Written by America's foremost instructional authority, the new edition of Sailing Fundamentals combines the training programs of the American Sailing Association and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. The official learn-to-sail manual of the American Sailing Association, it is also used in the programs of many yacht clubs, colleges, and sailing groups. Unlike most introductory sailing books, which reflect the biases and idiosyncrasies of their authors, Sailing Fundamentals has been extensively pretested by ASA professional instructors to ensure that it offers the fastest, easiest, most systematic way to learn basic sailing and basic coastal cruising. This book covers every aspect of beginning sailing -- from hoisting sail to docking and anchoring -- and specifically prepares the learner to qualify for sailing certification according to international standards. Widely acclaimed author Gary Jobson has won several major races, including the 1977 America's Cup victory as tactician aboard Courageous. He was head sailing coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, and has conducted sailing clinics across the country. Illustrated step-by-step in two colors with over 150 line drawings and photographs.
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July 31, 1998
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Excerpt from Sailing Fundamentals by Gary Jobson
Chapter Two: Skills Afloat
Boarding a sailboat for the first time is an exciting experience for everyone, but it can be traumatic. This is normal. Be careful when boarding a boat; even experienced sailors have fallen in the water. Always wear nonskid deck shoes for better footing, and also to protect the deck. Wearing socks with your shoes will increase traction.
Board the boat quickly. To steady yourself, hold onto a shroud or rail while stepping on board, or hold the steadying hand of a person already on the boat. Don't step from dock to deck with an armful of gear. Pass your gear across to the boat first. Step into the boat as close to the middle (between bow and stem) as you can. On smaller boats it is imperative to step into the middle of the boat while keeping your weight low. It often helps to put the centerboard down to give the boat added stability while you're loading. Keep the deck clear by stowing your gear as it is passed on board. Most importantly, relax when boarding, but don't take unnecessary chances. Falling into the water between the boat and dock can be dangerous because a wave might push the boat back against the dock, causing you injury.
Each crew member should have a specific place to sit when the boat is leaving the dock and when it's under way. Make sure the helmsman has room to move the tiller, and always keep your head low to avoid being hit by the boom. Normally, most of the crew weight is kept at the beamiest (widest) part of the boat.
The helmsman has to sit near the tiller. He or she should try to sit so the hiking stick is at a 90 degree angle to the tiller. On a boat with a wheel, it is best to stand while steering. This gives the helmsman a better view of the sails and the boat's heading.
Run through all the motions of boarding on land first, then practice from a dock to get the feeling of the boat in the water.
It is now time for your first sail. Use the following checklist to ensure that all required equipment is on board and that the boat is properly prepared to sail.
1. Check the weather report.
2. Open hatches and ventilate the boat. Check below. If gasoline, stove fuel, or a holding tank for the head (toilet) are on board, the crew must check to make sure there are no fumes present before any flames are lit or the engine is started.
3. Check bilges and pump. The floor boards in the bottom of the boat should be lifted. They cover the bilge (the lowest part of the interior of the boat), and water will collect there from the natural "sweating" of a closed boat or from rain. Water will also seep in around loose keel bolts (the bolts that attach the keel to the boat). Use the bilge pump or a bucket and sponge to empty the bilge so the water won't slosh around while you're sailing.
4. Make sure there is one PFD (personal flotation device or life jacket) for each person aboard, plus one Type IV.
5. Stow all gear in a safe, accessible place. Equipment must be close at hand in case of an emergency. Loose gear may roll around and injure someone during the sail. Be sure gear is stowed securely so it doesn't fall into the cabin when the boat heels over.
6. Make sure that the horn or whistle is operational.
7. Plan the day's sail and course.
8. Check the rigging and sails. Are the halyards clear and the sails ready to go up? Are the battens in their pockets? It is important that all lines be uncoiled and ready so they do not foul up in a block while you are attempting to leave the dock.
9. Assign specific jobs to each member of the crew and spell out the goal for the day.
ATTACHING THE SAILS
The mainsail may be furled (folded or rolled) on the boom, secured with sail ties, and protected with a sail cover, or it may be stored off the boom, folded and kept in a sail bag below. Newer Mylar and Kevlar sails are best rolled when lowered. This keeps the material from cracking. In either case, there are several steps necessary to prepare the mainsail for hoisting.
