Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cold weather, sailing anyway!


Thanks to Coaches John Jackson and Russ Robinson, the sailing class sailed large keelboats this week.

Here is half the sailing class sailing the Jackson's Tartan 34 Georgie Girl. This involved the basic skills they've learned, but also some new things like handling winches.


Unfortunately, we don't have photos of the other part of the class sailing the Robinson's Tartan 37 Rampant Lion. But here's a view of the cold wind across the river as Georgie Girl heels just like a smaller boat in the breeze.

Most of the class is advanced sailors, and we can work on navigation and radio communications while we sail.

Thanks to Head Coach Jerry Rezab for the photos.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Autumn Sailing


We've had some weather setbacks, but we have also done some sailing.

Here are two of the advanced sailors, headed out from the dock. They have the boat moving relatively well in light wind.


Here's one of our advanced skipper, sailing close-hauled in light air. You can see all the tell-tale (ribbons on the sail) are showing good air flow, and although it doesn't look as exciting as heavy-wind sailing, this requires a high level of skill.


This is the same boat but now we have one of our beginners taking the role of skipper.

It takes a bit of practice to handle the mainsheet and the tiller at the same time. Here we see the newly-minted skipper beginning a TACK (tiller towards sail).


Light wind can still be fun.

We were lucky to have a warm autumn day, the calm weather was good for beginners to gain confidence.

The sun was already setting and the wind died, so our sailors paddled back to the dock and put away the boats and all gear, "squared away."

 ..... posted by Assistant Sailing Coach Douglas King


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sailing for Mumfest


 A cloudy day, but enough wind to sail.... and good occasion to make a voyage to downtown New Bern!

The sailing cadets, including the new class of beginners, sailed across the Neuse River from Bridgeton to the Galley Store docks right at the foot of Pollock St. Mumfest was in full swing, with musicians performing, crafts displays, and of course traditional fare like cotton candy funnel cakes.


The fleet of 4 Javelins put on a brief display of sailing maneuvers for the crowd at Union Point, then docked and took a break for lunch.


 Head Sailing Coach Jerry Rezab and Coach Jeff Hallquist supervised the sailing fleet from a motorboat, and provided safety back-up. Things went very well.

The advanced sailors had a great time and got to show off a little, and the beginners got in a full day of practice. A great experience!


posted by Douglas King



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Moving forward...


Another good sailing day; and again with a hurricane on the horizon. That is part of this region's weather pattern, as sailors we must deal with the facts.

Because of the risk of storm winds & high water, the advanced sailors did not rig up the FJs today, we left them secured. However we did sail Javelins again today, and carried out a few more exercises intended to build skills & confidence.

Beginner sailing cadet with Coach Gormley, preparing to hoist the mainsail 

It should be easy for you to identify the parts of the boat in this photo

By this time in the class, we should know the basic parts of the boat: Hull, Bow, Stern, Gun'l,  Rudder, Tiller, Centerboard, Rig, Standing Rigging, Forestay, Sidestay, Mast, Boom, Jib, Jib Halyard, Jib Sheets, Mainsail, Main Halyard, Main Sheet, Outhaul, Boom Vang, Cleat(s). We should know at least three basic knots, and where they are used on the boat.

We've gotten a good start on actual sailing skills, so all the terminology for basic parts of the boat should be easy for us at this point. Now, half the class is made up of advanced sailors, and so we are throwing yet more terminology at them! What is the gooseneck???

One of the fun things about sailing is that it is truly a different language.

Sailing conditions were gusty today, and that makes the Boom Vang more important. Here is a crew of advanced sailing cadets, listening to advice and practicing how to adjust their Boom Vang.

Were the advanced sailors disappointed to not be sailing the "sports cars" of the fleet, our FJs? Probably yes. However it was good practice to sail the Javelins.

Now is a good time to go over our Sailing Drills (link). These are both practice and demonstration of skills necessary to qualify as an NJROTC sailor, and also to realistically control the vessel under most circumstances. 

