Everybody is an expert sailor?

Moderator: GreenLake

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby GreenLake » Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:18 pm

A good question, I'll let that sit here for a bit to see if anyone else feels like weighing in.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
Posts: 6067
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby tomodda » Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:28 pm

I'll bite. :)

@BlackPirate: I'm going to digress and give you a chess quote. I've played the game ever since I can remember, love it, there's an old saying "Chess is an Ocean where a Gnat may Drink and and Elephant may Swim." The Daysailer is much the same - good for beginners, good for "experts." Uffa Fox, the designer, deliberately designed it that way and he certainly delivered. To the tune of 13,000 DS's built and many imitators, which is HUGE for a sailing boat production run. George O'day added one nice feature to make it a "family boat" - the cuddy! What a great place to put a cooler or some sleeping kids. Also keeps the spray off of you. You can sail it alone, you can sail it with 6 adults, and its perfect for family.

So, why is it good for beginners? Because it's easy to get moving, relatively stable/well-behaved, and uncomplicated. It has just enough responsiveness that you quickly learn to "feel the boat" - believe me an unresponsive boat is both a drag to sail and dangerous. On the other hand, it's not "twitchy." Yes, you can capsize it, you can capsize any boat, but it's not a boat where you're constantly at the "razor's edge." To put it in military terms, the OODA cycle - "observe–orient–decide–act," is quite manageable, maybe 5-10 seconds during EXTREME sailing, and you won't be doing that at the beginning. Regular sailing, you have plenty of time (measured in minutes) to have a think, make mistakes, adjust. Now, admittedly, this all depends on what the regular winds are like in your area. The DS is "happiest" around 10-12 knots of wind, although still lots of fun and easy to sail with more or less wind. If your area regularly has 20 knot+ winds (I'm looking at you, SF Bay!) then you probably want to start out with a keelboat. More stability, but also a LOT more expense. By the way, the DS is primarily a lakes and inland waters boat - you can but I wouldn't sail it in the ocean (or the SF Bay). Yes, there are lakes with LOTS of wind (Flathead, MT), don't choose those for your beginning sailing.

Sailing newbies are usually worried about 2 things "What if I get caught in strong winds?" and "How much will I heel before I capsize?" The DS is relatively good at handling higher winds - ease the sheets, drop your sails, run with the wind. Nowadays, it's so easy to "choose your weather" - windfinder.com, for instance. As a beginner, definitely start on lighter wind days (4-8 knots) and work your way up. As for capsize, the one big difference between this and a keelboat is that it does NOT have a weighted keel, so the only thing holding it upright is you... you need to move your weight outboard as the wind kicks up. I usually sit on the side decks and lean out in stronger winds, you'll quickly get used to it. I've had the lee rail (lower side when the boat is heeled over) under water, even taken green water into the cockpit (i.e. water washing over the deck and pouring in). That's a bit over 45 degrees of heel, and you can look down and see the centerboard slicing thru the water. No problem, boat was stable as can be - her width helps keep you from capsizing and she has a big "belly" in the water when heeled over, due to the way the hull curves. Now, despite the stability when heeled, you definitely want to sail this boat flat - heeled hard over is SLOW. Word to the wise, do try and bring a friend along when first learning to sail - even if they are not actively sailing, they can help you keep the boat weighted down - "active ballast" - all they have to do is sit where you tell them to.

Which brings us to why the DS is so lovely to grow and learn with. There's just do much to discover, a lot of subtlety. Think of it like learning to ride a bike - there's a basic skill of staying upright and pushing the pedals.... but then there is all the fun of learning how to really LEAN into curves, or glide down a hill and use your momentum to burst up the next hill, etc. As opposed to most beginner boats - Sunfish, dinghys, etc - there is no "upper limit" of what you can do. Ok, I'm generalizing horribly - there are some amazing dinghy designs - but pound for pound/length for length/dollar for dollar, the DS really hits a sweet spot of everything you want to do in a sailboat without (most of) the aggravation and expense of bigger or more complex boats.

So yes, I think a DS is both "for you" and safe for beginners.

Best regards,

Tom
tomodda
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:04 am

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby GreenLake » Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:16 am

Thanks Tom. Nicely put.

