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                                                     Knots

There are five knots that are requred check out GYC boats.

 

Bowline is an exceptionally versatile knot. It is quick to tie (once you practice), it doesn't slip and it doesn't jam. It can be used to attach jib sheets to the jib's clew. It is a fast way to make a loop

 Rolling Hitch - is used to tie the sunfish halyard on the upper spar.

Figure Eight - Used as a stopper knot at the end of sheets & halyards.

Clove Hitch - Used to attach a line to an object.

 Square Knot - for sail ties, reefing a sail, and

                          Basic Parts of a Sailboat

The common sailboat comprises eight essential parts: hull, tiller, rudder, mainsail, mast, boom, jib and keel. The hull is the shell of the boat, which contains all the internal components. Its symmetrical shape balances the sailboat and reduces drag, or the backward pull caused by friction, as it moves in the water. Inside of the hull in the stern, or back of the boat, is the tiller, which is attached to the rudder in the water. Think of the tiller as the boat's steering wheel and the rudder as the tire. To maneuver a sailboat to the left, for example, you pull the tiller to the right side of the boat, causing the rudder to alter its direction.

If you think of the tiller as the steering wheel, then the sails and the keel are the engines. The mainsail is the larger sail that captures the bulk of the wind power necessary to propel the sailboat. Its vertical side attaches to the mast, a long upright pole, and its horizontal side secures to the boom, a long pole parallel to the deck. Sailors can rotate the boom 360 degrees horizontally from the mast to allow the mainsail to harness as much wind as possible. When they pivot the boom perpendicular to the wind, the mainsail puffs outward. Conversely, it goes slack when swung parallel to the wind. This freedom of movement allows sailors to catch the wind at whatever angle it blows. The jib is the smaller, fixed triangular sail that adds additional power for the mainsail. The keel, a long, slim plank that juts out from the bottom of the hull, provides an underwater balancing force that keeps the boat from tipping over. In smaller sailboats, a centerboard or daggerboard serves the same purpose as the keel, but can be raised or lowered into the water to allow for shallow water sailing.

           Sailing Terms Underway - Talk like a sailor.

Close Hauled: Sailing as close to the wind as possible. (pointing)
Close Reach: Sailing between close hauled and beam reach.
Beam Reach: Sailing so that the wind is on the beam. (90 degrees)
Broad Reach: Sailing so that the wind is behind the beam.
Running: Sailing so that the wind is directly astern. The jib and main sails will be on opposite sides. (wing and wing) Sailing by theLee: Sailing so that the wind is on the same side as where the main is carried. When running, this could happen if there is a wind shift to the side of the boat where the main is. Sailing by the lee is discouraged because it could result in an accidental Gybe.

Tacking: Turning the bow of the boat through the eye of the wind.
Gybing: Turning the stern of the boat through the eye of the wind.
Luffing: The fluttering of a Sail when a boat is pointed too close to the wind or the sail is eased out too far.
In Irons: The condition when the boat is pointed directly into the wind without steerageway.
Windward: The direction from which the wind is coming.
Starboard Tack: When the starboard side of the boat is windward.
Port Tack: When the port side of the boat is windward.
Leeward: The direction to which the wind is going.
Head Up: Turning the bow of the boat towards the eye of the wind.
Bearing Away: Turning the bow of the boat away from the eye of the wind, also referred to as bearing off or falling off
Helms-A-Lee: Notification that the tiller has been put to leeward to cause the boat to come about. (tacking)

Trim: To pull in... as in trim a sheet. (line)
Ease: To let out... as in ease a sheet. (line)
Overtrim: A condition where the sail is trimmed in too tightly for the wind direction.
Undertrim: A condition where the sail is trimmed too loosely for the wind direction. The Sail will luff if undertrimmed more than a slight amount.
Beat: Sailing to windward by means of a Series of tacks.
True Wind: The wind speed and direction as seen by a stationary observer.
Apparent Wind: The wind speed and direction as seen by an observer who is moving across the water.
Weather Helm: The tendency of a sailboat to head into the wind if the helm is released. (letting go of the tiller)
Lee Helm: The tendency of a sailboat to head away from the wind if the helm is released.
Header: Change in wind direction towards the bow of the boat.
Lift: Change in wind direction towards the stern of the boat. A header for a boat on port tack is a lift for a boat on starboard tack.


                        Port / Starboard & Points of Sail

Tack is not a point of sail, but a term used in conjunction with a point of sail to more accurately describe a boat’s course. Tack refers to the side of the boat from which the wind is blowing. Tack can have only one of two values, port or starboard.

