Archive for July, 2008

Jul 17 2008

Terminology: Sailing Terminology for Working with Rope

Sailors work with rope–although we do not call it by that name. Sailors actually work with lines.  The terms that we use for different types of it indicate where it is used on a boat.  I am going to give a quick overview on some terminology.


Lines: The term for the collective assembly of rope on a boat.  You can take a piece of rope, and the second you take it from shore and bring it onto a boat, it becomes a line.

Sail Related Terminology

Halyard: Is the line that runs a sail to the top of the mast–it attaches to the head of a sail. On some older boats, this line may be comprised of wire cable spliced into rope.

Topping Lift: Is a line that runs to the top of the mast (or a partial ways to the top) for the purposes of lifting things.  A topping lift is used to raise a spinnaker pole, and is sometimes attached to the boom.

Sheet: Is a line that connects the clew of a sail to the boat.

Outhaul: Is really a control used to pull tighten the foot of a sail.  In most cases, it is a line attached to the clew of the sail that pulls the foot away from the mast.

Reefing Lines: Are lines that make it easy to reef the main.  If you expect the conditions to be windy, you might rig your reefing lines prior to setting sail from the comfort of the harbor.  Reefing is no small task (especially on large main sails), and having the reefing lines run ahead of time only make it easier.

Anchor and Docking Lines

Rode: Is a line that is attached to an anchor.  This may or may not have chain in the collective rode.

Dock Lines: Are the lines used to secure the boat to the dock.

Spring Line: Is a special dock line used to cinch the boat close to the dock (or the other line).  Sometimes more than one spring line is used.

Painter: Is a line that stays attached to the bow of a ship.  It is a longer line and is used for all sorts of things.

Miscellaneous Terms

Life Lines: Are the lines attached to stantions on the deck of a boat.  Their primary purpose is to keep things (especially people) from falling overboard.

Preventer: Is a lashing that is fixed to the boom of a sailboat to prevent it from moving to one side or the other.  This is especially helpful when running downwind and trying to prevent an accidental jybe.

Thats a good place to start.  I will post more terminology as it comes along.

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Jul 13 2008

Cal Sailing Club: San Francisco Laser Dinghy Sailing

Saturday morning, I headed up to the Cal Sailing Club in Berkeley to do a little sailing.

I have already discussed how I think the Cal Sailing Club is the best value in the San Francisco Bay for sailing.  But, to re-iterate–the Cal Sailing Club is the best value for San Francisco Bay for learning to sail and sailing.  At $60 and 4 hours of volunteer service to the club PER Quarter, it is the most economical–much more like a sailing co-op than a club or a school.

That being said, I showed up to the Cal Sailing Club a little after 9am on Saturday morning.  I helped rig a few dinghys, and around 10am, the instructors arrived and took us out on the bay for some lessons.

We sailed in a Laser Bahia–a lightweight, sport boat-type dinghy.  It is a bit tippy, but has a gennaker and retractable bow-sprit, is REALLY agile, and fast.  The square-topped sails keep the sail area high, and that little boat flies through the water.

A little time at the helm, some gybes and tacks, and then keeping my weight centered for the remainder of the time.

Great fun, great lessons, great people.  I love that little Cal Sailing Club.

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Jul 10 2008

Lido-14: Dinghy Sailing in Morro Bay–Inaugural Cruise

Published by under Boats,Lido 14,The Adventure

A couple of months ago, I bought a Lido-14 dinghy.  I have been plagued with work lately (not a bad thing) and unble to find time to get the trailer wiring working properly.  Yesterday afternoon, I finished an emergency wiring for the trailer, and we were off for an inaugural cruise of the little Lido-14.

Morro Bay is protected and attached to a beautiful estuary called Los Osos.  There can be some stout winds, but there was a thick layer of fog over the area.

We stepped the mast in the parking lot, launched the Lido from the trailer at the public launch, and finished the rigging in the water.

Overall, we spend the day chasing wind (1 – 4 knts/hr) and fighting the ebb.  Fighting is a poor choice of words because it is sailing, after all, and terribly fun.  With an ebb of approximately 3 – 4 nm/hr, our little Lido did a bunch of side-stepping and wind-chasing to play in the bay.

De-rig and unstepping of the mast in the parking lot from the trailer, and a spray-down of fresh water for everything (me included) at home.

As far as an inaugural sail is concerned, the Lido-14 is a tank.  Ours is hull number 216 (you can see the numbers on the hull through a small patch of fiberglass without any gel coat), with original sails, sheets and gear.  The hull is built to a stout thickness, and has a solid feel to it.  It is PERFECT for teaching people how to sail.

The sail did produce a small list of replacement items: new sails (one batten is permanently bent and a bit troublesome in light wind sailing), replacement of all the lines, sheets, and halyards, and replacing a majority of shackles, snatch blocks, and gear.  Lastly, I have a tiny anchor for it, but it needs a rode . . . .

I love that little lido.

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Jul 06 2008

Cal Sailing Club: Dinghy Sailing and Rigging Lessons

The Cal Sailing Club may be the absolute best value in San Francisco for learning and practicing how to sail, repair boats, and just about everything else sailing-related.  In addition to running a fabulous sailing-co-op style club, they also like to barbeque, share with everyone involved, are welcoming, fun-loving, love to race, and even have members who have completed the Mini-Transat–a 30-day race with two legs from France to Brazil solo in 21-foot boats.  Uhhhhm–yeah.

Okay, Saturday rolls around, and myself and a friend roll up to the Cal Sailing Club.  We get a rigging lesson on the relatively new Laser Bahia (fantastic little boat), and then she gets a sailing lesson in a 14-foot Hunter dinghy.  Super-fun!

If you are looking for me during most of the summer, I have an idea where you might start . . . .

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