A new beginner’s guide to sailing

When all of this is over, we’ll be desperate to escape our homes! Read on for some great advice from our author Simon Jollands – all the sailing essentials, perfect for sending on to any would-be sailors in your life dreaming of days of freedom, preferably on the wide open waves…

I was inspired by my daughter Freya to write Go Sailing. For the past few years, she and her husband Chris have been on annual bareboat sailing holidays with a group of friends, some of whom have limited sailing experience. “Dad,” she said, “how about writing a book that covers the basics for sailing novices who want to join in the fun? We have several friends who would like to give it a go.” So I sat down with Freya and Chris and we made a list of things to cover in the book. They kindly took loads of photos on their next holiday, many of which are included in Go Sailing.

With events cancelled and sailing clubs closed due to Covid-19, it doesn’t look as though many people will be able to go sailing over the coming months. However, I hope those with limited experience might instead have the time to enjoy reading up about some of the sailing theory covered in Go Sailing, so that when they eventually do have a chance to get out on the water they will be able to make the most of it and gain maximum enjoyment from taking part. Here’s an extract from Chapter 6: ‘Crewing Tasks Underway’…

SAIL BALANCE
Keeping the sails balanced involves making adjustments to the sails as the wind gusts or changes direction. This is the job of the sail trimmer.

Having the sails balanced and trimmed correctly for the course that is required will result in the most smooth and efficient ride possible, allowing the person on the helm to focus on steering to the desired course.

SAIL TRIMMING
When a cruising yacht is underway, most of the time it will have two sails hoisted – a headsail and the mainsail. Once hoisted, the two sails need to be adjusted so that their shapes harmonise and work together, resulting in the most efficient performance and a balanced helm. A balanced helm is where the boat is not being pulled either towards the wind, known as weather helm, or pushed away from the wind, known as lee helm.

Handy tip: You will find that some yacht crews and skippers are continuously adjusting their sails while others hardly seem to touch them. If you are aboard a racing yacht, the adjustments will tend to be continuous, as the wind shifts and varies in strength. In these circumstances the whole crew concentrates on getting the absolute maximum performance from the boat. If on the other hand you are sailing aboard a laid-back cruising yacht, you will probably find that once the sails are hoisted and a course is set that sail adjustments are kept to a minimum. A well tuned boat will sail faster and will tend to heel less than a boat with badly adjusted sails.

Adjusting the sails
The sails are adjusted by “easing” or “sheeting in” the jib sheet and main sheet, in other words by either letting out or pulling in the sheets. This action causes the sails to change their shape to take advantage of the direction of the airflow over them.

As the boat sails closer towards the wind’s direction the sheets are pulled in, which flattens the sails. As the boat sails away from the wind the sheets are eased, allowing the sails to be more curved in shape.

Most sails have telltales to help the sail trimmer see how the air is flowing both sides of the sail.

Telltales
Sails have short lengths of ribbon or wool attached to them, called telltales. Telltales indicate how the airflow is moving over the sails and whether they are working at maximum efficiency. If the telltales are streaming horizontally, then the sails are correctly trimmed.

Once the boat is heading on the correct course, then the trimmer adjusts the sails until the telltales are flowing horizontally. If the telltales stop streaming correctly, this indicates the boat has either gone off course, in which case the helmsperson needs to steer back on course, or the wind has changed direction, in which case the sails need to be re-trimmed.

Mainsail trimming
• Telltales flying horizontally, luff slack – correctly adjusted.
• Sail flapping – sheet in.
• Sail tight up to the mast – ease the sheet.

Genoa / jib trimming
• Telltales flying horizontally on both sides – correctly adjusted.
• Telltale on the inside of the sail is lifting – sheet in.
• Telltale on the outside of the sail is lifting – ease the sheet.

POINTS OF SAIL
Aside from being head-to-wind, a boat can sail at any other angle relative to the wind. In order to do so, a boat’s sails have to be adjusted to create the best aerodynamic shape for the sails to work efficiently.
Together, the different angles are known as points of sailing and a number of terms are used to describe the boat’s course relative to the wind direction, not unlike the points of a compass.

The points of sailing are:

Head-to-wind – a sailing boat cannot sail directly into the wind as its sails do not fill, begin to flap and have no effect. When this happens the boat is referred to as head-to-wind and the boat slows down and stops. Depending on the design of sails and boat, the sails will not usually fill until the boat is pointing at an angle between 40º and 45º away from the direction of the wind.
Close-hauled – as close to the wind as possible. Sails are pulled tight. The boat heels away from the wind but is prevented from being blown over by the counter balancing effect of the keel beneath the hull which not only holds the boat upright but prevents it from sailing sideways.
Close reach – the wind is forward of the beam. Sails are eased out a little. The boat continues to heel over away from the wind.
Beam reach – the wind blows directly across the side of the boat. The sails are eased further out. The boat continues to heel.
Broad reach – the wind comes over the rear quarter, aft of the beam. Sails are eased well out. The boat no longer heels.
Training run – the wind is almost directly behind the boat. Sails are eased well out. The boat does not heel but may rock from side to side, known as yawing.
Run – the wind is directly behind the boat. The sails are eased right out and the head sail is pulled onto the opposite side to the main so it can catch the wind. The boat may continue to yaw from side to side.

