West Wight Potter Owners Home Port

Potter Sailing Tips
For All Potter Sailors

Do you have a sailing tip that you would to share?
Send it here!
Click onto Photos to enlarge


Some day when you are out in your P-15 on a light air day, take down your sails, lash the tiller at
center, then just sit back and watch what she does. In my experience, the P-15 will slowly turn
stern to the wind and drift slowly downwind.

Which would tend to indicate that it is a good idea to anchor a P-15 from the stern, letting out the
anchor line over the transom behind her.

When  I have anchored my P-15 from the bow I have found that she doesn't lie steadily and tries
to sail slowly up her anchor, then drifts laterally into the arc of other boats anchored near her.

The real sailing tip involved here, is that on relatively calm days, take some time to sit back and
observe the effect of wind, water, and hull form on one another. This will be  unique from boat to

Understanding how yours works enables you to use that knowledge to your advantage'

Bruce Hood      (First published in the Potter Yachters (PY) April 1991 Newsletter)


In high winds the Potter 15 can handle a lot. Things to do to prepare are to be sure the boat and
all the rig is in top-notch condition; put on the PFD, button up the boat (securely close all hatches
and openings); put food, water, hand held VHF, SPOT, and warmer clothing in a dry bag in the
cockpit (tie in if desired);

Start in a reefed manner, both the jib and the mainsail (you can unfurl easier than you can reef);
keep the boat balanced with both jib and mainsail (it's hard to control a Potter 15 with one sail
alone - they go better balanced with both sails - if one, pick main only); never ever cleat the

Be sure all lines are out of the way and not underfoot; sit on the high side at all times; take waves
on the quarter rather than head on, or dead downwind, because it makes things better, more
controllable, and gives you more visibility;

Reef early always if you didn't before you start out; prepare to have an alternate plan (go
somewhere else, don't go, shorten the trip, bail out, whatever...just have an alternate) be sure
you can quickly and surely heave to for rest and whatever you need (toileting?);

In gnarly conditions you may not be able to make time so don't rush; be sure to top up the fuel in
the motor before leaving shore or the dock so you can use the motor without fooling around
putting fuel in it; use the motor for punch and power (it can help you go upwind and downwind)
as well as arrive somewhere in more shelter if needed;

Leave schedules on land so you are not forced to go when conditions are too dangerous; a wave
the height of the width of your boat will tip you over if it gets the chance since waves like to eat
boats for lunch;

Keep a positive attitude because the boat can take more than you; and, never go if you have had
alcohol or are tired or feeling sick.

Anne Westlund


One of the best things I've learned is to put my Potter on a "leash".  This is a sturdy length of soft
rope that snaps onto the bow eye and leads back to middle of the cockpit rail.  The leash is loose
enough so that it hangs down below the rub-rail, but generally stays out of the water.

When launching the boat, I tie the leash to my SUV.  Now, I can let the boat float off of the trailer
in a controlled way.  Also, I can grab the leash while on dry land and use it to lead the boat
further down the dock. Next, it becomes my forward dock line to secure the boat at the dock.

When casting away from the dock, I hold the leash in my hand and use it to keep the boat steady
until I step aboard.  Then I return the aft end of the leash to my cockpit rail.  When returning to
the dock, the forward dock-line is in hand as I step off the boat.  The whole docking operation is
fast and flawless with no need to go forward on deck.

The leash can also be used to deploy an anchor from the cockpit.  A large carabiner clip is used
to snap the anchor line onto the leash. (Better details about cockpit anchoring area available at
this website.)  Finally, there's always an instant tow line or line to use when pulling the boat up
on shore.

Charley Beck    


I see some pretty fancy equipment on boats, but often, don't see a $40 Windex on the mast.  Yes,
there are folks who have a very keen sense of wind direction.  But I'm in the category of sailors
who usually don't have as keen a sense of wind direction as I'd like to (and I know I'm not alone).

When using the Windex, an eye-to-hand coordination seems to develop that results in more
precise rudder movements and sail trim.  Accidental jibes become less common and coming
about without stalling more common.  And the very important close haul angle is probably more
precise for most of us with the help of a wind indicator.

Consider your crew and guests too.  There may be a time when you ask a less experienced crew
member to "hold the bow into the wind".  Not everyone on the boat is guaranteed to have a keen
sense of the wind.  In fact, there will be some who might wet a finger, point it every which way,
but still not know.  Having a Windex will help greatly with this problem and may help the crew
sail the boat should you become unable to.

Charley Beck   


I normally solo sail my P-19 Sea Dove, but even in Charleston, SC the winter water temperature is
50 to 55, but this year it went into the 45 degree range (Global Warming).  The attached USCG
video shows what can happen to us if we fall overboard. Wear that PFD!


Chuck O' Morrow   omorrow2@comcast.net


After years of use, many of the brass bolt holes in the P-15 's wooden rudder stock, have become
walled out to the point that the brass bolt is no longer kept from turning when tentision is applied.

