How to Safely Steer and Maneuver a Sailboat

How to Maneuver in Close Quarters

In this video, Kevin Wensley, Offshore Sailing School Director of Operations, explains the proper techniques for maneuvering a cruising boat where you don’t have a lot of room.

 

Want to learn more? In Offshore Sailing School Cruising Courses you learn how to properly steer a big cruising sailboat in tight quarters when using your engine. This is important because in crowded conditions, you don’t have a lot of time or leeway to make mistakes. Learn with Offshore Sailing School and gain the confidence to cruise smart!

How to Motor Backwards

In this tip Offshore Sailing School founder, Steve Colgate, shows you the best way to steer backwards under power. To go backwards, steering is the reverse of what you would do going forward. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Always face forward so can see what the bow is doing
  • Straddle the wheel on one side of the helm station looking forward
  • Put your arm on top of the wheel
  • Push the wheel away from you if you want the stern to move away from you
  • Pull the wheel towards you if you want the stern to come towards you

 

Want to learn more? In the Offshore Sailing School Learn to Sail Course you learn to steer backwards using your sails alone, and again with a small outboard engine. In our Cruising Courses you learn how to properly steer a big cruising sailboat backwards when using your engine. This comes in handy when you want to back into a slip. So learn how to steer backwards the right way for total control.

How to Tow a Dinghy

In this video Steve Colgate shows you how to safely tow a dinghy under sail or power. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Keep the dinghy painter tied up short to the boat when maneuvering under power, to prevent getting it tangled in the propeller
  • Wrap a full turn of the painter around the cleat base for better control when you want to ease the dinghy out
  • Tie the bitter end of the painter to the stanchion with a bowline as backup security

 

Want to learn more? In our Cruising Courses you learn and practice how to properly control the dinghy under tow. This comes in particularly handy when you are preparing to anchor or getting underway. Nothing looks worse than a boat stalled with the painter caught around the prop, with the possibility of a dangerous outcome in a crowded harbor, near shoals and other obstacles. At Offshore Sailing School you learn to sail smart!

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