If the sail is off the boom, it will be taken out of the bag and laid along the deck. The crew will feed the clew into the groove in the boom. The sail will then be slid onto the boom until the tack is at the gooseneck (the fitting that attaches the boom to the mast). The tack pin (the pin that holds the tack of the sail to the boom) will be attached, as well as the outhaul (the line that attaches to the clew and is used to tension the foot of the sail).
If the mainsail is stored on the boom, the crew simply has to remove the sail cover, feed the luff into the groove of the mast, and attach the main halyard shackle to the head of the sail. Ensure that the battens are in the batten pockets, flexible end first. The crew should take up any slack from the halyard.
The jib is always stored in a sail bag when not in use. To set the jib, remove it from the sail bag and spread it on the foredeck. Locate the head, tack, and clew of the sail, the head being the narrowest angle of the three corners. Many sailmakers will mark the corners of the sail with head, tack, and clew. If this has not been done, it is easy to do with an indelible marker and provides an easy reference.
The luff of the jib will usually be hanked (with small brass or plastic snap fittings on the jib) onto the headstay and the jib sheets will be attached to the clew of the jib with bowline knots. If the headstay has a groove, then the jib will have a bolt rope (rope sewn into the luff of the sail) instead of hanks. In that case, insert the bolt rope into the prefeeder (a device which makes raising sails easier) and then into the groove. The next step is to lash the jib to the side of the boat farthest from the dock. This will keep the sail out of the way while you leave the dock. To keep the jib from creeping up the forestay before it is time to hoist the sail, either tie a line around the sail and halyard or undo the top hank of the sail and attach it to the lifeline.
The mainsail:1. Remove sailcover.
2. Attach outhaul to the clew.
3. Attach tack pin to tack.
4. Attach main halyard to head of sail.
5. Uncoil mainsheet.
6. Loosen boom vang.
The jib:1. Attach jib to headstay.
2. Attach jib halyard to head.
3. Attach jib sheets to clew of jib with bowlines.
4. Lead jib sheets according to your particular boat's design, either inboard or outboard of shrouds.
5. Lead jib sheets to winches.6. Tie the jib to lifelines to keep deck clear and secure head of jib to lifelines or bow pulpit.
An important piece of gear on boats larger than about 20 feet is the winch, a drum turned by a handle that gives a mechanical advantage when hoisting sails and trimming sheets. All winches work the same way:
1. Before there is a strain on the line, make one or two clockwise loops around the drum.
2. Pull on the line hand-over-hand until the strain is heavy.
3. Make one or two more clockwise loops depending on load.
4. Insert the winch handle. With one hand, rotate the handle. With the other hand, pull on the line. (In some boats, the winch handle is permanently installed. When sailing on larger boats with very heavy strains, it may be necessary to have one crew member turn the handle with two hands while another crew member "tails," or pulls on the line.) Keep winching the line in until the halyard is hoisted or the sheet is trimmed properly. Be careful not to let fingers, hair, clothing, watch straps, etc., catch in the turns.
5. Once the line is cleated, remove the winch handle from the winch. If it's left in, it may trip somebody or fall out and be lost overboard.
RAISING THE MAINSAIL
The mainsail is always hoisted first because it is the primary source of power and because a sailboat handles better under mainsail alone than under jib alone. Since the mainsail is attached to the mast and boom, it is also easier to control than the jib.
Whether you raise the mainsail at the dock or while motoring out of the harbor, the bow of the boat should point into the wind. Check all shackles to be sure they are secure. Many are of the twist-locking type with a little groove for the pin. Make sure the pin is in the proper place. Keep enough slack in the mainsheet so that the sail will be able to be fully hoisted. It is best to keep passengers and extra crew out of the way of the boom, which will swing radically during the hoisting procedure. Keep the mainsheet clear of winches, cleats, and the stem of the boat. Be sure to stay low so you don't get hit in the head as the boom swings while the main is raised.
1. Position one person at the mast at the point where the sail enters the luff groove.
2. A second crew member should be at the end of the halyard, prepared to raise the sail.
3. A third crew member (if there is one) should keep the end of the boom from jumping around by controlling the mainsheet as the sail is being raised.
4. Crew members in the cockpit should slacken the topping lift, the mainsheet, and the boom vang. Some boats use the main halyard for the boom lift, so someone will have to hold the boom while the sail is being raised.
