A Broad Reach

We left Dockton Park on Maury Island, and headed home to Tyee marina yesterday to get our mail and attend to a few chores not easily done while on the water. The wind out of the north had piped up early in the morning and by 1100 it was blowing up a few whitecaps. We tossed around the idea of sailing off of our anchor (normally done under motor) but with boats moored around fairly close we took the conventional route. Once we cleared the anchorage however it was time to kill the motor and set sail!

With the wind at our back, we jibed bringing our stern through the wind and the first time it was rather exciting and not in a good way! Having 2 masts means having 2 booms slamming across the boat with too much force and jangling everyone’s nerves. At first it was pretty tense but after several evolutions and head ducking we refined the process so our gear wasn’t swinging quite so wildly!

To some of my readers, sailing on a broad reach doesn’t have much meaning so I’ll attempt an explanation that might be understood. Much of the time we sail with the wind across the front half of our boat (called beam reach or close-hauled, see diagram 2). On a good day, one can have the wind blowing right down your back (dead downwind) and it’s a pleasant run.

If it isn’t directly at the back of your boat but still behind (broad reach), the boat’s bow is pointed from side to side to tack in a zig-zag line down the channel (see the map below with our zig-zagged teal path) and this is jibing. The wind shift catches the free end of the boom (booms in our case), and causes it to suddenly cross from one side of the boat to the other. The refined version of this is letting the bow come over ever so slowly and sheet-in on the main which makes things more in control.

Bringing the bow through the wind is a much gentler process as the wind reaches the free end of the boom last instead of first. It made for some excellent learning and we were happy for the experience.

Map from 07-17-2015
Track from Dockton to Tyee


Points of Sail
Diagram 2 – Points of Sail








2 thoughts on “A Broad Reach

    1. It is! I’ll be happy when we’ve got enough experience under our belt to not have to get so worked up. Whew!


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