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Thread: Small Boat Sailing

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    I appreciate the comments--interesting thoughts on fatigue derived from the more active motion of small boats. I hadn't thought about that, and am not quite sure whether I feel it or not. Maybe I take enough short days/rest days to offset it?

    I was actually surprised by how uncomfortable I was in keelboats when I had the chance to do some sailing in the Marshall Islands, with steady 15-20 knot tradewinds. Too much heeling for me to ever feel comfortable aboard. I find a small boat where crew weight is a significant portion of the total weight to be much more comfortable. I feel more in control. And keelboats felt a little boring, actually, in comparison to a small boat where you're always steering, sheeting, leaning, hiking, etc.

    Tom
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  2. #37
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    Good discussion. Clinton, thanks for piping up about sailing conservatively (not cowardly ). I think it is the experienced sailor who is probably the most nervous on a group sail.

    The "the fatigue factor after several days of constant low amplitude motion": I think this is real. Tom, I suspect one difference is that judging by your (wonderfully written) trip recaps is you often sail alone A tender sailboat is one thing when you are the one moving about, and you know where you are going to step or sit and how the boat will react. It's another when you have others aboard. Even if you are all experienced on the boat, you'll make little movements that will cause others to have to adjust. Over a day or more those can add up. I probably get undeservedly cranky with may sailing partners before I get fatigued

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    I meant to come back to this comment sooner:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Loudon View Post
    I've heard you should never cleat the sheet in a small boat, but don't see how it's possible to never let go of the sheet. I first began jamming the sheet under my foot when I needed a free hand, and then installed the pair of cleats shown below, which are used with caution. They are close at hand, and release instantly, and are mounted on the daggerboard so are removed with the board when rowing.
    I suspect the "never cleat the sheet" rule might derive from racing, where competitive sailors are constantly looking for an edge over the rest of the fleet, including playing the sheet in and out, inches at a time, maybe. A very active kind of sailing where you are constantly looking for best possible performance. Minimal friction and smaller lines for sheets probably a part of that, too.

    When you're sailing 20-30+ miles per day, alone, it's an entirely different game. Being tied to the tiller and sheet for that long is not only tedious, I'd argue it's dangerous. You need some way to be able to go hands-free in steady conditions: pull on a jacket, grab a snack or a drink, take a compass bearing, pull out a new chart, etc.

    This is how I usually do it:



    What makes it work is:

    1. Tying off the sheet with a slipped half hitch to the oarlock--one tug and it comes free. (I do take care to have the loop arranged in a way so it's not likely to snag on the horns of the oarlock if I tug it).

    2. Some kind of tiller tamer to hold the tiller steady. Mine is a simple line-and-bungee combination stretched across the aft deck under the tiller. It catches on a thumb cleat on the underside of the tiller--the bungee allows me to adjust tension (tied off at the aft deck cleat with a slipped half hitch again, so it releases with one tug). The tension holds the tiller in place. It steers the boat better than I do. These days I rarely sail without having this engaged.

    I've found that this combination (tied-off sheet + tiller tamer) has been the single best modification I've made to my boat for single-handed sailing, whether daysailing or cruising. I can't imagine going without it.

    Tom
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  4. #39
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    Quote Originally Posted by AJBTC View Post
    The "the fatigue factor after several days of constant low amplitude motion": I think this is real. Tom, I suspect one difference is that judging by your (wonderfully written) trip recaps is you often sail alone A tender sailboat is one thing when you are the one moving about, and you know where you are going to step or sit and how the boat will react. It's another when you have others aboard. Even if you are all experienced on the boat, you'll make little movements that will cause others to have to adjust. Over a day or more those can add up. I probably get undeservedly cranky with may sailing partners before I get fatigued
    This is a great point. Unless you have a very experienced and knowledgeable passenger/crew member, it's much more complicated to sail with other people. It takes time to develop an intuitive sense of how boats react, and what you need to do in response. If you're not also sure what the other person is going to do in response, it can get tricky indeed.

