Posts Tagged 'knots'

vuoi fare vela? sailing theory in one image

vuoi fare vela?

do you want to sail?

h/t: American Sailing Association (@__ASA__) and




here is a blog post with a good summary of the knots you’ll need to know for your Sunfish sailing.

for a good primer on other nautical knots, visit the site Animated Knots by Grog.

the trucker’s hitch

this is hilarious:

HT: Earwigoagin

storing Sunfish sails with a chain sinnet knot

a handy method for organizing your Sunfish sail with the booms and mast after you are finished sailing for the day is to tie the whole lot together using a chain sinnet (or monkey braid).

make sense? probably not by just watching that simple video, so of course, a little bit more explanation will probably help.

1st – make sure your sail is dry.  if you have to put away your sail wet, make sure you unroll it ASAP and let it dry to prevent mildew from forming on the sail.

2nd – position the 2 booms (or spars) together. I also usually just leave the mast in the gooseneck, and rotate it down so that the mast is parallel with the booms.  pull the sail away from the booms and mast, and start to slowly – and loosely – roll the sail up towards the booms.  IMPORTANT: do NOT roll the sail around the booms, as you are more likely to damage the sail that way.

3rd – use both your halyard and mainsheet to tie a chain sinnet knot that wraps around and loosely secures the rolled up sail and the booms and mast.  I usually start with the mainsheet, with it pulled all the way so that the pulley that connects with the traveler is tight against the end boom block.  so my mainsheet chain sinnet starts at about the mid-point (at the forward boom block), and I tie the chain sinnet knot towards the tack of the sail (and base of the mast).  then, with the halyard, I’ll tie again the chain sinnet knot, working the opposite direction.

if some pictures would help, the Lansing Sailing Club has put together a pretty nice step-by-step pictorial – check it out here. an example picture is below.



working my way from the  using the halyard

sunfish rigging knots

here is a quick refresher on how to tie the knots required for rigging your Sunfish.

Basic Rigging

the halyard connects to the upper boom with a clove hitch:

the halyard should be led through the deck fairlead and then tied off to the deck horn cleat using a cleat hitch:

if your mainsheet does not have a snap clip on the end of it, then you can tie the end of the mainsheet to the bridle at the back end of your Sunfish with the very useful bowline knot:

after passing the mainsheet through the (2) boom blocks on the lower boom, feed the mainsheet through your mainsheet ratchet block (or similar).  as a safety measure, you should then tie a stopper knot into the end of your mainsheet.  I like to use a figure 8 stopper knot:

as an alternative, you could also use an Ashley stopper knot (as recommended by Shoreline Sailboats):

all of these knots (and more) are detailed at Animated  Knots.


if you don’t have a ratchet block for your mainsheet, I would highly recommend one.  I’ve been using a Harken 2135, and it is a very nice system for controlling your mainsheet.

Img0213_019 mainsheet block

for additional information on rigging your Sunfish, see my compilation of various Sunfish rigging guides.

PYC junior learn to sail classes

we just registered our 2 older boys for sailing lessons this year.  there are a few programs in the Detroit Metro area that offer sailing lessons for youth during the summer, but the location and/or times vary quite a bit.  we chose to use Pontiac Yacht Club (PYC) on Cass Lake.


PYC has a junior/youth sailing program that starts with a “beginner” class, followed by an advanced/intermediate class, which could lead to junior sailing if your child is interested.  we are starting both of them in the beginner 2-week class, and we’ll see how things go from there!

This class includes learning water safety, parts of a sailboat, wind direction, basic sailing direction and knots. The majority of the class time is spent gaining experience on the water in club supplied Optimists, Bics or 420 two-handed sailboats.

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