SailMaster - March 2009 Issue

Welcome to the March Issue of SailMaster -'s Monthly Ezine, filled with information on tips, tricks, techniques to improve your sailing as well as stories and my experiences this month!

Welcome to our new subscribers! We welcome you and look forward to you being a part of our growing sailing community!

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Best Regards

Alex Dotsch

In This Issue...

If you don't have time to read the whole ezine, click on the topic that interests you. This month you will find:

Editor's Note

Thank you for reading the March Issue of SailMaster.

This month I wanted to concentrate on a very important technique that Mark and I have been practicing and that I think everyone should try out. Hiking out of the boat can be hard, but doing this technique will allow you to get your bum out of the boat for as long as you want! This is my exclusive article for March that you won't find anywhere else!

I have received lots of very interesting questions this month, the best of which are shown in the Ask The Expert Questions. I am also excited to introduce Hans, who will be helping me answer your questions from now on and I thank him for his help on more 'difficult' questions!

A new regular part of this article will be dedicated our Funny of the Month, which could be a video, joke, picture or piece of writing. I am very much looking forward to doing this!

I am always looking for ways to improve the site. If you see any errors or would like to contribute in any way (Like Hans), please contact me!

Till Next Month,

Alex Dotsch

Exclusive Article - How to Keep The Boat Flat By Hiking!

Hiking can be very hard for some people and very easy for others.

Some just don't get it and are too scared of the water to be able to do it properly and so either sit on the side or even worse, on the bench! Some people are a little too enthusiastic about hiking and so end up dunking their heads into the water when the boat crashes to windward or just get splashed by every passing wave.

Hiking is a very important part of sailing in both very light and very strong winds.

Firstly in light winds, the lighter of the crew or helm will be hiking out to support the weight of the other for pretty much the entire race. In stronger winds, you will both be hiking out and trying to get as much power out of your mainsail by keeping the boat flat.

So anyway in both cases both of you or one of will be hiking out for the majority of the race.

However hiking is uncomfortable and it requires strong abs to support you upper body.

I was having problems with this, having not yet fully developed into an adult yet. Mark came up with an ingenious idea in order to hike at the same time as staying relatively comfortable. It works for both crew and helm.

  • 1. Loosen the Toe Straps - In order to do this technique properly, you will have to predetermine the wind and so if it looks like it is going to be strong and you know you will be hiking for most of the race, you will have to loosen the toe straps a little.
  • 2. Put Your Feet Under The Toe Straps - Now I don't know about you, but I am not very comfortable when I take the toe strap literally and put my toes under the straps. So instead put your ankle under the toe strap (the reason for loosening them)
  • 3. Put Your Bum Over The Side - This seems obvious, but the way to do this technique is to act as if you are sitting. So once your ankles are under the toe straps, bend your knees and place your bum over the side and bring you body up. Your entire body should be over the side whilst staying comfortable.
  • 4. Twist The Genoa sheet/Mainsheet Around Your Hand - I know your not meant to, but it is the only way for people with weaker abs to be able to hold their upper body up and not flop over the side. It also means you can easily pull yourself out of the position if you need to tack or you get headed.

So you are now in a position where your entire body weight is over the side whilst keeping yourself comfortable and being able to get out of it easily. You can also reach the kicker, cunningham and outhaul easily and if you are both doing the technique, the boat will be able to stay level in stronger winds whilst everyone else lets out mainsheet/increases kicker or cunningham, thereby going faster.

Everyone should be able to do it and I thoroughly recommend it for when you are hiking out for long periods of time!

Funny Of The Month

Why Swim When you Can Sail?

Why Swim When you Can Sail?

New Pages on The Website

Types of Sailboats - All the boats I have sailed and my ratings of them!

Hobie Cat - My favourite boat and why!

Beam Reach - Tips, Tricks and Techniques to improve your sailing on this point of sail.

Keep up to date by going to Sailing Blog!

Ask The Expert Questions

To find more questions about sailing, or to ask your own please check out our Ask The Expert Page.

  • To Have The Wind Free - Interesting Vectors Question, which is well answered by our new Expert Hans
  • Tiller extension or joystick? - A fascinating look at the way nautical language has changed over the years

  • Thank you for reading the March Issue of SailMaster! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Please feel free to contact me with any questions about this issue.

    If you enjoyed this issue of SailMaster, please feel free to send it to any friends or family and ask them to subscribe on my website.

    Best Regards

    Alex Dotsch

    PS. Want to check out back issues of the SailMaster? - Click Here

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