One of the skills that our advanced sailors need to practice is steering the boat and working the sheets together. It was common today to see a boat turn, and the sails either remain in the same place (pulled in too tight for the Point of Sail) or flap while the sailors figured out what to do next.

The Javelins may not be "sports cars" but they can move right along. This one is kicking up a wake, sailing on a Close Reach.

We also practiced STOPPING (link), this is a fundamental skill.


 Meanwhile, the beginner sailing cadets were sailing in the Javelins also, with coaches helping.

Here are two newbie with Coach Hallquist. They are on their 2nd underway session, practicing steering and handling the sails while actually out on the water. This follows practice in rigging up the boat, and will be followed by more practice in unrigging and putting everything away properly. We expect our sailors to keep their boats and gear "squared away."

With a hurricane lurking over the horizon, it was overcast with gusty winds. This photo shows a nice calm moment in sailing the boat!


 We have two yellow Javelins, at this point all cadets are out on the water. For some classes, we have to divide the sailors in two and have them take turns. One of the coaches primary jobs is to care for our fleet and keep the boats in good sailing condition.


 Sailing on a Close Reach, hopefully these cadets will be ready to handle the boat on their own soon.

This Javelin could turn slightly towards the viewer, toward the wind, and pull the sheets in tighter, and the boat would be Close Hauled.

We expect the advanced sailors to be able to skipper their boats upwind efficiently, sailing Close Hauled smoothly. For beginners, this is a difficult skill.


 Time's up, back to the dock, time to unrig the boats and get back on the bus.

 The sails must be properly rolled and stowed, the boats correctly tied to the dock, rudders removed, and all gear put away.

This is part of the basic sailing qualification.


 Yes it's work, but it's fun too.

And well worth while!

. ... posted by Assistant Coach Douglas King


Monday, September 18, 2017

Sailing Today!


We had a nearly perfect day of sailing this afternoon, it's not all bad having a hurricane fly by the coast (H. Jose). There was a nice breeze from the North East, which brought the water level up a bit and does not raise choppy waves.

Beginner sailors with Coach Hallquist. This is their first time sailing, and this was a great day to practice steering with a tiller, following a Point of Sail, and Tacking (link). They both got a turn, and both showed good proficiency.



Our advanced sailors had a chance to show what they could do. Handling the Javelins after taking a summer off.... well, some did sail with other youth programs including the NJROTC... they needed a bit of a warm-up before pushing off in the FJs.

For example, here we see two advanced sailors sitting too far back in the boat, and letting the jib flap for a really long time after a tack. The Javelins are very stable & forgiving, the FJs will punish you for these kinds of mistakes.


It wasn't all bad. Here we see two boats passing each other in accordance with the Right-Of-Way Rules (link).

Most of the sailing skills were on good display. We need to do some practice in tacking, and stopping (link). Some of the gybes were good, some of the gybes were sloppy. 


Here we see Coach Jackson and Coach Robinson, chasing down our sailing cadets to help them tighten up a little. We had two buoys to provide goals for sailing upwind and downwind (now think of the Points of Sail).

This was an excellent day of practice. We reviewed Terminology and parts of the boat, rigging the boats, and got started on Points of Sail and Tacking... the advanced cadets should also be familiar with how to stop.

As always, we also practice safety. On the water, ones' own knowledge and skill and attentiveness are the keys to staying safe.

.... Assistant Coach Douglas King


Monday, September 11, 2017

Welcome, new sailors of Fall 2017


Our fall sailing class is off to a good start, we held an on-land session at the school today.
Head Sailing Coach Rezab gave a short talk on what we will be doing, gave everybody a practice lesson with some knots, then we headed out to a Javelin in the parking lot.

Our Sailing Lessons On-Line, Table of Contents Page

Today's lesson covered 'Parts Of The Boat' and terminology. Beginner sailors will need to know more than this drawing here.

But this is a good place to start. If you go to our sailing lessons, the beginners should know the first three: Basic Boat Parts (The Rig), and Directions, and Basic Boat Parts (The Hull).

Advanced sailors should know all the lessons! There is plenty more to learn after this.

This web site has some links on the left-hand margin which will always be showing. The sailing lessons Table of Contents page is always there.

