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Single Engine Parking

Home | General Content | Single Engine Parking

It’s a narrow channel, and and a tight dock space.  Worse yet, you’ve got a single engine, along with its single prop.  Conventional wisdom tells you that you’re going have a tough time docking the boat inboardbecause of that single screw, without a lot of practice.  Conventional wisdom is wrong.

Yes, it’s easier with twins.  You can back one, forward the other, spin the boat to line it up, both forward (or astern) and ease your way alongside the dock without touching the wheel.  With a single many of us angle the bow toward the dock and add power while swinging the helm at the last second and hoping that we don’t bash the dock or stick the bow into boat ahead, which usually involves a quick pop of reverse power. Or come up a little too far away having to go around and try again

Don’t say you’ve never done any of the above.  However, there are some simple rules that when applied will work:

Most important – the stern moves First!  We think and feel the bow turning just like the car does, when in fact the boat turns by pushing the stern to one side or the other with pressure on the rudder, and forward motion pushes the bow around.  If you keep this in mind (to the point that you don’t have to think about it), life with a single is easier.

Second – forget the throttle.  Just put the boat into gear, preferably at idle.  She will move, and you shouldn’t be in that much of a hurry.

Third – easy into the dock space.  Pull up parallel to the dock space and a few feet away.  Yes, parallel.  Then, crank the helm all the way away from the dock, and slip the gear into forward for about two seconds.  The immediately go to reverse for the same time interval.  Repeat as necessary, and you’ll find your boat moving sideways into the dock.

Last, wind and current can help or hinder.  And, you’ll want to compensate accordingly.  Obviously, an onshore breeze is really nifty when it helps push you to the dock, An offshore breeze is going make you work harder to get there.  Often, taking down canvas and covers reduces the windage, making things more manageable.  Opening the windows reduces wind surface, sometimes to surprising extent. Current can be as, if not more, interesting, but usually solvable if you just make your starting point a bit up the current, and let it push you  down into your space while you’re working the boat.

You don’t have be brave or too proud.  If you’re having tough time, look over on the dock.  When there are people there, many if not most will be happy to help if you just ask.  And, most of the time, you can just pull away, go around and start over.  You’ll get it in there.

And as in most things nautical, practice helps.

Mike Dwight

 

What’s a Spinnaker Strut?

Home | Forespar Products in Use | What’s a Spinnaker Strut?

And Why Do You Need One?

A spinnaker strut is a relatively short (usually aluminum) pole with one end fitting designed for mast attachment, and the other for running a line across a small internal pulley. Standard sizes range up to about seven feet in length and three or four inches in diameter. They look like this:

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As its name implies, the strut is for use with a traditional symmetrical spinnaker. It will keep the afterguy (or the spin sheet you’re using as an afterguy) attached to the spinnaker pole away from lifelines, stanchions and other undesirable points on its way back to the stern.

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The strut is usually attached to the mast via a padeye on the mast, and often held in position with a sail tie to a shroud

Sailors want a reaching strut because:

  • With the afterguy riding across the sheave in the end of the strut, the pole is much easier to control and adjust. Eliminating the friction is important.
  • The line will chafe as it rides across the lifeline, stanchions, etc. Decent line for sheets and guys starts at about 75 cents a running foot, and the good stuff at twice that. Unnecessarily replacing it gets old in a hurry.
  • The load on the afterguy can be significant if it’s blowing. That can and will bend the lifeline and stanchions.
  • Crew on the rail will be safer and happier without a loaded (and possibly weak) guy on their chests or backs.

And, more important – when sailing fairly close to the wind with the spinnaker, the pole is well forward. In a good breeze the afterguy or sheet is very heavily loaded. If that lifeline or stanchion (or both) bends enough, or breaks, the pole will slam forward into the forestay. Bad things can happen. Very bad things.

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A reaching strut is easy to rig, and easy to use. Because it’s fairly short, it’s also easy to stow. And not expensive , especially when you consider the cost of a forestay or mast.

Keep Your Nose Up

Home | General Content | Keep Your Nose Up

One of the first times I ran outside the harbor on my own, the waves were small and relatively smooth. But when I returned a couple of hours later, the tide had changed against the wind, the chop had turned into waves, and the breeze had gone from eight to about fifteen knots.  And, of course I was coming downwind with following sea.  In a 14-foot centerboard boat.  With all the vast experience and skill of a 12-year old.