A boat is said to be on a starboard tack when the wind is blowing from its starboard side and pushes the boom to the port side of the boat. Conversely, a boat is said to be on a port tack when the wind is blowing from its ports side and the boom is pushed to the starboard side of the boat. Up a boat is running and the wind is blowing from directly behind, the boat’s tack is determined to be the opposite side that the boom is on. When a boat is into the wind, it does not really have a tack since the boom is straight back and the boat is not sailing. Still, this boat’s tack is determined to be the last tack the boat was on before entering the ‘No-Go-Zone’. 

Points of sail are general reference terms used to describe the direction a boat is sailing in relation to its angle to the wind. Learning the terms and the characteristics of each point of sail is very important when learning to sail. Each point of sail has its own personality. Some are more difficult to sail than others while some are more efficient and provide for faster speeds. It is the responsibility of the skipper and crew to understand the characteristics of each point of sail and make the proper adjustments to the sails, centerboard (if equipped) and the crew's own positioning inside the boat to ensure efficient sailing no matter what course the boat is on. These adjustments are a continuous task as every time the boat changes course, its point of sail also changes. This article is intended to get your feet wet on the various points of sail so you will have a better understanding of how to better harness the wind on your next sailing adventure.

Into the wind is not a precise point of sail. It is commonly referred to as the ‘No Go Zone’ and refers to when a boat attempts to sail either directly into the wind or at an angle toward the wind where its sails cannot generate any lift. This angle is generally around 40 to 45 degree mark but can vary dependant on the characteristics of the boat and its rig. When a boat attempts to sail into the wind, its sails will begin to flap and the boat will rapidly slow down. If you attempt to sail into the wind too long, the boat will eventually stop and even begin to float backwards, This is commonly called ‘In Irons’.

Though you can’t actually sail into the wind, turning your boat into the wind can be useful. Anchoring and mooring the boat will be much easier once the boat has slowed down. Also, raising and lowering sails is easier without the wind pushing against them.

Close Hauled - Upwind - is a precise point of sail. It is equal to the exact angle to the wind where a boat’s sails just begin to gain lift and propel the boat forward. This angle is usually around 40 to 45 degrees away from directly into the wind. The true angle will vary depending on the characteristics of the boat and its rigging. This is the closest the boat can sail upwind. When sailing close-hauled, the sails are brought in tight and the centerboard is all the way down.

Also known as ‘Beating’, close-hauled sailing can be a difficult point of sail. In addition to generally being the slowest point of sail as it is, sailing on the brink of the no-sail-zone means that any change in wind direction or change of course could end up deflating your sails causing you to lose even more speed. Also, because of the angle of the sails, the boat will encounter the most heeling force of any point of sail causing the boat to tilt over slightly. This might be exciting for some, but uneasy for others. Due to the difficulty of close-hauled sailing, any boat that performs well under this point of sail is preferred for racing.

Close Reach is not a precise point of sail and includes any angle to he wind between close-hauled and a beam reach (beam reach information to follow). Here, the sails are let out more than close-hauled and the centerboard is raised to about ¾ of being fully down. Also known as ‘Fetching’ this is a more efficient point of sail than close-hauled and can allow for faster speeds. A close reach point of sail also endures less heeling force than a close-hauled point of sail and can be more comfortable to sail.

Beam Reach is a precise point of sail and is exactly perpendicular, or 90 degrees, from the direction of the wind. Here the sails are let half way out and the centerboard is set to half way down. This is generally the most efficient point of sail and can provide for the fastest speeds.

Broad Reach is not a precise point of sail and can be any angle from the wind from a beam reach to directly down wind. The sails are about ¾ of the way out and the centerboard is only ¼ of the way down. Even though you are starting to sail down wind a little bit, you actually lose efficiency from a beam reach and will generally see slower speeds.

Running - Downwind - is a precise point of sail where you are sailing in the same exact direction as the wind. Here the mainsail is let out all of the way while the centerboard is fully up. The headsail will no longer get airflow directed to it from the mainsail and is either moved to the opposite side of the mainsail or replaced with a spinnaker sail. This is also the only point of sail where the sails are actually “catching” the wind rather than generating lift and generally allows slower speeds.

Running can be a very relaxing point of sail. There is very little, if any, heeling force on the boat meaning that the boat is rather upright while sailing. There is also no wind blowing across the boat since the wind will be coming from directly behind the boat.

Often referred to as the ‘Don’t Go Zone’, running can be a very dangerous point of sail. Since the stern of the boat is already “in the eye” of the wind, any sudden wind changes or mistakes while steering could cause the boat to accidentally jibe causing the boom to swing dangerously across the boat to the other side. Due to this, it is often advised to beginner sailors to sail 10 degrees off of a true run until they gain enough experience to be able to safely handle it.

