Sail Fast!

Ten Tips for Clean and Green Boating

Posted by Discover Boating on Mon, Mar 06, 2017 @ 09:39 PM

 

  1. Prevent oily discharges from the bilge. Keep your engine well tuned to prevent fuel and oil leaks. Secure an oil absorbent pad or pillow in your bilge and under your engine where drips may occur. Check the pads often, do not let them clog the bilge pump, and dispose of them as hazardous waste at a marina or local hazardous waste collection center.
  2. Spill-proof your oil changes. For oil changes, use an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill-proof container. Wrap a plastic bag or absorbent pad around the oil filter to prevent oil from spilling into the bilge.
  3. When fueling, stop the drops! Prevent fuel spills by filling fuel tanks slowly and using absorbent pads or rags to catch drips and spills. Don’t "top off" or overflow your fuel tank. Leave the tank 10% empty to allow fuel to expand as it warms.
  4. Do not add soap. Never use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills. It increases harm to the environment, and it is illegal.
  5. Minimize boat cleaning and maintenance in the water. If possible, save maintenance projects for the boatyard. When performing work on the water minimize your impact by containing waste. Use tarps and vacuum sanders to collect all drips and debris for proper disposal.
  6. Reduce toxic discharges from bottom paints. Minimize the discharge of heavy metals found in soft-sloughing antifouling paints by using a less toxic, or nontoxic antifouling paint. Use only non-abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques to prevent excessive paint discharge. Remember, dry storage reduces the need for antifouling paints and saves money.
  7. Dispose of hazardous waste properly. Dispose of paints, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters and other hazardous wastes at a hazardous waste collection facility or event.
  8. Plan A-head! Manage sewage wastes properly. Never discharge sewage within 3 miles of shore. Use harbor pump-out stations and shore-side facilities. If you don’t have an installed toilet, use a port-a-potty and empty it at a harbor dump station or bathroom.
  9. Stow it, don’t throw it! Keep your trash on board. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage into the ocean. Take advantage of shore-side facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal, and paper.
  10. Reduce Greywater discharges. Use a phosphate-free biodegradable soap to minimize the impacts of greywater on the marine environment. Also minimize discharge by doing dishes and showers on shore whenever possible.

Tags: Belle Haven Marina, Potomac River, Clean Marina, Boat US, adult sailing lessons, Boating in DC

Just Imagine by John A

Posted by George Stevens on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 @ 02:56 PM

Just imagine if if all sailing facilities across North America and beyond threw open their doors and invited the public to experience sailing on the longest day of the year right at the start of summer!  And then publicized it all in their local area - on Craig's List, in the local paper, in a Blog, Facebook and Twitter Feed.  All sailboats, all sailing, all together.  Summer Sailstice is the opportunity for everyone to do this for this year's 15th annual Summer Sailstice.

We always love seeing more sailing organizations coming on board to just do it so it's great to find a post on the Washington DC area Craig's List for Mariner Sailing School in Alexandria, VA.  

Mariner Sailing School is publicizing free one-hour sailing lessons on Craig's List.

The Summer Sailstice events page now has two options for posting your event:  Public Participation events with yellow pins are events open to the public.  Red pins are demonstration events, i.e.  cruises, races and other events which showcase the best of sailing but where public participation isn't available.  

We'd like to see as many events as possible on Summer Sailstice so all of sailing is on display and we especially like seeing US Sailing training centers like Mariner Sailing School offering open houses and other opportunities for uninitiated sailors to get on the water.  

Tags: Belle Haven Marina, Washington Sailing Marina, Clean Marina, adult sailing lessons, Mariner Sailing School, US Sailing, Sunfish, sailing lessons for children, Washington DC sailing marina

LAKE SAILING TIPS By Richard Feeny,

Posted by George Stevens on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 @ 06:28 PM

Introduction

The shape of the land to windward of the race course will affect the wind. The first thing to look for is any low area that will let the wind onto the race course. In a flat country with no valleys to funnel the wind, what will affect the wind? There will still be geographic sweet spots, and fairly rhythmic, yet unpredictable, shifts. In shifty conditions you can’t be right all the time. Successful sailors punch out into the first shift, using their speed to stay in the front row half way up a first beat. In shifty conditions the middle of the starting line is usually a good home base. (Until one end is more than 15 degrees favored – then you have to get there). If the oscillations slow down then they become, effectively, persistent shifts. To be world caliber you need an aggressive starting mode on a lake just as on salt water.Deep Creek Lake