5. Don't begin hoisting until the bow is aimed directly into the wind (except on a smaller boat).
When the skipper orders, "Hoist the mainsail":
1. Wrap the main halyard once around the winch.
2. Release sail ties.
3. Pull the halyard to start raising the sail.
4. Feed the luff of the sail into the slot to keep it from jamming. If it jams, lower the sail a few inches and hoist again.
5. The crew member on the halyard will keep pulling by hand until the sail reaches the top of the mast. Use the winch to raise the halyard if the sail gets too heavy to hoist.
1. When the sail is at the top of the mast, take an additional wrap or two around the winch.
2. Place the winch handle in the winch and turn slowly until one vertical wrinkle appears in the luff of the sail, indicating proper tension. This wrinkle will smooth out when the boat is sailing.
3. Coil and stow the halyard.
The jib may be hoisted now, or hoisting may be delayed until the boat is in open water if you leave the dock by power.
GETTING THE BOAT MOVING
The best wind to learn to sail in lies between 4 and 12 knots. Lighter winds make it difficult to maneuver, while heavier winds require greater skill. Light to moderate breezes and small waves allow the boat to sail easily. In addition, the crew feels more secure. Here, we'll look at basic skills while sailing under mainsail alone.
When steering, sit on the windward side where you can see the sail working while watching the approaching wind and waves. The windward side gives you the clearest view of where you are heading and what is happening on your boat.
When picking a course to sail, keep in mind that sailboats cannot sail directly into the wind. A sailboat's directional heading with respect to the wind is called her point of sail. There are three basic courses: beating (wind is from ahead), reaching (wind is from the side), and running (wind is from astern).
Sailing around with just the mainsail is an excellent way to learn the principles and mechanics of changing direction (called changing tack), but it is not as much fun as sailing with both the jib and mainsail. Sailing with the jib requires more coordination between the helmsman and crew and provides better boat performance and more pleasurable sailing.
Understanding how the wind acts on sails will enable you to sail to any destination you choose. The set of the sail in relation to the boat and the wind is called sail trim. To trim a sail is to adjust its position by pulling in or letting out its sheet.
Without going too deeply into the physics of what makes a sailboat sail, let's look at the airflow over a well-trimmed sail. A sail acts much like the wing of an airplane. As air flows over the two surfaces of the sail, lift develops, just like the lift on an airplane's wing. This lift pulls the sail forward and with it the boat.
As long as the sail's angle relative to the wind is correct (properly trimmed), smooth airflow over the sail will be maintained and a strong lift will result. If for some reason the sail is pointing too close to the wind or too far away from it, the flow of air on the sail will be turbulent, destroying the lift effect. Imagine an airplane with its wings installed improperly. How well do you think it will fly? The same thing happens to the sailboat if the sails are not properly trimmed. The sailboat will not perform any better than an airplane would with vertically mounted wings.
Good airflow is most critical when you're beating and reaching. Although airflow does affect the other points of sail, it does so to a lesser degree.
Trimming sails is a fascinating game all sailors can play. The techniques are logical and simple if you follow a few basic principles. Our first sailing exercise requires trimming just the mainsail. The main objective will be to gain a feel for how the boat sails, to learn to steer, and to learn to control the trim of the mainsail while sailing in a straight line.
Most sailors enjoy steering. You become attuned to the boat and feel close to the wind and waves.
GETTING OUT OF IRONS
Many beginning sailors find themselves in irons. The term means that the boat is stopped, pointing directly into the wind, having lost all headway. It will not sail off on either tack. Not to worry, being caught in irons is an everyday occurrence. It happens to everyone at one time or another. Just be patient. Relax.
The term irons comes from the great days of sail, when a battleship stuck in irons could not maneuver away from its foe and therefore was unable to escape attack. The term refers to handcuffs or leg irons, since the boat cannot move. A boat in irons was certain to be sunk as the enemy circled it. Captains were very careful to keep their boat from getting stuck in irons, but of course this was difficult, since one error in sail trim could be fatal to the vessel. These great ships were slow to maneuver, taking as long as thirty minutes to tack (change direction). A boat in irons might be stuck for several hours.
Even 12-meters can find themselves in irons. And, when sailing under a mainsail alone, I've found that it is almost impossible to get a 12-meter out of irons. I remember we were taking a lunch break while sailing on Defender during a testing session off Newport, Rhode Island, when we inadvertently got the 12-meter in irons. Our stablemate, Courageous, recognized our predicament and made continual passes by the boat lobbing spare bits of food in our direction and causing a great mess on deck. Since Defender was in irons, she was powerless to do anything about it, but the incident made for a great water fight back on shore after the day's sail testing. Defender's escape was finally made by hoisting the jib and getting the 12-meter under way.
