New Westsail owner, new sailor

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  • April 18, 2016 6:21 PM
    Message # 3969758
    Deleted user

    Hi all, I am the proud new owner of hull #748, named Thinkabout, previously Miskatonic, Elena, Smiling Dutchman, & Épée. I drove down to Mexico with my dog last December, after putting everything in storage. This WS 32 and one other were for sail in La Paz, and I figured if I didn't love either of them, I would just hang around down here until something turned up. (I have a job I can do remotely.)

    Well, I did love this one. It's a very sound boat (according to the surveyor and what I can tell myself), in need of some cosmetic elbow grease. So, I am at the bottom of that curve but looking forward to it.

    More importantly, my keelboat experience thus far can be measured in hours. A very few hours. My cruising experience, nil. Marina experience, nil. Yet here I am, living aboard in a marina and trying to get a handle on the scope of my ignorance. I'm not the most outgoing person, so while every person I've talked to here has been super friendly, I could use a bit of cyber mentoring until I make more real life connections.

    I have questions ranging from marina etiquette to boat gear to "what is this thing I just found buried in a locker?" And, of course, sailing questions, but I've only been out on her under sail once, so even that is a huge unknown.

    Is it OK to post all those questions here, or should I save those for cruisersforum and keep to Westsail topics? Other than forums, are there good books or online resources that can help me with all the Sailing for Dummies stuff? And the stuff beyond that, that doesn't seem to make it into those books, like how to politely use a VHF radio, or how to decide which ones, out of the mountain of lines in the locker, are supposed to be used for dock lines.

  • April 18, 2016 6:41 PM
    Reply # 3969771 on 3969758

    Welcome aboard Matt,

    There is no question that cannot be asked here.  This forum is as much about sailing as it is about Westsail's.   Ask away I'm sure you'll get lots of responses.


  • April 19, 2016 5:42 PM
    Reply # 3971986 on 3969758
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Matt: Welcome aboard and please do post your questions ... also poke around the site as there are a lot of images and information ... The Members area has a lot of FAQ type information... 

    Also take lots of images and if you store them on online it's fairly easy to post on the forum... if that doesn't work email me the images and I'll add to your topics. 

    Fair winds... 

    Jay Bietz

  • April 19, 2016 6:05 PM
    Reply # 3972005 on 3969758

    Hi Matt , congrats on your new boat . You say you are not a very out going guy , well IMO you are a very out going guy and not only that you know what you want and you go for it ! All that plus you are humble and that is a true virtue .

    All right lets break this down so it's manageable , what are your first three questions ?

    Also please stay here , we here love Westsails . The other sites not so much .


  • April 19, 2016 8:33 PM
    Reply # 3972178 on 3969758
    Deleted user

    Awesome! I had a feeling this would be a friendly forum. Thank you for the welcome and I hope that eventually I can contribute more than questions.

    OK, first question: What is a good set of dock lines? Material, thickness, length? Should any of them have eye splices? Good chafe prevention?

    Second: To what do you tie your fenders? Mine are currently tied to my lifelines, which I know is not good. It looks like you could tie them to the stanchions and run the lines through guides by the stanchions--is that what those guides are for?

    Three: What's the best way to get the primary anchor chain to return to the locker in an orderly way? I just pulled all the chain today to check the marks. To get it back into the locker afterwards, I had to make multiple trips belowdecks to the locker to pull the chain out of the locker throat where it was piling up. That just won't work for singlehanding, I think. Will it make a difference to be using the windlass to haul it in? Right now, there is 250' of chain and another 180' of rope. The rope sits underneath a triangular piece of plywood, and it looks like the chain is supposed to slide down on top of that plywood into the bottom of the locker. Which it might, if it fed down further aft or if the triangular piece extended about four inches further up toward the intake. Anyone have a well-oiled solution to this, or is it not the problem I think it is?