Eased the centerboard up, surfed down the face of the wave, stuffed the bow and broached the boat.  After what seemed like a dozen times almost righting the boat, a real sailor came up (in a power boat) and instructed me on getting the main in the boat, the boat upright and into the harbor, wet cold and alive.  I’ve tried to repeat the experience in larger boats, but was unable to replicate the conditions, probably because there’s usually crew aboard who don’t want to get that wet, and I have many more years of experience driving boats.  I’ve even tried to do the same thing with a power boat, almost succeeding due largely to inattention.

Three basic lessons learned for following seas:

  1.  Trim the bow up.  That’s why sailboats seem to keep the weight in the stern when running down the sea.  If you’re in a power boat, pay attention to the trim tabs.
  2. Learn to surf the boat.  Do not drive directly down the wave, because the bow will slow the boat when it hits the back of the wave ahead, and the following sea is likely to push your stern to the side, inducing that “I wanna broach ” motion.
  3. Unless you’re racing, try to find a spot on the back of the wave – a lot easier to do with a power boat – so you don’t get pushed around as much or as suddenly.  In other words, slow down to the speed of the wave if you can.  It’s safer and a whole lot more comfortable.

The oft used cliche “Slower is smoother, and smoother is fast” sounds odd, but it applies.  You’ll reach your destination both drier, and happier.

First and Only Train Ride to Catalina

Home | Uncategorized | First and Only Train Ride to Catalina

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A bit of yachting history

In 1963, a group of Southern California yachtsmen decided that a train ride to Avalon was in order.  They did exactly (sort of) that as you can see from the photo of the Pullman car at the Casino in Avalon.

The car was acquired by a regional railroad magnate; McFadden, of the family who were the original operators of Newport Beach. The car was loaded onto a barge in Long Beach and towed/pushed by tugs to the island.

The only comment by the co-skippers was that the 26-mile railroad bed was somewhat soggy and ride was a bit uneven.

Contributions Made To Community Sailing In Bill Mosher’s Name

Home | Uncategorized | Contributions Made To Community Sailing In Bill Mosher’s Name

Milwaukee Community Sailing Center Receives Over $7000 To Foster Youth Sailing & Renames Annual Lobster Boil Fundraiser In His Honor

mosher-lobster-boil-poster-16-smForespar Products and the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center combined to raise a total of $7215 in funds to honor long time industry professional and Forespar representative William (Bill) Mosher. These contributions reflect individual donations from Forespar employees and Milwaukee Community Sailing Center members, as well as a matching donation from Forespar based on the received amount. Additionally, the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center announced that it will rename their annual lobster boil fundraiser in Bill’s honor.

Hired as the original Executive Director of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center in 1979, Bill was a strong force in establishing and driving the organization forward throughout the years. When he unexpectedly passed away in July 2015, Forespar offered to donate matching funds for donations made to the MCSC in Bill’s name.  One year later the campaign’s funds have been realized and over $7000 of total donations will be used to help fund a successful STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) youth sailing program and a portion of a needed “new” safety boat.

The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center has also decided to rename its popular annual lobster boil fundraiser in Bill’s honor.  Now known as the Bill Mosher Memorial Lobsta Boil, the event will be held on the MCSC grounds, August 27th. A memorial “rock” and plaque will also be dedicated to Bill’s lifelong efforts during the event.

Forespar® is one of the oldest, most established boat hardware manufacturers in the United States. They are the number one manufacturer of downwind sailing poles and their diverse line of marine products includes Leisure Furl™ boom furling systems, Marelon® plumbing fittings and numerous other marine related products.

The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center is a private, not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 agency located just north of downtown in the heart of Veterans Park at McKinley Marina. MCSC provides educational and recreational sailing programs to those who wish to gain access to Lake Michigan and learn to sail; regardless of age, physical ability or financial concerns.

For more information visit www.sailingcenter.org or email kenq@broadreachmarketing.net

Olympics: A sailing surprise as the water and conditions are ideal on Guanabara Bay

Home | Uncategorized | Olympics: A sailing surprise as the water and conditions are ideal on Guanabara Bay

RIO DE JANEIRO – Sailing, not the dirty water, was finally the focus on troubled Guanabara Bay during a spectacular start to the Olympic regatta.