To get out of irons, push the main boom out until the sail fills with wind and the boat begins to sail backwards. This is called backing the mainsail. Now you've got to steer in reverse until the wind is coming over the side and the boat once again moves forward. To steer backwards, push the tiller in the opposite direction that you want the stern to go, but turn the top of the steering wheel in the same direction that you want the stern to go. When the wind is coming over the side, let go of the boom, trim the mainsheet a bit, and get moving slowly. If you pull the mainsheet in too much, the boat will simply head right back into the wind again.
It's a lot easier to get out of irons when the jib is up. Although we haven't said much about sailing with the jib, let's assume that one is flying. If you're caught in irons, simply back the jib by holding the clew out to one side. You'll sail backwards slowly and the jib will push the bow off to the opposite side. For example, if you back the jib to starboard (the right-hand side), the bow will swing to port. When the wind is coming over the starboard side, let go of the jib and trim its sheet normally, on the port side. Then trim in the mainsheet a little. The boat will quickly get sailing on a reach.
A well-balanced boat will more or less sail itself. A helmsman controls the boat and guides it along its course once the sails are set. Many sailors, particularly novices, overcorrect for changes in the wind and deviate from the course steered.
Light boats are easy to maneuver because the rudder is large compared to the weight of the boat. Therefore you can rely on the rudder for all course changes. As a new sailor, you will find yourself using the rudder as a crutch. The key is to use the rudder in combination with your weight and the sails to help control and steer your boat.
COMING ABOUT OR TACKING (Mainsail Only)
Coming about or tacking means changing course by turning the boat into and through the wind until the sails move from one side of the boat to the other.
Coming about changes the tack of a sailboat. In this context the noun tack is not to be confused with the forward lower center of a sail, also called a tack. The tack you are sailing on is determined by the side of the boat over which the wind blows.
You can sail on either a starboard or port tack. On a starboard tack the wind comes over the starboard or the right-hand side of the boat. The boom is always on the port side of the boat when you sail on the starboard tack. A boat is on a port tack when the wind is coming over the port or left-hand side of the boat and the boom is to starboard.
I love tacking a sailboat. When I first learned to do a crisp roll tack while attending the Maritime College, I could spend hour after hour tacking back and forth. It feels so good because your body and the boat become one as you balance from tack to tack. In a roll tack you use your weight and sail trim and very little rudder to change the course of the boat. This is only possible in smaller boats. You can actually accelerate because you create the wind in your sails as you rock from one tack to the other.
Although roll tacking is an art form in itself that takes years of practice, it is one of the things that make sailing so special to me. The one-on-one competition found in match racing is the best. Tacking well is the essence of match-racing championships. The real goal is to turn the boat as quickly as possible without losing speed. The boat that does this best will often win a race. Even if you're not racing, you should learn to tack efficiently.
The closest most boats can sail off the wind is about 45 degrees, although some boats, like 12-meters, can sail 35 degrees off the wind. If you wish to reach a point directly upwind, sail as close as you can to the wind until you reach a point at which if you were to come about, you would be able to sail directly to your destination. The destination can also be reached by sailing close hauled and coming about in a series of short tacks.
When coming about, the helmsman and crew should always watch for other boats.
To avoid getting hit in the head, everyone must keep his head down as the boom crosses the boat during the tack. It is best to face forward when coming about so you see where your boat is heading.
The helmsman must establish a course (steer in a straight line) as soon as the mainsail fills. This will prevent the boat from going in circles and out of control.
JIBING (Mainsail Only)
There is another way to change tacks -- jibing, or turning the boat away from the wind until the wind crosses the stem of the boat and the sail moves to the opposite side of the boat. To jibe, the helmsman turns the boat in the direction away from the wind. This is called bearing away or bearing off. (In coming about, remember, the boat turns into the wind or heading up).
Jibing is one of sailing's greatest challenges. In a dinghy, the possibility of capsizing is greater while jibing than at any other time. Since the sail shifts sides so rapidly, it is important to duck at the right moment to avoid being hit in the head by the boom. It takes many beginning sailors a couple of good bumps before they learn this important lesson.
