Setting sail



You will have motored out of the harbour or anchorage and with around 200 – 300 metres of open sea space between you and the harbour or channel entrance marker buoy, you should turn the boat into the wind and motor gently into the wind.


The mainsail should be untied from the boom before you leave port / anchorage and your biggest crew member should go to the mast where s/he will find the mainsail halyard. This will be on the side of the mast at about waist height. They will haul the halyard until the top of the sail reaches the top of the mast, or when you have a reef in the sail, the halyard is taught.

Sometimes the main halyard leads into the cockpit in which case someone else should pull it tight and use the cleat on the deck to lock it.


Another point to consider is how windy it is and how big the waves are. If it is quite windy and lumpy you should consider putting the main up before you leave the harbour entrance where it is calm. In any decent seas it is very hard to stand up and the person on deck could be thrown into the sea. In leaving the harbour entrance in this case, you leave the main sheet loose so it doesn’t set the sail.



The jib is easier to set. It will be on a roller on the forestay. There will be a jib in-haul on the port side of the cockpit. When the boat is turned into the wind, take the in-haul off its cleat, and use the planned leeward jib sheet to haul it off the roller. The helm will steer the boat in the direction they want to go and using the winch as necessary, set the sail immediately.

The helm should throttle back the engine and turn it off as you wish.

Off you go!