Sailing a Flying Scot on the Potomac River

Took a 12hr course in sailing this month. It was a great experience. Would recommend it to anyone who likes a challenge in operating moving vehicles. 

Day 1: It wasn’t windy. In fact, it was simply hot, humid, and sunny. So sat in the water for 6 hours moving at a snail’s pace. Basically did what we could to capture the occasional soft winds, or tried to ride the tides. Spent most of the day learning about the boat (Flying Scot), and understanding what would impact a boat’s movement. So it was basically a classroom on the boat and in the water, without actual execution. Key lessons learned for the day are 1) Tacking towards the wind and jibbing away from the wind to turn, 2) Parallel the boat facing the wind, letting loose the sails to stop (the only way without ramming into something), 3) You can never actually go directly at the wind, but must move up the wind at 45 degree angles, 4) Push the tiller/rudder right to turn left, and pull it left to turn right (sitting on left, port side), 5) Docking requires very fast turning!

 

Day 2: Wind blew about 10-15 mph today, so great conditions! Hot and sunny. Completely different from day one, where every minute was a thrill. Lots of boats moving in and out of the dock. Only big thing I still don’t understand is right of way…. Anyhow main things I learned today: 1) Keep your eye on the target when you’re maneuvering and don’t get hit by the boom while you’re doing so!, 2) Heeling is intense, loosen the main if heeling too much to slow down, 3) docking requires a solid estimate of tide flow and wind speed, so starting from 2 boat lengths away will give you a solid buffer to estimate distance needed for docking, 4) Sailing downwind feels slow, 5) The main/boom always turns after the jib, so don’t get hit by it and warn your mates, 6) when winds are high, do not jib or you risk tipping if the main is not loose enough, 7) Keep an eye on the wind (45 degree) to optimize speed, 8) man over, same as docking concept; ride away, come in perpendicular, behind, downwind, then turn into the wind to slow down. 9) don’t burn your hands by gripping the ropes (lock ’em in).

That’s a wrap until I go sailing next time!

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