No. 27 - June 1977

SO YOU WANT TO BE A SAILOR

Don Sutherland, no. 532

 

Great: But you want to be a cruiser not a racer!

 

Oh? How many times have you left your mooring on that Sunday afternoon for a sail with the family, found yourself on the most comfortable tack for the wind that day, found several other boats on that same comfor­table tack. "There's one about our size coming up behind us. . . ."

 

What happens? You sneak a look out of the corner of your eye to see what his speed is compared to yours. "If I trimmed my no. 1 a little more would . . .  ? Hey, Mom, pull that sheet a little tighter . . .  tighten the vang a bit . . . Hey, we are pulling away from him!"

 

This may go on for 10 to 15 minutes until someone reminds you that you're a cruiser, not a racer, and you bear off. Now, you might feel a little smug because for a moment you were sailing better than he, or a little embarrassed that you were caught racing. However, you are a little bit more aware of the importance of sail trim - something that is necessary for all us cruisers.

 

The next Sunday you arrive at your boat with the family and all the snacks, drinks, lotions, etc. for your weekly sail. You look out across the harbour and see that the wind is a bit more than you enjoy. There are white caps and the flags are snapping in the breeze. Mom looks at you and says, "Don, it looks a little rough out there. Do you really think we should go out? I know you told me that it's safe as long as we don't take chances and get careless . . . I'm not comfortable when the boat heels . . . What do we know about this kind of sailing?"

 

So back to the car you go for the alternative picnic in the park, all the time muttering to yourself: "All that money invested in our boat and again we're not using it . . . maybe if I took in a reef . . . dammit, why have a boat in this climate - at the best, 5 months of sailing and two of these too cold and blowing, two very hot and sticky, and the other times I don't have the confidence to go out . . . would a bigger boat give us .... etc., etc."  

Is this familiar? It has happened to a lot of us. But what do we need in order to become more confident and more competent? Among other things, we need confidence in our hull, our rigging, our sea­manship, ourselves. But you just went to the park for that picnic because the wind was more than that ideal 12 knots. How will you gain confidence in your ability if you're not even on your boat?

 

Sailing is more than 95% experience. We must get as much experience as we can if we want to get more pleasure cruising with our families - the pleasure we all dreamed of when we put out our hard earned $$ for a boat.

 

All these things I've been talking about happened to me. I wanted more sailing than I was getting, and knew that the only way to gain more knowledge of sailing and of how my boat handles, was to sail the damn thing. But if we opted for the park every time the conditions were not ideal, how was I to gain experience? My choices were simple: 1) Continue to sail only on ideal days. 2) Take up golf. 3) Sell the boat. 4) Change my approach and sail more.

 

Be it pride, selfishness or stubbornness, I refused to accept choices 1, 2 or 3. I softened my scorn and condemnation of those mad racers, and decided that at least if I were racing I'd be on the water gaining experience. I joined a small, inexpensive yacht club and registered for a series of races.

 

Accompanied by doubt, fear - terror - and some buddies as crew, we set out for our first race. We started one minute late and finished next to last in a fleet of seven boats. The boat we beat started later than we did. After the race we examined what we had seen . . .  "Did you see that red boat? He was being passed on that first tack, when he trimmed his no. 1 and started pulling ahead . . . How did that blue boat know where that lift would be? . . .  If we had moved our blocks forward on that reach, maybe . . . " On and on. We had sailed against other boats and were trying to understand why and how they were performing.

 

In subsequent races we became more aggressive. As we became more com­fortable, we experimented with various combinations of sail trim. We experienced many wind and water conditions I would have avoided in the past. We learned how to carry a more efficiently reefed main, how to balance sails for the best speed - and had a ball doing it. I also discovered that there is a Hell of a lot of sailing talent out there on the race course, and I changed my opinion of racers. They really know the local waters, how to anticipate headers or lifts. They can carry the same sails as you; but know how to trim them to maintain drive, but dump that higher wind to keep on their feet. We decided to watch those guys, listen to them, follow them - and try to beat them.

 

My racing started last year, 1976, and I had more sailing in '76 than in the previous two years with my boat. I learned more about sailing, about my boat, and about myself than I had thought possible in one season. I have already registered for the same series in 1977 - and can't wait for the first start.

