Quick Sail Dropping

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by TriniSailor, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. TriniSailor

    TriniSailor New Member

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    Hey guys,

    I am a very novice sunfish sailor and today I had quite the experience landing the sunfish for the first time away from my regular slipway.

    Pulled up along the beach in about knee deep water with the boat into the wind and I let off my passenger... The wind was about 13 knots and I’m off the boat trying to keep it steady with the center board up and mainsheet released. All of a sudden a gust of wind catches the sail and it begins to tip so I quickly right it and it decides to start sailing off with me clinging on to it I stopped it after 6 or 8 feet but I’m wondering what’s the best way to quickly and safely drop my sail so the boat can be safely moored or beached ?

    I don’t have a mast cleat.
    I use the main sail halyard tail to go over the gooseneck to act as a vang and stop the mast falling out of the boat in case of capsize.

    Any tips and information is greatly appreciated ;)
     
  2. Alan S. Glos

    Alan S. Glos Active Member

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    It sounds like your major problem was not having the bow pointed directly into the wind as even a gale of wind would not let the sail fill if the sail were pointed into the wind (it would just luff a lot.) That said, you may have had a sudden wind shift, like the bumper sticker says, "Shifts Happen". Even so, if you hold the boat by the bow handle, even a big shift will resolve as the boat will simply windmill into a head to wind orientation.

    However, back to the title of your post. Well before you land, untie the vang (halyard tail over the gooeneck, make sure the halyard is cleated and have the loose end of the halyard ready to ease. Then land in the knee deep water, jump out, quickly uncleat the halyard and let the sail fall quickly. Be sure to stand as close to the bow as you can to keep the sail into the wind while it is falling

    Alan Glos
    Cazenovia, NY
     
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  3. TriniSailor

    TriniSailor New Member

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    It’s worth a shot ! I’ll definitely try it

    Thanks :D
     
  4. Sailflow

    Sailflow Member

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    TriniSailor - Alan is correct.

    Also, when you have the sail raised you are running the halyard through the fairlead (pulley) depending on the year, then to the cleat, this keeps the sail tied to the boat. If you vang take the remaining halyard and run it through the fairlead over the gooseneck back though the fairlead and to the cleat, this allows you to adjust the vang without the sail coming down.

    When you get a mast cleat. Raise the sail and cleat at the mast, then to the fairlead and then to the cleat to keep the sail tied to the boat. The follow above for the vang.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  5. drjay44

    drjay44 Member

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    I'm new but here is what I do:

    Turn into the wind close to shore, just after I turn into wind and am "in irons" I lean forward and uncleat main, typically the sail will gently fall onto the deck however on occasion it has landed in the water.

    This is not a big deal. After I trailer I raise it for a few minutes to let it dry.

    Initially i considered adding a cleat just forward of the cockpit to make access a bit easier but I found this will not be necessary.

    Sounds silly but it's like a game , timing the turn coupled with how close to shore can I get. Actually I'm getting pretty good at this .

    Loving the boat. Why did I wait till age 63 to get a sailboat??
     
  6. TriniSailor

    TriniSailor New Member

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    Yes I followed his instructions the day after and it seemed to work I just need to practice !
     
  7. TriniSailor

    TriniSailor New Member

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    It's not silly timing is key ! It took me 4 attempts to get the boat in irons in the correct position where it's easy enough to lower the sail. I felt like a pro last weekend due to the wind direction I was able to actually sail onto a trailer that someone lowered down the slipway for me :D
     
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  8. Clyde

    Clyde Member

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    Sounds like you don't have to worry about surf which adds a whole new dimension to landing!
     

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