My first outing aka A noob with some really basic questions!

Discussion in 'Capri/Catalina 14 Talk' started by c14_Aaron, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. c14_Aaron

    c14_Aaron New Member

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    (Skip to the end for the questions if you don't want the first sail report).

    Hi everyone. I got a new to me 1977 Omega two weeks ago and got it out on the water for the first time this past Saturday. I took a basic keelboat course about 5 years ago and never got the chance to do any sailing after that.

    A sensible person would have found an experienced sailor to show them the ropes.

    Not knowing any sensible people, after reading a bit, I took the plunge, almost literally! The wind was blowing about 13 knots. As you can imagine, it was an interesting experience for a novice. A 14 foot centerboard boat certainly is a lot different than the 26 foot keelboat I had been in before. I think I came about as close as possible to capsizing without actually going over. I really got into trouble sailing downwind and trying to jibe which led to an uncontrolled figure 8, almost capsizing to one side, scrambling up the side of the boat, then recovering only to go over the other direction. Yes, I stupidly had the main sheet cleated. Good times. I decided to stick to 270 degree turns with a tack rather than attempt another jibe for the rest of the afternoon. Much less drama. I remembered the sailing instructor wanting us to avoid jibing like it was the devil when I took the keelboat class. I can see why now.

    Towards the end of the afternoon, I had things figured out a little better. I still avoided jibing and never actually hoisted the jib. I was starting to get into the swing of things a bit better just as the sun hit the horizon and I had to head for the dock.

    ************
    Horribly Basic Questions:

    What is the normal sequence for launching? Do you hoist the sails before launching the boat?

    I hoisted the main on the trailer (uncleated of course) then watched it banging around in the wind and thought, hmmmm maybe I should wait until I am in the boat and ready to sail. So I took it back down and raised it in the water. This felt incredibly awkward. Would the boat be OK with the main up but luffing while parking the trailer?

    Which brings me to my next question.

    What is the best way to get in the boat with minimal drama? So I had the mainsail down, with the bow tied to the dock facing the wind. I stepped in and almost capsized right there! A bystander suggested I put down my centerboard... :eek: Good idea.

    Does anybody try to get the centerboard down before boarding? Or do you just try to step directly into the middle of the boat, and then get the centerboard down as the first order of business?

    Finally, what is the best way to take a break? It felt really strange for some reason to just luff the main. Is it OK to just ease out the sheet and stop on any point of sail? Is it best to point into the wind and basically get into irons to stop?


    Thanks to anybody who got through the whole thing and takes a stab at giving a few pointers to a new sailor! Hopefully it reminded you of your first sail on your own.

    Aaron
     
  2. gregwcoats

    gregwcoats Member

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    I launch my boat with the centerboard up and the mainsail laying in the bottom of the boat, but with the sail already run into the grove in the boom. I then carefully climb aboard staying as low and centered as I can. First thing I do is lower the rudder and then the centerboard. At that point I carefully step in front of the mast and raise the main, with is uncleated. I then step off the boat onto the dock and pull the boat along side the dock, with the dock line in one hand. I then scramble aboard staying low in the boat, grab the tiller, pull in the main sheet and sail away from the dock. I have roller furling on the jib, so once I am clear of the dock I unroll the jib and take off. I sail inside Ventura or Channel Islands Harbors, so when I want to take a break I return to the dock and tie the boat to a cleat while I walk around a bit. I have been sailing various boats for 20 years and still avoid jibing!!!!!!!!
     
  3. c14_Aaron

    c14_Aaron New Member

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    Hi Greg!

    Thanks for you answers. I really wasn't sure if I would be an idiot to launch with the main hoisted... or an idiot to launch without it hoisted... :eek:

    I guess it will take some time to feel like I'm not always moments away from capsizing.

    Good to know even people who have been around sailboats a long time still have um "respect" for jibing.
     
  4. RC14A

    RC14A Member

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    I do not hoist the sails while on the ramp , boats have been blown over while still on the trailer ! I hoist my sails on the water either at the dock or on a nearby shore .

    as for getting into your boat , Practice will be your friend , you will learn where to and how to step into your boat . stay low and balanced . if your standing on the seats expect to get wet. To me having the centerboard down is actually not much of a help sitting still , I'll let you decide.

    if your on the water and want to take a break you can "heave-to" this luffs the main which beats it up, so I usually look for a sheltered cove on the Lakes I sail on.

    While jibes , gybes ( tomato, tomatoe ) , can be exciting, one secret is having control of the mainsheet . Downwind sailing I always a have a hand on the mainsheet between the block of the barney post and the block on the boom . having a hand on it warns of impending unplanned jibes ( shifts are harder to see when off the stern ) allowing you to correct your course or prepare for the gybe. and if your the Skipper, time to warn your crew !

