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boat handling sail trimBoat Handling and Sail Trim

One of the most interesting things about sailing is that our power source is invisible. But, to get maximum performance out of your boat, you need to be able to see what is happening. While you may have heard the expression “sailing by the seat of my pants”, especially from very experienced sailors, expressing exactly what one is feeling in order to help someone else learn how to sail is almost impossible.

Adjust Your Mast Rake for More Speed

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

adjust your mast rake for more speedOn some boats , one can adjust their mast rake. Mast rake is how far forward or aft your mast is at its top. Mast rake is important, because it is a major component in the boat's balance and feel. If the mast rake is off, you may end up with your rudder always slightly turned just to maintain your boat's heading.

Sailing without a Rudder

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

sailing without a rudderMany small-boat sailors don't realize the importance of using weight placement, sail trim, and boat trim to help steer their boat. They assume that the steering is accomplished with the rudder - that's what it's there for, right? However, smart sailors realize that their boat will go faster if they use their rudder less.

Fast Penalty Turns

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

fast penalty turnsDespite our best efforts to avoid breaking the rules, there are times when it happens. In the old days, if you broke a rule you were disqualified from the race. Thankfully, one is now usually able to exonerate themselves by making some penalty turns (how many depends on the situation). 

Stopping & Accelerating the Boat

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

stopping & accelerating the boatStopping and accelerating the boat? "Sheesh," you may say, "why would I want to stop the boat? Isn't the point to always go as fast as possible?" The answer is no. There are times when you'd like to slow your boat down, just like there are times that you'd like to accelerate and squirt away.

Basic Sail Trim

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

basic sail trimSail trim is one of the most difficult aspects of racing, because although easy to adjust, it's quite difficult to adjust things exactly right. It takes years of practice, but if you know how to trim well, you'll gain a huge advantage over your opponents.

Man Overboard MOB

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

man overboard MOBMany people have been lost overboard and successfully rescued, but there have been several people lost overboard who have never been recovered, or who had drowned by the time that they were recovered. Losing someone overboard can be one of the most dangerous and terrifying experiences that sailors will ever confront.

Docking Techniques

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

docking techniquesSince dock layouts and wind and water conditions vary greatly, it's impossible to write up detailed instructions on how to land a boat on a dock. However, here are a few tips to help improve your prowess at landing a boat on a dock safely and efficiently.

Anchoring Techniques

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

anchoring techniquesAnchoring securely isn't easy - it's tough to get things just right so that you can relax and worry less about your anchor won't dragging or you or others swinging into each other as the wind or current changes direction.  As you enter the anchoring area, you first need to consider the bottom type so that you can select a proper anchor.

Mooring Techniques

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

mooring techniquesCompared to anchoring, mooring a boat is a snap. First find the correct mooring and note the direction that other boats are pointing in. This will tell you which direction to approach the mooring from. As you approach from several boatlengths down-current, time things so that your boat will be stopped at the mooring. 

Running Aground

Written by Neil Ashton. Posted in Boat Handling & Tuning.

running agroundRunning aground is terribly embarrassing and potentially dangerous and damaging to your boat, so you shouldn't do it. That being said, running aground happens on occasion. Here's how to get your self off.