 

No, I have not abandoned my desire to cruise. I look upon racing as training for my cruising. Laying my course to a flag only 3 miles away and having to round it before that other guy has shown me the need to better understand leeway, drift, variation, etc., all of which will help me in my cruising.

 

I am not a racer. I'm just a sailor in training who is enjoying his boat much more now than I had been.

 

So, my fellow would-be-cruisers, give it another look and some thought. Join your club races. Join the Class Association races. Not only will you meet a lot of great people, you will gain some of that 95% ex­perience you need to become a competent cruiser. Racing is one way to accelerate the learning process; and you may just find that racing is a much better than second alternative to cruising.

 

 

DANGER TO BE AWARE OF: If you should have an alcohol spill burning under your tank, the tank can heat up, explode - spewing burning alcohol all over. Also, you should be aware of how much water it takes to extinguish an alcohol fire by practising in your backyard. You'll be surprised!

 

 

TOPPING LIFT AND A TALL TALE (TAIL?)

Robert Kumbera, no. 291

 

(The Kumberas have logged over 10,000 miles in two years on their T22 and have made two trips down the N.Y. Barge Canal. Robert's wife locks the boat through herself. They have promised to tell us about their cruising.)

 

Shortly after I bought the boat I got caught in a Lake Erie gale. In attempting to use the roller reefing, the end of the boom flipped up and the topping lift swung around the outhaul cleat and caught itself. This allowed the boom to rotate about one turn and jam everything up. With a rocking boat and a novice captain, a sail with a huge pocket, I was in a great deal of difficulty. The whole affair is a story in itself, which I promise you that I will put down in words sometime.

 

At any rate, the mast came down, I fastened 65' of 3/16" prestretched Dacron line to the end of the boom, up to the top of the mast through a new block - which had to have a shackle fabricated to fit in the space that the old topping lift fitting vacated - and back down to the deck. It was led through a turning block and back to the cockpit. I now have an adjustable topping lift which has never caught up the end of the boom again, and which never chafes the sail, as it is instantly adjustable from the cockpit. I also use it to pull up an awning about 7' above the deck which hangs over the boom.

 

We sail with two daschunds, one of which is my foredeck man, and the other the main sheet man. They have gotten known around a few ports, and we have sometimes met people at parties, etc., who say, "I don't know you, out you're the people with the two sailing dogs, aren't you?" One thing I'm interested in finding is netting for the lifelines. So far I've found nothing satisfactory, and would like to hear from anyone who can give me information. Aside from being useful for keeping sails aboard when changing headsails, netting would help keep the two little four legged friends aboard in rough weather . . .  especially the Tiger who will be 11 years old this June and loves to stand in the bow and watch the waves go by.

 

A couple of years ago we were sailing north on Lake Champlain near Essex, N.Y. Tiger was on the port bow, about five feet aft the bow itself, watching the bow wave. We were going about four to five knots on a broad reach in, maybe, eight or ten knots of wind ... just easy like, with nothing to do but enjoy life.

 

Tiger had his nose over the side as far as he could and still remain lying on the deck. Suddenly, a big bass jumped out of the water and made a grab for his nose. Well, the dog's reaction was something to behold! Tiger was so startled that he jumped backwards; and, lo and behold, his hind legs went over the starboard side. The next thing that happened was Tiger sliding backwards off the starboard side with eyes as big as saucers. His hind feet were in the air and his front feet were trying desperately for a toe hold. At the last second before we were to commence a dog overboard drill his paws secured a grip on the toe rail. His hind legs started an Apache dance in the space between the water and the deck, while the first mate rushed to the foredeck and the Captain tried to drop all sail. Finally, the little fellow managed to pull himself back on deck, with will power, strength or whatever it is that is called forth in an emergency. He then pro­ceeded to crawl across the foredeck on his stomach, and carefully, oh so carefully, peer over the port side to see if his adversary was still there. He managed to get in the last word with a faint woof, and then made a hasty retreat to the safety of the cockpit.

 

Just one of the reasons I'm interested in safety netting.

 

 

EN TANZER 22. C'EST EN FRANCAIS QUE CA SE PASSE


PREPARATIFS A LA CRQISIERE: Des le printemps les voiles seront sorties de la voilerie (sail storage area) du club, apportees dans une voilerie (sail maker) locale pour les coutures a reprendre. Procurez-vous un tourmentin (storm jib) si vous n'en avez pas et achetez quelques rabans ou ferlettes (sail stops, sail ties) de rechange.