GO SAILING is published on 30th April (RRP £12.99). You can pre-order it with a 10% discount direct from our website here. Simon’s earlier books (Safe Skipper and the Reeds Lights, Shapes and Buoyage Handbook) are available for a 30% discount (45% for ebooks) for a limited time only.

Sailing in Heavy Weather – a Close Encounter with a Waterspout

One of the longest-standing books on the Adlard Coles Nautical list is the international bestseller, Heavy Weather Sailing. K Adlard Coles himself wrote the very first edition, and we are proud to announce the 7th edition (edited by Peter Bruce) has just been published ahead of the book’s 50th anniversary. Thoroughly revised to bring it right up to date, the 7th edition remains the essential book about coping with storms at sea.

In this exclusive extract, another Adlard Coles author, Bill Cooper, describes a close encounter with a waterspout:

Bill Cooper has an account of an extraordinary experience in the Bermuda area aboard his 17.7m (58ft) steel ketch Fare Well. He, his disabled wife Laurel and a lady friend Nora had sailed from Bermuda heading for New England when they heard on the radio that Hurricane Alberta was coming their way. The forecast gave conditions in which ‘elderly gentlefolk should not be at sea’ but they had nowhere else to go. Having made relatively light work of the hurricane, happily quite distant, something totally unexpected and sinister then took place.

‘BY THE EVENING OF 19 JUNE we were hove-to under storm jib and very close-reefed mainsail. Our wind was averaging 40 knots with the gusts going well off the clock. I think the seas were about 4.6m (15ft). These conditions persisted all night; the average wind not rising much but the seas built up a bit, and I estimated 6m (20ft) in the morning watch. Each broadside wave shot a little jet of cold water through the perished rubber sealing of the deckhouse window onto the protesting form of Laurel in the stand-by berth. Otherwise all was dry and sound below. The yacht was behaving very well indeed. The decks were awash most of the time, but the high poop had only spray, and the cockpit, which is really a sheltered area at deck level, had received no green sea, but enough itinerant slosh to justify one storm board in the hatchway.

The storm centre was then reported to be in position 41 degrees N 66 minutes W, some 170 miles away to the northwest, and probably the closest we came to it. Our position was based on DR, of course, for we had seen no sunshine for some time.

fare well

A feature of these violent and fast moving storms is that the advanced semi-circle has strong winds over a much greater radius. Behind the storm the radius was only 50 miles and conditions soon started to improve. The sea was slow to give up, but the wind moderated quite quickly. We tacked when reasonably sure the storm had passed, and headed 290 degrees T, leaving our reduced sail up for the night.

When I took over the watch at 0400 on 20 June the wind had eased to force 4, but the seas were still considerable, though not dangerous. We rolled badly, and the main was not filling properly. I furled it, and decided to set the genoa and mizzen to get some way and stability. It was very dark, and raining heavily. There had been a couple of thunderstorms during the night producing moderate squalls: there was thunder about at that time, but nothing exciting.

I had got the mizzen half-way up when I heard, rather than saw, what looked like a wall of very heavy rain approaching. In a second or two it arrived, rain of unbelievable intensity. I had been glad of our cockpit shelter, but it was of no help against this sort of rain, when even the splashes wet everything. Then the wind arrived before I had time even to move. It came across the few yards of water I could see, blowing the waves flat. It hit us an almost solid blow, and we were flung over to starboard; how far I cannot say for there was no point of reference, but certainly more than 90 degrees, and I fell onto the starboard bench at the limit of my lifeline. While we were over, a sea broke and swept us, wresting the boom from the gallows, parting lashing and gaskets.

I scrambled up as the ship righted. The mizzen blew out. The main boom shook like a slipper in a puppy’s mouth and, with a loud report, the 14oz (397g) main split and blew to shreds. The genoa, which had been rolled up, stretched in the wind and, without the core turning, allowed a few feet to unroll; the clew then blew out. My oilskin was ripped open; all buttons gone and the zip pulled apart.

As I tried to gather myself to deal with matters, I felt all the power to move leave me. I stood holding the leather-covered wheel feeling strangely euphoric as if being drawn steadily upward off my feet. The feeling went on and on as if time had stopped, and I could not breathe, though my lungs were full. I could not move at all.

