When & How Tips
Boat Articles, Guides, Commentary and archival articles & helpful information
Boating and Sailing Tips
Sailing When & How Tips
Sail against a partner on a short course for practice. Learn new techniques and styles by practicing with other teams on a variety of boats. When racing, stick with a consistent crew - race with the same crewmembers from season to season and encourage everyone to try different positions in practice.
Study racing - during the off-season, read up about tactics, strategy, boathandling, etc. Keep notes during the season about performance, technique, strategy, boat maintenance, goals and possible solutions to problems.
Choosing the right cut of sail for your boat: The choice of cut depends on the type of boat. It is best to have foresails mitre-cut for loose-footed mainsails, vertical-cut for gaff mainsails, and cross or horizontal-cut for bermudian mainsails.
Reefing the mainsail safely: Slow the boat down and in some cases, stop it completely. The main must be depowered so that you can lower it without effort. Then disengage the self-steering vane or the autopilot, and head up into the wind. Sheet in the jib as you come up. The main will flutter, and the boat will slow down. Sheet in the main to feather it so it doesn't draw or flog itself to shreds.
Upgrading your racing strategy: Hire a professional sailor, someone who can teach, communicate, and excel. Tell him/her about the team's goals, so that you can work towards improvement.
This technique produces good sail shape, speed, and pointing ability: Every jib should have three yarn telltales at equal points up and down the luff on both sides of the sail. They should be 4"-12" long, depending on the size of the jib and boat and the eyesight of the sail trimmers and helmsman. They can be taped to the sail or sewn into the luff with a knot in the yarn on either side.
For a damaged stay: take the strain off and reduce sail, use a halyard to strengthen the rigging. Stabilize the mast with spare halyards before installing the new stay.
Getting the most out of your sail: Do not sail directly against the wind, and most importantly don't allow the angle of your sail to be less than 45 degrees. This will cause the wind to hit the lee side of the sail, which will make it flutter.
To find out wind and swell conditions in advance:
Wind strength and direction, wind strength, wave direction and height, and swell direction and height are standard parts of all NOAA(nws.noaa.gov) marine weather forecasts. Most commercial radio and TV stations do a relatively poor job of reporting marine weather except in major boating centers. But there are other sources for tomorrow's marine forecast.
Almost all identify major trends in wind and swell for as many as three days forward.At First try the WX channels on your marine VHF. In most coast zones and the Great Lakes, the NOAA broadcast stations that are a part of this network provide current weather 24-hours each day by voice. The tapes are endless loops, so f you miss the forecast on one go-around, just wait a few minutes for the information to be repeated.
If you're out of the range of a VHF station, you'll have to shift to High Frequency (HF) broadcasts on the Marine Single Sideband (SSB) airwaves. This will require an HF radio with an SB switch or BFO and a little practice to get the voice broadcasts.
These broadcasts cover most of the globe and sailors in far-flung places have relied on them for decades. Another way to receive this information is via high frequency WeatherFax (WeFax). WeFax requires additional equipment(see the Furuno :WEATHER FAXCIMILE RECEIVERs ) to record the weather map on paper.
A few miscellaneous tips
Old socks are perfect for rags to clean with. They're especially good for boat detailing because you can use your fingers to more precisely apply waxes or clean those hard-to-reach places.
A Type I PFD provides the most buoyancy and is effective for all waters, especially open, rough, or remote waters. A Type II or III Personal flotation device is intended for calm, inland water or where there is a good chance of quick rescue. A Type IV PFD (throwable device) is intended for calm, inland water where there is heavy boat traffic and help is always present. A Type V Personal flotation device is intended for specific activities and may be carried instead of another type - some include deck suits, work vests, board sailing vests, and Hybrid PFDs.
If too tight, the Drags should be adjusted , and then tested by pulling on the line as it runs through the rod guides and the rod is bent. You can test the drag setting by attaching a spring scale to the end of your line, raising the rod tip, and noting at how many pounds of pressure the drag yields line and the spool revolves. Rule of thumb: set your drag at one-quarter to one-third the rated breaking strength of the line.
Put your bow into the wind or current (depending on which is having the greatest affect on your boat), power up slowly to where you want your anchor to lie and check your forward motion with your reverse gear. Make sure that the bitter end of your anchor line is attached to something sturdy on the boat. Hold the chain or line, making sure that they are free, and gently drop the anchor off the bow. If your anchor line was properly coiled, it will "pay-out" smoothly.
How to Launch a Boat by yourself video
Boat Anchors are designed for specific bottom characteristics, so buy one that's right for the type of bottom encountered in your boating area. Five or six feet of coated chain is desirable.
Shackle the chain to the anchor and put a thimble on the end of the anchor line and shackle that to the other end of the chain. Make sure your line isn't too heavy or else you'll loose the "elasticity" that absorbs the shock and keeps the anchor well set.
PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition, and the appropriate size for the intended user. Wearable PFDs and throwable devices must be readily available for use. Boats less than 16 feet in length must be equipped with one Type I, II, III, IV or V PFD for each person aboard. Boats longer than 16 feet must have one Type I, II, III, or V for each person plus one Type IV.
Put the engine in neutral, and find two points or objects that form a line, and a third either ahead or astern. For the next few time, make sure that none of the angles or distances to these points change. Any change means that you're dragging and need to reset your anchor or pay out more scope.
The larger the hook, the more holding power the hook will have as the fish pulls against the hook, line, rod, and reel. The larger the bait, the bigger the hook you can use.
Feeding out the proper amount of scope: Once you see slack in your anchor line, feed out the proper amount of scope as the boat drifts back. Average scope is around 7 to 1 or 8 to 1, so if you're in 20 feet of water you'll want to pay-out between 140' and 160' of line. When the scope is out, secure the line and "back down" on the anchor, keeping your bow into the wind or current. Idle speed is good to make the anchor set into the bottom.
Protect the environment while cleaning. As a fiberglass cleaner, try white vinegar and water. To clean your boat's shower, use baking soda, warm water, scouring cloth and "elbow grease", and wipe it down with lemon or lime-juice. Try olive or almond oil as an effective wood polish.
Rather than using traditional cleaners, try vinegar and lemon juice mixed in lukewarm water as a window cleaner, and use lemon or lime juice and salt as a copper cleaner. Instead of a conventional chrome cleaner, try apple cider vinegar to clean and baby oil to polish.
Be kind to nature by using alternatives to harsh household cleaning products. Instead of using bleach, try hydrogen peroxide or borax. Baking soda works just as well as scouring powder, and baking soda paste with a scrub pad is safer than a traditional fiberglass stain remover.
Keep a roll of masking tape onboard to lift pet hair from upholstery and carpeting. It is also handy for picking up small items dropped into deep crevices. And don't forget about using vacuum cleaner attachments to pick up dirt in those hard- to-reach spots.
Waterspouts in water are similar to tornadoes on land, and are caused by clouds with a dark, flat sea bottom when there is just the first hint of rain. Escape a waterspout by going at right angles to its path. If it's about to hit your boat, it may be best to dive overboardflying debris is the most dangerous aspect of a waterspout.
When anchoring, keep in mind how far away other boats are. A safe place to drop your single bow anchor is several boatlengths directly astern of another boat. Never anchor where your rode crosses another vessel's when you are finally settled. If you drag anchor, you will pull the other boat's anchor loose.
When anchoring near other boats, keep these things in mind: a boat on a mooring will have little swing, but a yacht at anchor may swing widely. Usually a shallow draft boat will be more affected by the wind, but a deep boat will be more affected by the current.
Always drop the anchor while backing slowly away from it. If you drop it while moving forward, you'll tangle the anchor in its own chain and it will never dig in.
If you lose your rudder, jury-rig a steering system. Attach a board to the end of a spinnaker pole, lash the pole to the backstay, and steer with lines through another pole or boat hook to the cockpit from either side of the board.
Don't pull on the line too soon - the anchor will bounce along the bottom and collect seaweed and debris. Set with full scope and pay out at least seven times the "bow to bottom" depth before pulling on the line. If you're anchoring where the bottom is 20 feet below your bow, you'll need 130 - 140 feet of rode to get the 7:1 scope.
Use an emergency tiller to bypass a failure in the attachment between the wheel to the rudder or use a spare if you have one aboard. If you have a broken rudderstock, you need to attach lines to the rudder by leading them through blocks at the toerail to the primary winches and steer with them.
Your spare hose is too large for the fitting and keeps slipping off. Here's what to do: Cut off a short section of the hose, slice it lengthwise, removing just enough of the hose so that it wraps around the fitting snugly. Push this "reducer" inside the larger hose, slide the hose into the fitting, and secure it with hose clamps. Keep an eye on the fitting to make sure that there are no leaks.
Do not let your arms do all the work when rowing. Keep your back straight and use the weight of your body to practice the proper rowing technique.
When looking to buy a boat and you first go aboard, don't walk around - jump up and down as hard as you can on the foredeck, the side decks, the cabintop, and in the cockpit. This will tell you how sturdy these areas are. Take note if you induce any flex or hear any unusual cracking sounds. You want to be prepared if a wave drops a ton of water on the boat.
During foggy conditions, make sure that you save a waypoint between the first pair of channel buoys and to know the courses. Make sure to use a compass and a depthfinder when entering a foggy inlet from a sea buoy.
To help a man overboard throw the life float flat and without a rope attached. The float will help to locate the spot where the person fell and will not be towed around by the boat.
