Launching in Onshore Breeze

This situation can present some unique challenges. With a few key tips, you’ll be able to launch and come back in onshore breeze like a pro. This will avoid accidents at the ramp and also allow you to clear the area quickly, something everyone at a regatta can appreciate. Here’s a step by step process to launch successfuly:

In the boat park

Make sure your boat is ready. This means that you are dressed, your water is on your boat and you have all the gear you need. Your mainsheet is free to run, and not under your daggerboard or wrapped around any objects.

The daggerboard should be laying down in the cockpit. This is to prevent having it slide off the boat if you leave it on the deck. The rudder can be placed under the traveller, or in its gudgeons and kicked up depending on your style.

Your daggerboard bungee should be untied – having your board free to move easily will make your life much easier. You can put on your retainer system once you’re on the water.

At the ramp

Head down the ramp bow first, which, since we are talking about onshore wind this means your boat will point into the wind. This will allow you to have a lot of control and prevent the boat from loading up on the dolly. Keep the mainsheet tidy.

In the water

Once you are in the water, simply slide the boat forward over the dolly. Make sure the boat stays head to wind. The best spots to control it are squarely at the stern or on the side by the mast. trying to pivot the boat from a corner and with a narrow grip will not work well if there is some breeze.

DO NOT try to control your boat by pulling on the boom or mainsheet. Remember, the main is your gas medal. Do not put any tension on these during launching.

Put in your rudder and tighten your traveller. Walk forward to the daggerboard trunk, this means you will head to deeper water. Do not pull the boat back towards you, this will only make the rudder hit the bottom and damage it.

Once your daggerboard trunk is clear of lines, put in your board. You can either put in your retainer bungee now or once you’ve launched.

Walk to the back of the boat and push off. Jump on the boat square at the back, not on the corner, as you’ll cause the boat to pivot sharply.

Make sure the boat is in deep enough water – remember, as you jump on the back you will sink it down. Do not let the rudder hit the bottom.

On your way

Immediately after launching, induce leeward heel and sail a low angle. Flatten the boat to accelerate, and you can then head up to your desired course. Sheet in, and enjoy your sail.

Max St-Maurice

Able to swim before he could walk, Max has always been attracted to anything that involves being on or in water. When he's not overseeing ISA's Operations and Customer Service, you'll find him campaigning on MOD 70 Orion and competing at various maxi yacht events.