The DS definitely gives you those extra moments to react.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
Posts: 6067
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: Basic Concepts and Techniques

Postby tomodda » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:57 pm

Excellent write-up, GreenLake!

For what it's worth, I always tell any new sailors on my boat about the "watermelon seed" theory of sailing. I answer the perennial question of "How does this boat move against the wind, and what the heck are you doing with all those lines?" by explaining that the entire sailplan pushes the boat downwind and forward, diagonal to the midline of the boat (and then I point that way, the sail force vector).... the entire underbody pushes the boat upwind and also forwardish (and I point along the keel force vector)... the boat gets spat out the middle like squeezing a watermelon pip out between your fingers. And just like varying the pressure between your fingers will make the watermelon seed skew off one way or the other, varying the above vs below waterline forces will change which way the boat goes. Then I explain the five principal controls and demonstrate, pointing out that usually we want to keep the boat/watermelon seed going straight with as little fuss as possible. So we're kind of balancing on a knife's edge, constant small adjustments. Alternatively, we can make the boat/watermelon seed skew off in the direction we want, using all our controls, not only the rudder. big smooth adjustments.

And the watermelon seed story works, eventually folks "get it." But for some reason, kids "get" the watermelon seed a lot faster than adults do! :)

P.S. Yes, later on I tell my newbies that the boat is actually getting pulled along these vectors, not pushed, but one new concept at a time, please..... Hard enough for them to understand that our tiny centerboard balances out our entire mainsail and jib!
tomodda
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:04 am

Re: Basic Concepts and Techniques

Postby GreenLake » Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:40 pm

Tom, thanks for the encouraging words.

It's an interesting analogy. While I started my presentation also with some presentation of the forces involved, I've recently begun to wonder, though, whether that's not something that is most useful to someone who's a bit further on the learning curve and not a total rank beginner. I know that when I started my own first practical steps on a sailboat, basically the only two concepts I had in mind were that there's a no-go zone (that is, it's necessary to tack in a zig-zag to go upwind) and that the further upwind you go the tighter you want your sail sheeted. The rest was observing the response of the boat (single sail and half the size of a DS). The rest, and more reading, came decidedly later.

By the way, if you are surprised to see your post moved here:

As promised in its opening post, I'll move any discussion about the Basic Concepts and Techniques thread itself over to this neighboring thread. That way, we can keep the presentation of these basic concepts and techniques focused and they can be read without much interruption. However, as you know, I'll be happy to take suggestions anytime for topics and then will see what I can come up with. And of course, there may be some topics where we may have questions that go beyond the focused capsule summaries. We can either add those here in this thread, which is really intended as a bit of a general Q&A or in dedicated threads. As I've done with the centerboard, or heaving to, or a number of other discussions we've had, I may extract those.

I could have locked the Basic Concepts and Techniques thread between additions, but then people would think incorrectly that the thread is closed - I do plan to add to it. The next items are the remaining ones on the five controls. After I'm done with the five controls, something about wind and weather perhaps?
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
Posts: 6067
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby tomodda » Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:35 am

No problem getting moved, I forgot that you wanted to keep the other thread focused. Makes sense.

I learned sailing mainly by getting shouted at + the occasional application of a knotted jibsheet. I kid you not, my father was a bit nuts, and sailing when I was growing up was something I "had to do", kind of like you "have to" join Little League with an overbearing father. Frankly, I hated it. Till, one fine day in my early teens I was visiting an uncle and grabbed an old Opti Pram and got to sail around by myself for the weekend, then took to it like a duck to water. Nevertheless, I make sure NEVER to shout or criticize anyone on MY boat... well maybe I roll my eyes sometimes :)

And I warn people, the only time you'll hear me raise my voice is if we are in danger of capsize or hitting something, then PLEASE do what I say or get out of the way because I'm about to do it for you. Usually, it's a line that needs immediate uncleating, nothing else is "critical." Other than that, I don't care, the worst that can happen is we go slow and/or I have to jibe because we miss stays, so no reason to shout. Sailing is all about relaxing!

Tom
tomodda
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:04 am

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby GreenLake » Thu Aug 27, 2020 6:44 pm

Tom, I would firmly draw the line at a "knotted jib sheet"! And at people using drill-instructor type language (I've encountered that once on a large boat and promptly mutinied :) ). However, I tend a bit towards a mild case of OCD when it comes to stuff that is obviously out of trim. It can distract me enough that it prevents "relaxing". Not claiming that I trim things myself to perfection.