    Glad you made it thru the day , a friend just bought an Omega and I cant wait to sail along her with my 14.2

    Have fun and good sailing !

    Rob
     
  5. JGM

    JGM Member

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    Hey Aaron,
    Congratulations! You passed the first day of dinghy sailing. Kinda like learning to swim by being thrown in the deep end, a trial by fire, so to speak. Nicely done!

    I always step the mast when the boat is on the ramp and tied to the trailer. And that's it. All the rest of the rigging happens once it's launched and on the beach.

    As to when to hoist sail, it depends. If the wind is blowing into the cove, it means motoring out of the marina to avoid all the moored boats, so sometimes I raise the sails past the 6 MPH buoy. Otherwise I raise them on the beach and sail off the shore. I point the C-14 (Omega) out to sea, let the sails luff, step in gently and then pull in the sheets. As soon as there is little luff and the boat is moving forward, I lower the centerboard and rudder as the depths allow.

    For taking a break, like Rob, I like to heave-to in light to moderate winds, and head for shelter when it starts getting rough. And sometimes it will get rougher when you least expect it. It's a good idea to practice capsizing on a mild day so you're prepared when things really get out of hand. I grew up sailing small boats (Sunfish, Moths, Lasers) and a day without capsizing is a day without fun. :)

    Happy sailing!
    Jim
     
  6. kylehousley

    kylehousley New Member

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    I raise the main in the water while tied to the dock next to the boat launch.

    I don't have any problems stepping into the boat. Learn how to skate board to improve your balance.

    When I want to rest I sail down wind. Everything goes quiet and you dont have to cut the waves as much.

    The centerboard and rudder can go down before i set sail because the water is deep enough at the dock.

    good luck and good job not dying on your first day out!
     
  7. c14_Aaron

    c14_Aaron New Member

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    Thanks again to everyone who chimed in. Some good advice for a beginner. I think as far as stepping in, I think i probably just need to step closer to the middle and get used to the feeling of the boat.

    Just to double check, heaving too is not a good idea in 10+ knot wind right? I'm familiar with procedure, but felt worried about trying it in that much of a breeze.

    I think I will do a practice capsize before too long if it doesn't happen "naturally" haha.

    I'm glad I made it through the day too! I felt really tired by the end but pretty good. After only a few hours on the water I feel like I learned a ton, but like anything worth pursuing, learning a little bit just makes you realize how much more you have to learn. Can't wait for expedition #2.

    Cheers again everyone.
     
  8. Prime Time

    Prime Time New Member

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    Tieing to the Dock

    To make it easier to get on the boat, I take the painter from the bow and then bring it back to the shroud, go around the shroud and then tie it to the dock. This keeps the boat parallel to the dock and makes boarding easier. Works well in light winds. The first thing I do is put the center board down to give it stability.
     
  9. SHNOOL

    SHNOOL Member

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    Procedures, Procedures...

    Light winds, 0-5knots, I raise sails on the trailer. I leave the tie downs ON (in case that rouge 20 knot wind comes while I am backing down the ramp). When I get close to the water, I remove the tie downs, get in and back down (mainsheet uncleated). Launch the boat and beach it.

    Medium-heavy winds, 5-15knots. I launch bare poles. Beach the boat (hopefully), and raise mainsail, and jib (no roller furler for me unfortunately) keeping everything uncleated. You point the boat into the wind to do this. Push off, and lower rudder, then centerboard.

    If you cannot beach, you need to do it at the dock. Get as deep at the dock as possible, get in (step next to the centerboard as others say), lower the centerboard as far as you can (hopefully all the way). Then rudder. Then orient the boat into the wind. Uncleat the main, uncleat the jib. Raise main, then jib. Let the boat luff into irons, until you are ready to go. It looks unruly if the boat swings away from the dock ,and motor-boaters think you are nuts. But it works.

    I sailed my boat for 6 years with no motor. I've impressed many with some launches, and made others laugh uncontrollably at times.

    Resting? I vote downwind. When I'd race with family as a kid, we'd use the downwind leg to eat lunch, and pass out drinks. IN the capri it's a little harder, but the premise is the same. I love putting the soda/beer in a coozy and wedging it between the front hiking straps. it is out of my way while single handing, but close enough to get to when it's break time.

    If the wind is higher, 10-15 knots, I guess you could go ashore, or dock, or beach, but um.. in my estimation, there will be time to break when the winds die... it's sailing time at 10-15!

    Congrats on taking the plunge (albeit, hopefully not ever literally). Sailing is all at once addictive, exhilerating, and maddening.
     