The boat will feel unstable while running; therefore you want to jibe quickly. In jibing, the mainsail stays full of wind at all times, unlike in tacking, where the sail loses its power and luffs through the maneuver. For this reason, we must control the movement of the boom and sail during a jibe. The boom should not be allowed to fly across the cockpit in a potentially dangerous uncontrolled or accidental jibe.
In light breezes you may change course quickly and pull the boom across the boat onto the new tack. However, with a stiff breeze the boom will fly across violently. An accidental jibe can wipe out your rig.
In one regatta in San Francisco we were sailing cat-rigged (single sail) boats. All twelve competitors capsized at a jibe mark. The real race became how fast you could right your boat. I remember that the twelfth person to capsize came screaming in on a reach in a 35-knot gust going into a jibe, with the rest of us all trying to right our boats and watching the fellow. He started to jibe but lost control at the last second as his bow buried into a wave. The boat capsized, throwing the skipper head over heels into the water -- to the applause of all the rest of us who had reached a similar fate moments before.
There is a story about a Hudson River sloop captain who discovered an interesting jibing technique for boats with large mains. This captain was sailing his loaded vessel down the Hudson River when for navigational reasons it came time to jibe. The helmsman pushed the tiller over too far and the boat went on a flying jibe. Considering that the boom on this boat was over sixty feet long, it looked as if the sail was going to continue out on the new side and take the mast with it. But the gods, being with this sailor, allowed for the sail to simply back itself as it fluttered into place. The speed of the sail as it changed sides created so much force that a wind was generated on the back side of the sail. Did the captain discover this jibing technique by accident or plan? I think he found it by accident. It might be a good technique for you to use any time you are sailing in a boat with over five thousand square feet of mainsail.
Try to keep the boat flat when jibing. Put the centerboard down halfway. Too little board will allow the bottom to spin out from under the mast; too much board will cause the board to steer the boat and tip it. In stronger winds, keep your weight aft during the jibe so the bow does not dip into the water.
Important: When steering, change hands early in a jibe so you do not get twisted up in the boat. If you are forward of the tiller, move it by passing it from one hand to the other behind you.
Getting your boat moving quickly after a jibe is difficult. The heavier the boat, the longer it will take to accelerate. A square-rigger will take minutes before it is moving at full speed. Even a 12-meter sloop will sometimes take a full minute to get up to top speed. A smaller boat, like a Sunfish, can easily reach top speed in ten seconds. To accelerate a boat, keep it on course as close to a reach as possible. Trimming your sails to the most efficient point and keeping the boat flat are essential. These combined forces will help the boat to sail at full speed.
S-JIBE AND ROLL JIBE
There are two special methods of jibing. One is the S-jibe, used when the wind is blowing hard and there is a chance of capsizing. In strong-wind jibing, the main boom comes over with such force that it goes too far out on the new side and the boat begins to round into the wind. At its worst, this loss of control can capsize dinghies or broach (spin out of control into the wind) larger keel boats. To stay upright, you must keep the boat under the mast and the boat in balance. Steering an S course when jibing can accomplish this.
As you go into an S-jibe, bear off and keep the boat sailing slightly by the lee. This is the point of sail where the wind is coming over the corner of the stern that the boom is still on. It is a temporary point of sail only. Keep the main overtrimmed at this time. Then, as the mainsail is coming across the boat, steer back in the direction in which the main is going. This change of course reduces the power in the sail and doesn't allow the boat to round into the wind. As the main fills on the new side, keep it overtrimmed and resume course, having completed your jibe.
When there is little sea and the air is calm, use the roll jibe in sailing small dinghies. The advantage of this technique is that you can jibe the boat without changing course and accelerate rapidly. Basically, you sail dead downwind or slightly by the lee. With your weight, roll your boat to leeward about 10 degrees, then roll it hard to windward, giving a rapid trim on the mainsheet. Have the crew throw the boom over. When the sail is just reaching the other side, roll the boat back to the new windward side. You are, in effect, rocking the sail from one side to the other. This method will take considerable practice to master.
COMING ABOUT VERSUS JIBING
We can change tacks either by turning into the wind (coming about) or by turning away from the wind (jibing). The choice between the two depends upon which direction the boat is sailing. If you're sailing upwind, you come about; if you're sailing downwind, the obvious choice is to jibe.