 When looking at a boats rigging, any piece of it must be either standing rigging or running rigging. This is a good starting point to know the rigging. Halyards and sheets are............ running rigging, you have a 50/50 chance to guess. But it's better to know.

When you look at this picture, which way does you hand move when you say "Halyard"?

BTW this is the same word for the rope that raises or lowers a flag.

Most people think the word "sheet" must mean the sail itself, but it means one of the sets of ropes that control the sail.

When we look at parts of hull, most boats are very similar. All boats and ships have a BOW and a STERN, a PORT and a STARBOARD, a rudder, etc etc. They can look quite different and still be easily recognized for what they are, and what they.

It's nice that some things about sailing are just common sense.

But it's not ALL the same. One difference between the FJs and Javelins is that the Javelin centerboard is hidden. But it is still there, and it is very important.




Another thing we learned today was two very important knots. We will use these knots every time we rig & sail the boats, so you will get lots of practice.

This first knot is a CLEAT HITCH. The fitting which holds a line or rope is called a CLEAT.

What is one of the most important things about all "sailor's knots"?

Everybody knows the phrase "learning the ropes." This originally meant learning the rigging on a ship, which seems very difficult and complex to most people.

Fortunately, our boats are relatively simple. Learning the ropes is still a good description for learning any new knowledge which requires putting things together as a system.

This second picture shows the "Figure 8" or "Stopper Knot".  You should already know why it is called a Stopper Knot.

You will tie a couple of these every times we rig the boats, too.

I hope this little refresher will help, and remember to check the On-Line Lessons for your class.

See you next Monday!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Congratulations to our new skippers


Today was the last day of our spring sailing class. Fortunately the weather was fantastic: sunny, not too hot, nice breeze. Unfortunately, a few of our best cadets missed the class.

The cadets rigged up with no help from the coaches. We had only one boat sailing with a coach on board and he spent most of the time relaxing.

After a sailing around a little to "warm up," we started our familiar drill: Baby Ducks (link). This is a great exercise for beginners and advanced sailors; it gives the students practice and the coach can see what mistakes (if any) the students are making.


Then, we began some serious practice: STOPPING (link). Obviously, it's important to be able to stop! Sailboats do not have brakes but we can make the stop fairly easily. What is difficult is to make the stop at a given spot, under control, so that we can maneuver to a dock or another boat. And it is always desirable to stop the boat in such a way that we can easily get going again.

Here, a beginner skipper has made a nearly perfect approach (on a Close Reach point of sail) and let the sails "luff" or flap, to lose power and slow down. These Oday Javelins are relatively heavy boats and will coast a long way with the sails totally luffing.


Sailing on a Run (point of sail) or directly down wind. The sails are eased out and in this photo are also set "Wing & Wing."

Advanced Sailing Tip- adjusting the boom vang. If you look at the mainsail leach of the two boats, the one on the right has bit more curve. Also, the boat on the right's boom is angled up a bit more. Their boom vang is not as tight. When the water is choppy and wind is gusty, a tighter boom vang will make the boat easier to steer down wind (on a Broad Reach or a Run).


Another beginner sailor making a successful stop. This is one of the key skills!


This photo captures the fun of our sailing class!

We have had about a dozen class sessions, only 6 or 7 sailing sessions. Yet, we have learned the parts of the boat and terminology, the points of sail, how to steer with a tiller, tacking, how to stop, and (very important) the Right-Of-Way rules.

We also have a number of sailors who have already passed Basic Sailing and are either joining in the sailing sessions occasionally for fun (a privilege granted to the best sailors) or continuing an Advanced Class in which they study physics, communications, weather, and navigation... and practice their skills at a higher level.

One of the greatest things about sailing: there is always more to learn, always another challenge.


Passing the Basic Sailing Course means the beginners will be awarded the Sea Cruise Ribbon and they may begin getting signed off on the "Blue Books."


Congratulations to our sailors of Spring 2017

(as we mentioned, several of our sailors were unfortunately absent today)

... posted by Assistant Coach Douglas King