Leaving a Mooring or Dock: Sailing a Triangular Course

Sailing Terms Leaving a Mooring Under Sail  A mooring is a stationary anchor for a boat. Instead of anchoring your boat each time after you have sailed, you simply tie up to a mooring. This is most appropriate for those who keep their boat in one area such as a harbor or right in front of their home. A mooring consists of three parts…a buoy at the top attached to a chain which is attached to a weight on the bottom. Once the sails are up and you’re ready to go, follow these steps to leave a mooring.

1. The crew walks to the bow of the boat.2. Uncleat the mooring line from the boat. 3. With mooring line in hand, walk back to the cockpit on the windward side of the boat, pulling the mooring line. This will force the bow to fall off the wind. 4. The skipper heads down and the crew pulls in the main. 5. Let go of the mooring line, watching out for moored boats and other obstructions as you sail off.

Leaving a Dock When leaving a dock, always step into the center of the boat and lower the centerboard. Head the boat into the wind when raising the sail to leave. This is a very important thing to remember! If the wind is coming directly perpendicular to the pier, raise the sail. Have the helmsperson keep the tiller in the center while the crew givesa tremendous push at the bow.Keep the tiller in the middle until the boat has cleared the dock. The put the tiller onto the side of the boat in which you want the bow to go. Hold it there until the bow is off the wind. Then quickly pull the tiller back, trim the sail and go. If the wind is coming at angles other than perpendicular, push the bow away from the dock, head down and sail away!

Sail a Triangular Course The purpose of sailing a triangular course is to practice all of the Points of Sail… Beating to windward, Reaching and Running. In sailing this course, you will also use both Coming About and Jibing. Get in your boat and do this excersise: Go to a place that has three buoys forming a triangle. If you cannot find one, make your own course.  This is demonstrated and included on our Learn to Sail Vol 2 App and our Learn to Sail CD

Step 1. Start at buoy #1, the leeward mark. Your next buoy, #2, is directly upwind, or windward. This leg of the course is where you will need to beat.

Step 2. Round buoy #2 with the buoy on your port side.

Step 3. Between buoys #2 and #3 proceed on a reach.

Step 4. Jibe around buoy #3.

Step 5. Proceed on a reach to buoy #1 and round it.

Step 7. Proceed on a beat again to buoy #2 and round it, then proceed on a run.

Sailing Terms

Fore, Forward-Toward the bow of the boat.
Foul-When a line ends up somewhere it does not belong and becomes jammed. Lines can foul on blocks, winches and other objects on a boat.
Furl-To lower a sail. Sails are sometimes partially furled to reduce the amount of sail area in use without completely lowering the sail. This is known as reefing.
Moor-To attach a boat to a mooring, dock, post, anchor, etc.
Mooring-A place where a boat can be moored. Usually, a buoy marks the location of a firmly set anchor.
Mooring buoy-A buoy marking the location of a mooring. Usually attached to an anchor by a small pendant.
Mooring line-A line used to secure a boat to an anchor, dock or mooring.
Mushroom anchor-A type of anchor with a heavy, inverted mushroom-shaped head. Mushroom anchors are used to anchor in mud and other soft ground.

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