                                               Docking

Docking a sailboat can bring out your worst or your best. Some new sailors feel great fear and trepidation when approaching the dock, while some old hands delight in showing off for the inevitable onlookers. But docking is like any other sailing skill: learn how to dock your sailboat the right way, pay attention to your boat and the wind, and soon enough it will be second nature. Or don’t pay attention to these things and risk an embarrassing crash—or worse.

Follow these steps:

1.    Approach the dock slowly at a shallow angle with the boat completely under your control. If you have a choice, it’s easiest to come to the dock with the bow into the wind or current, whichever is stronger, letting it slow you as you approach. Never trust reverse gear to stop you in time if the boat is moving too fast.

2.    Long before you get close to the dock, have your fenders tied in place on the lifelines, the bow dock line secured forward on the anchor cleat, and the stern line attached at an aft cleat.

3.    Warning: Never put body parts between the boat and the dock! Even a small boat in motion has a lot of momentum and can cause serious injuries.

4.    Step—Don’t Leap—Onto the Dock. Once the boat is alongside the dock stopped or barely moving, step down onto the dock with the ends of both dock lines. It’s good to get in the habit of doing this yourself in case no one else is around to take your dock lines.

5.    Toss the Dock Lines to a Helper? Often someone on the dock will offer to take your dock lines as you pull up. Let them help, but then do the tie-up yourself to make sure the boat stays secure. All too often a helpful person simply “wraps” the line around the cleat in a way that may slip off later. Learn to do it the right way yourself and you’ll always know your boat will be there when you return.

If a current or wind may start the boat moving before it is well tied up, always secure first the end facing the wind or current. If the bow is facing the wind or current, for example, tie up the bow line first before the boat starts moving backward. Then you don’t have to rush to tie up the second line.

1.    Tie up the bow and stern lines first.

2.    Adjust the height of the fenders so that they protect the hull but will not ride up on the dock with boat movement caused by waves or wakes.

3.    Secure one or two spring lines (unless you will be tied up only a few minutes and someone will be watching). In a real blow, use additional springs. Be sure to use a cleat hitch to secure the dock lines to dock cleats.

Warning: Watch Out for the Tide! Most saltwater areas, including bays and even rivers near the coast, are affected by the tides. As the water level goes up and down, the boat rises and falls. If you tie up to a dock or piling that is fixed in height, your lines must be loose enough to let the boat move up and down. In many areas with very high tides, the docks themselves float up and down, avoiding this problem.

But if your dock is fixed and you are gone from the boat an hour or more, a water level change could strain a tight dock line to the point of ripping cleats from the dock or the boat—and setting your boat adrift

 

Race Signals - What do the flags and horns mean?

Sail races are governed with flags and sound signals to indicate flag changes. The flags used are taken from the International maritime signal flag set. During a race and for any signal concerning the race, these flags are defined in the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing but the signal can be modified by the Sailing Instructions.

The raising (hoisting) or removing of a visual signal is accompanied by the emission of a sound signal to draw attention to the new signal. The type of the sound signal (one short sound, two short sounds, one long sound, etc.) is described by the rule according to the type of signal. The usual meanings of these flags are as follows:

Postponement signal

The Answering Pennant (AP) with or without a numerical pennant is used to indicate a postponed race. A numerical pennant below the AP denotes the time, in hours, of the race postponement.

Flag signalNumber of sound signals when raisedNumber of sound signals when loweredDescription
ICS Answer.svg
AP
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Races not yet started are postponed.
ICS Answer.svg
ICS Pennant One.svg
AP
1
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Races not yet started are postponed 1 hour.
ICS Answer.svg
ICS Pennant Two.svg
AP
2
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Races not yet started are postponed 2 hours.
ICS Answer.svg
ICS Pennant Three.svg
AP
3
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Races not yet started are postponed 3 hours.
ICS Answer.svg
ICS Alpha.svg
AP
A
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Races not yet started are postponed. No more racing today.
ICS Answer.svg
ICS Hotel.svg
AP
H
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Races not yet started are postponed. More information ashore.

Preparatory signal

These signal flags are used before a race start and most commonly as part of a start sequence/procedure.

