Anybody here sail


I have recently taken up sailing at a community boating project. I passed the sunfish class with relative ease, learned the terms and could sucessfully tack and jibe as well as go on a run. I was absolutely thrilled and having tons of fun. I more or less mastered the sunfish in 3 weeks. (winds 5-10mph, w/gusts of more)

The upcoming class is on the 16 foot boats. (seats 4-5 comfortably)

I was told to practice with just the main sail and I had a few close calls with the shore while tacking.

I went out with one of the staff and the jib sheet and well…I feel like I just about died. I controled the jib and he controled the main sail and the tiller. I took the tiller and we nearly keeled over. We even took on a bit of water!!!:eek: The wind was 15-20mph so I know that had something to do with it.

I’m really disheartened. I don’t think I can sail the bigger boats at ALL. I can’t tack to save my life (if I hadn’t been with a staff that may be true) and I really struggle with keeping my head on straight when the boat leans. In my class with two teens (17 and 15) and an older woman 60+ I am the one who keeps my head on straight but I really don’t think I can do this. It’s just so much more boat…but besides racing tricks there’s nothing much to learn on the sunfish…I’ve even taken out the daggerboard.

Anyone know anything about sailing they can pass along?


I grew up sailing! I haven't been in a long time though, amazingly enough, there aren't many opportunities here in the middle of the desert. ;)

Growing up we had a little Dolphin, about the same size as the Sunfish, as well as a big cabin boat (28 feet?). Both are fun, but I preferred the little one, you interact more with the boat.

I think bigger boats are actually easier in a way. There is more room for error and they are MUCH harder, to pretty much impossible, to capsize. And once you get used to it, healing (tipping) so much that your bottom rail is the in water is the most fun! :D


Don't have any practical tips, but I took sailing and canoeing in undergrad for one of my PE requirements. Out of about 20 students in the class, not a single person emerged from the semester without having flipped their sunfish (and themselves!) into the river. :) Mine was when I was jibing. Everything was going great (I thought) and all of a sudden, the instructor goes, "No! No! No! Don't do that!" And of course I got confused as to what he was referring to, and the boat flipped me in. ;) Oddly enough, it was way easier to right it in the pool like we'd practiced than it was in the river--- I had my full waterlogged weight on the daggerboard for half the class and the darn thing still wouldn't right.

So don't feel disheartened or discouraged. :) Maybe part of your problem is that the sunfish came so easily, you expected to have a natural knack at the bigger boats, too? But while falling in and flipping a boat can be embarrassing and dangerous, the experience is important to have, and they have their own lessons to convey. Good luck!


My dad was a sailor ( Navy guy), and we used to take power boats out on the Chesapeke Bay fishing. The only thing I remember is him saying "red, right, return" in reference to the jeddy bouys and our location to them. A friend and i used to try to sail a pontoon style boat in the bay outside of south Bethany, DE when we where was fun, but most of my experience is with powerboats.


To conquer your fear, just learn this basic fact until it is instinct:

When a puff heels the boat too far, ease the main sheet (even if it luffs a bit). Once the puff is past, trim in the sheet again. Keep the main sheet in your hand (not a cleat) while you are learning. It will become second nature VERY quickly.

You just have newby jitters, they pass. Wish I had the time, budget and geopgraphy for sailing still. It's a rich man's game around here.


Manualman. Look for a community boating project. They run $100 to $250 for an adult full season pass and typically have loads of perks. Like they provide all boats and instructors and a sailing partner every now and then.


Here is the thing about sailing. 15-20 mph winds can be rather scarey at first, especially in a small boat. Larger boats are actually more forgiving (warning: the screw-ups can have worse consequences). Heeling over such that you take on water: absolutely no big deal, it will happen all the time. Also remember, going up wind might seem a little harder and scarier, with the gusts and constant adjustments needed; downwind is much more dangerous in anytype of blow. Going up wind, you have forces balancing each other out, it just takes constant readjustments to do so. Going downwind, there are often no forces to balance out the boart from side-to-side, accidental gybes can be easy, booms are dangerous things when going downwind.

But it just takes a lot of time on the boat. Give it a year or two and you will be complaining about 10 knot winds and hoping for 20 knot winds.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit