Trolling motor enhances sailing skills....

Moderator: GreenLake

Trolling motor enhances sailing skills....

Postby curifin » Tue May 19, 2015 10:54 pm

So I have finally gotten over or at least tolerant of my fear of sailing off and on docks in the wind.....

Thanks to my weak electric trolling motor.

This last weekend I got the chance to sail in moderate conditions at Lake Benbrook. Winds were around 15 to 18 with higher gusts, blowing directly into the ramp and dock. I had novices and kids on board and so I was setup with double reefer main and no jib. And.... The trolling motor (50 lbs thrust) could not push the boat much of anywhere. I managed to slog out and get the boat sailing and we had a great sail, averaging about 5 to 6 knots. As we approached the dock I dropped the trolling motor and..... Try as it might it could not push the boat, or even head it bow on into the wind.

After one aborted attempt, I hoisted the main and thought about the approach and sailed up to the dock, headed up dropped sail and drifted gently to the side. I was surprised and so were the several folks eagerly watching my first aborted attempt with the motor from shore. After a break I took another group out, falling neatly off and then sailing the boat right up to the ramp. The motor was unused.

Overall I can add this to the other advantages of a weak electric motor..... It will make you learn to sail better :-)
1970 DS1 "Denial"
1993 Beneteau First 210 "Dory"
curifin
 
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Re: Trolling motor enhances sailing skills....

Postby GreenLake » Wed May 20, 2015 2:12 am

I heartily concur! The trolling motor is for the "no wind" case, or for passages under bridges and in canals where sailing isn't possible due to traffic or wind shadows or both. Sailing off the dock or docking under sail (well, as you describe, sailing close to and then drifting) is really easy with the DS and my preferred method unless there's really no option.

There are some cool things you can try beyond rounding up. If you manage to heave to your boat you can sail sideways downwind at a very slow and controlled speed (about 1 knot), and with a bit of practice you can manage stuff like "parallel parking".

1016

I describe the technique here.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Trolling motor enhances sailing skills....

Postby curifin » Wed May 20, 2015 10:19 pm

Thanks! That really helps me visualize it. I am certainly going to try a few more no motor docking maneuvers.
1970 DS1 "Denial"
1993 Beneteau First 210 "Dory"
curifin
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:49 pm

Re: Trolling motor enhances sailing skills....

Postby GreenLake » Thu May 21, 2015 4:39 pm

[quote=curifin]I am certainly going to try a few more no motor docking maneuvers.[/quote]

They are fun.

In the most recent issue of "Small Craft Advisor" there is an article by a builder of small boats. In it he laments the priorities of his customers, including, prominently, the addition of an outboard. He writes that he has been "short-tacking marina entrances for over forty years" but that one could not expect everyone to develop that skills, or words to that effect.

PS: for the maneuver I show, note the way the jib is back winded, and that tiller and jib are approximately parallel. (You probably want to get the tiller turned a bit more steeply than you can sheet the jib, but I found this a good mnemonic to remember this on the water while I was first practicing this.). If you, ever so gently, pull on the mainsheet, the drift angle will move forward. Good to know in case you misjudged the angle and need to end up a bit further forward. (Don't sheet all the way or you will start sailing again).
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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