Flag signalNumber of sound signals when raisedNumber of sound signals when loweredDescription
ICS Papa.svg
P
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Normal preparatory signal - no starting penalties are in effect. A boat over the line at the start can return through the line or round an ends but must keep clear of boats not returning.
ICS India.svg
I
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
The Round-an-End Rule 30.1 will be in effect. A boat over the line during the minute before the start must sail to the pre-start side of the line around either end before starting.
ICS Zulu.svg
Z
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
The 20% Penalty Rule 30.2 will be in effect. A boat within the triangle formed by the ends of the line and the first mark during the minute before the start will receive a 20% scoring penalty
ICS India.svg
ICS Zulu.svg
I
Z
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Both the Round-an-End Rule and the 20% Penalty Rule will be in effect during the minute before the start.
Auto Racing Black.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
The Black Flag Rule 30.3 will be in effect. A boat within the triangle formed by the ends of the line and the first mark during the minute before the start will be disqualified.

Start signal

These signal flags are used in the pre-start procedure. Class flags can be numeral pennants 1 ICS Pennant One.svg, 2 ICS Pennant Two.svg, and 3 ICS Pennant Three.svg however they can be substituted to avoid confusion with the postponement signals relating to a particular class.

Flag signalNumber of sound signals when raisedNumber of sound signals when loweredDescription
ICS Pennant One.svg
,
1
Speaker Icon.svg
Warning Signal. 5 minutes to race start when class flag raised.
ICS Pennant One.svg
ICS Papa.svg
1
P
Speaker Icon.svg
Preparatory signal. 4 minutes to start when P flag raised. Flag P used or if a starting penalty applies I, Z, Black flag or I over Z is used in place of P.
ICS Pennant One.svg
ICS Papa.svg
1
P
Speaker Icon.svg
Long sound
Preparatory signal. P flag removed 1 minute before start. Flag P used or if a starting penalty applies I, Z, Black flag or I over Z is used in place of P.
ICS Pennant One.svg
1
Speaker Icon.svg
Start Signal. Race start when class flag removed.

Recall signal

Flag signalNumber of sound signals when raisedNumber of sound signals when loweredDescription
ICS X-ray.svg
X
Speaker Icon.svg
Individual recall.

One or more boats did not start correctly and must return back and do a proper start. The X flag is displayed until the earliest of the following: all boats over the line early have returned correctly, 4 minutes from the start or until one minute before the next start. (The sound signal is in addition to the start sound signal)

ICS Repeat One.svg
1st Sub
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
General recall.

All boats are to return and then a new start sequence will begin. Signaled when there are unidentified boats over the line or subject to one of the starting penalties, or there has been an error in the starting procedure. The new warning signal for the recalled class will be made 1 minute after the 1st substitute is removed. (The two sound signals when the first substitute is displayed are in addition to the start sound signal)

Course change signal

Flag signalNumber of sound signals when raisedNumber of sound signals when loweredDescription
ICS Sierra.svg
S
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Shortened Course.

When displayed at a rounding mark the finish is between the nearby mark and the mast displaying the S flag. When displayed at a line that boats are required to cross at the end of each lap the finish is that line. When displayed at a gate the finish is between the gate marks.

ICS Charlie.svg
C
Speaker Icon.svg
...
Speaker Icon.svg
Course Change.

When displayed at a rounding mark, the position of the next mark has been changed. If the direction to the mark has changed it shall be indicated by displaying the new compass bearing or a green triangular flag (or board) for a change to starboard or a red rectangular flag (or board) for a change to port. If the length of the leg has changed then this shall be signalled by displaying a "-" if the leg will shorter or a "+" if the leg will be longer. Repeated sound signals should be made to draw attention to the signal.

Abandonment signal

Flag signalNumber of sound signals when raisedNumber of sound signals when loweredDescription
ICS November.svg
N
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
All races that have started are abandoned. Return to starting area for a new start. The first warning signal will be made 1 minute after N is removed.
ICS November.svg
ICS Alpha.svg
N
A
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
All races are abandoned. No more racing today.
ICS November.svg
ICS Hotel.svg
N
H
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
Speaker Icon.svg
All races are abandoned. More information ashore.

Other signals

Flag signalNumber of sound signals when raisedNumber of sound signals when loweredDescription
ICS Lima.svg
L
Speaker Icon.svg
When displayed afloat means: Come within hail or follow this boat.

When displayed ashore means: A notice to competitors has been posted.

ICS Mike.svg
M
Speaker Icon.svg
...
Speaker Icon.svg
Indicates a boat or an object displaying this signal replaces a missing mark.

Repeated sound signals should be made to draw attention to the signal.

ICS Yankee.svg
Y
Speaker Icon.svg
All people on board should wear a personal life jacket or personal buoyancy.
Auto Racing Plain Blue.svg
BLUEWhen displayed the race committee boat is in position at the finishing line.