Geographic Effects

The land upwind of the race course will affect the wind. Trees and man-made features will cause wind shadows and holes, but also will create sweet spots that have more wind, more often, than the rest of the lake. The puffs tend to fan out as they hit the lake. Sail the edges of a fan puff to ride the lifts. The land can also bend the wind, for example, the wind aligning with streets and buildings which tend to be perpendicular to the shore. Perhaps this is why it usually pays to head towards shore. If one shore is in or near the race course a smart sailor can usually make it pay. It is not as simple as hit the beach, but play lifts and headers on that side. Look for an acceleration of the airflow in a near-shore band, and/or a heading shift on the tack headed most directly toward the shore that permits a boat to shorten its course by tacking to the lifted offshore tack. Generally, all other things being equal, the friction of a shoreline will bend the gradient wind left in the Northern Hemisphere compared to open water. So if there is a shoreline on the left side of the race course, the left will often (dare I say usually?) pay by providing port tack lifts.

To chase puffs or not?

The trick is to meet puffs, not chase them. The race is to the mark, so all speed should be directed in that direction. Small detours are permitted to catch or intercept puffs. Try to identify the geographic effects to find the places puffs touch down.

Conclusion

You will see oscillating, persistent, and geographic wind shifts on lakes, which is why lakes are more fun to sail on than open water.

Tags: Belle Haven Marina, Potomac River, adult sailing lessons, Sailing Instructors

For Paddlers, It’s High Season for Safety - NEWS From BoatUS

Posted by George Stevens on Mon, Oct 06, 2014 @ 02:01 PM

For Paddlers, It’s High Season for Safety

ANNAPOLIS, Va., October 6, 2014 – It may be sunny outside with blue skies above, but waters are deceptively cold and unforgiving in the fall. For paddlers with just a few inches of freeboard to spare, getting wet this time of year can have serious consequences, so the BoatUS Foundation forBoating Safety and Clean Water has these seven tips for fall paddlecraft safety.Kayaking

Know how to re-board: All paddlecraft are different, so before you hit a lonely, remote stretch of river or bay, learn (in a safe place) how to get back in the boat quickly and efficiently as hyperthermia is a threat that increases by the minute. Some paddlers add extra floatation inside the boat as it can help reboarding. (Tip: this can be accomplished simply by inflating a beach ball or purchasing aftermarket float bags). If you do ever fall out and can’t get back in, stay with the kayak or canoe – it’s a bigger target for rescuers to see.

Don’t keep it a secret: Tell people where you’re going by filing a float plan. It could be as simple as telling your spouse, in writing, where you are going and what time you plan to return. Writing it down makes it become habit. Be as specific as you can – this isn’t the time to forget to mention you’re heading to your hidden fishing hole two miles off the beaten channel.

Understand the basic rules of navigation: You may not be out there with icebreakers just yet, but there may still be some recreational boating traffic and potential ship traffic. The simple challenge is the smallest boats are hardest to see. One simple tip to help visibility is to spray the tips of your paddles a bright color. Paddlers also can help themselves by understanding some basic rules of navigation.

Don’t leave without a bailer: With low freeboard -- or the distance from the water to the gunwale -- paddlecraft are prone to getting water aboard. Once it starts, it’s only a matter of time before your canoe or kayak becomes ever lower to oncoming waves. Keep water out and buoyancy up by having a bailer ready (Tip: tie one to each seat).

Thermal up or down: Neoprene gloves, a drysuit or wetsuit tops and hats are the ultimate protection in retaining body heat this time of year. However, have outdoor gear that offers versatility by being able to cool down or warm up when appropriate. Even if it may feel like summer, never leave shore in just a t-shirt and shorts. It only takes just a short change of weather or a dunking to drench you and the hypothermia clock starts ticking. A bright colored rain parka can also be seen at great distances.

Going remote? Go Personal Locator Beacon (PLB): Advances in GPS technology have brought down the cost of personal locator beacons, but if your budget is tight you can still rent a PLB from the BoatUS Foundation for $45 weekly, plus shipping. There are no additional subscriber fees and paddlers going to remote locations can order online at BoatUS.org/epirb or call 888-663-7472 (Tip: mention code “DISC10” for a 10% discount on the weekly PLB rental rate through December 1, 2014).

