Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Second On Water (not) Sailing Lesson

We had our second sailing lesson.  The weather was beautiful again...except there wasn't any wind. This makes actual sailing a bit difficult.  It was good though, we had a chance to try a bunch of other things we needed to practice.

This time it was only my wife and I, the instructor, and a guy who has done a lot of sailing and wanted a checkout so he could join their rental club.  Since the checkout was so experienced, virtually everything was done by my wife and me.

After leaving the dock, we started the lesson by running the boat aground...intentionally.  After discussing the various ways you can get a mono-hull sailboat unstuck, we heeled the boat by getting everyone on one side and pulled it off the sandbar with the engine.  We also learned a very important and subtle point...if you are ever stuck, give a rope from your boat to anyone offering to help.  If you take a rope from the boat that came to assist, they may legally have salvage rights to your boat.

We then motored over to a good anchoring spot to practice setting an anchor.  We were told we needed 7 to 10 times the water depth worth of rope for the anchor...so of course we had to start out by measuring what we had on board. We then attached the anchor rope to the mast and manually lowered and set the anchor.  Since the reservoir bottom is muddy, they use a Danforth anchor but for rocky and grassy bottoms  we were told a plow type anchor would be better.  After confirming it was set well, we then manually pulled the anchor back on board.  Definitely getting my exercise today.

The instructor then had me attempt to approach a buoy as if it were a mooring ball, to demonstrate how a sailboat glides.  For my first attempt, the bow of the boat just passed the buoy as it came to a stop...pretty good...we should have had no problem picking up that "mooring" ball...nothing like these folks.

After that, we went to practice docking.  As long as you go slow, steering the boat isn't the hard part.  People on the bow and stern lines do more to guide the boat safely to a stop at the dock.  And then there are the lines...the bow line, the stern line, the spring lines.  And don't forget the fenders...and the commands you tell the crew to deploy them to the correct side.

Another fun and educational day.

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