I know, I know. I’m always complaining about the lack of seamanship.
So this is a short tutorial about how to let your boat sail itself.
No auto pilot. No wind vane, or electronics, just seamanship.
All boats have different sailing characteristics. The hull used on my boat, a Cape Dory, was copied from the hull you found on Anglo Saxon work boats. This was before engines. The long shallow full keel with an attached rudder was designed for control and durability.
You can sail to a dock or mooring. Heave to and pull your fishing nets, or traps aboard.
I find I can have a neutral helm if I put one reef in the main and run 135% to 150% jib. However the boat has a weather helm for a reason. If the boat becomes over powered or over canvased, she will heel to a point. Then the wind spills over the top or head of the sails, and she rounds up into the wind and stops. If you let go of the tiller, like if you fall overboard, she rounds up into the wind and stops.
So when tying off my tiller under full sail I need to do several things.
I down haul the luff like on a windsurfing sail. This opens my leach, and reduces heel that would cause her to round up into the wind. I do the same to my jib by moving the jib cars aft.You want to spill wind off the top of the leach.
If you look at the video below, you will see that while the lower tell tails are streaming, the upper tell tail are starting to lift. And lastly you tie off the tiller a bit to windward to compensate for the natural weather helm.
I hope this helps you. It takes time, and a lot of experimentation to get it right. Once you do, the boat will sail for hours on her own. Not that Iv’e tested that theory. I tend to do most of my sailing in the western sound. A very congested area with a good deal of boat traffic.
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