Windsurfers sped across the waves toward Flamengo Beach in a fresh breeze, against the imposing backdrop of Sugarloaf Mountain. Christ the Redeemer, Rio’s highest and most magnificent landmark, was obscured by fog.

Across the bay, 43-year-old Robert Scheidt won the second race in the Laser class after finishing a disappointing 23rd in the opener. He’s trying to become the first Olympic sailor and first Brazilian to win six Olympic medals. He owns two golds, two silvers and a bronze. He’s seventh overall.

Trinidad and Tobago's Andrew Lewis, right, competes during the Laser men event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Trinidad and Tobago’s Andrew Lewis, right, competes during the Laser men event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Charlie Buckingham of Newport Beach, making his Olympic debut in the Laser class, said the water “was great. No trash. It was warm. Splashes felt good.”

Buckingham finished 20th and seventh in the two races Monday, with eight races to go before the medal race.

Guanabara Bay seemed to pass the sniff test, at least on the surface.

The courses appeared clear of trash. Organizers have sent a helicopter over the bay every morning searching for rubbish. If any is spotted, boats are sent to scoop it up. Barriers have been put across rivers to try to stem the flow of garbage into the bay.

Under the waves, things are different.

An independent study by The Associated Press has shown high levels of viruses and sometimes bacteria from human sewage in the water.

“We’re not really concerned about that,” Pascual said. “We’ve been here for a while training and we’ve hadn’t had an issue. I’m just focused on racing. There’s been days when it rains you can see stuff floating around, but it’s like everywhere else I guess. It’s a bay.”

American Paige Railey, who finished second in the second Laser Radial race and is seventh overall, said the water was “great, totally fine. Warm, clean. We were happy. I really want to give hats off to Brazil. I came here in 2007 for the Pan Ams and they’ve done a magnificent job of cleaning up the water and there are really no problems. I’d jump off the boat and go swimming if I could.”

“This is like perfect conditions. You can’t get better than this. And the views are amazing,” said American windsurfer Pedro Pascual of Miami.

Conditions could change if it rains.

“There always have been problems here, Spanish windsurfer Ivan Pastor said. “It’s a very large bay. There is a lot of current, rivers flowing into it and we’ve seen quite frequently a lot of trash floating; plastic, which is the worst.”

Pastor said he’s not afraid of swallowing the water.

“I’ve been here a lot and fallen and it hasn’t been with my mouth closed,” he said. “Knock wood. Nothing has happened. It looks very clean today. There have been other years here when it was really dirty.”

Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic led the Laser class while China’s Lijia Xu led the Laser Radial. Nick Dempsey of Great Britain and Charline Picon lead the windsurfer classes.

Further: Kids on the Water

Home | Uncategorized | Further: Kids on the Water

After the 100-foot Comanche crushed the Newport Bermuda Race record by almost five hours, finishing June 19, it has taken the next boat over two more days to reach Bermuda. While Comanche’s finish position was predicted, few could say the same about the runner-up.

High Noon, at 41 feet, is fully 59 feet shorter than Comanche and tens of feet shorter than many other of the 142 starters. Yet High Noon was the second boat to finish , and did so with a 10-person crew, seven of which are teenagers between ages 15 and 18.

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This is all about old/new ideas in training young sailors. For decades they sailed only small boats. Enter Peter Becker, who sails out of American Yacht Cub, in Rye, New York. He was an eager 15-year-old when he sailed his first Newport Bermuda Race. “I was the kid on the boat, up on the bow changing sails,” he recalls. Since then he’s done 16 more Bermuda Races and a race from New York to Barcelona, Spain.

Four years ago his teenage children were getting interested in ocean racing, and he came up with a new approach: a unique training program at his club that came to be called the Young American Junior Big Boat Sailing Team.

He put youngsters in a J/105 racing in local regattas under the his tutelage and that of other big-boat sailors.

From there the youth sailors crewed on short, then longer ocean races, even delivering boats home after the races.  It worked so well that for the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race, the US Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation loaned High Noon to his program.

The results are apparent.  You need crew?  Draft juniors.  They’re often as good or better than you are – and a whole lot more agile.

