...and I thought .....that’s really good advice – how come I haven’t done that yet..............
• "go out without the mizzen (he does note that Navigator doesn’t sail quite as well without it will sail without it) which gives you confidence sailing just under main and jib"
....that’s another really good idea Steve.......so why haven’t I done this yet?
• "find some experienced crew to come with you to handle jib sheets and/or let them take control and watch what they do"
....nobody wants to sail with me...........I wonder why........?
• "use cam cleats not horn cleats; use different sizes and different colours for different sheets"
• "carry spare life jackets so you can persuade any knowledgeable passersby (who stop to marvel at Navigator........and they do) to go out with you"
(Note choose carefully – I did that at Salcombe......and he put me on a sandbar for a couple of hours.........nuff said!)
• "arrange the sheets in such a way that main and jib are across your thigh as you sail or close to hand and make sure that the mizzen sheet is ready to hand at the transom"
And I thought........bloody hell – he’s a wise bird is that Owen (but then he has been sailing his navigator for over a decade I think)........if only I’d had the nouse to think of those things........doh....I’m so stupid I actually make Homer look intellectual!
“Try bringing the mizzen sheet up over the stern, through a bulls eye alongside the mizzen mast back on the after edge of the deck, then to a cam type cleat with fairlead” says JW
.........and I think – ‘yep done that’ - mental pat on back.
“Can I point out that the mizzen sheet should be accessible from both sides of the cockpit as when you are sailing toward the wind you need to ease the mizzen sheet before you turn away, the mizzen tends to hold her bow to wind and in certain conditions she just won’t turn unless that sheet is let out.” Follows up JW
Well ‘bugger me’ say I......cos in that one small pearl of wisdom.....JW has set off huge illuminated light bulbs above my head.............
...............why am I tacking and then leaving the jib back slightly to force me through the turn before releasing the jib sheet?
Because Arwen didn’t seem to be making a tack – she kept getting stalled!
And why is that Steve?
Because you complete moron – you don’t release the mizzen sheet when you tack and so it holds her pointing into the wind............DOH!
There‘s that Homer Simpson feeling again – stupid? You have no idea how much!
And so....just when I’m feeling completely inadequate...............Robin wades in with
“I found that a bulls eye mounted on the rudder head and a combination fair lead jam cleat mounted on the side of the tiller brings the mizzen sheet to hand at all times”
Of course it does.....what a simple, clever idea! Why didn’t I think of this? Doh!
Kevin B makes me feel better about myself......
“I couldn't get the boat to tack all the way through and had to fall off and jibe around. It just didn't occur to me what was happening. That night I realized I had the mizzen sheeted in so tight it acted as a weather vane. I would swing the bow around and the boat just stopped dead to the wind....I guess that's why they call it a learning curve. Once I got the concept it was a piece of cake and actually a lot of fun to sail single handed.”
And so to Osbert, who is one of those truly reflective guys....who I’d love to meet in person because I’d learn so much...........sadly, I’d have nothing to contribute back other than giving him a warm fuzzy feel good feeling that in spending time with me he may have prevented some great seafaring catastrophe in south west England............
Osbert’s pearls of wisdom........
• don’t use the tiller – use the sails to steer instead
• lash the rudder in centre and use sails to steer - helps you understand how sheeting affects the boat
• start doing it with jib and mizzen first
• use bungie to set the tiller so that it can still be used in an emergency
• have plenty of space, not too gusty
• start on a broad reach.....leave tiller and unsheet mizzen – ease the mizzen it catches less wind so boat pivots gently and steers away from wind; pull in mizzen sheet – catches more wind and bow turns into wind
....and I’m thinking......that’s such common sense, simple, clever advice.............................WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? It would have saved me so much pain and heartache and soul searching!
• Make small adjustments to try and keep a steady course..........!
• Cleat off mizzen play with jib sheet – do similar things
“Doing this you'll learn how the boat balances, and the effect of the sails. You'll find yourself instinctively moving the sails to make course corrections - which is a good thing as using the rudder too much is like applying a brake!"
"Don't try this in poor conditions or in crowded waters!"
So....on my first outing this year...forget about MOB drills and coming alongside........lets sort out the basics of sail handling first..........Boys......thanks for the homework!
And you know what.....I’m really looking forward to this...because learning is fun; I now know what I have to do to improve......I can see where I’ve been making mistakes......and ladies and gentlemen...this is why forums like JWbuilders (and others)....are so incredibly important and valued by people like me.......the Homers of this world.......DOH!
Thanks guys........no seriously - thanks........You have just enabled me to jump the quality of my sailing in leaps and bounds in next few months....I really can't wait to get started.