More useful info. As Uncle Al says, you can try to put quantitative
numbers on everything but in reality there's nothing like figuring it out
Regards - DICK 
PS I the one thing that I forgot to mention to Dick Bulova in my
original response is that the CB needs to be all the way up, or nearly
so, when jibing. Already knowing that it was windy when he tacked out
from shore Dick should have automatically kicked up the CB as a
precaution. With the board up the boat is free to slip sideways and will
not "trip" over the board.




Re: Problem with my Wayfarer


"Al Schonborn" <>


Sun, 7 Oct 2001 01:14:08 -0400





"Harrington, Dick W887" <>


Hi, Dick!


Sorry to take so long to reply but somehow, this letter got lost in the shuffle until I was working on the October 15th Cruise News tonight! I notice that Dick Harrington has already answered your questions very nicely which will leave me once again to add my two cents' worth in red below. Best regards,


Uncle Al (W3854)


----- Original Message -----

From: Dick Bulova <>

To: Al Schonborn <>

Sent: Friday, September 14, 2001 3:28 PM

Subject: Re: Problem with my Wayfarer


> Thanks so very much for the solid advice on the problems I encountered
> recently with my boat.  Your comments along with those provided by Dick
> Harrington pretty much have solved the problem from reoccurring.
> If I can throw one more at you (I've already cc'd Harrington):
> When I was out on the Potomac the other day, I made two mistakes that I
> hope not to repeat.  The first was sailing close to the wind
> along the shoreline, and finding myself being pushed into the shore.  My
> sail seemed full and wasn't luffing, so I erroneously thought I was
> progressing OK, albeit slowly.  I've done this before, so obviously have
> still to learn something.  I finally tacked at a 90 angle, and that
> got me away from the shore with only a few hull scrapes which will have
> to be
> touched up. 

Dick H. covered this one perfectly. The more experience you get, the closer you'll be able to cut things, but for the moment I would be tempted to play it safe and simply stay away from tricky situations by thinking well ahead. If you got hull scrapes, you simply got in too close. Until you've expanded your experience, it will likely be wise to be on the cautious side of things. I do have a story that might cheer you up though:


In 1989, I was sailing a Wayfarer borrowed from a friend in the UK Nationals at Looe in Cornwall. After the first day's racing in 15 to 18 knot winds, we were not overly satisfied with our result but I saw a chance to recoup some glory for Canada when noticed the Brits were sailing into the club 200 yards up from the river mouth very cautiously and taking their spinnakers down really early. I decided that we would plane in under spinnaker in a blaze of glory. It was a perfect broad reach. Alas, a sudden centreboard clunk made look down. We were planing in 6 inches of water - over rocks (rounded and small, thank God)!!! All I was able to impress anyone with was my instant (barefoot) leap into ankle deep water and the ability to bring one Wayfarer under spinnaker to a nearly instant stop using adrenaline alone! We got a couple of scrapes out of that one, but nothing serious, thank goodness.


Moments later, in trying to correct my course, I got into an
> accidental jibe (lost my hat on that one!).  In a flash, my boat was
> screeching along at high speed and at an angle sufficient to have water pouring
> in over the side.   Somehow, I managed to regain control, but both I and my
> passenger were sufficiently shaken to where I dropped the sails and
> motored back into the marina.   Is there some action I should have immediately
> taken when it seemed like I could capsize?  Steer? (which way?),  pull in the sail?

As Dick has mentioned, a gybe in any kind of a breeze should be an S-gybe - see Accidental gybes by their very nature, will not be such controlled gybes. Thus, the real key is to fear accidental gybes to the extent that you are always conscious of their becoming a possibility if you bear away too much. Again, the important thing is to think ahead. If I'm not racing and it's capsize weather, I try to sail off the wind in such a way that the jib remains filled on the leeward side. If it becomes wind starved from being blanketed by the mainsail, that is an indicator we're getting close to a dead run and, little after that, accidental gybe territory.

Once your boat has accidentally gybed, you have two possible situations:

  1. if you've lost your grip on the tiller, all you can do is dive for the high side and let your sails go. If that is done quickly enough to level the boat back out, you should grab the tiller and regain control. If the surroundings permit, this would be a good time to heave to with the board full up, and have a drink or just take a few minutes' deep breaths, tell jokes or whatever will calm your nerves.
  2. if you retain steerage, i.e. control of the tiller, you want to do what Dick recommends: very briefly steer as though you want to gybe back again so as to put the hull back under the sails and then sail a straight course - a nice simple beam reach until your heart stops pounding.

PS: I know you didn't ask me this, but I wanted to mention that rig tension gauges are in my opinion, not necessary. Go by the second part of what Dick says: check the leeward shroud while sailing closehauled (in any wind strength!) if your rig tension worries you - I must confess, days go by when I never even look at my leeward shroud. Do you use a magic box on your jib halyard? I would imagine not, since that is a racer's tool mostly. What most of the experts do is have a fairly loose forestay so that the boat and her rig are not under constant tension ashore. The jib halyard is then normally what sets your rig tension - the tighter you pull it up, the tighter your whole rig becomes as the jib luff wire tries to pull the mast forward and the shrouds resist this pull. Except in the upper echelons of racing, any rig tension from high C to the bass notes will work just fine and be perfectly safe. 


Good luck from Uncle Al (W3854) 

> Thanks!
> Dick Bulova
> W2550
Falls Church, VA