The wallowed out area can be built up with thickened epoxy and filed to fit the square flange on
the brass bolt. Another way is to use a piece of metal, plastic, or fiberglass to make a small
washer like plate in which a hole has been drilled,  and then filed to fit the square flange on the
backside of the brass bolt.

I had a small round piece of 1/8-inch thick fiberglass on hand, so I drilled a hole slightly smaller
than 1/2-inch and then used a small file to make the square to fit the brass bolt. I drilled three
small holes in the fiberglass disk, and attached it to my rudder stock with small screws. Who
knows...I might even apply a dab of epoxy someday!

Bill Nolen   



Anytime you overnight when sailing coastal waters where a sudden storm or squall might either
cause you to sail wildly around your anchor, or to drag your anchor and leave you at the mercy
of the storm, use the Bahamian method of double anchoring.

Depending on how much tidal change effects your area of course, I generally pick a depth of 6
feet, put the anchor over and drop downwind to properly set my primary or largest anchor with
the rode passing through the starboard bow chock.

Once it is well set I continue letting line out line to almost its full 100 feet. There I drop a second
anchor (a smaller Danforth) on a somewhat lighter line passing through the port bow chock.

Then, I pull back on the main anchor rode some distance to properly set my second anchor.
Then, as I pay out the second rode I take in the first to a point where I have marked the middle or
50 foot point with a ring of black Magic Marker.

There I draw in both rodes simultaneously until the boat's bow is taut between those two rodes
which I cleat off at the bow -- the primary anchor line out the starboard chock and the port  
anchor line out the port chock.

Your boat will no longer ride around its anchor but can pivot bow on to wherever the wind
blows. Best of all the anchors will hold in extremely high winds. If in the Florida Keys or on a bad
bottom for anchoring such as that found in Key Largo Sound, then swim out the anchors and bury
them under rocks as best you can.

Reverse the procedure for up-anchoring. You have to get blown away just once in a 20 to 30 knot
squall at night to understand the value of this simple safety procedure. Don't let fair weather lull
you into complacency. It fooled me twice and I luckily survived. It won't catch me a third time.

Robert Burgess         Handbook of Trailer Sailing  


When launching, and you don't want to get your feet wet, or you are on a steep or slippery ramp.

You can fasten a long bow line to the boat, then secure it to the trailer.

Back the trailer down the ramp and allow the boat to float free. Then pull the trailer just out of the
water and retrieve the boat. Take not to pull the trailer out of the water too fast or too far, or you
will end up with the boat coming briskly ashore!

Doc Scott    


Several Potter owners have expressed a desire to try oars on their Potters. However, some
owners are concerned about drilling holes to mount the oarlocks. Back in 1990 in the July-August
Issue of the Potter Yachter Newsletter, Reese H. Tucker showed how he mounted side-mounted
oarlocks on a detachable board. This 1” x 1-3/4” x 36” board was held to the cockpit rails by
two half-round clamps.

Here is what Reese wrote on June 26, 1990:  “I have oarlocks on my Potter and the job is quite
simple. I have taken a 1 x 1-3/4 x 36 inch board and grooved the bottom to fit the curve of the
top of the cockpit (gunnels?).

The 1-3/4 dimension is the maximum height of the board; it is more narrow at each end. The
board is secured outside of and to the vertical parts of the rail with half-round clamps, the
clamps are inside the rails and a piece of rubber is placed the clamp and the rail.

The oarlock is secured to the outside of the board at a height that will allow the highest part of
the oarlock to be just under the bottom of the rail. This installation allows for removal when
desired, easy maintenance and repair, and compete disposal of the system when desired
without doing any damage or disfigurement to the boat hull. I am enclosing a photo and a
drawing to help with the installation. I use 8 ft oars but I believe 8-1/2 or 9 ft oars would be
better. I secure the oars to the rails for transportation.”

Reese h. Tucker, # 2183, Chester, VA

If a owner wished to use top mounted oarlocks, they could just double the 1" boards where
the oarlocks are to be mounted and drill the correct sized holes at that location. At the
same time other makes of side mounted oarlocks can also be mounted on the boards as
shown below:


(10)  CLEATING A P-15 150% JIB:

Last year I purchased a 150% Jib for my WWP-15. Once the main furling rigging and sail
were in place the next question was, how do I cleat it?

You can see from the picture attached that the original system would no longer be
appropriate. I was thinking seriously of a cleat track system. However once the sail was
unfurled it was apparent that the geometry was perfect for the rear quarter cleat on either
side; as you can see.

I set up the sheets and threaded them through the center hollow in the existing cleats.
With a stop knot at the ends I was in business.

I used the jib this way all last season and was very happy with it. One half counter
clockwise wrap of the starboard sheet and pull it tight under the live end to secure it
without a knot. Wrap the sheet clockwise on the port side.

It is secure enough for most of the sailing I encounter and quick and easy to release. The
geometry works regardless of how far the sail is furled. If you decide on a 150% Jib for
your WWP-15 try this method before going to anything more elaborate. You may like it as
much as I do. The best part is there are no new holes to drill!

Bob Crifasi  Bunky #2603