Keep it secure up top: If you need to get your favorite kayak or stand-up paddleboard to the lake on your car or truck’s roof this fall, go toBoatUS.com/addingpaddlecraft for a quick read on the three basic types of roof rack systems and ways to safely tie down the load. Your kayak has no desire to meet the road or become a hazard for oncoming vehicles.

Tags: Belle Haven Marina, currents and tides, Potomac River, Inflatable life jackets, boating safety, Cold Water, Boat US, adult sailing lessons

Eight reasons to Sail from US Sailing

Posted by George Stevens on Mon, May 12, 2014 @ 10:44 AM
    • Sailing is fun!  Sailing is Adventurous. 
    • Sailing is social.  It is the only sport that all ages, genders and physical capabilities can enjoy---all at the same time.
    • Sailing is a lifetime sport (‘If you are going to do this for the rest of your life, is it not best to learn to the highest certified standards, the first time?  ergo, USSA)
    • Sailing makes one’s life bigger and the world smaller.
    • Sailing continually expands one’s knowledge of the physical world in many natural ways (STEM)
    • Sailing is transformational.  It is often a demarcation point in many lives (before vs after becoming a sailor)
    • ‘Sailing is for you’.  achievable, affordable, available,
    • Sailing is a quiet escape from daily tensions/pressures

     

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Tags: Belle Haven Marina, Learn to Sail, sailing, adult sailing lessons, US Sailing, sailing lessons for children, Sailing Instructors, teaching sailing

Smart Questions To Ask Sailing Schools ~by Lisa Batchelor Frailey of Sail Solomons

Posted by George Stevens on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 @ 09:45 PM

 

Without guidance about how to find a sailing school, many prospective students may start with the least effective method: a Google search. Decisions might then be made based on cost, location, timing, and length of the courses. Let us share other important factors to consider and more targeted methods for sifting through the multiple options of sailing schools on the Bay.

Credentials, Please
American Sailing Association (ASA) or U.S. Sailing schools offer internationally recognized certification programs, allowing you flexibility in sail training and chartering locations. Each organization promotes “Outstanding Schools and Instructors,” right on their websites. Ask yourself how “far” you’d like to go in your sailing. Would you eventually like to buy or charter a boat on your own? If so, choose a school that offers the full gamut of sailing certifications. Don’t select the sailing equivalent of a junior college if you’re after a master’s degree

Do the Boats Fit the Course?
Does the school have boats appropriate for the level of certification you’re trying to achieve? Many schools start initial training on small, tiller-steered keelboats, allowing you to get a feel for basic sailing skills and build confidence. For more advanced courses, progressively larger and more complex boats should be used. Will the school offer rentals or charters for practicing your newly learned skills on your own? Many schools do; some even have sailing clubs for cost-effective practice while meeting new sailing friends.

Customized for You
Many schools offer customized sailing courses, including courses for women, couples, or families. Tailored courses may also focus on specific skills like docking, racing, or even just being a good crewmember. Through most good schools, you may hire an instructor for private instruction on your own boat, if applicable.

Shoreside Resources
Dockside resources; availability of meals and lodging; size, type, and condition of boats; and safety and maintenance of boats. These items may be addressed by a personal visit to the school for a tour of the facility and boats and perhaps a demonstration sail.

The Peeps
Top schools post instructor biographies on their websites and gladly introduce you to the teaching staff when you tour the facility in person. Are the instructors ASA and/or U.S. Sailing certified instructors? Do they have U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s licenses? Are they friendly and good at listening as well as “experts?” Would you enjoy spending a weekend with these instructors?

Better Business
Sailing schools are businesses, and if you hope to develop a relationship with one, be sure you’re comfortable with their style. Were your inquiries responded to promptly and courteously? Did the school provide the information you needed to make a good course selection? What sort of flexibility will you have for re-scheduling, in the event of emergencies or foul weather?

Do Your Homework
Ask for former student references. Sailing is an exciting and inspiring sport, and
newcomers tend to have strong feelings about how they learned. If a school
hesitates to provide happy customers’ contact information, there may be a
reason for it. If a school does not have references for you, we recommend not
writing the check.


Tags: Learn to Sail, adult sailing lessons, US Sailing, Sailing Instructors

Top 10 Reasons I Love To Sail with my Family ~by Beth Crabtree

Posted by George Stevens on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 @ 09:42 PM

 

Photo by Dan Phelps

Photo by Dan Phelps

1. Sailing is one of the best forms of family bonding. Because multiple generations can sail together and teamwork is a necessity, few sports bring families together the way sailing does.

