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Things Novice Sailors Tend To Ignore, Leaving Their Boats Hard Ashore

Throughout my many years of sailing, too often have I run across inexperienced people who have gone out and purchased a sailboat with a mindset of 'how hard can it be?'. It is not that pleasure sailing is all that difficult, but there are many skills that a budding sailor needs to acquire before he or she can safely operate a sailboat and enjoy the experience.
Things Novice Sailors Tend To Ignore, Leaving Their Boats Hard Ashore 8 photos
The first mistake hopeful sailors make is buying a boat that is too big for their skill level. I was twelve when I learned the skills on a six-foot boat I towed behind my newspaper route bicycle en route to a local pond. You must experience the feel of the wind direction on your face and how the boat responds to adjustments in the sails on a small dinghy before you expect to mange a keel boat of any size.

The second mistake even experienced sailors make, is overlooking the importance of knowing how to properly anchor a boat. I will not go into great detail, but his may be the most mistake-prone maneuver in boating. A single aspect is always evident; boaters do not accurately calculate the amount of anchor rope needed (anchor rode).

The water depth will determine the amount of anchor rope (rode) you need. The rule of thumb is to multiply the deepest water you expect to have at anchor by 7 or 8; determine rope diameter by using 1/8” rope for every 9 feet of boat length. For example, if anchoring a 30-foot boat in 10 feet of water, you will need at 70-80 feet of 3/8” rope. Make sure you factor in the depth of your keel and have extra rode in the event conditions change.

My friend, an inexperienced sailor at best, purchased the 44-foot custom sailboat pictured and weeks later, may as well have registered her as a 'land yacht'. Without enough anchor rode, a strong, incoming spring tide drove her and the anchor into the jetty and eventually hard aground. She laid in wait, pounding on the rocks while my friend watched in horror, for six days before a tide could re-float her. Amazingly, she sustained litte damage compared to the ridicule my friend endured.


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