Sailing Tips - Whitsunday Escape™
Skipper yourself bareboat charter company

Sailing Tips

  • If reefing the main put the reefs in before leaving your anchorage while in calm water.
  • If you find the boat overpowered turn downwind so that the wind is aft of the beam (not dead downwind), let the mainsheet out so that the mainsail is shadowing the headsail. Then furl the headsail all the way up or the desired position.
  • In strong winds, if travelling downwind, use only the headsail.
  • In strong winds, if going into the wind, use the mainsail with one or two reefs if necessary and motor sail.
  • If any of the sails are flogging (flapping) furl them or take them down as you are damaging them.
  • All sheets, halyards and furling lines should have a knot in the end (figure of eight knot) and be secured so they cannot fall over the side.
  • When using a winch, never force anything. Always watch or have someone watching what you are winching so that you don’t damage, break, or tear anything or injure someone.
  • When sailing directly downwind, to avoid gybeing, keep the wind at a slight angle to the stern, or just use the headsail by itself.
  • Uncontrolled gybes must be avoided at all costs. Do not gybe the boat unless you are well practiced in controlled gybes and are confident that your crew can help the boat through the gybe without risk to the vessel and or to the crew. Always secure the traveller and pull the mainsheet right in before you gybe. Tell everyone on board to keep away from the boom during a gybe. If you are in any way unsure of how to perform a controlled gybe, it is better not to attempt it.
  • If you have any doubt on your sailing abilities or those of your crew do not use the sails or book a sail-guide for some or all of your charter.


Setting the Main Sail

  • Ensure all ports and hatches are closed
  • Ensure all gear and equipment is stowed away correctly.
  • Always set the mainsail first if you are going to use both sails.
  • Check the main halyard shackle is secure.
  • Check the main halyard is free, not twisted and has unobstructed access to the top sheave at the top of the mast.
  • Ensure the sail cover is clear and all the sail ties are removed.

» Go To Setting The Main Sail

Unfurling the Head Sail

  • Now that you are underway with the mainsail, you can unfurl all or part of the headsail. Note –Do not turn into wind to unfurl the headsail but rather maintain the course you wish to steer.
  • Have sheet ropes ready and furling line ready. The sheet rope will pull the sail out. Make sure the opposite sheet rope is free to run.
  • Once again assess the wind strength and decide how much of the sail you need to use. Too much headsail in strong winds will be detrimental to the sail and limit your control of the boat.
  • Maintain your course.
  • Make sure that you keep light tension on the furling line as the sail is pulled out by the headsail sheet, so that the furling line wraps around the furling drum neatly. (there is nothing worse than a tangle on the drum!).

» Go To Unfurling The Head Sail

Furling the Head Sail

  • Always furl the headsail before taking the mainsail down.
  • The best way to furl the headsail is not to turn into wind but to turn downwind so that the wind is aft of the beam (not dead downwind).
  • Let the mainsheet out so that the mainsail is shadowing the headsail. This makes the job of furling the headsail much easier and the sail will wrap up neatly without flogging.
  • Hold your course and release the headsail sheet as you take in the furling line. Never! force the furling line or use the winch to furl.

» Go To Furling the Head Sail

Lowering the Main Sail

  • Once the headsail is furled you can then turn the boat into wind, (use the motor to keep the boat heading upwind) tighten the main sheet.
  • Release the main halyard. If the halyard is through a rope jam cleat, please put the halyard around the winch and tension it slightly before releasing the jam cleat otherwise you will break the jam cleat.

» Go To Lowering The Mail Sail