Preview: Three Tricks of the Trade, by Capt. Havilah Hawkins, Jr.

50-foot gaff headed sloop VELAI: Know your crew members and sail to their ability.

The captain is responsible for the safety and the kind of experience his passengers and/or crew will have during their day on the water.  It is a lot easier to sail to the skill level of your crew than to expect them to perform like professionals, suddenly knowing what you expect or preformng as if you all have been sailing together for years.

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9 Responses So Far to “Three Tricks of the Trade, by Capt. Havilah Hawkins, Jr.

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    David Southwell says:

    Wonderful sage advice, but Mr. Walters in Number 2 is clearly not an old man- at 59 I can just about take his advice (when cruising) and get somewhere, but I sometimes feel perilously close to 90, at which point I may have to abandon his wisdom…

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    Charles Lammers says:

    Not in response to this Havilah, but are there any plans for the flat bottom skiff you son build for vela?

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      Havilah Hawkins says:

      We have no plans at present, but are working on making some available in the future.
      Feel free to contact me a havilahhawkins(at) if you want more info.

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    Geoff Kerr says:

    Play with your boat! No better example of a confident boat and crew than watching Vela play in the fleet at the end of the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta this summer.

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    Douglas Tate says:

    Your comments should be given to every boater upon the purchase of his/her first vessel! Now, your comments can apply to all vessels, but are much more appropriate for us sailors. While a friend once humorously said that when he’s lost he drives faster because he’ll get there sooner, I can lonly auch because in realty it just gets one more lost more quickly.

    Having a destination is important, but the journey is the imperative key to getting to the destination. Lets enjoy the ride. I particularly like the reference to your potential favorite point of sail is at anchor. That can be so true.

    Sailing doesn’t have to involve an epic journey to be a fantasy ride! Sharing the intensity of a satin smooth reach or the seductive power of a gentle heel with someone who has never sailed before can be an elixir to everyday life!

    S/V Harmony

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    David Clark says:

    Perfect, Haddie.
    This summer, sailing with you for a week, was my idea of fine sailing. No real destination in mind, no pre-arranged lesson plan, just take Vela wherever she wanted to go and enjoy the whole trip with her. Never did we push her limits, nor did she push ours. We experimented with a variety techniques in different situations and leaned what would happen; but never in anything even remotely resembling a panic. We learned each other’s strengths and enjoyed companionship. Absolutely the high point of the summer — well, until I met a certain young Japanese lady who stole my heart. Your three tricks have my highest recommendation.

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      Steve Stone says:

      For those of you who may not know, Haddie has a course each summer (Seasense Under Sail) at the WoodenBoat School, where students get to sail with him aboard VELA for a week… and he graciously passes along all of his knowledge you can absorb in one week. I hopped aboard last year to shoot video as we circumnavigated Deer Isle… and had my first three naps in 20 years aboard VELA that day.