Hello Paupack Sail Club,
The weather seems to be improving this past week, and we are looking good for
this weekend's Wally Lake Fest activities! On Saturday we will be giving sailboat rides departing from Light House Harbor Marina every hour starting at noon. Then we will raft up and watch a movie on the floating big screen, and cookout for everyone! Then on Sunday morning we will hold race number seven at the north end of the lake for the Wally Lake Fest spectators to enjoy. Please let Kristen know if you will be participating.
With Wally lake Fest approaching I thought it worth refamiliarizing ourselves
with a few safety precautions. While the weather doesn't look like it will be too sporty it never hurts to be over-prepared. While most of our guests have at least had a boat ride at some point in their lives, many have not actually sailed. Our guests will be provided and fitted properly with life jackets prior to departing the dock. I've learned from past rides to make sure everyone stays hydrated. Having water or other hydrating drinks available can make the experience much more enjoyable. Also, have crackers or something on board that can be handed up easily just in case motion sickness becomes an issue. Everyone will be excited to get out on the water, but consider having an informal chat with your guests before you leave the dock. Talk to them about: What weather conditions to expect while sailing. How to watch their heads around the boom and to be careful around the winch and lines. Where to sit, and where the fire extinguisher is located.
Once you've got the basics out of the way, focus on holding onto the boat. Ask that your guests keep one hand for themselves and the other for the boat. Stress that one hand should always be holding on, especially when standing or moving. Make sure to have a type IV throwable flotation at hand in case someone does decide to go for an unplanned swim and ensure everyone is familiar with the man overboard procedure.
The biggest concept of sailing that new sailors need to understand is that of
tacking or coming about. Once you are out on the water and have just the mainsail raised, do a
practice tack. Tell them what verbal command you will be giving before the tack, show them
how the boom moves back and forth. Give them a feeling for how the boat will move through
the tack and how it will again begin to heel on the other side after the tack. If any of your guests
would like a job, this is a good time to show them what you need them to do.
One last tip: Keep it fun! If wind speeds are heavy, don't scare your guests. Fly a smaller headsail and put a reef in the main to keep the boat more upright and more comfortable. If there are children on board, give them a chance to crank a winch handle or a turn at the helm if conditions are safe to do so. Keep conversation flowing so you can easily assess if anyone is really feeling uncomfortable. Don't overdo the sail. Before heading in, take the sails down and give your guests a relaxing tour around the lake by motor so you all can enjoy some snacks and each other before the day is over. With a little preparation and forethought, your non-sailors can have a great day. I know that I sure am looking forward to it!