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Help for author

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Technique
Forum Discription: 'How to' section for dinghy questions and answers
Printed Date: 22 Apr 21 at 6:02pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Help for author
Posted By: McCarthy
Subject: Help for author
Date Posted: 26 Nov 19 at 10:37pm
Hi. I'm a writer, and I have a scene in my new novel where the characters go sailing in the Caribbean, in a 16ft single-sail fibre-glass dinghy. The male lead is a very experienced sailor, and built the dinghy himself. In part of the scene he deliberately causes one of the other characters to be sea-sick.
Would someone be willing to read through the section for me and check that I have the details correct? Thank you. 

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 12:16am
Without reading it I can't see how how somebody could "deliberately cause another to be sea-sick" but I'll give it a read if you like.

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"

Posted By: MerlinMags
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 7:37am
Easy enough if you make someone crouch in the bottom of the boat and look at a fitting to mend it? That has made me sea-sick before.

Posted By: patj
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 9:32am
Is it a catamaran? Otherwise what sort of multi-person 16ft fibreglass dinghy has a single sail? 

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 9:41am
The yanks love a catboat.

Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446

Posted By: Oatsandbeans
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 11:12am
Most people don't build a GRP boat themselves- if they did I would probably look really interesting!

Posted By: McCarthy
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 11:19am
The boat is similar to a Wayfarer - I can give it two sails if it needs them, especially to go faster. BTW, he's the son of a boat-builder, who builds cabin cruisers, so at 16 he knew what he was doing.
This is the extract. (Please try not to laugh if I have it all wrong - just tell me what to change. Thanks.)


A small elegant craft, just a little over sixteen feet from tip to stern, perfect for a single-handed sailor but big enough to take three or four passengers.

Gerard looked less than enthusiastic. “We’re going out in that?” he queried. “Isn’t it a bit small?”

“Not at all.” Mitch had come up behind them. “She’s a beauty – I built her myself when I was sixteen.”

The expression on Gerard’s face suggested that revelation had done nothing to improve his confidence.

“OK – Sam, can you take in the bow-line?”

The familiar movements came back to her at once as she untied the line and coiled it neatly, stowing it under the bow-hatch. Mitch cast off the stern-line and gunned the outboard motor to turn the boat and steer her down the centre of the fairway.

As they cleared the marina Mitch released the boom-bag, cut the outboard, and hauled on the halyard to raise the sail.

It unfurled, billowing in the wind. The boat responded instantly, seeming to lift and dance, skimming across the waves.

While they had been talking the wind had veered. “’Ware the boom,” Mitch warned as it began to sweep across the deck. Gerard looked up in alarm and scrambled to get out of the way – not that there was any real danger.

Now they were running downwind, and the boat began to roll. Mitch adjusted the sails and they came around to a new tack, running slightly by the lee. They picked up speed, almost flying across the sparkling water, the spray from their bow-wave catching the light and fracturing it into a rainbow of shimmering colours.

That brief distraction had taken their attention from the shifting wind, and they were beginning to roll again. To Sam’s surprise Mitch seemed a little slow in bringing them round, and for a moment they were almost wallowing beam-on to the waves.

She suddenly realised that Gerard had barely spoken since they had left the shelter of the Marina, and when she turned to him she was shocked by his pallor. And then abruptly he pulled himself up and leaned over the side, and retched violently.

He was too good a sailor to let his boat wallow like that. Had he done it deliberately, to get rid of Gerard for the day?


“Would you like to sail her?”

She hesitated. Yes, she would like to, but… “It’s been a long time - I don’t know if I’d remember how.”

“You never forget.”

“OK.” She moved over to take the tiller.

It was a perfect day for sailing. A brisk breeze was filling the sail, the ropes were thrumming beneath her hand. It felt like the old days.

She sensed as the wind veered, and instinctively she let out the ropes until the sail began to luff, then drew them in again until it filled with wind. Mitch had hiked out over the high side to keep the keel balanced, and they settled again into a broad reach, sailing out towards the horizon.

He had taken over the tiller a while ago, sailing out into open water. Sam had been hiking out as they had made the turn into the wind,

Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 12:21pm
As the man said " two nations divided by a common language" . I apologise in advance if wrong, but I read US twang. For the UK it's that shift needed , not any nautical corrections.

Too many - !

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 12:25pm
Why not make it a beautifully built wooden Wayfarer, more plausible for a competent teen to have built than a GRP boat (which requires moulds, usually only available in boatyards). Unless the back story is that Mitch helped out in his Uncles boatyard?

Change 'bow hatch' to 'foredeck'

Roller furling jib to complement the mainsail.

I've never heard the expression 'ware the boom' and a competent sailor would never allow the boat to accidentally gybe due to a wind shift (as you imply) especially in a fresh breeze. Making the gybe deliberate would be better and Gerard could still be surprised by the manoeuvre even with the usual 'ready to gybe' and 'gybe ho' commands if he is not used to boats.

They would come around onto the new tack (gybe) on a broad reach, not sailing by the lee (while they could then change course to sail by the lee a good cruising sailor would not usually do so). A broad reach would be faster than a run too supporting the 'skimming across the water' and the rather nice description of the bow wave. Change the later reference to a broad reach to 'beam reach' maybe and them hiking to keep the boat balanced against the power of the sails.


Originally posted by ian.r.mcdonald

As the man said " two nations divided by a common language" . I apologise in advance if wrong, but I read US twang. For the UK it's that shift needed , not any nautical corrections.


Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"

Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 9:31pm
Good way to make someone seasick.

Give them curried beans for lunch.

Take them out on an old trawler converted to electronic nav training vessel, the motion was truly horrible. 

Send them into the radar room, dark and with the the heat of multiple radars (1980s tech) 


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 27 Nov 19 at 11:04pm
Second only to the 'vomit comet' for inducing motion sickness LOL

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"

Posted By: McCarthy
Date Posted: 28 Nov 19 at 6:12pm
Thank you, everyone. I think you're all having way too much fun thinking of ways to make someone seasick!

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 28 Nov 19 at 8:49pm
TBH it probably is down to whether you are susceptible or not...... I have a mate who get's seasick in the marina and others who never suffer.

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 28 Nov 19 at 9:21pm
I have only been seasick once, that was off Tenby , awful, glad it's never happened again, this was heading west into slow rollers, up and down up and down


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 28 Nov 19 at 9:53pm
I often feel like puking, but never have, yet. Mainly by helming. So assume the person is already slightly queasy, then get them looking down, maybe untying something from under the foredeck.

Read far worse sailing prose.

Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 28 Nov 19 at 10:52pm
Far worse sailing prose probably on here.


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