trailer launching - Sail question

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trailer launching - Sail question

Postby bm1981 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:47 pm

after launching several times from a trailer I'm finding it a real pain to raise the sail while underway. It's difficult because the water is very choppy outside to the marina and I'm often fighting 2-3 foot swells. While under motor and launching do most of you launch with the sail up and the main sheet eased? or raise the sail while underway?

I know its a silly question and on the bigger keelboats I've always raised the sail underway but the boat was more stable. The smaller boats launch with the sail up but don't have a motor. The DS is in the middle...
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Postby jeadstx » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:45 pm

Since my little outboard is not working currently, I've been raising my sail then pushing off from shore. If my motor was working (preffered method) I'd head into the wind and leave it running with the rudder locked on coarse (I have a Tiller Tamer) to raise the sails. I can handle my halyards from the cockpit (sail ready to raise, lashed down when I head out). I have sail slugs on the luff of my mainsail which makes raising the main much easier, since the slugs are already in the track. Feeding a bolt rope into the track while under way is more difficult.

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Postby GreenLake » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:47 pm

I usually push off with the sails, at least the main, raised.

Pushing off from a dock into the wind has never been a problem, and where the dock is part of a marina I've usually been able to sail the DS from the dock to the open water.

The one place where I start from a beach (without a dock) never seems to have the winds blowing directly onshore, so I've never had problems getting the boat turned around and sailing away, even with the sails up.

With the jib raised, you should be able to heave to with the DS. That's a stable position unlike motoring into the wind, but there's no wind-pressure on the main, so you can reef it, raise it, etc.

The standard way to heave to is to tack, but letting the jib stay cleated in. Once you go through the wind, the jib is back winded and tries to turn the boat. At that moment, you put the rudder over hard as if trying to steer back into the wind (tiller and jib will be roughly parallel).

There will be a slow drift about 1kn about 60° off the true wind angle. So you need enough room to be able to complete setting your main. Swells shouldn't be a problem when hove to, because you are slowly moving with them and the jib will stabilize the boat.

Once you are done, you let the jib come over, pull the mainsheet tight, center the tiller and start sailing.
Last edited by GreenLake on Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby K.C. Walker » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:30 pm

I'm with John on this one, idle the motor down and into the wind, lock the tiller and steer with your toe if you need to (when solo), sail slugs with keeper, topping lift, and a quick shock cord system to furl the main on top of the boom. I find that there are just too many docks that it's a pain to get in and out of with sails up, including my own. I'm thinking about changing over my halyard cleats from horned cleats to cam cleats which would make it even quicker to get the sails up. Of the 40 odd times I went out this summer 100% of the time I raised and lowered sail while underway. I must admit, though, I usually try to hide behind some island or something for protection so that I'm not in 2 to 3 foot chop or high wind. If you're talking longer period swell and moderate breeze, that I don't think would be a problem.

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Postby jdubes » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:36 am

I'm with KC. I also use a tiller tamer to lock it into a position, this helps a little. When Bay sailing I usually have to motor out 15 yards before i can raise the main. I then quickly raise it as i'm switching from motor to sail. It's hectic and can result in unplanned tacks and turns. I hate the transition from engine to sail. But after reading Greenlake's comment about raising the jib to heave to, as opposed to motoring into the wind. I'm going to try that.

When i'm launching from a mooring, i raise the main then release the mooring line. It's the preferred way to go.

When i'm launching from the beach i raise the main. Wind direction can impact this, but i try to get the main up prior to jumping into the boat.
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Postby K.C. Walker » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:01 am

I'm going to have to try heaving to when raising sails next time, if I remember. I can sure see that in less than desirable conditions this would make the transition from motor to sailing much smoother. So far I haven't found the need to but I should try it out because in my mind's eye I can see that it should work smoothly and not take any more time. Good idea GreenLake. Whoa, an excuse to go sailing to try out a new technique!

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Postby Bob Hunkins » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:06 am

I never raise sails on the trailer. The thought of the wind rolling the boat off onto the concrete is too much to bear.

