Teekkaripurjehtijat has three dinghy sailing boats. They are excellent for learning the basics of sailing as well as getting closer to the water than on larger sailing boats. The dingies also offer great and sporty sailing experiences on (relatively) heavier winds. Pinkee is a Snipe for 2-3 persons and Vinkee and Trixie are Flipper Scows for 2 persons. The boats are meant to be sailed on Laajalahti (the water body surrounding Otaniemi) and are free to use for all members without any bee hours. In order to use the boats, you must have basic sailing skills and receive an introduction from the Dinghy Master and invite 1 or 2 friends to sail with you (the friends do not need to be TRIP members). All persons on board must know how to swim.
The following is required to obtain permissions to use the dinghy boats:
- You know how to attach sails to the boats, put them in the water, get them back up and store the sails properly.
- You know how to leave dock and return on sails.
- You know what to do when the boat capsizes.
- “You broke it – you fix it”
- The boats are to be left in better condition than they were in when you arrived.
The maintenance of the dinghy boats is a common task for all the users. You will receive bee hours for work done maintaining the boats and also pre-approved expenses will be covered. Preparing a boat for sailing and sailing can not be counted as bee hours. Laminating and fixing holes, fixing ropes or other parts can be counted as bee hours. The condition of the boats only remains as good as what we leave them in.
The introduction to dinghies contains preparing the sales, putting the boats in the water, raising and lowering the sails, getting the boat back up from the water, putting everything back in place and storing the boat properly as well as how to reserve the boat for sails. During the introduction we will also verify that the person will be able to safely operate the boat. You should have relevant skills equivalent to those taught at the Sailing Courses in order to successfully sail on your own. Dinghy introduction is not a sailing course, instead you should have obtained the relevant skills beforehand. The person reserving the boat acts as the responsible skipper for the boat and ensures the safety and safe return of both the crew and equipment.
- Are you unsure of your own skills? Of the skills of the crew? Of the condition of the boat? Of weather?
- -> Remain on shore
The dinghy boats are practically unsinkable thanks to water-proof hulls. It is still possible to capsize. When capsizing the mast can get stuck in the mud at the sea bottom. In order to prevent this, it is important to swim and rise on top of the keel immediately after capsizing. You can also raise an empty canister to the top of mast when raising the main sail to prevent the mast from sinking.
Any and all incidents and dangerous situations must immediately be reported to the Dinghy Master. After thinking about the situation for a couple of days, also a maritime declaration should be written and sent to the skippers mailing list. Some possible accidents on the dinghies are: hypothermia; drowning; accidental jibe; boom hitting the head; colliding with rocks, platform, another boat, swimmer etc. The maritime declaration is created in order to allow all of us to avoid such accidents in the future and so that we can all learn from them. The dinghy boats nor the crew have not been insured by the club.
Maintenance is done by the users themselves
The dinghy boats are old and require a gentle touch and maintenance, just like any other boat. The only way to keep the boats sailing and in good condition is to always leave it in a better condition than it was when you found it. All expenses for parts etc. can be billed from the club and the hours spent on maintenance can be counted as bee hours. Tearing of sails, parts wearing out and other general tear and wear is covered by the club. Also capsizing is part of dinghy sailing, and it is the captain’s responsibility to get the boat and crew safely back to shore.
All problems, breakings and issues must always be reported. As long as the issues are reported and fixed, club will cover the expenses.
The height of the masts limits the operation of the dinghy boats inside Laajalahti. Do not go past the bridges. Rocks exist mainly close to the shore and in the protected Maarinlahti area. As long as you stay on the East-side of all the red buoys you will be clear of obstacles.
Know your skills and only sail in weather that you can handle. The dinghy boats are much more fun than amusement parks like Linnanmäki. With faster speed or higher waves there will be some water splashes into the boat. The boats are also quite sensitive to how the sails are trimmed and the weight is distributed in the boat. The optimal weight distribution of the boat requires crew to changes sides when turning. Crew should also stay as much forward in the boat as possible because the aft will struggle if there is more than 80kg at the back with 60kg close to the keel. So it is better for the person with the tiller to sit in the middle of the boat and the crew member to sit on the side. To operate the sails in the dinghy sailing boats, the regular ropes can be found: Toplift, sheets, kicker, cunningham, outhaul, and a rope to adjust the angle of the front sail. It is recommended to hold the sheet for the main sail in your hand at all times. This will allow to loosen it quicker during a gust of wind or when more weight needs to be transfered over the side.
