Me and my dad bought our first boat, here's our second attempt at trying to sail it


New member
A couple of weeks I shared a video with you guys about me and my dad buying our first boat together, and trying to sail it without any experience.  Although it was a total disaster, the positive response we got back has inspired us to keep going! And here is our second video!



Super Anarchist
I'm not going to watch the video but will suggest you get lessons. 

Of course disaster gets more hits so carry on.



Super Anarchist
SF Bay
I like the demeanor of your dad. 

Your mainsail is a bit baggy. Tighten the halyard, especially in a breeze that will help. And when I say tight I mean really tight. Not sure if you have reef points, but that would help too and you can unfurl half of the jib to make it smaller (not ideal, but better than being overpowered).

In a perfect world you would avoid the gusty days as a beginner, but that would mean you go out less. You got this day under your belt and even made a warm beverage! BTW be careful with propane on a boat. 



hey - they are enjoying themselves, and learning. that's great! 

... and for what its worth i used to race on a Hurley


Bob Perry

Super Anarchist
I am truly enjoying your adventure with your Dad. I'm envious.

Look for a better way to lead your jib sheet. As you currently have it bearing on the stanchion and straight to the cleat I don't think it's right. It should lead to a "lead block" first and from there to the cleat on the coaming.

Thanks for including us in your fun.



Super Anarchist

Get out there and mix it up!   

A+ for making tea.

Micro disasters are what good stories and good life lessons are made from.


Black Sox

Super Anarchist
Dublin, Ireland
It’s great to see you out there and having fun, with no drama to speak of. As @Bob Perry says, thanks for sharing.

So that you continue to enjoy time on the water, my suggestion is that you ask some friendly soul, the guy who picked up your fender, for example, to come out with you once or twice, just to give you some basics. Nothing formal, just offer him some tea and biscuits. A little learning to understand what’s going on might make your sailing so much more enjoyable.

Things I would ask him about

  • Setting sail at the pontoon
  • Points of sailing
  • Head to wind to slow down/pause
  • Unfurling the headsail from the cockpit
  • Cleating the sheets as appropriate
  • A flappy sail is not a happy sail
  • Terminology, “words matter”
  • Remove any unwarranted apprehensions (heeling)
  • What is “normal” on a sailing boat
  • Stowage 
  • Tacking vs. gybing

Now that I look at it, that list seems long and technical, so maybe not. I’d still ask him to come out with you, though.

Please don’t take this as criticism or patronisation because that’s not the spirit in which it’s intended. Like most sailors, I just want to see you both on the water for many years to come and this is the only way I know to help.


Left Shift

Super Anarchist
"My Dad and I ... 

I began with a sail with my Dad.  Many things wen't wrong, but it was all right.  Three years later, we won our class championship on Long Island Sound with my mom and sister as crew. 

The best thing was we got to sneak out of church each Sunday to get to the starting line on time. 

The worst thing was the Seagull outboard that came with the boat. 

The second best thing was watching my Dad throw the outboard into the sound. 

The third best thing was watching my sister get hoisted off the deck by the spinnaker halyard when the kite filled too soon.



Super Anarchist
3 hours ago, SailingNovice said:

A couple of weeks I shared a video with you guys about me and my dad buying our first boat together, and trying to sail it without any experience.  Although it was a total disaster, the positive response we got back has inspired us to keep going! And here is our second video!

Join any J 105 fleet and you feel right at home


Left Shift

Super Anarchist
Did you clean it of all toxic pollutants before tossing?
Well, we got it out of the environment as fast as possible, so that's a yes.  Plus you have to count the subsequent reduction in foul language as a significant bit of environmental clean up.  



Overlord of Anarchy
San Diego
A couple of rigging / sail trim points: None of your sail control lines are right. Loose sail cloth makes the sail shape very round (or in sailor talk "full"). Full sails exert most of thier force sideways, making the boat heel too much, which makes the boat hard to steer. And slow. So, starting with the mainsail -  You have to get the leading edge of the sail MUCH tighter. Your halyard has no mechanical assistance (winch) so the builders install a "floating gooseneck". If you look at the point where the boom meets the mast, there is a track mounted on the back of the mast. The "gooseneck (the universal joint) is supposed to slide up & down that track. and it should have a multi part tackle (which I believe I saw sitting on the deck) attached to the stainless loop on the back of the mast base. In use: slack off the tackle completely, hoist the main as high as it will go (without jamming anything into the top of the mast) and letting the gooseneck move up to the top of the track. Cleat the main halyard, then use the tackle to pull the gooseneck down to get proper tension on the luff (leading edge of sail). Don't be afraid of the load, there is no way you can break the sail unless it's close to failing anyway. You want to see a gentle crease running vertically (in the sail) just behind the mast. Next: tighten the outhaul (that's the line that pulls the bottom (foot) of the main tight). Again, you want this quite snug. Last: do not roll the main up around the boom when leaving the boat, this is just wasting your time. Fold the sail evenly back & forth across the top of the boom, allowing about a foot of material either side. Keep the leading edge of the sail (luff) close to the mast. This will mean the back edge (leech) of the sail has to move forwards as you fold (flake) the sail. Tie the sail to the boom with short lengths of line (sail ties) so it does not fall off. About every 4' is good.. This takes two people, on at the front Luff) & one at the back (leech) and will require some practice & co-ordination to get it right.  The boom roller is to "reef" (make smaller) the size of the main sail. The sail is lowered about 10% more than what you plan to roll up, boom is rolled, then sail is re-hoisted (again, slack off gooseneck tackle, pull sail & boom up tight, then use tackle to fully tension the luff. Like all else on a boat, this tackle has a name: it is the "cunningham"

