Sea Scout Ship 502

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Posts Tagged ‘sailing

Mar 1 Racing Program: Some Basics -Given by Nick

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These are the three most important principles every racer should keep in mind while sailing.

1. Sail Trim

When sailing upwind, the sails should be close-hauled.

To review how sails move the boat when going up wind: sails work as an airfoil. Air going around the windward side of the sail has less distance to travel and will have less speed; this creates low pressure on the windward side of the sail. Air going around the leeward side of the sail has a long, curved distance to travel and will blow across faster, creating a high pressure on the leeward side of the sail. As with the wings on an airplane, the two pressure cause a force, called lift, to push the boat in the direction of the high pressure, or towards leeward; This force to leeward is called leeway. The boat is able to move forward because the centerboard and rudder resist moving sideways against the water and will redirect the leeway force forwards. However, for all of this forwards motion, there is always some drift in the leeward direction.

Adding a jib can make the two sails more effective. If the jib is trimmed correctly, it will channel more air between the sails to go even faster around the high pressure side of the main, resulting in an even greater difference in pressures and a greater force.

If the jib is too tight in comparison to the main, it will channel its wind directly onto the back of the main sail and disrupt the high/low pressure system.

To make sure the jib is set correctly for a close hauled close, keep both side’s telltales streaming straight back. If the inside telltale is not flying straight, then the jib needs to be adjusted out. If the outside telltale is not flying straight, then the jib needs to be trimmed in.

Also adjust the jib so that there are no wrinkles in the foot of the sail.

2. Heading

When sailing upwind, you should sail as close to the wind as possible (which, as you know, is about 45 degrees from the wind). You can tell if you are pointing too high if the sails start luffing, meaning that they are not smooth and flat and may have a bubble in the luff of the sail. Remember, when close-hauled, the sails should be smooth and tight.

Keep in mind that the upwind mark might not always be directly upwind from the starting line. Sometimes the wind will shift to come from another direction, and the boat’s heading will need to be changed as well. If the wind shifts, use the tack that will provide the most direct path to the windward mark.

3. Crew Positioning

On upwind legs, most small racing boats sail fastest when perfectly balanced and flat on the water. Certain conditions can cause the boat to lean or heel in different directions. However the weight of the crew can be placed to keep the boat flat.

Because the pivot point of the boat is the centerboard, the crew should be seated as close together as possible over the centerboard. The crew usually sits forward of the jib cleat, and the skipper just behind the jib cleat. This will prevent the boat from plowing (the bow dipping lower in the water) or dragging (the stern dipping lower into the water).

Heavy wind will shift the pivot point further back, behind the centerboard; so in heavy wind, both skipper and crew should move further back, but still sit close together.

When sailing close-hauled, the boat normally heels over to leeward. To counteract this, the crew should hike out so that their bodies are parallel with the water.

Keeping the boat flat in this situation makes the boat sail faster because more of the leeway force will be converted into forwards movement. Recall that the sails create an airfoil that pushes the boat to leeward, perpendicular to the line of the boat. However, the surface area of the side of the center board resists movement in the leeward direction and redirects the force forwards. When the boat heels over, less of the centerboard surface area is resisting the leeway force and the boat will drift more to leeward.

At the meeting, we never got to learn how each of these three principles change for each different point of sail (reaching, wing-on-wing, etc.). I actually went much more in depth than we did at the meeting, so it is a lot more information (albeit much of it review material) than should be presented all at once. So ya know, oops… But I hope it was helpful nevertheless. I probably could have found real pictures for this lesson, but I find Microsoft Paint far too much fun:-) Click on the pictures to make them larger.

Tongue-twister a la Kim:

“How many tales could a telltale tell if a telltale could tell tales.”

written and posted by Kelly BMA


Written by ship502

March 2, 2010 at 22:23

Racing Practice Feb 20

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Saturday, February 20th, was the first Dinghy Racing Practice of the year. Two Laser 2’s were used, provided by Ship 468, instead of our usual Lido 14’s. A windward-leeward course was set up on Clear Lake using Piewackett as the starting line committee boat. 

For some, the practice was a first time experience of racing small boats, while for others, the sail was an opportunity to prepare for 2010’s William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup, a major sailing regatta being held this summer in Connecticut. 

The attendees, Eva, Nick, Sofia, Grayson, Alexx, Zach, Jack, and Kelly, took turns either sailing as skipper or crew in the mock races, or helping administer the races from Piewackett with Mr. Blackerby, Mrs. Bryant, and the Blackerby’s sailing canine, Rio. 

doggie!!!! (bottom left)

During the starting sequence of one race, the two boats approached the starting line close to the committee boat side. The crew closest to the committee boat felt that it was not given enough room by the other competing vessel and shouted “Mark-Room!” After the race, there was uncertainty about what the rules concerning mark roundings actually entailed and whether any rules would have actually been broken (had this been a real race). After reviewing the official racing rules handbook, I found that Rule 18.2 states: 

“18.2 Giving Mark-Room 

(a) When boats are overlapped the outside boat shall give 

The inside boat mark-room, unless rule 18.2(b) applies. 

