When do you raise your sails?


New Member
I'm fortunate enough to live on a short canal that leads to a big body of water to sail. I keep my boat on a lift and I'm trying to figure the easiest way to get out to the open water, go sailing, then return to the lift. I'm relatively new to this and was curious how everyone else does it?

This is my process:

1. Load bag of sails in cuddy.
2. Paddle my way down the canal to open water.
3. Throw an anchor off the bow.
4. Raise sails.
5. Pull up anchor and go sail.
6. Sail close to canal opening and throw anchor.
7. Drop sails.
8. Stow away sails and paddle back to lift.

Does this all seem like the easiest/fastest way of going out, or do y'all have any tips for an easier time? (ie. creating your own mooring ball to avoid dealing with anchor, raising sails before paddling out, sailing down canal?!, etc. etc.)
Check out my posts and you'll see how I operate. I like to have my sails all rigged and ready when leaving the dock. With my trolling motor and the other improvements installed (too many to talk about here), a ton of versatility is gained! And things could get dicey for you if the wind picks up while you're out there, might have a tough go trying to get back to the dock. My setup allows me to go out on breezy days (running reefed main only), adjust sails (jib and reefing main) while underway, just motor out to my favorite anchorage on those hot windless days and swim, etc etc. There's so many things you can do with this boat if you have the time, ability , and $$ to improve her.


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Can you point your self to the wind and raise the sails once you are in open water without the anchor? I have only sailed a small quiet lake so traffic may be your issue, but I have been able to raise my sails at the dock and get going from there. I have also been able to push off the dock and raise the sails out away from the other people at the dock (This is my biggest fear as a new sailor, losing control near the dock with other people around. Both the threat to them and their boat’s safety, and the embarrassment of on lookers). I have gotten pretty good at hauling the jib and the main quickly by myself, but I rig them on the dock.
I don’t have a trolling motor. But if I had a canal or channel to navigate to the open water I would get one and just hoist the sails once in open water.
Aquaman has some extensive site posts regarding boat upgrades and there are others as well. I sail a 2015 Mod3K which I keep moored at my dock during the sailing season. The boat has a factory mounted motor mount and I added a boarding ladder. For a "kicker" I use a Honda 2.3 hp outboard and have added a topping lift, Harken small boat lazy jacks, and jiffy reefing along with having a sail cover which is cut for the lazy jack system; main stays bent onto the mast and boom all season. The jib furls on a Selden furling system. So, when going out on the boat to sail, I am able to uncover the main, loosen the sails within the lazy jacks, motor out onto the main lake and hoist the main, unfurl the jib, and off we go. For a break or when time to come home it is a snap to furl the jib. drop the sails, and cruise back to the dock.
You all have some really good advice. Over the last week I installed a trolling motor and prepped my sails a little better. I went out and practiced yesterday, I motored out to a good spot, threw my anchor, raised my sails, pulled the anchor and off I went.

This time, coming in was the tough part. When I came back in I pointed my nose into the wind, and threw the anchor quickly. I don’t think the anchor had time to set well enough before a strong gust came around and pushed the nose around and experience a strong gybe. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong here.. I’m beginning to think my lines weren’t out loose…
Anchoring to hoist/lower complicates things a lot. Now that you have a motor get a tiller lock. You're then able to motor on a slightly off wind heading and let the sails luff while you're underway, then you can play with the sails. Furthermore, getting your sail arrangements set up to make this happen is a must. I've done pretty much the same thing Kerrcat did, in a simpler and less expensive way.....
** Have bolts installed in the main, then add a stopper bolt so you can hoist/lower. Much easier than trying to feed the bolt rope up the slot.
** Instead of having a topping lift I just switch the halyard from the main to the back of the boom. Just snap the line to a fitting back there. Now I should add that you will need to install a "boomkicker" to make this happen. That's a fiberglass rod system which holds the boom up when sails are dropped. Once they're down I hook up the halyard and add a bit of tension to make the topping lift, it's more steady compared to the springy boomkicker. You can put some tension on the mainsheet to keep the boom centered in place.
**I just flake the main over the boom and tie it off. Put my cover on the boom/sail and throw it in my van to be stored in my garage.
**Also strongly recommend getting reef points installed. With the boomkicker you will be able to reef/unreef while underway, this is a huge advantage!
**Rather than spending $$ to get a roller furling jib (my current jib is in great shape), I had some big brass hanks installed. Big enough to run a tag line through them, enabling me to hoist/lower jib while underway. When lowered I just tube it up (a little tension on a sheet line and tie off segments of the tube) and let it sit on the deck that way. And the tension between the halyard and the tag line keeps things from flopping around.
Breeze through my eariler posts and you'll see pics of what I've described herein, along with a bunch of other things of interest.
I think I have a stopper bolt in my mast already? It's always been at the bottom and never thought to move it around. What is the use of this one? Should It be set further up so the gooseneck doesn't move down too far down the slide?
If you get slugs installed on your main it's super easy to hoist/lower by putting another stopper bolt above the slot. Feeding the main into the mast slot with the stock bolt rope is a huge PITA! And get a knurled knob rather than the phillips head to hold the stopper. For the one shown in your pic I would permanently adjust it to where the boom will be resting at a spot that makes for the proper 90 degree angle when the sail's up. Procedure is.....
** Have the bolt below the slot so you can hoist the main, feeding in the bolts until you've got the bottom one in.
** Cleat off the main and raise the bolt up until it's just a short distance above the slot. Then it will hold the bolts in place as you lower it.
** Slowly drop the main and flake it onto the boom, tying it off as you go.

Then you can motor out and hoist while underway, locking your tiller tender to hold a slightly off wind heading. And of course you will have your boomkicker set to the correct tension to keep the boom at the proper angle.
Good luck!