I always launch the boat on the leeward side of the pier, raise the sails at the dock, and sail off. No motor, no fuss.
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trailer launching - sail question

Postby ChrisB » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:36 am

I always motor out of the marina and raise sail underway using a tiller tamer. However I'm on a lake and rarely see 3 foot swells. In those conditions, I would probably raise the main at the dock and motorsail out to open water.
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Postby GreenLake » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:54 pm

Bob Hunkins wrote:I always launch the boat on the leeward side of the pier, raise the sails at the dock, and sail off. No motor, no fuss.

I'm with you, Bob. I rarely need the motor, and even if I bring it as a backup, I rather not have the extra weight hanging from the transom, until it's really needed.
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Postby K.C. Walker » Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:02 pm

Well, if I was launching from a dock that was set up for sailing I'm sure it would be different. My own dock usually only has access on one side because the other side has boats. The side that I use is sometimes the leeward side but even then I have rocks nearby that I don't want to let the boat onto.

When I go out on the Long Island Sound my favorite access point is a state boat ramp but it's mostly busy with fishermen that have very little patience for someone clogging up the access. They do have 2 docks but you can only use the inside of each of the docks, the outsides are on the rocks.

I love the freedom of using the motor to get in and out of these situations and being able to navigate through long narrow channels with the wind against me.

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Postby GreenLake » Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:27 pm

Dock etiquette - you could write a whole chapter on it.

The local public ramp has only a one-sided dock, but I'm lucky with the winds. They are predominantly in the direction of the dock and the buildings and boats provide some shelter so I rarely have to fight the wind near the dock, even on pretty blustery days.

When the wind blows from the land side, I raise the sails with the boat heading into the wind and then take off with a U turn. The channel to the open water is narrow, but short. Sailing it usually works. If not, paddles are less hassle than rigging a motor.

I've launched from a number of other sites as well, and so far, I only recall one time where there was any wind but I motored first and then set the sails.

Anyway, that probably mostly reflects the local conditions.
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Postby bm1981 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:09 pm

in my situation, I have a tight ramp and canal, say 20-30 feet wide from float off till bulkhead, then a 100 yard sail, left tun to the north for 1/4 mile, left turn to the west 1/4 mile to the bay. Neither canal is wide enough to tack and the wind is constantly changing directions. mostly out of the E or W but occasionally N / S. So a motor is a must, at least with my current skill level

I think my biggest problem is not so much the bolt rope getting stuck, but the pulleys on the top of the mast are pretty well stuck. Any suggestions on how to remove/ clean the bearing in them? I bet they are full of sand from when I went over my first weekend, i buried the mast in the sand.
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Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:55 am

See here on how to go about "replacing mast head sheaves".
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Postby bm1981 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:36 pm

I ran some DuPont dry teflon lube ( its a liquid that dries to a dry lube) into the seized wheel and a ton of bay much ran out of it. I guess that's from when the bay bottom prevented me from turning turtle. Not expecting this much much to come out of the axle, I hit it with the hose to flush it out. Then relubed both wheels and they are spinning freely and smoothly.

I hope that will fix the issue.
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Re: trailer launching - Sail question

Postby bilbo » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:59 pm

One thing I’ve had a frustrating time with is putting up sails. Today I tried sailing; it was quite windy and I probably should not have gone but put it in the long list of poor decisions I’ve made. This time I tried putting up the jib while at the dock and sailing away but it did not go well. Wind was at about 4-5 o’clock if standing at the looking out at the water. There’s a fishing pier about fifty feet away at about 10 o’clock. As soon as I cleared the dock I drifted straight toward the pier, and ended up caught on a cable from shore to one end of the “T” shaped pier. Thank god that was there or I would have been stuck in the crook of the T.

When I finally got out and away from shore I tried heaving to so I could raise the main. I was able to get it on the second try and then sailed off. Winds were very gusty and frustrating. First time I felt actually scared and wasn’t sure how or if I was going to get the boat back in. During one gust the jib sheet came out of the clear and the sail started flailing about wildly. I had trouble getting that brought back as I was alone and couldn’t get the boat to heave to Again with just the main. Then I got a phone call that my father in law had a heart attack. I basically sailed the boat into some sand and reeds near the ramp and walked it to the dock, then went.

Anyway, my main question is would it have been better to have both sails raised? I don’t think heading out from the Lee side of the dock was an option as the fishing pier was right there. Or should I raise the main first? I’ve noticed the jib goes up a lot easier with its hanks vs.the main’s bolt rope.
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