Sailing Guide‎ > ‎


Capsizes can almost always be prevented. If the boat starts to tip over, let the sheets out (fastest
response), hike out, or head up into the wind.

Always keep the mainsheet handy so you can immediately release it if the boat heels suddenly in
a gust. Always be ready to move your weight suddenly if necessary, and scramble for the high
side if the boat heels suddenly.

Never sail with the boat heeled over so far that it's only an inch or two away from taking on
water That not only puts you closer to a capsize but also slows you down. Head up a little and
let the sails luff more.

If you do capsize, keep calm and plan your actions so you'll be back sailing more quickly. Never
swim away from the boat or cling to the high side of a capsized boat.

First check that everyone is OK. Crew should float alongside the boat, holding onto the bow
painter to keep the bow pointing into the wind. Don't leave the boat to swim after any paddles or

Next make sure all the sheets are uncleated.

It's best to point the bow into the wind by holding onto the bow while you float in the water.
Because your body acts as a sea anchor, the wind will push the hull downwind. If you’re alone,
hold the bow to point it into the wind, then quickly get onto the centerboard. If you’re out with
crew, one person should hold the bow while another rights the boat.

If it’s really windy, anchor. Anchoring makes sure the hull won’t float away from anyone faster
than they can swim. Anchoring also points the bow into the wind.

Anyone not needed to point the bow into the wind or to right the boat can float between the hull
and the boom, holding onto a hiking strap (but not putting any weight on the hull). As the boat
comes upright, they should pull themselves into the cockpit using the hiking strap.

To right the dinghy, stand on the centerboard and pull on the hull to tip it back upright. It may
take a few seconds before your weight can break the sails free of the water. Use the righting
lines on the Bahia (under the edge of the hull) or the jibsheets to allow you to stand further out
on the centerboard and pull. When pulling a jibsheet (which of course should be uncleated), pull
it between the cleat and the sail, and pull against the cleat, so you are pulling the stopper knot
against the cleat. Don’t pull against the jib, you might tear it!

It’s OK to step out on the centerboard. Putting all your weight on the centerboard isn’t as much
stress as the centerboard normally bears while sailing in strong wind. But don't jump up and
down on the centerboard; it could break it.

If you have trouble righting the boat, uncleat the main halyard and pull down the sail. Furl or
lower the jib as well. Having the sails down makes the boat much easier to right.