Then the lightning struck. Instantly, tension disappeared. The whole space around the yacht seemed to be glowing but I had absolutely no sense of time. I was aware of Nora appearing in the hatch followed by Laurel, looking very white. Both had been rudely propelled from their bunks when the gust had heeled us over, and all the above had taken place as they scrambled to the deck, say 20 or 30 seconds. Laurel describes me as standing motionless at the wheel, mouth wide open, with water streaming down me as if I were standing under a waterfall. I had to be roused to move. Presumably I was in a state of shock.

The ladies turned to, and gradually I joined in, largely doing as I was told. Together we tamed the main boom, which had broken its gooseneck. When it was safely in the gallows we bundled together the collection of streamers that had been a mainsail. The mizzen was grappled in. The genoa was more of a problem. The sheets had slackened as the clew pulled out, and had tied themselves into a spaghetti knot so tight we could neither furl the sail, nor get it down its extrusion core. I did not fancy my chances half-way up the forestay at that time so we let it go.’

waterspout

There was big trouble in the engine room, and compass deviation went from zero to 90 degrees W then slowly to 25 degrees W, which only came to light through logging the direction of the swell. But what was it, apart from the lightning that struck the ketch at 0430 that morning? Bill Cooper now thinks that he encountered a waterspout.

HEAVY WEATHER SAILING (ISBN 978-1-4729-2319-6) is available now through all good bookshops and chandleries. It has an RRP of £35, but you can buy it with a 10% discount via the Bloomsbury website here.

From the Marco Polo to the #CuttySark, this beautiful new book captures the clipper ship era.

The Most Dramatic Era in the History of Sail, Brought Vividly to Life

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In the era of commercial sail, clipper ships were the ultimate expression of speed and grace. Racing out to the gold fields of America and Australia, and breaking speed records carrying tea back from China, the ships combined beauty with breathtaking performance.

From mutinies, rivalries and the Cutty Sark’s longest voyage via the inspirational story of Captain Mary Patten and her battle with Cape Horn, Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail brings this unique era vividly back to life, recounting thrilling descriptions of the most dramatic races, beautifully illustrated with the finest paintings and illustrations.

First-hand accounts, newspaper reports and log entries add exciting eyewitness detail, while the exquisite images bring home the sheer elegance of these racehorses of the sea.

Read a few sample pages from this beautiful celebration of these racehorses of the sea.

Up to 30% off Adlard Coles Nautical Books

CowesWeek_2014

Get ready for Cowes week with up to 30% discount off all Adlard Coles Nautical books

We have a wealth of fantastic books from Bailey Boat Cat, the adventurous boat cat who is making waves with his new book; to the stunning Boat Cookbook, which features over 80 delicious recipes for making that perfect meal onboard. As the world’s largest nautical publisher, we are sure to have a book for you. Offer runs until 9th August 2014.

Discover how Emma Bamford went to sea and came back an author

A book about sailing, written at sea by Emma Bamford

All too often, when you are sailing, the wind and tide seem to be against you. At first, it seemed that way with my writing.

Shortly before I left my job at the Independent newspaper to go sailing, in the summer of 2010, a colleague suggested there might be a book idea in my upcoming trip and put me in touch with an agent.

I’d always loved books, and even tried writing a novel and a book about dating in London but was rejected by publishers and agents for both.

The agent, it emerged, wanted an update of Lucy Irvine’s raunchy Castaway. ‘Not likely,’ I thought, but I saved his email address anyway, in case I came up with a better idea.

After that, having adventures – sailing into the heart of the Borneo jungle, anchoring amid beautiful coral gardens, crossing oceans and visiting remote islands peopled only by hunter-gatherer tribesmen – absorbed me so completely that writing a book was furthest from my mind.

Fast-forward a couple of years and you’ll find me finally starting to write, stretched out in the cockpit of a sailing yacht anchored in Malaysia. Each morning, before it got too hot, I dug out my diaries and expanded on them, amazed at how easily the words flowed.

Perhaps they flowed too easily because the agent hated the 10,000 words I sent him, saying I’d ‘never get a publisher interested’.

Luckily, he was wrong. ‘Send me everything you’ve got,’ said Adlard Coles’s commissioning editor, Liz Multon. I did – and she turned me down, but kindly offered to read my manuscript again if I felt like re-writing it.

When I got her email I was living in a marina in St Petersburg, Florida, waiting for a new engine to be fitted to a 40ft Choate I was helping to deliver from Texas to St Lucia. I had time to kill, so I parked myself in the Captain’s Lounge, pencil in hand, and re-did the whole thing. Six months later I got an email from Liz saying Adlard Coles would be publishing Casting Off.

