Sailing Charter in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and the Gulf of Mexico

Posts made in November, 2014

Dragging A Safety Line Behind Your Sailboat: Good Idea or Waste of Time?

By on Nov 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

-Capt. Randy & Capt. Bo Imagine the nightmare of falling off your sailboat and watching it sail away without you…  Could a line dragging behind the boat save your life? While underway on long cruises, particularly when including overnighters and single-handing, we run a 100’ safety line off the stern of my sailboat.  The theory has always been that if someone fell off the boat while underway, they would have approx. 15 seconds to gather their senses and grab the line, then leisurely pull themselves to safety. But will this work in the real world?  Captain Bo and I decided to put it to a controlled test.  First, we donned appropriate PFDs, checked the wind, and headed for the Gulf of Mexico.  Conditions were ideal for sailing, but admittedly, probably not the conditions that would cause someone to fall overboard.  Wind was averaging 10 kts, seas were 1-2’, and sails were trimmed to hold a speed around 4 kts with autopilot. First, with Capt. Randy at the helm, Capt. Bo descended the swim ladder to see if was possible to hang on while underway.  After that successful test, we took turns sliding away from the boat while holding onto the safety line, then pulling ourselves back in.  Third was to jump off the bow, watch the boat “fly” by, grab the safety line and return safely to the boat. In true “MythBusters” style, we confirmed our hypothesis.  At 4 kts, under sail, it is not only possible to grab the safety line and pull yourself back in, but more importantly, by just hanging on for a minute or two, you actually act as a sea anchor!  By resting on the safety line, the sailboat quickly slowed down to 1.5 kts…very easy to pull yourself back in, even if you weren’t feeling 100%. We now continue to drag a safety line of 100’ of brightly-colored polypropylene line (it floats, old halyards sink!) with a white float attached.   But only for peace-of-mind.  The ultimate result of the test was to remind us to use jack lines, tethers, PFDs, and a lot of prudence and common sense!...

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What Percentage of the Roller Furling Main Sail is Out?

By on Nov 7, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Have you ever wondered how much to retract a roller furling main to reduce the sail area by a specific percentage? Say, how far to leave exactly 50% working?  We can all agree this would be very important to know in a storm situation.  And obviously, if it is pulled in half the length of the foot, the remaining sail area would be much less than half of the total.  So, how can we determine how much to retract? Let’s start with Total Sail Area = ½ base x height.  But rather than show you three pages of notes made while remembering my high school math classes, let’s jump right to the simplified formula reduced down to: X = A ( 1 – square root of Z ) “X” equals the distance the main sail needs to be retracted.   “A” equals the length of the foot of my roller furling main.    “Z” equals the percentage of sail you want to remain working, ie. 0.25, 0.50, etc.   Amazingly, we only need to know this one sail measurement “A” to find the reduction of the sail area. As an example, let’s say the foot of the roller furling main is 15’, and we want to know how far to pull in the drum line to leave 50% sail area: A = 15’     Z = 50% X = A ( 1 – square root of Z ) = 15 (1 – 0.71) = 15 (0.29) = 4.35’ You will need to pull the mainsail in 4.35’ to halve the sail area. I think most of us will be surprised how little we need to retract the main to halve the main sail area.  We can all agree, it is certainly good information to know.  I plan to mark my roller furling drum line so I can easily see when I’ve reduced the main by 50%! This formula will also work for conventional mainsails by changing “A” to equal the length of the luff of your main. Please contact me at info@AttitudeSailing.com  if you are interested in seeing how I came to this mathematical...

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2014 Was A Great Year!

By on Nov 7, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Thank you to all who helped Attitude Sailing have a great 2014!  This was our first full year as a sailing charter company in Orange Beach, AL, and y’all made it a wonderful success!  Kim & I appreciate your contributions, from our sailing crews to our supportive friends, we couldn’t have done it without you.  Every trip was an adventure that netted us new friends…and all of our old friends were always encouraging!  Y’all know who you are!! So, from Captain Randy and Kim of the sailing vessel, Attitude … Merry Christmas and Happy...

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