Some tricks to navigate

Boat-buying-tips - Marinemax Miami

Tricks for sailing that will make our life easier aboard a Marinemax Miami boat.

I always say that learning to “move” a sailboat is easy, but getting the most out of it is another matter… 

When cruising, depending on our sailing profile, or even the moment, we may prefer to spend a whole voyage in regatta mode, continuously trimming our sails, tacking or gybing at the slightest hint of a shift, or we may choose to uncover that cool beer and simply enjoy our sailing, tacking or gybing at the slightest hint of a shift, or we can choose to uncork that fresh beer and simply enjoy the sailing, without worrying too much about that possible extra knot that we could squeeze out of our sailboat, or if we arrive an hour earlier or later at our destination.

Along the same lines, the sailor should always have an open mind to learn. The learning process in sailing is always continuous, either by the use of new materials, knowledge of new boats, or simply because one day we are on the dock, a neighbor arrives, and we discover a new way of doing something useful that surprises us.

In this article we are going to learn some of those sailing tricks that probably many of you know but others still don’t. Here is our contribution:

  • Sailing maneuvers.

When using a full batten mainsail, it is very convenient to make a mark on the halyard of the mainsail to indicate the reefs. This way, when we lash the halyard, we will only do it up to the mark of the reef we want to put on the sail.

It is wise and advisable to always leave a turn on the windward sheet of the genoa. This way, if we have to make a quick tack, we already have it ready.

It will be easier to prepare the exact position of the windward genoa carriage before tacking.

When the running rigging is working, it is very useful to pull all the excess through the inside of the cockpit hatch. This way we have all the lines clear.

Lightweight lines on the shrouds will help us to read the apparent wind direction.

The boom brake will be of great help in the case of carrying winds where the boom is placed more open with the risk of possible unintentional gybes. With just a single line that goes from the end of the boom to a cleat, we can achieve this retention, called retained or Portuguese. 

Nowadays there are simple but very useful mechanisms such as the Walder brake, which in addition to achieving total retention, regulating the tension depending on the intensity of the wind, and forwarding the line to the cockpit, we can gybe smoothly and safely.

Putting a tape on the wheel, right on the track, helps us to know quickly when the rudder is right in the center.

Naming the jaws (main halyard, reef 1, reef 2, etc.) will allow new crew members who are not as familiar with our Marinemax Miami boat to react quickly to all maneuvers.

Mooring and anchoring

The colored markings on the chain every 10 meters help us enormously to know the amount of chain to be reefed or hauled. I also complement it with a legend that I attach to the inside of the anchor well cover.

A conveniently prepared chute with two chain snubbers to the cleats symmetrically prevents the windlass from working, as well as eliminating the annoying noise of the chain working. 

To know if we are anchoring, in addition to all the applications and watches that today provide us with that utility, it is very useful to mark our position on the GPS and check the distance that separates us from the mark.

I still think that it is highly recommended to mark our anchorage; not only to solve a possible anchor castling, but also to warn our neighbors of the exact location of our anchor. To do this, it is enough to take a small buoy, or in the absence of one, a fender will do, to attach it with a line and make it firm with the other chain to the anchor. 

When the chain is strung, we leave the line free, which, with a distance equal to that of the depth sounder, will mark the location of the anchor.

On the hottest summer days, the so-called “ghost” is an extraordinary invention. I call it the natural air conditioner. It consists of a light fabric that is usually raised with the spinnaker halyard by fitting the base to the forward cabin porthole. As the boat at anchor always tends to move closer together, it generates a current of air inside the boat that exits through the aft 

Cockpit hatch.

If we have limited stowage space, a line with a hook at the lower end of the fenders will allow us to attach them to the fender, so that they will be securely fastened and out of the way. It may not be the most orthodox, but sometimes utility takes precedence over orthodoxy.

On days when we are moored in port and there is a strong wind, the crew often complains about the noise made by the mooring lines when they are tensioned. This also happens when we are moored to a buoy. 

My trick is to use a bucket of water with a little dishwashing detergent mixed in and spray the moorings with this solution, and the noise disappears immediately, which the crew of the Marinemax Miami is very grateful for.

Putting a light of a different color, or placing a different light in addition to the mooring light, will help us to locate our boat quickly when we return at night with our dinghy in crowded anchorages.

Do not forget to carry a watertight bag on your dinghy. As I usually comment, most of the anecdotes during a sailing trip usually have their origin in the “dinghy”.