(b) If boats are overlapped when the first of them reaches 

the zone, the outside boat at that moment shall thereafter 

give the inside boat mark-room. If a boat is clear ahead 

when she reaches the zone, the boat clear astern at that 

moment shall thereafter give her mark-room. 

(c) When a boat is required to give mark-room by rule 

18.2(b), she shall continue to do so even if later an 

overlap is broken or a new overlap begins. However,  

if either boat passes head to wind or if the boat entitled 

to mark-room leaves the zone, rule 18.2(b) ceases to apply.  

(d) If there is reasonable doubt that a boat obtained or 

broke an overlap in time, it shall be presumed that she 

did not. 

(e) If a boat obtained an inside overlap from clear astern 

and, from the time the overlap began, the outside boat has 

been unable to give mark-room, she is not required 

to give it.” 

*However, it has been brought to my attention (see comments) that this rule doesn’t apply at the starting line of a race. So neither of the boats had to give the other mark room.*

 You can find the full, current edition racing rules on the web. I can’t really link to it, but you can find it if you search: “ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012” It’s long, but I suggest looking at pages 2-3, which show all of the start sequence flags, and 13-33, which detail the most common rules. (Did anyone else find it weird that they still refer to boats as “she’s”?)

At the end of the practice, Piewackett raised and stowed its anchor, retrieved the giant, orange windward mark, and followed the two Lasers back to Lakewood marina. While de-rigging the two Laser 2’s, the end of one of the boats’ main halyard (which was not secured and did not have a stopper knot) was accidently pulled into the mast, where it could not be retrieved. Part of the following Monday meeting was spent rethreading the halyard through the mast. Now that the Laser 2 mast is good as new, it is ready to be returned to Ship 468. The next racing practice will be held on March 20th and we expect to use the Lido 14’s. 

Also, for those of you who came to the practice, remember to bring some money to the Monday meeting to pay Mr. Blackerby and Mrs. Bryant for Saturday’s pizza dinner. Thanks to Mr. Blackerby for providing all of the photos.

written and posted by Kelly

Written by ship502

February 27, 2010 at 15:28

Posted in Event Minutes, Minutes

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Mardi Gras Sail Feb 13

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Ship 502 and Ship 468 met up on Saturday to attend the annual Galveston Mardi Gras Parade. But rather than taking a car down to Galveston, the sea scouts arrived in style aboard 468’s sailing vessels Gremlin and Venture.

The conditions for Saturday’s sail included frigid temperatures and a clear sky. The light wind afforded Venture the opportunity to test out its flamboyant, hot pink spinnaker (bottom right).

The two vessels made it to Galveston in time to observe the latter portion of the Strand’s Mardi Gras festivities. Although the parade had already come and gone, there was no shortage of excitement or beads in the crowd. While Ship 502 drove back to Houston on Saturday, Ship 468 spent the night at GYB to sail again the next day.

It is also worth noting that at the end of the ship event, there was a slight difference in opinion among our members. Of the two Galveston parade locations (the Strand and the Sea Wall), our ship has traditionally attended the Sea Wall’s Mardi Gras event. And while everyone agreed the Strand’s Mardi Gras celebration was a fun and enjoyable experience, some felt that the extent of the crowd’s revelry was a bit inappropriate for sea scouting. “The Strand was a little too crazy for me,” reported a 502 member. “I would have prefered to have gone to the Sea Wall Parade.”

Others, however, had no problem at all with the atmosphere of Galveston’s Strand.

In any case, some members expressed that next year, in order to make the event more enjoyable for all, it may be wise to consider opting for the parade that perhaps does not cater to quite as an inebriated a crowd.

Written by ship502

February 19, 2010 at 21:35

Sea Scout Academy Jan 16-18

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Attendees: Kim, Alexx, Grayson, and Nick

Ships from all over the council gathered at the Sea Scout Academy, which was held over the three day weekend January 16-18 at Camp Mohawk.

Those who attended stayed in cabins, met sea scouts from other ships, and learned the skills and requirements taught in one of the many advancement tracks. These included tracks for each of the ranks and one designed for sea scouts planning on going to SEAL.

The Apprentice Track, included a day sail in which the participants learned the basics of big boat sailing. “I learned how to sail and steer a boat,” reported Grayson.

The concensus seems to be that Sea Scout Academy was really fun, really cold, and did a great job of teaching sea scouts the skills and requirements needed for advancing through the ranks.


More Pictures:

Adorable Minature Groundtackle

Learning About Big Boat Sailing

Okay, so these last two pictures aren’t of our ship, but show some of the cool happenings of Sea Scout Academy.


Written by ship502

February 2, 2010 at 18:59

Posted in Event Minutes, Minutes

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