2. One of the best parts of sailing is that there are so few electronic distractions. Although our kids bring their phones aboard, they only use them for photos and music.

3. Limited space and 360 degrees of surrounding water mean that it’s hard for teens to hide. Sailing can bring even the most reclusive teen topside for some quality time with the family.

4. Sailing provides time for daydreaming and reflection. On a sailboat, the work comes in bursts. You’ll have moments where the whole crew is intensely busy, but you’ll also have long stretches of time when each family member can retreat into his or her own thoughts.

5. Sailing with my spouse is an ideal date. Spending time on the water away from work, household, and parenting responsibilities is a great way to relax and recharge.

6. Sailing is a great place to watch sibling interaction. Although they may squabble on land, they’ve got to work together to make the boat go.

7. Some of my fondest childhood memories are the hours my dad and I spent sailing. I hope my children will feel the same way someday.

8. Sailing is full of teaching moments. Crew work requires interpersonal skills, but sailing also provides a platform for parents to teach proper planning, accountability, engineering, math, chart reading, ecology, and more.

9. Sailing with children gives them an opportunity to see parents as individuals, not just as Mom and Dad. One of the interesting dynamics on a sailboat is the sense of equality among the sailors aboard. Skills matter more than age.

10. Sailing keeps our hands and our minds busy. It gets us out in nature. We leave our worries and commitments back on land. We come home tired and happy. Sailing is a mini family vacation.

~by Beth Crabtree

Tags: Belle Haven Marina, Flying Scot, Learn to Sail, adult sailing lessons, Mariner Sailing School, sailing lessons for children

Learning to Sail on the Potomac River (Connection Newspaper)

Posted by George Stevens on Sun, Mar 30, 2014 @ 12:20 PM

During the winter, Amy Zang is a teacher. Chip Johnston flies around the world in search of the perfect wind and kite surfing. Come summer, however, they both return to the Potomac — Zang to direct the sailing program at Washington Sailing Marina; Johnston to return to his post as vice president of marine operations at Belle Haven Marina.

“It’s a great gig,” said Johnston, who grew up in nearby Hollin Hall. He figures that he’s been working at Belle Haven Marina since 1980. During the winter, he uses Florida (where his parents live) as home base to head out to exotic parts. His favorite is Kovala Beach, located in southern India. He also likes Brazil up until January.Mariner Sailing School dock

“It’s a good time,” he said. “It [Belle Haven] is a gorgeous place and there is a different group of kids every time, so there is plenty of challenge. It’s the flavor of life — it’s never the same.”

George Stevens, president of The Mariner Sailing School, said that the school was started in the late '70s and continues to be the only full-time sailing school on the Potomac River.

“Over the years, the school has grown from two boats and two instructors to approximately 60 vessels and over 50 instructors. The school has adapted to student demands over the years. In the beginning, we only offered a Learn to Sail course but our graduates wanted the next step. Our Learn to Cruise graduates are now sailing the BVI’s, Bahamas and Florida Keys with confidence. Fifteen years ago, we were one of the larger windsurfing facilities in the area, but demand has waned and we are no longer in windsurfing," Stevens said. “The Youth Courses have always been an important component to our success. Many of our current staff are graduates of the course and are now sharing their skills with new sailors.”Belle Haven Marina Youth program

OVER AT WASHINGTON Sailing Marina, students were also gathering for the day. Zang said that they have 10 weekly sessions. Unlike Belle Haven that has half-day sessions, all of their sessions are full day — from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. She said that they offer beginning, intermediate, advanced and windsurfing classes. There are 38 Sunfish for the beginners; nine Flying Scots for intermediate students; six Hobie Cats for advanced students and eight windsurfers.

At the Gangplank Marina, DC Sail also teaches adults and youths. DC Sail is the community sailing program of the National Maritime Heritage Foundation. 

DC Sail offers Washington, DC's first and only community sailing program.

DC Sail, volunteers, and the community are currently working towards our goals of:

  • Raising money and support for DC Sail's youth programming, bringing children from all corners of Washington, DC together to share in maritime education.
  • Increasing awareness of the value and potential of the Potomac & Anacostia Rivers, and
  • Building a model for a larger full-scale community sailing center.

Tags: Belle Haven Marina, sailing lessons, Learn to Sail, Alexandria Virginia, adult sailing lessons, sailing lessons for children, Washington DC sailing marina, dc area, youth sailing lessons, washington dc