The floatation vests are part of the equipment for the boat and must always be worn when sailing. Other types of life vests should remain ashore. Floatation vests which help with flotation but do not provide full floatation like life vests are recommended since you may have to dive to get out from under a sail. Gloves and a wet/dry suit are useful but not provided by the club. A Snipe (Pinkee) is fairly stable in light winds (2-4m/s) and capsizing it requires some effort. When fully upright the Snipe is a bit insteady but will stabilize once it heels a bit on one side. The Flipper Scows (Vinkee and Trixie) are easy to capsize due to the flat bottom.
Wind at Laajalahti can vary a lot both by strength and direction. Southerly winds are usually stronger than winds coming from the land. Waves are not a big issue. In stronger winds you’ll always get more power from the winds than what the bigger waves slow down. For example in Westerly winds the weather might seem calm at the platform in OV but once you get past the tip of the cape a sudden gust can capsize the boat in the middle of the open water.
What to do when you capsize:
- Ask for and receive a dinghy introduction from the Dinghy Master.
- Book a boat in the dinghy boat calendar: “Pinkee / YourName PhoneNumber”. Others might wish to use the boat after you so you may save yourself from having to lift the boat up if someone else has reserved the boat after you. You might also get to sail together with another boat. Make sure to only reserve the hours that you will use and delete reservations that are not needed. There should be no need to reserve boats for several consecutive days well in advance.
Preparations when going sailing
- Attach the sails ready to be hoisted. Try hoisting the sails already when the boat is still on the trailer.
- Make sure the boat has the following: 1 Oar, 1 hand bailer, 1 plug, bailers, floatation vests, keel, rudder and tiller.
- Leave everything ashore or pack watertight stuff that can’t get wet.
- Lower the trailer into the water until the boat starts to float. Brake when going downhill. Paddle to the platform with the oar. Attach the keel and tiller. Return the trailer back to the land – so others can use the ramp, too!
- Make sure the boom is at its highest position (sheet & kicker ropes are loose). Put the main sail inside the tracks on the mast to be ready to be hoisted up. Front sail is ready to be hoisted and held in place under a rope.
- Have a great sailing!
Raising the sails
- Check the condition of the boat and that it is ready for sailing. Paddle out of the harbor if needed. Paddle against the wind.
- Hoist the main sail first. Keep the boom at its highest level. Help the front end of the main sail to go into the track inside the mast. Pull the top lift rope to lift the main sail. If the sail gets stuck or feels heavy, lower it down a bit, then pull up again.
- Tighten the main sail by pulling the boom downwards.
- Tighten the main sail sheet to get the wind on the sail and start moving.
- release the sheet for the front sail, free the sail from under ropes. Pull the front sail top lift rope until the sail is hoisted.
- Tighten the sheet for the front sail until wind catches it and keep increasing speed.
Lowering the sails
- Direct the boat against the wind. Paddle for more speed if necessary.
- Open the sheet for the main sail. Open the top lift rope for the main sail. Gently pull the sail down along the mast. Make sure the sail remains dry and inside the boat.
- Steer to the harbor using the front sail or by paddling.
- Open the top lift rope for the front sail and hold it. Pull the front sail down by gently pulling it. Lower the front sail on top of the boat, making sure it remains dry.
Lifting the boat up and final actions
- Remove the keel and rudder.
- Paddle to the rapm and float the boat onto the trailer.
- Pull the boat up from the water, leaving it on the ramp. Open the bailers and plug to let all the water out. If the boat does not have bailers, use the hand bailer to empty the boat of water.
- Pull the boat up the rest of the ramp and put it in its place in the harbor. This might require 2-3 persons, especially when using the heavier trailers.
- The sails are stored dry and neatly packed in their respective bags. If the sails are wet, instead hang them to dry inside the storage. Come back to the harbor the next day to put the sails into the bags, or make sure someone else is coming there. You can also dry the sails by hoisting them up and letting them flap in the wind until dry.
- The flotation vests are stored in the storage locker.
- Open the white caps for the water tight compartments by twisting them.
- The tiller, rudder and keel are stored inside the boat. Also the oar is stored in the boat.
- Move all ropes and wooden parts up from the bottom of the boat so that they dry properly. Rain water can accumulate inside the boat and wooden parts will rot if they are left to touch it.
- Attach the cover tarp tightly over the boat to protect it.
More tips for trimming: http://www.purjehtimaan.fi/index.php?sivu=34425