 

Plusiers verifications s'imposent evidemment au niveau du greement et de la coque. Les gendarmes (fish hooks) seront coupes aussi bien au niveau de l'itaque (wire rope halyard) que de la balancine (topping lift). Un coup d'oeil sur la robinetterie (cocks and fittings) sous l'evier, la sauvegarde (safety chain) du hors-bord, les mousquetons (snap shackle), les manillons (shackle pin), les ridoirs (rigging screws) et le mouiilage (ground tackle) est essentiel. Ce n'est pas tout. Il faut inspecter les plongeurs (plunger pin) des chariots de rail de foe, les goupilles (clevis pins), les sandows (shock cord), la gaffe (boat hook 1 , les andaillots (jib hanks), le demanilleur (shackle opener), la girouette (wind indicator), le decametre (measuring tape), le sondeur (depth sounder) et les filieres (life lines).

 

Le taud (boat cover) pourra etre laisse a terre. Greez-vous d'un goniometre (radio direction finder) si vous prevoyez des brumes vous forcant a navigeur a l'estime (dead reckoning). Nettoyez bien le carre (main cabin) et lovez (flake down) tous les cordages. Mettez de l'ordre dans la penderie (hanging locker) et degagez les passa­vants (side decks). Il faut que le capot (hatch cover) soit bien etanche, ainsi que les cadenes (chain plates). Les clans (masthead sheave) auront ete huiles avant de mater (step the mast), et le capelage (rigging eyes) verifie. L'achat d'une capote (spray hood) est a considerer, pour les jours de pluie.

 

 

ITEMS FOR YOUR FIRST AID KIT

Mort Levy (an ex-T22er and a pharmacist. Still.)

 

Absorbent cotton (sterile)

Adhesive compress

Adhesive tape and band aids

Aromatic spirits of ammonia

Aspirin. No more than 12 tablets and keep the rest under lock and key if there are children.

Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

Bandage compresses, packaged, sterile.

Bottle of syrup of ipecac, 1 oz.

Bulb syringe (one, large)

Can of activated charcoal

Eye cup and eye dropper

Fever thermometer (rectal and mouth)

Flashlight

Gauze compresses or pads, packaged (sterile); self-adhering gauze bandage - Gauztex)

Muslin square 40" x 40" for triangular bandage.

Vaseline & one tube of antiseptic ointment.

Roll gauze bandage: 1", 2" & 3" widths Roll elastic bandage

Rubbing alcohol and antiseptic solution.

Safety pins

Scissors with small blunt points

Tongue blades

Tourniquets (rubber tubing)

Tweezers

 

 

VDO KNOTMETER/LOG INSTALLATION

(From the you-asked-John Charters-answered files)

 

For my money, the VDO is the best knot meter/log on the market. I would not trade it for the most expensive electronic ones. However, I must admit that not all skippers agree with me. Different folks, different strokes.

 

First, the impeller. I've' installed three. (The first time - on my first Tanzer 22 - I mounted the unit too far aft, and it did not give an accurate reading. So I had to plug the hole and start over!) Mount it as far forward as you can, but in such a spot that the cable exits into the sail locker area. A couple of inches to the left or right of the hull centreline. The front of the impeller unit should be about 50" from the transom, right beside the cockpit drain hole.

 

In Tanzer no. 53 I mounted the instrument head on the forward face of that "seat" across the aft end of the cockpit. This made a neat and easy installation. However, as the seat faces forward, you can't see it unless you look back. Half the fun of a knot meter is watching needle shoot up to 7 and 8 knots when you surf on a wave.

 

On Tanzer no. 1000 I decided I'd locate the instrument head up forward so I could see it from my normal position at the helm. It is located on the starboard side of the cabin bulkhead, just beside the companion­way. If you favour this location, you will need the optional right angle drive so that the valve leaves the back of the instrument heading down, instead of straight out. When this cable leaves, it is lead down beside that teak strip beside the companionway, makes a nice gentle curve down between the starboard berth cushion and that well aft of the companionway step, through a small hole into the sail locker, and into the impeller. Be sure to caulk this hole up well so that water in the sail locker won't find its way into the cabin when the boat heels.

