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 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies


Learning to Sail a Yole

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The yole is a long canoe with a very shallow keel, no ballast and no rudder. It carries an enormous amount of sail which is balanced by live ballast. Strong, agile sailors hike out on long poles and adjust their position on the pole according to the winds. In a puff, they may all be dangling over the water at the pole's very end, when the boat starts to roll back, all must scramble inboard. To tack, the entire collection of poles and people must be moved under the low sail to the other side before the wind catches the sail and throws all into the water. The hulls are hand built and generally require one full time bailer and they are steered by a long oar at the stern which can be vigorously sculled to hold the stern down against the considerable helm.


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