Call: (888) 454-7015
Best Practices for Steering and Maneuvering a Sailboat
How to Maneuver in Close Quarters
This sailing maneuvers video explains the proper techniques for maneuvering a cruising boat where you don’t have a lot of room.
Want to learn more about sailboat maneuvering? 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 while boat maneuvering.
How to Motor Backwards
To safely make a cruising sailboat go backwards, steering is the reverse of what you would do going forward. Here are some helpful hints from Offshore Sailing School founder, Steve Colgate, on how to steer a sailboat backwards:
- 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 Offshore Sailing School 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 with 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 when towing it, and also how to store it on davits on larger cruising sailboats. If the painter gets caught around the prop, the boat will stall with dangerous outcomes in a crowded harbor, near shoals and other obstacles.