate.

    The Ashland boat ramp is nice and it's free, but the shape of the lake and the island make it some of the strangest wind shifts I've ever sailed in. The biggest challenge there is the local dog walkers will see you launching the boat and still take the only open parking space. Bring a big chair or cooler to claim your space as you launch. Weekdays only.

    Hopkinton has good parking and it's a decent size, but you have to pay. Just launch away from the "concrete docks" the aging concrete is like 36 grit sand paper. My boats are 40 miles away near CT right now. I may bring the Sunfish home next week for some local sailing.

    Quinsigamond is a narrow watersking channel. Plan on wake jumping and dodging boats. They do sail there and a friend of mine is sailing instructor at Regatta Point. I'm not a fan.
     

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