There are times, however, particularly in heavy winds, when jibing can be dangerous. Since the sail does not lose any power during a jibe, it will swing with tremendous force as the boom slams across the boat and the sail crashes to a stop at the shrouds. Consequently, in strong winds coming about is the preferred maneuver even though it takes slightly longer when you're sailing downwind. Instead of jibing through, for example, a 90-degree arc, you head up and come about through 270 degrees.
RAISING THE JIB
The helmsman should point the bow 30 degrees off the wind. The jib will blow away from the boat and mast as it is raised. This will protect the crew from being beaten by the flailing jib sheets and clew of the sail.
1. One crew member attaches the jib tack to the tack fitting, attaches the luff to the headstay, and ties the sheets to the clew.
2. The helmsman steers a course to keep the boat 30 degrees off the wind (so the mainsail is just luffing).
3. One crew member takes a position at the headstay to feed the sail and prevent it from jamming while being raised.
4. Another crew member takes a position at the end of the halyard, prepared to raise the sail.
5. The crew unties the jib and ensures the jib sheets are clear (free of knots and tangles).
6. The helmsman makes sure the crew members are ready.
1. Foredeck crew watches to make sure the sail goes up properly (no snags).
2. The crew pulls the sail all the way up by hand with one wrap around the winch.
3. Use the winch for the final tightening of the luff.
4. The crew coils and stows the halyard.
Note: When the skipper gives commands, the crew should respond with an acknowledgment.
REACHING WITH MAINSAIL AND JIB
This exercise is a repeat of the first exercise, performed when sailing under the mainsail alone. The helmsman positions the boat so the wind is blowing over the beam (90 degrees off the bow). The crew eases both sails so they are luffing (shaking).
Make sure there are at least two or three wraps of the jib sheet around the winch at all times. The friction of the line around the winch will relieve some of the pressure of the sail and make it easier for the crew to hold the sheet.
Never allow fingers or clothing inside the area where the sheet comes onto the winch.
For now, the crew should not cleat the jib sheet. If the boat has to be slowed, the jib sheet need only be released from someone's hand rather than taken off a cleat. Sheets should never be cleated in puffy winds or during a maneuver.
COMING ABOUT WITH MAINSAIL AND JIB
Remember how easy it was to come about under mainsail alone? It will be that easy with both sails, if the proper system is used. Remember, the helmsman should keep his weight on the windward side (the side opposite the mainsail) to balance the boat, and he should face forward.
SAILING A FIGURE EIGHT
Using two marks set in a line at right angles to the wind, sail a figure eight course, tacking only. As we'll see later, this maneuver is vital in rescuing a man overboard, so practice until you can complete every part of it smoothly. To ensure that the roles of helmsman, mainsheet trimmer, and jib sheet trimmer are learned by everyone on board, each person should rotate through each of these duties. The best-sailed boats are ones on which every crew member can perform every function.
ENDING THE SAIL
When heading back to dock, first lower the jib, then the mainsail. How and when the sails are lowered will depend on your particular docking situation. The skipper will have to make this decision. We will assume the dock is easily accessible.
The biggest danger is approaching a dock with too much speed or on a downwind course. The key to docking is maintaining control.
LOWERING THE JIB
The jib can be lowered by one of three methods. In the first, the helmsman positions the boat into the wind, a crew member releases the halyard, and the foredeck crew pull the sail onto the foredeck.
In the second method, as the helmsman brings the boat about, with the jib sheet cleated, a crew member releases the jib halyard. As the sail drops to the deck, one of the crew pulls the luff of the sail down the forestay. The helmsman continues to turn the boat until it is sailing on the new tack.
The third way of dropping the jib is for the helmsman to head the boat directly downwind. This makes the procedure easy because the boat is upright and in a stable position. It is also easier on the foredeck crew because they will not be getting wet, since the boat is sailing with the wind.
LOWERING THE MAINSAIL
The helmsman steers the boat back to the mooring or marina under mainsail alone. The mainsail must be lowered with the boat heading into the wind so that the sail drops neatly onto the deck, but this shouldn't be done too early since the boat needs the mainsail for propulsion. If the boat is to be tied up to a mooring, the sail may be dropped after the mooring buoy is picked up. However, if she will be tied up to a float or pier, it may be best to head up into the wind, lower the mainsail several yards upwind of the float, and then drift down to it with the little bit of momentum that is l