   For the jib:  Again, there is no tension (at present) on the luff. Same as the main, the jib needs a lot of tension along the luff for the sail to have better sail shape. So the jib halyard needs lots more tension. I could not make out what is on the mast for the jib - is there just a cleat??  The small lashing on the bottom front corner (tack) of the jib may be what you use to get final tension. Again, look up the mast & make sure you do not pull the "upper swivel" of the furler past the top of the foil or into the mast. Luff of jib should have a gentle vertical crease just aft the luff (under no load/wind). Jib sheet routing: the left (port) side of the boat looks correct, the jib sheet goes from the aft/lower corner of the jib (clew) aft & down, outside the shrouds, inside the lifelines, and through a round lead mounted to the deck on a track. Then it goes back to the cleat on the top edge of the seat back (coaming).

   Take off the green line wrapped around the tiller when sailing - it will snag on something at the worst possible time

Try these changes out at the dock in no breeze first - no reason to make life harder

"My Dad and I ... 
Dad bought a second hand sailing dinghy back when I was about seven or so.  He waited for a 'good windy day' then bundled Mum, my sister and I into the boat, and off we went.  As a seven year old, sailing seemed simple enough:  the wind blew on the sail and the boat went downwind.  So I was somewhat nonplussed when Dad tried started to beat upwind and the boat started to heel rather dramatically - I was particularly alarmed when I found myself on the low side with the water threatening to come in over the coaming. 

So Mum explained the concept of hiking to me:  "You have to lean out of the boat so it doesn't tip"  :blink:

Which was odd, because for the entirety of my time on this planet up to that point, Mum and Dad's mantra (drilled into me over and over) was that you sit in the middle of a boat so it doesn't tip -  leaning out of boats had hitherto been strictly verboten. 

We were clearly through the looking glass, though it wasn't until years later that I could put my thoughts into words:  Dad's gone crazy and we're all going to die.



Tighten the halyard

To do that pull the part of the halyard going up from the cleat towards you and then hand the slack down.


-prepare your manouvers so you can fixed any fuckups before they happen (like with the rollerfurler)

-learn to heave to, so you can calm the boat for fixing stuff or handing over fenders

-keep having fun :D

Fun video, nice to relive what it was like learning to sail.  You guys are making great progress compared to the first time.  Some of my best childhood memories were sailing with my parents as a young boy.  Mom & dad had very different ideas of what sailing should be like.  Dad wanted to keep the rail in the water as much as possible and try to capsize the boat just for fun but mom, not so much. Eventually it was either the boat goes or the marriage goes so they sold the boat.  I was voting for the boat myself. :)   Had such great memories sailing as a kid I picked it up again years later as an adult.

Couple ideas for you and your dad if you don't mind:

1) practice going in semi tight figure eights preferably on a relatively calm or moderate day, at least to start.  You'll get tons of practice tacking and jibing and this is also a basic maneuver for picking up a man (or fender) overboard.  Being proficient at this will quickly improve your skills and could save a life.  Or maybe even just head out and do say 5 or 10 tacks back to back, then 5 or 10 jibes back to back.  Repetition is key to learning

2) Practice fender overboard drills. Throw the fender overboard and go get it. You can even play a MOB (man overboard) game, you and your dad take turns throwing it overboard when the other isn't paying attention and see how long it takes to get it back.  Once you've done that a few times do it again.  Then again.  Then again.  There are probably tons of YouTube tutorials on the best way to get a MOB or in this case a FOB.  Get a boat hook to help fetch the fender out of the water if you don't have one already.

3) Save the ceramic tea cups for the dock or the shoreside dining experience.  As you found out when trying to retrieve the fender from the other boat, you really shouldn't have anything in your hand that you can't put down quickly.  Get a travel non spill mug for your tea.  Might be a good idea to heat up the tea before you leave the dock or at least before you put the sails up. Shit can go wrong quickly, best to have both of you available all the time at least until you both gain experience single handing a bit.

Keep at it, stay safe and keep us posted!



Don't bother replying.  People like this are only here to push Youtube video views.  He did not reply to his previous post and won't reply to this one either.