Two retired couples set out on an adventure to sail fast on the water with brisk winds and clearing skies. Brian McNelis is looking to take the ASA 101 course in Norfolk, and Rick Baumler joined him in a preliminary class on the York River. Their wives were good sports to go along.
Here’s what they learned during an intense set of drills lasting three hours and covering 35 miles as we went flying downriver on six long tacks. They had a blast doing it, as others have enjoyed on their Williamsburg vacation.
- How to “find” the wind by getting the sails filled.
- Exploiting the Close Reach for optimum speed.
- Using the Close Haul to pinch in a strong wind.
- Turning quickly to a Beam Reach to flatten out the boat.
- Executing tacking turns quickly to switch the wind.
- Turning jib sheets efficiently to maintain momentum.
- Reefing when necessary to maintain control and speed.
- Working the boat to identify running and standing rigging.
- Learning the terms and names of parts.
- Feeling the delicate wheel when running on a Broad Reach.
- Avoiding the Lee as a dangerous downwind run.
- Executing the Controlled Gybe as a safe gybing turn.
- Executing the figure 8 MOB rescue by stalling out.
- Maintaining 15 degrees heeling by adjusting the sails.
- Finishing up with sails fully deployed for max speed.
Let’s Go Sail
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