  10. prig0026

    prig0026 Member

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    Good questions. I just went out for the first time today and came back with pretty much the exact same questions. The worst part of the whole experience was getting out of the boat launch. The wind was blowing directly into the dock, we had a couple paddles, but they were pretty much useless. I raised the main at the dock and was able to get going. A motor to get out in the open would be great, but it's pretty clear this boat is going over at some point, so I'm not sure it would be a wise investment.
     
  11. Mrbillyd

    Mrbillyd New Member

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    Where are you sailing?

    Hello Aaron,
    Where are you sailing in AZ? I normally hit Tempe Town, or lake pleasant. At TT in light wind, I hoist the main about half way, and put have the jib ready to go, with a bungie wrapped around it. I get it to the dock and drop the center board and rudder. haul up the main push off and go. If its real light I haul up the jib as well.
    I am buying my furling system today, as it's to hectic in heavy winds with the family.
    I am also looking for a reefing system to calm the boat down when I have the family in the boat.

    The first time at Pleasant if someone had a video I would be top ten on You Tube. I had my wife and 6 year old twins in the boat getting ready to leave the doc. The wind had a big burst, I looked down and was horrified to see the main cleated. I yelled to my wife to uncleat the main. She looked at me like I was talking mandrine. I'm standing there holding tight on the painter, the boat did a quick 180 and tossed my wife and my girl over, and my son was clinging to the hiking strap. The boat righted itself. My girl was doing a turtle impression by climbing up on top of my wife's head. Now my wife is struggling to keep her head above water. Classic
    I have broached putting all of us in the water, I have done a few 180 jybe's. I have done most things you should not do. On the other hand I have been seeking out the high winds when I bring one of my buds out.
    I learn from every trip out. I also plan on being in the water.
    Next time out I plan on learning roll tacks.
    Let me know next time your heading out, as I might see you out there

    Bill
     
  12. Prime Time

    Prime Time New Member

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    Capsize

    I have not capsized a boat in a long time since I have mainly been sailing Keel Boats. So when I bought my C 14.2 I asked a lot of questions from fellow sailors in the Club. Then I got the chance to watch them capsize. It was finally my turn 2 weeks ago. The wind picked up and I was taking before the start of a race when the wind took a big shift. All of the sudden the high side became the low side and I knew I was going in. Being single handed I immediately swam out to the end of the mast to keep it a float. Unfortunately all my flotation devices were neatly stowed under the deck and I was not wearing a life jacket. I found it is very difficult to swim wearing clothes for a cold day tread water and hold up the mast. I finally let go of the mast just before the life guards got there. I was surprised at how fast the boat turtled. The life guards finally got the boat righted but it was quite a chore.
    I can attest that the foam I put in the mast as described in the forum did little to keep the boat up right. I also learned that I am not as young as I think I am and will always wear a life jacket. I bought a good inflatable one which will not be as uncomfortable as the ones I had on board. I will also keep a flotation cushion in the cockpit so I can attach it to the mast while I figure out what I am going to do next.
    Our yacht club has talked for years about doing practice capsize drills and we have never gotten around to it. This year we will make it happen.
     
  13. JGM

    JGM Member

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    I have the same problem launching my boat in this one marina. After getting her down the ramp, I need to navigate between two motorboat piers and then a couple dozen moored sailboats. When the wind is from the south, it's nearly impossible to tack out without a motor, and when it's from the north, it's nearly impossible to tack back in. :(

    I can't speak for gasoline outboards but my Minn Kota trolling motor faired pretty well when we had our big capsize a couple years ago. It was submerged for about half an hour along with the gel-cell battery, and still worked after righting the boat. Unfortunately the wet switch got fried after prolonged use, but I'm sure had I not used it and let it dry out first, it would have been fine.

    Hope this is helpful,
    Jim
     
  14. c14_Aaron

    c14_Aaron New Member

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    Glad to see I'm not the only one! :)

    I'm sure it will get easier with practice. Is the prevailing wind always blowing on the dock? I have an old 2 stroke gas motor that was thrown in with the boat... I'm a bit worried about having it on if the boat goes over. Not sure if it would be trashed or if it would even stay on.


    Hey Bill,

    I was on Tempe Town Lake. I'd like to make some expeditions to Canyon and Pleasant when I'm feeling a bit more comfortable with the boat. I figured Tempe Town Lake provides a nice "quiet" area to practice without *too* large of an audience and no motor boats to contend with haha.

    Glad to see I'm on the only one who has provided a bit of comic relief! I'm sure I will end up with a few more stories shortly. Two weeks ago I wanted to go out, but I saw that the wind was gusting to 40. :eek: No thanks haha. I have been busy working on a business plan this past week, so my free time has been non-existent.

    I have high hopes for a combination of reasonable wind and free time this weekend.

    How often do you get out? I'd definitely be interested in meeting some fellow local sailors - I don't know any yet.
     

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