Ocean Sailing & Safety
The Pacific Ocean is dangerous! The water is cold and a full
wetsuit is required all season round. Although sailing conditions are almost
always side/onshore so you probably won't drift to Japan, you could face
a difficult landing through surf and rocks if you get blown downwind at
many Santa Cruz sites. Here are a few suggestions for ocean safety:
Be able to waterstart reliably and go upwind.
Sail with a buddy
Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
Wear a full wetsuit.
Check your equipment regularly.
Do not go out if you are unsure of your ability or your equipment..
Launching in the Surf
Lots of visitors (and locals) lose masts, booms, fins, and
even boards in quite gentle looking surf. Even small surf packs a big punch!
Here's my tips for successful launching:
Keep the nose of the board pointed into the surf at all times.
Do not stand behind your rig, stand to the side. When a wave
picks up your rig and smashes it down, you don't want to be underneath
it. I broke two ribs last year.
If you lose control, grab the mast tip and hold it into the
waves. Waves will break over your sail and rig. If the mast points into
the beach it is likely to get jammed into the bottom and broken.
Wait for a lull and go for it.
Don't hang around in the surf zone.
In small surf, lift your rig over the surf.
Once sailing, keep you weight back and sheet in hard to punch
through breaking surf.
Sailing In Through The Surf
It's usually easy to outrun most waves, but its more fun
to try to ride them.
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Copyright Jim Munro 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999