28 June 2016

Sailing Class Experience

Sailing and cruising knowledge is very important for any person withinterests in water transport or sporting. This semester I havegarnered a lot of information on sailing and cruising. I can candidlyfeel comfortable sailing a boat alone. Over the course of my unit onsailing, I have learnt a lot on different types of sailboats, sailingtechniques on various weather conditions and safe sailing techniqueson the boat. I have also learnt much on docking and anchoringtechniques, advanced sailing procedures, sailboat engine maintenanceand repair, navigation skills and marina operations. Sailing is aninteresting and important skill that each person should try to learn.Over the semester we sailed in Muskegon Lake with my five colleaguesaccompanied by our professor for instruction purposes.

Muskegon Lake is famous for the sailing events and competitions thattake place at specified times of the year when the weather patternsare conducive. College students and high school students take part inthese events. As a Michigan University student, I had interests inlearning how to sail a boat and safety precautions that I had to putin play. My professor has been very helpful in guiding my colleaguesand meon various sailing and navigation techniques. In the recentsailing event at Muskegon, we learnt many things that sharpened ourknowledge and skills better.

The sailing expedition was on 21st May 2016 at 2:00 PM.The weather was conducive and perfect for a daytime sail. There wasminimal wind thus lesser tides hit the lake. The weather was clearwith a few clouds here and there. The first thing we were instructedon was our safety. Our professor together with other dock workerstaught us how to ensure that we were safe before we started anysailing or boat riding activity.

The first step is ensuring safety of the sailboat by checking thatall mechanical and electrical appliances. These may include but notlimited to VHF communication radios, engines, signal flares, foghorns, fire extinguishers, anchors and anchor lines, spare parts andspare fuel and paddles among others. Checking personal safetyequipment is also very important. Life-saving jackets, floaters,first aid kits, back up communication and adequate drinking water arevery important.

They also taught us on the docking/undocking process as well asanchoring techniques. During docking, sailboat speed should bereduced and docking lines secured on the boat. Fenders should bereadied for docking. Direction of the wind should be assesseddepending on direction of flow. If wind is moving towards the dock,the boat should be paralleled to the dock line. If the wind isblowing away from the dock, the boat should approach the dock atspecified angulations, mostly 20-30 degrees. When on the dock, theboat is well secured. Undocking techniques involve securing the boatby casting off the lines and pulling in the fenders. The boat is thenshifted forward at the desired speed. Keen look out for obstacles andswimmers should be put in mind as one sails away.

We also learnt how to control the sail and maintaining our safety atall times. To maintain an effective point of sail of sailboats inrelation to wind direction, a careful judgment should be made. Porttacks and starboard tacks should be considered to ensure the boat ismoving in a direction commensurate with the wind direction. Types ofboats differ on the impact wind direction has on them. For instance,sailboats cannot follow the environmental wind direction or anycourse close to that direction. They should therefore, avoid sailingin such no-go zones.

In case the sailboat or any other cruise ship losses control due tofailure to come out of the no-go zone, or else when the sailboat is‘in irons’, the boat should be back-winded and adequate momentummaintained to ensure the stability of the boat. Close hauling andreaching are other mechanisms that can affect steering of the boatbased on wind flow. Sail trim and balance maintenance can helpsailors to avoid such shortcomings.

We also talked about the makers of boats and martial of boat. Forexample, we learnt the differences between short distance boat andlong distance boat. Sailboats are only for short distances and areless resilient than long distance boats/ships like cruise ships.World travel boats are cruise ships which are much stronger and moreresilient in the sea or lake than ordinary small sailboats. Cargoships are made in such a way that they can obey the laws of floatingand buoyancy including the Pascal’s principle and Bernoulli’sprinciple. They traverse the world carrying heavy cargo that would beimpractical for small boats. They are more adaptable to winddirections than smaller sailboats.

Generally, I have achieved my aspirations for this unit and for thesemester. I have learnt as much as possible. I hope this informationwill be of importance to me in my future endeavors. I thank theprofessor for making it possible and guiding me through the session.