It’s been a whirlwind but now my beautiful paperback is here and I am officially an author – with my own website, Facebook page, Twitter account and appearances at literary events.

Proof that perseverance in whatever you do – whether it’s following a dream or simply tacking your way into a headwind – works. Keep at it, and you’ll get there.

 

Our guest blogger today is Emma Bamford, author of Casting Off. Read a few pages from her fantastic new book.

Casting Off

Order your copy today! 

 

 

Real Food for Hungry Sailors

For anyone with a tiny galley kitchen and an appetite for fresh, gorgeous food, there’s good news: no more bland cooking.

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These fabulous and easy recipes, all made with minimum fuss and maximum flavour, will allow you to spoil yourself in harbour, keep things simple at sea, and make delicious meals and snacks in advance – not to mention rustle up a mean rum punch. And with its handy ideas on setting up the galley, a lazy guide to filleting mackerel and tips for hosting the perfect beach barbecue, The Boat Cookbook is the must-have guide for sailors and seaside-lovers alike.

Fiona Sims shares her own tried-and-tested onboard classics, along with recipe contributions from top chefs including Chris Galvin and Angela Hartnett, as well as from sailing legends such as Sir Robin Knox-Johnson and Dee Caffari.

Inspired by the sea and happy times on the water, The Boat Cookbook promises fresh, mouthwatering galley grub that can be prepared almost as quickly as it will be devoured by your eager crew.

With or without a boat, Fiona’s book is a delicious treat‘ Michel Roux Jr

Sample a few recipes from this fantastic book.

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The Boat Cookbook
Buy your copy today

Win £100 worth of Books in our Name Our Book Competition

For the first time ever here at Adlard Coles Nautical we are letting you the readers pick the title of a forthcoming book by author Justin Tyers. This is a sequel to his fantastic book Phoenix from the Ashes.

Title 1 Title 2 Title 3

To pick your favourite title, simply visit the Adlard Coles Nautical Facebook page and select the like button on the title of your choice. The title with the most likes will be the winner.

All entries will be placed in a free prize draw and a winner will be selected at random, for the chance to win £100 worth of Adlard Coles Nautical books.

Competition ends 28th February 2014

*Please note that these are not the final images for the book cover.

Take a Look Inside Our Beautiful 2014 Adlard Coles Nautical Catalogue

Welcome to the Adlard Coles Nautical catalogue for 2014. We are delighted to present our wide range of books from across the Adlard Coles Nautical range. Whatever you need, from knot books to Almanacs, cruising guides to stunning photographic books, you can find them all at Adlard Coles Nautical.

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For a hard copy of our catalogue email adlardcoles@bloomsbury.com

Editors let loose on Southampton Water

Video

No one on the water was safe on Friday as the Adlard Coles Editorial team enjoyed a Big Day Out, sailing aboard Director Janet’s yacht, Caprice.

Waved off by a triumvirate of swans from our pontoon in Shamrock Quay Marina, Southampton, we beat upwind, tacking, tacking, and tacking again, until we almost appeared to know what we were doing. The breeze was scarce and cruising was slow, but our wonderful hosts took advantage of the conditions to set us to work helming, trimming the sails and perfecting our bowlines – all to varying degrees of success. Near Calshott, we picked up a mooring buoy for lunch, before pottering back to the marina.

Jess, Jenny and Liz even braved the water for a quick dip post-lunch. With bellies full of sandwiches and cake we jumped in, and promptly regretted it as it dawned on us just how cold and salty seawater actually is. But who can resist a spot of wild swimming amongst friends…?

L–R: Jess, Janet, Kirsty, Jenny, Liz, Jonathan

L–R: Jess, Janet, Kirsty, Jenny, Liz and Jonathan

Reeds Almanac Editors – a jolly jamboree

The sun was shining on Friday as three generations of Reeds Almanac Editors gathered together to bid a fond farewell to Rob Buttress, editor of the Almanac for five years. Andy du Port, retired editor, Rob Buttress, retiring editor, Perrin Towler, current editor, and Mark Fishwick, incoming editor, were joined by Chris Stevens, the Almanac Manager, and Janet Murphy, the Almanac’s Publisher.

It’s a rare sight to see so many Reeds Editors together in one place. Normally occurring only annually to celebrate the publication of a new edition of the Almanac, the yachtsman’s bible, Rob’s retirement after five years of sterling service proved the perfect opportunity for another jolly jamboree. The group gathered at the appropriately named Jolly Sailor pub at the Hamble to bid Rob farewell and to welcome Mark into the Reeds family.

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Reeds Editors: like London buses – four come along at once. L-R: Chris, Perrin, Rob, Janet, Mark and Andy.