    Often just asking a passenger to slide over a couple of inches to adjust the trim makes a huge difference in my enjoyment--they don't have the awareness (yet) of how to act, and what it feels like when it's right.

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

  5. #40
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    After a recent long-distance sojourn in a decent breeze, where I know I was getting fatigued, I started telling everyone that "Nobody can sail this boat better than I can." That is, when I had the sheet cleated (in a quick release gizmo) and the tiller lock on, the boat -- a Core Sound 17 -- was doing just great, including close hauled. When I took the tiller in hand, it seemed we ended up wandering mightily. I'd get my head inside the boat, looking at a map or the GPS, or I'd try opening a drink bottle, or my attention would waver, and off-course we'd go. Thus "nobody," like no human hand on the tiller, was doing a much better job than I was. You'd think I'd learn, eh?

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    Scan0018.jpg This thread reminded me of my first big boat sail many years ago. Mystic Seaport's Brilliant. Rail down (well under) and headed for Block Island. After we got there the captain said I guess we should have reefed. Ya think ?
    David Satter www.sattersrestoration.com
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten" Ben Franklin

  7. #42
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Loudon View Post
    I've heard you should never cleat the sheet in a small boat, but don't see how it's possible to never let go of the sheet. I first began jamming the sheet under my foot when I needed a free hand, and then installed the pair of cleats shown below, which are used with caution. They are close at hand, and release instantly, and are mounted on the daggerboard so are removed with the board when rowing.Attachment 115529 Attachment 115530
    This rule can be stated in different ways; I find it impractical to always be holding the sheet and have a jam cleat for use in moderate conditions. A different way the rule has been stated is to never belay the sheet in a small open boat, which I take to mean, don't make the sheet fast in a way that can't be released very quickly. So, don't belay the sheet to a traditional cleat especially with a half hitch; but conditions permitting, OK to use something that can be let go quickly, whether it's a jam cleat or some newer type of hardware.

  8. #43
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    Jan 2004
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    Norwich,United Kingdom
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    The traditional advice to not cleat the mainsheet in a small boat was intended to avoid a capsize and is sound enough.If you can trap the sheet beneath a foot for a short time,that may work well enough.For the last sixty years or so there have been alternatives that allow easy cleating and quick release.They may not fit well with one's notions of being a salty tar with a boat stoutly built of oak and iron with tanned sails on spars made from the pick of the forest.On the other hand few of us go boating with expectations of scurvy and weevils in the biscuits.


  9. #44
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    Mar 2007
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    Default



    I may steal this gem for use as my forum signature!

    Kevin


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    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  10. #45
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Vancouver BC Canada
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    Default Re: Small Boat Sailing

    I always take limes when I go sailing.
    On both my Shellback Dinghy and my Gartside 130 I have cam cleats for the main..and the jibs I've added. All my sailing dinghies have all had cam cleats for the main and foresails. They're so quick and easy to uncleat it is no problem at all to dump the main if needed or let them all go.
    I tried sailing my Shellback without one and I found it extremely limiting.

    In both these boats I often sail with the lee rail pretty close to the water(especially when inducing heel in light airs like today) and though unintentionally I have shipped water over the lee rail a few times I've always noticed before it was any great amount and could easily react in time. Usually I try to keep it a few inches out of the water minimum.

    Both boats can sail themselves pretty well. The Shellback had a thumb cleat on the tiller with a line on it lashed to the gunwales, and the Gartside has a Huntingdon helm impeder which works very well. With that and the sails cleated I can move about the boat and do other small tasks quite easily or just sit and snack, drink water, use my bonoculars etc. I can even change foresails up by the mast while the boat happily sails itself. The Gartside is noticeably stabler. You can sail it standing up quite comfortably if you need a break from sitting and the conditions aren't too challenging.

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