Learn To Sail A Schooner No.7
SchoonerSail Learning To Sail A Schooner Articles
John, Trinovante’s skipper started writing these articles after some Trinovante Crew asked for more information on the fundamentals of schooner handling. These articles are not imagined theory. John has written about specific situations that have arisen. Having said we tack all the time so this is quite routine.
Seafaring is an ongoing learning process and John cautions against set piece manoeuvers. You need a plan but it needs to be flexible because things don’t always go according to plan.
Sail Training involves learning how to safely handle ropes, tying basic knots and using winches, among other things. The crew need these skills is to be able to carry out manoeuvres under sail or power.
Full in-depth knowledge of exactly what is going on is not essential, so dip into these Learning To Sail articles only if you want to.
Trinovante must have sufficient ‘way on’ to be able to tack.
This means it must be moving through the water at the best speed for the conditions and be at the right angle to the wind neither too close nor too far off.
The staysail lizard or backing line (red) is secured.
The crew are in position – No.1 to cast off the staysail lizard, No.2 to cast off the port jib sheet (mauve) No.3 on the helm and No.4 ready to sheet in the jib on the starboard side.
Any topsails will have been been lowered prior to tacking.
‘Stand by to tack’ calls the crew to their positions. ‘Ready about’ means tacking is imminent
We will now be choosing the best time to tack, taking into account of sea state, wind shifts and other vessels.
‘Lee oh’ or ‘helm’s alee’ or ‘here we go’ means the helm has been put over and the tack has started. The amount of rudder (how far the wheel is turned) needs to be enough to start a good swing and every one onboard should now be watching the swing of the bows in relation to the wind.
As soon as the bows start to come head to wind the port jib (mauve) sheet is let fly and the sail allowed to blow across as we turn.
The skipper or mate will shout ‘Let fly’. The staysail is now held aback by the lizard (red) and it helps to turn the head of the ship round
Care must be taken not to sheet the jib in too soon and end up with it aback on the starboard side. This would force the bows back round to port, Trinovante would miss the tack and we have to start all over again.
As soon as the foresail shows signs of filling the staysail is let fly with a tug on the lizard. The rudder is brought back amidships to check the swing of the bows.
The jib is sheeted in but not too far. It is easy to over sheet the jib which takes all the drive out of the sail and also forces the bows round beyond the required heading. The crew should not need to use the winch handle on the jib if they get the timing right.
The crew work together to have the boat tack smoothly with everyone trimming their respective sails at the right time
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