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Thread: Small Boat Sailing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    northwestern Wisconsin
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    12,299

    Default Small Boat Sailing

    In gusty winds isn't all that fun, actually.

    Took a friend out for a few hours yesterday. Winds consistently above 20 mph, frequent gusts as high as 32 mph. Double-reefed, we were OK. But it wasn't that much fun. (The sailing part, anyway--spending time with a friend was great).

    Not a good day to give a person lots of tiller time in an unfamiliar boat--one which happily dips the lee rail when pressed too hard, and uses a relatively uncommon sheeting set-up (the French misainier technique of hooking the sheet block on a cleat manually at each tack).

    On a long trip or wilderness cruise (which is my primary venue for sailing), I'd have either spent the day running or broad reaching (if the wind was favorable for a destination I wanted to reach), or I'd have stayed ashore.

    I'm either getting wiser, or wimpier, about my sailing choices. Or maybe they're the same thing.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    PNW, an island west of Seattle
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    Tom, with those conditions, I'd have stayed ashore on our deck and had a beer with my friend while we watched the waves roll by. I must admit that I'm a light wind sailor. Even though I am certain that my small boat, with its lead keel, is plenty safe in winds above 20, I'm just not comfortable. I like things a lot more relaxed. At 74 years old, I reckon I deserve calm.

    Jeff

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Seattle Washington USA
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    Yes! I'm learning that dinghy sailing is different than sailing bigger boats with ballast keels. Concern for running aground has been replaced with concern for capsize. Winds above 15 mph have me wondering if I should stay home or take the kayak instead. Elliott Bay here in Seattle is open to the northwest and our recent hot days have brought strong north winds funneling into the bay and the wind waves combined with commercial boat traffic makes for a busy sailing experience. Too busy, sometimes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    northwestern Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    I might well have stayed ashore, but we were the only boat that showed up for the local Sunday race series. I couldn't resist the easy victory for my boat's first-ever race participation.

    (Actually, the races were cancelled too.)

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    northwestern Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Loudon View Post
    strong north winds funneling into the bay and the wind waves combined with commercial boat traffic makes for a busy sailing experience. Too busy, sometimes.
    Yep, that's exactly it. Not that I was overly concerned about capsizing, but it gets awfully busy managing the boat to avoid it.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    Norwich, Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    1,192

    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    I was sailing Blue Moon on Sunday, 20mph gusting 25mph, the strongest we've been out in so far, not much waves as the wind was across the river.

    Blue moon is 16ft long 4ft wide with 150kg 3ft deep keel.
    According to onlookers she was heeling to 60degrees and I noted the rudder to start loosing its grip.
    She points very well but is not so good down wind.. loosing out badly..
    Until I get new sails with reefing points that's the strongest we'll go out in.

    Traffic.. try this.
    images (1).jpeg
    And we get a hundred motorboats an hour each way going hopefully down the sides..
    And occasionally this or one of its sisters.
    homepage-banner-1024x469.jpg
    Just an amateur bodging away..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    St. Helens, Oregon
    Posts
    4,514

    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    I'm with Jeff both chronologically and wind-use wise. At 74 I'm finding out big boat (Santana35) is a bit too much of a handful to doublehand in our normal 20-30 knot winds and my Mirror dinghy is still out of action pending finishing and would be too much of a handful in those winds anyway. I'm <this> close to selling the bog boat and reverting to trailering my little boat to compatible waters. We also have a Shearwater, built without the centerboard (built by Richard Stover...it's the grey/red one that WB used for the plans pic for years) that isn't fond of the 2' waves and big winds we have here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    715

    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    When I was new to sailing two different people I took out to try sailing ended up buying power boats.
    In my defense it was in the Columbia Gorge and to me 25+ knots against the current was just another day on the water. I should have rescheduled but I was working on call 24/7 and opportunities to match schedules were scarce as hen's teeth.
    My boat was up to the task having been designed for San Fransisco Bay conditions and I had been trained by a no-nonsense instructor. I was having too much fun and was oblivious to my guests' discomfort.
    ​​♦ During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
    ♦ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear
    ♦ George Orwell

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Aquitaine
    Posts
    2,163

    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    I had a little 10ft 6" grp boat built in S Africa. Quite tubby and sort of double ender. Came with a ally pole mast and a dreadful sail. Converted to stayed rig with a gunter main and a bit later a little bowsprit and jib. It thrived on rough weather. After a fun afternoon on the Algarve coast, the local marineiros cautioned us about the conditions, as the wind was getting stiff. We nearly beat them back to the harbour, up wind. They had a small rib... They had the grace to smile as we hit the ramp.
    Had more fun with that little bateau, than almost any other boat.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    UK London
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    so pretty pictures

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    636

    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    I sail in the protected waters of a local Fjord/inlet. However it can have some strong outflow and inflow winds.
    I sailed my Shellback all winter and last summer I took it on a couple of 40km (there and back) camping jaunts. Once with my girlfriend.
    I had some hairy/ tiring moments on both trips.

    Sailing in winter is great because the area I was sailing in was largely deserted whilst in the summer it's powerboat/jetski mayhem. But if it's windy with white horses I generally didn't go out , or not far. It would be pretty easy to die of hypothermia if I ended up in the drink.

    I find my boat can handle much of the weather, and so can I, generally, but spending 6 hours tacking 6 nautical miles up a narrow inlet in short steep chop just gets a bit tedious and tiring.
    Anytime there's whitecaps I'm going to get wet and if it's cold, I need rain gear. etc.

    I find small boats are largely about pleasure, exploration, and some adventure.

    It's good to know I can handle these situations, for the most part, when I can't avoid them, but unless I feel like I want a testing experience. I generally avoid them.
    Like the old adage.

    Small boat sailing is lots of fun though. I find it easier overall.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    21,330

    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    When windspeed exceeds the boat length....it a serious ting. no matter what size vessel.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    636

    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    When windspeed exceeds the boat length....it a serious ting. no matter what size vessel.
    I fully agree. Nature is not to be trifled with.

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