  • April 20, 2016 7:55 AM
    Reply # 3973386 on 3969758
    Deleted user


    one.) low cost 3/4" nylon with a Big eye one end.  4@30'  or 2@30 & 2@25 the 30's go fwd and and come back to amid ship for spring lines+/-. For the chafe, you will be the only one who can tell this on your set up; (any where it goes through or around something). Longer lines if you go the canal.

    two.) fenders; position them where they best protect the the hull, life lines, stansions, cleats or ? there is no correct answer to this, as there placement is the important part. (life lines are not the best; but) You may also want to add "Rub Strakes" to the cap rail ware you normally tie the fenders over the cap rail.

    three.) A trick I use to get the chain pulled all the way back to the mast, castle it up on deck (rubber mat) then restack (on the mat) so the the chain attached closest to the anchor is on the bottom, so when you pull from below it will feed as it should. (this will not work well in a blow so you may want to just let it fall into the locker then pull back on deck and re-store it when conditions allow).

    Last modified: April 20, 2016 8:30 AM | Deleted user
  • April 21, 2016 6:47 PM
    Reply # 3977100 on 3969758
    Deleted user


    Thanks! I will get my dock lines sorted this weekend. Everything on the boat that looks like it could be a dock line is anywhere from 50' to 180', and I was hesitant to start cutting things up, but it looks like I should. Youtube seems to have plenty of tutorials on making eye splices.

    I think the guides by the lifeline stanchions I was talking about above must be the "rub strakes" you mention. They look like they are designed to keep the fender lines from wearing into the cap rail. Now I just have to find some new fenders, the ones I have are jurassic...

    I will try your anchor chain technique. I remembered I have a couple of pieces of 2' x 4' masonite, one of which could be cut into a perfect, and very slippery, replacement for the plywood piece that's currently in the chain locker. My other thought is that maybe I should remove, and not replace, that piece of plywood. Its only purpose seems to be to keep the chain from piling on the rope rode.


  • April 22, 2016 3:37 PM
    Reply # 3978919 on 3969758
    Deleted user


    I would guess the 180 was for anchoring?

    Don't cut until you check your setup (boat to cleat then back?) also I have been known to use old dock line in the marina without to much surge and save my new lines for the rendezvous or where I am worried about breaking loose from the dock via surge or ?.

    good fenders aren't cheap (10" dia with the hole all the way through are what I use see amazon fender or for 4 more amazon fenders ), and I have them covered with old sweat pant leg cut from; You guessed it "old sweat pants" and sewn with a draw string at the top. The 60/40 mtl seam to hold up the best the 100% cotton seam not to do so well. When they are done (hole) they make great rags +/-

    For the rope in the locker I just coil it and use a velcro strap to hang it up out of the way  (in most conditions I only anchor on chain about 150 ft which means less than 30' of water on a 5 to 1 scope) just plan for your area if it is 50' in the anchorages then you need allot out but in 20' all chain may be ok?

    Also the further down the chain goes the better the sailing. (I pull mine back to the mast base to keep it low and out of the bow.)

    For dock and mooring lines it is nylon right? else it will not stretch enough.

    If you are still in Mexico you may want to hold off on importing from the USA unless you have to. They do have import tax which can really make stuff costly. If you can find stuff locally it may be cheaper but be sure it is what you are looking for, and will hold up.

    Last modified: April 22, 2016 4:02 PM | Deleted user
  • April 22, 2016 5:14 PM
    Reply # 3978966 on 3969758

    Hi Matt , more questions please .

  • April 24, 2016 6:55 PM
    Reply # 3982288 on 3969758
    Deleted user

    OK, went out yesterday to practice anchoring and discovered that the sprocket on my windlass is not sized correctly for the main anchor chain. It's a 45# Manson Supreme anchor with 5/16 HT chain. The windlass is a Simpson-Lawrence Horizon 900.

    Before I go looking for a replacement sprocket (if that's the right term), is that windlass beefy enough for that anchor and chain, or should I be looking to upgrade the windlass itself?

    And sure enough, the chain piled up in the throat of the locker. I'm going to take that piece of plywood out completely before I go out again, and just not worry about the chain resting on the rope rode.

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