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What can be hard about sailing

Mediterranian sea jol

Mediterranian sea jol

What can possibly be hard about sailing?

Nutting, if you would have asked me before my first sailing experience.

Wind from the south west, mild breeze, calm weather. Small lake in the Netherlands.
We, in hawai shorts, colourful shirts, ray-ban sunglasses, all equipment and 3 man on board.

Our ship, a monster of a medditerranian sea jol.

We were in the luxurious position of having no experience what so ever sailing in a boat. OK, some windsurfing. Beginner luck would help us sail over 600 meter of calm water to a small island where a barbecue was organized.

We quickly found the bags with the sails and figured that the smaller sail should go in front. Our confidence or lucky choice in sail made the owner of the boat walk away. We got that sail up quite quickly and were impressed with the power of the wind in that sail, pushing our ship slightly away from the side.

The lack of motion in our vessel was solved by releasing the ropes to the wall and off we went.

We could have been happy with that. One sail up, slowly moving to the party.

With 3 man in the boat, one manning the front sail a second man handling the rudder, we had one man redundancy. small amount of time was used discussing the redundancy by throwing one man overboard.

But we decided to make work for that one man.

A seasoned reader by know knows that socialism does not work on a boat but we tried, we tried hard to get that second sail up.

Somehow we could not get that sail up, It needed to go on the boom witch had a rail on it and on the mast witch had a rail. But witch one goes first ?

As our Mediterranean sea worthy vessel rolled to the left and right by 3 man trying to get a sail up we unwittingly attracted the attention from the owner of the vessel who came to our rescue on a big surfboard.

The owner came to our rescue approaching us from behind, we didn't see him and were totally focussed on rigging our "clipper".

The owner surfed by, and just stepped in our ship, causing us to react by reaching out to him.

apparently 4 man should not be on the same side of a ship without some counterbalance.

We capsized and went under. The boat didn't sink, but every thing in it did. Sunglasses, phones, portable radio.

The rudder witch was secured by a pen going from top to bottom, fell out when up side down and was terminally lost.

We caused respectable amount of damage in those few seconds.

Lessons learned:

Socialism does not work in a boat.
Barbecue before going out sailing.
Some experience or advice might come in handy too.

have fun all!

Comments for What can be hard about sailing

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Dec 24, 2009
Mediterranian sea jol
by: Don

Really enjoyed your story! From the fact that you published your adventure, you must have had a lot of fun. At the least you had a great story to tell!

I was just wondering about the title "Mediterranian sea jol". Unless I'm mistaken, the work "jol" is Dutch for yawl. The picture above your article of the beautiful little boat, which I assumed you sailed in, looks much too small to carry a yawl rig. Just wondering.

I hope your adventure encouraged you to try more sailing. Good luck.


Dec 24, 2009
The Ferry.
by: Han

Great story, Nameless!

You're not the first one to start sailing unprepared, and you'll not be the last one either. Anyway, I laughed my head off because it was so recognizable. Thank you!
And for now I answer my fellow-Dutchman in our own language:
Beste naamloze, maak je bekend en we kunnen nog lol hebben hier. Ik moest bij je verhaal meteen denken aan het schone lied De Veerpont van Drs. P. Hier vind je de tekst:
Zeil je nog wel 's?

Groet, Han.

Dec 25, 2009
Yawl and Jol.
by: Han

Hi Don and Nameless,

This is an interesting point in sailing history: the origin of the word "yawl", and the different types of boat it represents nowadays.

Yawl is a Dutch word indeed, and was in use since the Middle Ages to describe a small rowing-boat used as tender; with a simle spritsail rig it could also be sailed. This type of boat is better known in modern English as "dinghy".

In Holland and the northern part of Germany the word and the meaning "Jol" stayed the same till the start of the 20th. century, when sail-racing started as a passtime and special racing-types were developed. The German "Rennjolle", the Dutch "12ft. Jol" and the Finnish "Finnjol" (still popular in Holland) were fine examples, designed between the two great wars.

During the 17th. century, when Dutch influence in England was unavoidable, the word jol became an English word too with the same pronunciation, only differently spelled. The type of boat indicated by it, however, changed to a bigger, two-masted type. It is nicely described on: It also gives you a nice description of it's nephew, the Ketch.

The words Yawl and Ketch came back to the Dutch language in the last century and there they indicate the same ship-types as in English.

In SailTube I placed a nice video of the taming of a modern Finnjol, a thoroughbred boat, not an easy one for a beginner.

Dec 27, 2009
Jawl rig..
by: Anonymous

Hey I m the anonymous poster, returning on your question of Jawl rig.

Please understand I am not an experienced sailor. above story was my fist experience.

I understand a jawl rig is a rig on the back side of a boat. A Mediterranean jol, as far as I know does not have one of those.

This jol had a main rig and a "fok", fok being the Dutch name for that rig, I could not translate.



Dec 27, 2009
Hi John,
by: Han

There's nothing wrong with being a novice, your story was fun anyway.
The rig on the Med.Sea Jol is called a Bermuda rig: one mast, before it the foresail or staysail (in Dutch "fok"), behind it the mainsail. The hindmost sail on a Yawl (on a Ketch also) is called a mizzen, hoisted behind the mizzenmast. Difference between Yawl and Ketch is that in the first the mizzenmast is placed behind the rudderpost, where the sail has only a steering function, and in the latter the mizzenmast is placed before the rudderpost, and the sail has a propelling function.
You can avoid being called Nameless or Anonymous by deleting the latter from the field behind "Your Name" and replacing it with your name.
Hope to hear from you again, have a good New Year's Eve (Oudejaarsavond), which I wish everybody else on this site too. Till next year,

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