The driver uses the tiller to steer the boat.
If you're not familiar with some of the terms or concepts on this page, look them up in the Glossary and review the Sailing Basics page.
Before the Race
- Refresh your memory as to the points of sail:
Figure 1: Points of Sail
At the Dock
- Look at the top of the mast and locate the Windex (wind indicator arrow). See Figure 2 below.
- At the top of the mast, also locate the two boxes.
- The small red squares at the end of the wires are the “boxes.” The boxes are about 30° from the centerline of the boat: If the Windex is aligned with one box and you turn the boat until it's aligned with the other box, the boat will have turned through 60°.
Figure 2: Windex and Boxes
- Familiarize yourself with the engine controls:
- engine connecting switch: push in before starting engine; pull out after killing engine
- starter button: push in and hold to start engine
- tachometer: should never exceed 22 (= 2200 rpm)
- engine temperature gauge: should never exceed 140°
- transmission engaging switch: pull out before starting engine; push in before putting in gear
- note: the throttle & direction lever (F) must be in the straight up position before you can push in or pull out the transmission engaging switch (E)
- throttle & direction lever: push forward to engage forward gear; push backward to engage reverse gear; push up to the sky for neutral
- note: pushing the throttle & direction lever (F) forward or backward will only engage the forward or reverse gear of the transmission if the transmission engaging switch (E) is pushed in
- note: when going from reverse to forward or vice versa, put the throttle & direction lever (F) straight up until the engine gets to its slowest rpm before engaging the transmission in the new direction
Figure 3: Engine Controls
- Procedure for starting the engine:
- Ask a crew member to turn on one of the batteries.
- Point the throttle & direction lever (F) up to the sky.
- Pull out the transmission engaging switch (E).
- Push in the engine connecting switch (A).
- Push and hold the starter button (B).
- When the engine turns over, release the starter button (B).
- If the engine does not start in 30 seconds, release the starter button (B), wait 30 seconds, and try again.
- Procedure for leaving the dock:
- Uncleat and hold the stern line.
- Ask a crew member to go down on the dock, take off the spring line and the 2 bow lines, and hold on to the bow pulpit until the boat is in gear.
- Ask another crew member to fend off the boat on the port side if we get too close to it.
- Push in the transmission engaging switch (E).
- Move the throttle & direction lever (F) backward (toward the stern) to go in reverse. GO SLOWLY.
- Tell the crew: “We're in gear.”
- Throw the stern line on the dock, and tell the crew member holding the bow pulpit to get on the boat.
- Ask the crew to tell you when the bow is clear.
- When the bow is clear, turn the tiller so that the boat points out toward the bay.
- Move the throttle & direction lever (F) forward (toward the bow) to go forward. GO SLOWLY.
- Note: When going from reverse to forward or vice versa, put the throttle & direction lever (F) straight up until the engine gets to its slowest rpm before engaging the transmission in the new direction.
- Procedure for stopping the engine:
- Ask a crew member to get into position next to the kill switch.
- Put the engine in neutral: Point the throttle & direction lever (F) straight up and pull out the transmission engaging switch (E).
- Move the throttle & direction lever (F) forward to rev the engine to 15 (= 1500 rpm) for about 15 seconds.
- Point the throttle & direction lever (F) straight up again.
- Watch the tachometer (C) and wait for the engine to get to its slowest rpm.
- Ask the crew member in the cabin to pull out the kill switch.
- Watch the tachometer (C) and wait for the engine to stop running.
- Ask the crew member in the cabin to push in the kill switch.
- Pull out the engine connecting switch (A).
- Ask the crew member in the cabin to turn off the battery.
- CRITICAL: NEVER TURN THE BATTERY OFF WHILE THE ENGINE IS RUNNING.
After Leaving the Dock
- Get a feel for how the tiller works:
- Move the tiller in the opposite direction from where you want to go (e.g., if you want to turn left, push the tiller right, and vice versa). Another way to think about this: To head up, push the tiller leeward (away from the wind); to head down, pull the tiller windward (toward the wind).
- You do not need to push or pull the tiller very far to turn the boat (e.g., to jibe, pushing the tiller about 15° is sufficient). If you push the tiller too far you will over-steer and need to correct.
- Get a feel for how the boat turns:
- The boat pivots on its keel, which means both the bow and the stern need clearance. Do not turn the boat when either the bow or the stern is very close to something else.
- After the crew puts up the jib, locate the telltales on the jib. There are two telltales – the green telltale is on the starboard side and the red telltale is on the port side. See Figure 4 below.
Figure 4: Jib Telltales
Sailing to Weather
- To sail close-hauled:
- Use the boxes to help orient the boat in the general vicinity of the close haul position: Align the tail of the Windex with the leeward box (see Figure 2 above).
- Once the tail of the Windex is on the box, keep turning upwind until the windward telltale on the jib starts to break. Then steer slightly downwind until both telltales are flowing back smoothly. See Figure 4 for an example: The windward (starboard) telltale is breaking up, which means you should steer slightly downwind until the starboard telltale flows back smoothly.
- Constantly test the telltales by steering up until the windward telltale starts to break and then steering slightly down.
- To tack:
- Push the tiller away from you (hard-a-lee) so that the boat turns from box to box (i.e., the tail of the Windex should pivot from one box to the other box).
- Turn the boat quickly through the tack; this helps the boat lose less speed and get back up to its pre-tack speed quickly.
[TODO: add instructions (or better yet a video) about how the driver should cross the boat; add instructions about how to work the twanger]
Sailing to Lee
- To keep the boat on a steady course, pick a target on the horizon and keep the bow pointing toward that target. (This keeps the boat going in the proper direction, but it is usually not the fastest way to sail along a course.)
- The boat pivots on a dime. If you get in trouble, you can almost always get out it by turning the boat, even if you have to do a 360°.
- When the jib is up, it's hard to see ahead on the leeward side of the boat. Ask crew members to tell if you there are any boats or other obstructions near us.
- Be mindful of the big container ships – sometimes it's hard to tell if they're moving, but when they're under way, they move very fast.