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Volume No: 
263

Sailing boats are almost a thing of the past in San Pedro. To have a boat was the best thing in your life 25 years ago, and it was a lot of fun.
 

Young people today only have to deal with speedboats and heavy engines, but the teenagers of the past learned much about sailing boats. Perhaps it will take more than one issue to learn all about the sailing boats, but let’s try. One of the first lessons we got on sailing a boat was the use of the rudder. First of all a rudder is a piece of wood at the stern of the boat, which was used for steering.

There are two ways to handle the rudder, with pieces of rope and with a stick. If you used the ropes, we learned that when you pulled the right, the boat turned right and the same thing with the left rope. However, if you used a stick attached to the head of the rudder, if you pushed it to the left, the boat turned right, and if you pushed it towards the left, the boat moved right. It took a bit of practice to get this and avoid hitting another boat, or a patch of coral in the middle of the sea. To better understand this, here is a diagram so you won’t say it is complicated or that I did not explain clearly.

Do you know that when you launch your boat into the sea, it is not very stable? It is very shaky and it tends to rock from side to side. If you were to try to sail it as it is, it will lean so much to one side that it would capsize or overturn. So how do you overcome this problem with a sailing boat? You ballast it. A ballast is a heavy piece of iron (you can use rocks but it is more bulky), which you place in the center of the boat. The weight of the ballast will cause your boat to sink deeper into the sea and give it more stability. Please do not interpret this as sinking under water. It simply goes down a few inches, perhaps 8 to 10 inches. Once your boat has a good amount of ballast, about a thousand pounds, your sailing is safe and your boat won’t flip over to one side. Have you noticed when there are these sailing races and it is windy, several men would all go on one side of the boat to prevent it from flipping over? They too are acting as ballast and this is flexible ballast because they can move from one side to another.

When it comes to stories, you can read on and on, but when it comes to lessons, your concentration span is shortened, right. So let’s wrap this one up as far as sailing goes twenty five years ago. For now, if you are planning to retire, start planning how to obtain your boat because it can do everything your speedboat can do and cheaper. It is a bit slower, but a lot more fun. Your energy is cheap, much cheaper than gasoline. Wind power is free.

- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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