Get the Kids on the Water!

Home | General Content | Get the Kids on the Water!

It’s about time.

US Sailing and others are pushing to get kids and young people out on the water sailing.  Not necessarily racing, but sailing.

My suggestions may be facile, but:  (a) Start them early, and (b) Keep them involved in the process when they’re out there – no passengers.

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Our primary YC offers one of the finer Juniors’ programs on the West Coast.  While we have some superb racers in the Junior ranks, many race in the Harbor for the competitive fun of it, many sail just for the fun.  We start Juniors in the “Starfish” program at about age five, when we can.  They’re more at summer camp than on the water, but they are exposed to fun part of boating, with a dose of responsibility. that can then graduate to on the water, first sailing with coaches, then Sabots (racing if they want to), then Optis, then Lidos for fun, or 420’s to race, etc.

And, while we’re at it, there are a number of racing skippers who make sure that competent (meaning safe)  juniors, mostly adolescents, crew on their boats for local PHRF races, and even on some of the distances races – again, no passengers.  One skipper sailed the Newport-Ensenada race with eight kids and four adults, finishing fifth in a class of 15. All the juniors on that crew are sailing.  Five are still racing , three on a national level, and three sail for fun.

The end result has been sailors who started in the Club at five, with about half of a twenty-year program philosophy still sailing (and that doesn’t count the power boaters).  That means BCYC Junior sailing program has produced about 200 sailors still on the water, and more than that overall in recreational boaters.

That also means a pretty good crew pool for those of us who race a lot.

Make it fun, and they will come.

Bloopers

Bloopers

 

Ocean racing is just about to become more colorful – again!

The new ORR rules are allowing bloopers on non-sprit boats (with some restrictions).  For sailors who don’t remember, look at the picture, and check out the big sail tacked to the port bow.

Look at the wake, and the waves, and realize just how deep and fast they’re sailing.  Pole back a bit, ease the main a bit, and trim on the the blooper and that boat is still launched – even dead down wind.  In light and moderate air, you’ve got a big downwind sail you trim with the halyard.  You’ll want a racing crew with someone who either has or can develop a different set of trimming skill, but you’ll make up for it with VMG and boat speed.  That blooper helps narrow the gap between an older boat and the sprit boats.

We’ll see them this year on the ocean races such as Bermuda, Transpac and Mackinac.

The ORR rule limits blooper use by treating the blooper as headsail (no pole), and within the number of sails the boat is allowed to carry.  It has to be attached to the bow, and there are restraints on the boats allowed to fly them, as in basic design from before 1986.  And couple of cautions:  Think oscillations.  Think about a little too much breeze and an interesting round up or crash jibe.

On the other hand, think speed.

 

Mike Dwight

 

 

Rights of Others on the Water

Home | General Content | Rights of Others on the Water

Not everyone shares your taste in music. Or sports. Or boats. Or recreation. Or wakes. Or engine noise. Or even beverages. Even if they do, they probably don’t want to share right now.

It’s easy to get totally focused on what you’re doing, even in a shared environment. Let’s face it: when you’re cranking along at 25 knots, your attention is on making sure you don’t hit anything solid, and the exhilaration of speed on the water. You’re not looking back at your wake, and seeing how much the swimmers, paddle boarders and kayakers appreciate it. Or how much the waterfront folks enjoy watching their watercraft bang on the dock. And the people out for a quiet day fishing really want to compliment you on your speakers and how loud your motors are.

Rights of Others on WaterThey’re just as happy as you are when you’ve just nestled in to bed after a long day on the water, and someone drops anchor next to you, invites friends, fires up the generator, plugs in the blender and the music, and parties down until the crack of dawn.

The long and the short of it is that you ARE in a SHARED environment.

Even the gray whales in Bahia Todos Santos shy away from noisy boaters, and bass in the lakes don’t really flock to rock and roll.

Respect the rights of others. Show some consideration for the people around you.When you’re at the launch ramp or the dock, be quick and make room for the next boat.  Respect the private property along the shore. Make sure you have permission to go ashore, use the dock, or cross their land.  And so on….

 

Remember, the other folks in or on the water have the same rights you do. And, just like you, all they want is a good day on the ocean, lake or river.

~ Mike Dwight

 

 

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