Virtual Training Session 1 – ‘How Boats Move and Stop’

Here’s a recording of what happened in the first Virtual Training session:

If you want to try out the ‘Coming alongside’ exercise yourself here is the picture of the boats without the sails
… and the completed one with the answers.

Being able to start and stop the boat is really important so you need to learn it as soon as possible.

Starting the boat off is usually not that difficult – as long as your boat isn’t pointing directly into the wind all you need to do is pull the big rope (the ‘sheet’) in a bit, the wind will fill the sail and you’re off!

Stopping the boat is quite another matter and it is not at all obvious without thinking about it – there’s no brake in a boat (and very few dinghies have anchors so you can’t even throw one of those over the side)! There are 2 things you need to think about doing and, quite often, you will need to do both:

  1. Turn the boat into the wind (ie Turn so the wind is blowing straight at you over the front of the boat). This is the only real way of stopping a boat so practice it a lot! As it happens, turning the boat into the wind will usually (because of the direction of the wind) also have the effect of doing the second thing, which is to:
  2. Let the sail go out (ie Let go of the rope, or at least let it go out a bit). In the same way that pulling the rope in speeds the boat up, letting it go reduces the amount of wind in the sail and slows the boat down.
    (Just a small not here that letting the sail out doesn’t always slow you down but we’ll get to that a bit later on once you’ve got the basics sorted!)

The simple thing to remember is to move BOTH of your hands AWAY from you to slow down. This has the effect of both letting the rope out (reducing the power in the sail) and moving the rudder arm away from you which turns the boat into the wind. (Just stop turning when the wind is blowing in your face and the sail is flapping or you’ll end up going too far)

If all else fails:
Let go of the rope completely but keep hold of the Rudder (Tiller).

To Session 2

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