That said, I like to invite people to sail with me an try to make this as pleasant for them (and me) as possible. With somewhat different standards and expectation for daysailing and "racing," of course. (The latter in quotes, because most serious racers would laugh at our series of events).

Still, I've managed a surprising (even to me) new face on average every third trip, despite many repeat appearances whether occasional, or regular. Are you running more to steady crew, solo sailing or frequent visitors?
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
Posts: 6067
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby tomodda » Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:31 pm

GL:

Answering your question, I'm embarrassed to say that this year I haven't sailed at all! Between all the uncertainty in the Spring, and now lack of wind in the Summer.. well, I'm gearing up to enjoy the Fall, fingers crossed! But my previous years with the DS, it's been a mix, just like for you. About 1/3 of the time solo, 1/3 with my two "regulars," and 1/3 new people. The new people have also been new to sailing, so it's been fun. Some folks truly want to learn how to sail, others were just along for the ride, it's all good.

Yes, the whole "drill sergeant" thing is very '50's, I make sure to avoid it. Nice thing on the DS is that it's so relaxed (as opposed to a racing catamaran, for instance), if something isn't trimmed right, no big deal. I'll either ignore it or trim it myself, unless I have someone who truly wants to learn, then I'll explain what/why/how. Yes, I have my pet peeves - lack of jib halyard tension, I HATE scallops! - but I learn to live with it. Or, in the case of halyard tension, I went ahead and spent too much money and time to put in that 3-1 tensioning rig, no more excuses from my lazy crew. ;-)
tomodda
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:04 am

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby GreenLake » Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:56 pm

I only have 2:1 and that proved too little for my "crew of little strength" that day. Some stuff is simply sized for me and I may have to adjust things myself. Alternating between "sailing with crew" and "sailing single-handed with passenger pretending to be crew" has become second nature. Good luck in getting out on the water in the remaining season.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
Posts: 6067
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby Fly4rfun » Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:47 pm

Just read this in my forum discussion perusing. I need to find some localish DS owners to share (them to me) knowledge and sailing. Tom, GL you guys tickle me. but I enjoy reading and learning from the post.
"Sail Aweigh" 1966 DS1 #2675
Fly4rfun
 
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:10 pm
Location: Salem, WV

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby GreenLake » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:06 am

Garry, you are jumping in with both feet. In your situation, I quietly went out on the water, puttered around for a bit, tried this and that, and after days of that, might develop and insight or a feel for something, After weeks of that, I might have an idea for changing something in the rigging. But mostly, the first year, I took the boat a number of places, got some feel for different boat launches and sailing areas. Made and repeated typical beginner mistakes, and so on. Read a lot, but didn't discover this forum right away.

I do know the feeling. Sometimes, when your brain isn't ready and prepared, the best explanation can't germinate to an understanding. I'm amazed about myself, that I can actually put words together to describe how a spinnaker works, after descriptions I had been reading for years failed to give me a mental picture. My attempts to put things into words are probably not any better for anyone else than stuff I read was for me, but I keep trying.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
Posts: 6067
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: Everybody is an expert sailor?

Postby Fly4rfun » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:17 am

GL
I understand fully. When I was taking my flight training, my instructor would tell me when landing,to pick a spot on the windscreen (actual spot) that intersects the threshold on the runway . I got thru training and had about 150 flight hrs when the eureka moment hit, I had learned to compensate but never actually got it until then, decided NOT to go sailing tomorrow, Sat maybe, got some tweaking on the trailer i need to do. plus i want to fix the "tiller buddy". going to add a step on the trailer that will help me get in and out of the cockpit easier when on the trailer. not quite as mobile as i used to be, hip replace many (25) years ago and i intend to get as much sailing in next year as feasible. but still have my Motorcycle stuff to do, want to ride out west to see my son in Sept. but yes i tend to jump in with both feet.

G.
"Sail Aweigh" 1966 DS1 #2675
Fly4rfun
 
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:10 pm
Location: Salem, WV

Previous

Return to Seamanship and boat handling

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests