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Many sailors prefer to be with a group. This type of sailing experience is the perfect execution of teamwork. Plus, if someone has less time on the water, someone else can pick up the slack. But, there are those sailors who love to go it alone and they are the ones who love the agility and versatility of a one-person dinghy. If you plan to launch your dinghy from the beach, you will have to use some special sailing techniques to do it safely and efficiently as they power of the tide coming in will be working against you.
It is always easier to be pushed down wind that to fight it the other direction. You'll have to get used to steering your vessel as close to the eye of the wind as you can while holding your sails tight. If wind is blowing offshore, start by launching in as deep of water as you can, then quickly turn the rudder to sail parallel with the shore. Once you are out of shallow water, drop the daggerboard as far as possible. This will help the boat drive straight.
If the wind is blowing onshore, you have to work quickly. Set both your jib and mainsail before you launch. If the wind is blowing parallel to the beach, you have the best conditions. Set both sails but do not tie the sheets off. Allow the sails to luff.
If you are a newcomer to sailing, you should only attempt to launch from shore using the buddy system. Get sufficient sailing advice before you attempt to launch from the beach. Make sure you are in a location where other people can call for help if you get in trouble.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|