Sailing

  • What is a Keel?
    sailboat keel
    Diagram of sailboat keel
    Basically, the keel is the bottom of the boat, for sailboats that means the large fins on the bottom called foils.  Sailboat keels are designed to keep the boat from topping, capsizing, in strong winds, and keep lateral motion to a minimum.   The sailboat keel is the most crucial component of a sailboat. It serves two purposes: the outer surface, where the sailcloth is attached, and the inside, where the mast and sails are fastened together. In the middle, between the keel and the sail, is a large central hole that carries a screw that fits into the bottom of the sail to secure it in place. This screw can be removed easily with a wrench, and it’s a good idea to have a wrench to do so. If you don’t have a spare screw, a spinner wrench just might work.   There are two main types of screws used for attaching the sailboat keel to the hull: one that fits into the bottom of the sail and one that fits into the bottom of the hull (or at least on its outside). If you are using a screw that fits into the hull, make sure that it is a flat-headed screw. Some are round-headed (which means you should take care when removing the sailcloth and making the adjustments in the sail). This can cause problems if you want to put in new sails or to add or remove sections of sail.   To remove the sail, you first need to attach a piece of string or rope to the sail which will serve as the sailcloth. With this, you should pull up on the string or rope until the string gets a little loose. Then, turn the end of the sail clockwise while pulling the string until the rope becomes tight. At this point, you will want to pull off the sailcloth, taking note of the screw that attaches the sailcloth to the hull. Then, you can take the screw and slide it out of the hole.
  • Sailboat Regattas, fun since 1775
    Boats lined up for a Sailboat Regatta
    The boats lined up and ready.
    A sailboat regatta is basically a series of boat races, usually separated into boat classes.  The events are as much about having fun and promoting sailings as they are about the actual challenge.  The races aren’t just for the participants and visitors are welcome and encouraged to come to watch.    

    Fun facts about sailboat regattas

    The oldest sailboat regatta started in 1775 in the United Kingdom.  You can visit the official webpage here. The name Regatta comes from the Venetians and means “challenge” The largest sailboat regatta, according to Guinness, is the Barcelona Regatta with 2,689 boats