You have a section of spare hose to use to make a tighter fit between your hose and your fittings, but it's too small for the hose fittings. Here's what to do: Soften the hose by heating the end of it in boiling water and then immediately slip it onto the fitting while it's still hot.
More boaters on the water this season means more boats breaking down. Here are a few tips if it ever happens to you: Make sure your VHF radio is in good working order. When you make contact, be able to provide your exact position by chart, GPS. Then state the problem you're having, and the size, type, and name of your vessel.
When towing another boat, reduce the drag by keeping the boat being towed to the outside of the waves caused by the towing boat's wake.
Use a toothbrush to remove dirt and stains off of fabric on your boat. It can get into corners to remove dirt from exterior surfaces, decks, countertops, and anywhere else that's hard to reach with other tools. It also cleans fast you could clean all day with another tool and it wouldn't get as clean. Soft-bristles usually work best for fabrics, but use hard-bristles for hard surfaces.
One important item to have on your boat is dishwashing liquid - it serves as a freshwater/saltwater soap for dishes, clothes, and crew. It can be used as a hull, deck, and bilge cleaner and for sail and line washing. It also emulsifies oil in bilges better than some "magic" products.
Before anchoring, check the depth of the water and type of seabed. Keep clear of obstructions and approach the anchorage by heading towards the wind. Keep track of two objects close together on shore, and watch to see if they stay in line. If they aren't, your anchor is dragging.
Once towing is underway, you pay by the clock, even if you happen to get the boat working before the tow vessel reaches you. Most companies charge $125 for the first hour, towing insurance is worth considering, and is usually more economical in the long run. While waiting for the tow vessel, be sure to have the correct size and type of anchor with enough line to keep your boat in place.
Every yacht should contain a first-aid kit with essentials such as bandages, cotton wool, sticking plaster, disinfectant, pair of scissors, and pair of tweezers.
The best way to put new hose onto a hose fitting: Hose barbs and fittings are often a little larger than the inside of the hose intended to fit over them. The way is to heat the hose without melting it, damaging it or starting a fire onboard, not a pleasant thing. Professional boat MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) techs often carry a heat-strip gun designed for stripping paint and varnish to heat the hose on site.
For the amateur who doesnt have or doesnt want to invest in a heat gun, try dipping the end of the hose in a pot of boiling water for about two minutes. Dont forget to have rags ready to protect your hands from the (very) hot hose. This can be awkward down in the bilge on some boats, but it can be done. Be careful not to scald yourself. Put the hardest end on first so that you can manipulate the hose by "walking" it onto the fitting, then put the easiest end on last.
For what purpose is the spring clip used (50530)?
A The spring clip (50530) is usually used as a holder for the Lifebuoy Light M.O.B. (70030). It can also be placed on a boat, for securing paddles of 35cm diameter. In case paddles or anything of great length needs to be secured in horizontal position, two spring clips are usually used.
Stop your teak layed decks shrinking in the sun and letting rain in on the next downpour!
Spray your decks with antifreeze! USE A MASK AND GOGGLES ANTIFREEZE IS POISONOUS - KEEP CHILDREN AND PETS AWAY. Yes it works! Spray your decks all over with antifreeze about three times allowing each coat to dry out before the next session.
How does it work?
Well it soaks in like water swelling the wood and - unlike water - the glycol does not evaporate out again, so it leaves the wood swollen and your decks tight! Use it on other parts of the boat to tighten up shakes in the wood. BUT PLEASE -Allways use mask and goggles.
Safety Netting around the perimeter of the boat - How to Installing and Attaching Safety Netting
Towing Tenders - "How to" tips to help you tow your tender safely and securely
Navigation Charts, Selection, Plotting and Stowage
How to Using a Multimeter - diagnosing electrical system problems
A good Tender - The most important items of equipment, Size & Weight, Tender Power and Speed, Storage & Maintenance
Gallon per hour estimates - How to find your most economical cruising speed
Safety Equipment Services: Liferaft servicing and cost
Maintenance and Repair FAQs:
Gasoline into diesel tank - What does this do to the tank, engine, boat, safety
How do you repair a leak in the 14' aluminum rivet construction boat
Maintenance and Repair FAQs - The electrical boat system starting problems
Boat Window Leaks - the best way to tackle this annoying problem
Installations - to add a second deep cycle battery for additional pow
The boat floorboards and advice - How to change to the noise level
Advice for solid fiberglass bottom with no foam or wood sandwiched in the middle
Techniques and retractable designs - solutions for bow thrusters, Drift and turbulence, Lifting Keel with a bulb, a system of adjustable rings, solution to facilitate the work of the steering gear downwind and how to Replacing marine Toilet's.
Boat Registration & Documentation - to learn what the requirements are
Boat, Navigational and Saling instruments - How to make a Selection