 

It is important to follow the instructions, especially as regards the curve that the cable makes. The fewer the better, and the gentler the better. Warning: don't replace the cable with one supplied for a VW. It'll fit fine and work for awhile, but will eventually break. Ask the Rantis! (Answer: It breaks exactly on 1200 miles each time.)

 

 

HEADS - from GEARTEST

 

Unless specifically recommended by the manufacturer, avoid soft papers. Do not allow detergents, bleaches, etc. to lie within the pump for long periods (e.g. during the week while you're ashore.)

 

Probably best of those rated for a Tanzer 22 would be the HEADLAND by Raritan. It has no guarantee and the instructions are not very, good, but it is reasonable in price, simple to operate and well made. Best materials are found in the BABY BLAKE which has a double pump mechanism - complicated, but justified. It is heavy, however, and access to nuts and bolts for dismantling is awkward. Blockages are very rare. Use hard paper. Avoid the BALL-HEAD - too awkward to use and too small for an adult. The Wilcox-Crittenden HEADMATE is excellent except that the flushing action is not very strong. However, instructions are excellent and it is simple to operate and maintain. Good quality materials. GLYCOL may be used, but other materials used as anti- freeze may attack the valves. The Simpson-Lawrence Standard is simple, old fashioned, almost unblockable, hard to clean and maintenance almost requires a professional. The S-L 400 is easy to service, however. It also requires an anti-siphon bend fitted to the outlet. Use soft paper. The Raritan WATERLOO is basically similar to HEADLAND, but the pump is inadequate and the materials are not top quality. Maintenance is easy and it's an inexpensive head.

 

 

THE ROLLING HITCH - a MOST useful knot! When you have a mess on a winch - crossed or over riding turns - and all Hell is breaking loose: throw a rolling hitch on the tensioned part, take it to another winch to take the tension off the fouled sheet, and then you can loosen up and remove the crossed turns. By the way, wait to put the final turn on the winch until you really need it, stand so that you pull from a decent angle, and you will usually avoid crossed turns. You can also hang up your anchor light with a rolling hitch and it won't slide down. Or hang up the skipper's swimming suit by tying the waist string around the back stay.

 

When made so that the pull comes across the two diagonal turns, it grips.

 

Say to yourself, to remember how to tie it: two under and once over.

 


 

NOISY MAST? Lines or wires tickling the inside of your mast? We've tried everything we've read and can report that our mast is silent. Until lights out. Now we're trying the new trick of Tanzer Industries: Tying strips of thin foam rubber around the offending wire. Space-age baggywrinkle, if you will. Before withdrawing the wire, tie a messenger line to it. It's lots more fun threading your mast again with the messenger line to pull on. So far, lights on or off, our mast is quiet. Will report again at summers end. A friend is using foam hair curlers to encase his wires.

 

 

NAIL THAT JENNY QUICKLY: To lash a headsail to the deck presto, and keep it from thrashing around, get yourself some shock cord, 2 eye straps and a little lashing hook or little fairlead hook. Attach forward one eye - about l' aft the stem, either port or starboard side. Attach the other eye strap about where the clew of your jenny or jib comes on the deck, close to rail. Lead shock cord through, knotting both ends and keeping the cord under a bit of tension. Install the lashing hook one-half way between. To muzzle your sail, reach under it, after dropping it, and pull the shock cord over the sail and into the little hook.

 

 

DUCT TAPE: Comes in 2" widths and is aluminum coloured. It's cheap, waterproof, tough, not ugly, can be used as temporary chafing gear. Seals polyethylene and vinyl. Good emergency sail cloth repair. Stops leaks in hoses. Is good for wrapping turnbuckles - and will come off when you want it off.

 

 

PROTECT YOUR BOOT TOP FROM HARBOR GOO: Sometimes you find yourself in an oily harbour or seaway, or mucky canal . . . spray around your boot top with the same stuff used in the galley to keep food from sticking to the frying pan. It's also good on your anchor to keep mud from sticking so tenaciously.

 

 

CHECK your standing rigging by running over it with a piece of paraffin wax. It'll catch on any snags and save your hands. Some Tanzers are now old enough so that all standing rigging and sheaves, turnbuckles, etc. should be thoroughly checked.

 

 

HAVE YOU WIRED AND TAPED THE ENDS OF YOUR SPREADER? Lubricate mast head sheaves at the pivot with dry graphite. Check your tangs for cracks . . .  and running lights.

 

 

Comments