Don’t tack faster than the crew can move. If you have a racing crew then fine, ship her around – otherwise give them time to sheet home comfortably. Would-be Olympic helmsmen verses mother and cousin Blanche are a recipe for domestic disaster.
The Essence of Cruising

Ace your 101

Here is a new resource for you if you will study for Basic Keelboat certification! This is a series of 18 power point presentations which will address all of the American Sailing Association’s Standards for the knowledge portion of the 101 Basic Keelboat certification. This course can be used in at least three ways: Preview your work with the approved textbook, Review your Knowledge Standards prior to your exam, or Learn the important points every sailor need to knowm regardless of taking formal lessons.. If you are an experienced sailor, this course will help you focus your resources to challenge the 101 certificate. 

Ace Your 101, Basic Keelboat Written Sailing Exam



Captain Edson has developed and tested the basic content for the course over the past five years, at least. The information presented is founded on the American Sailing Association’s Standards for the Basic Keelboat certificate. He created all of the graphics and photos for the course. Instructors using this teaching aide will cut their “lecture” time.

Use Mainsail Leech Telltales for Peak Performance!


Use Mainsail Leech Telltales for Peak Performance!

Your mainsail needs to be trimmed so that the air exits the leech with minimum turbulence. How can you use leech telltales along with a secret “over-trim” first step technique to trim your mainsail to perfection? Watch this sailing skills video to help you achieve maximum sail power!

Install mainsail leech telltales to “read” your sail trim.
Use a little-known fast “overtrim” starter step for peak performance. Trim your mainsail leech fast and easy for more speed and power.

Have your sailmaker install three leech telltales along the leech of your mainsail. These will often be attached to the batten pockets because these are sewn at even positions (called “stations”) along the leech. You will need at least three telltales spaced along the leech.

Leech telltales that stream together indicate a smooth exit of the air off the leech. This means your mainsail has good trim and will generate lots of power in the back of the sail.

Leech telltales that droop or hide on the lee side of the leech indicate a stalled sail. Most often, this results from sheeting the main too hard. The leech does not have enough twist near the head. The result? You lose forward drive, sail more sideways and in breezier conditions weather helm and heeling increase.

Make this Easy Trim Test in Just Seconds

Get onto a closehauled course. Now we are going to overtrim our main so that we can see what happens to those leech telltales. Pull the mainsheet in a bit too much. Watch the main leech telltales as you sheet in. The telltales will droop, become limp and lifeless. Your sail has stalled. You are now sailing more to the side than ahead. Notice how your leech cups to windward with minimum twist up high.

Now, let’s get things right…

Ease the mainsheet as you keep your eye on those leech telltales. Do this just a bit at a time so that you can “see” the wind as the telltales begin to stream. Slow and smooth. Continue to ease the mainsheet in increments until all telltales stream together. Belay the mainsheet. You have now “powered up” the back of your mainsail. This is where a lot of your mainsail power comes from.

http://www.skippertips.com/members/2490print.cfm Page 1 of 2

Use Mainsail Leech Telltales for Peak Performance! 2/19/15, 6:29 AM

mainsail power comes from.

Conduct this simple experiment anytime you want to check the trim of the mainsail leech. It’s accurate and shows you the critical “exit attitude” of the air flow off the leech. The back of your mainsail generates lots of power. Leech telltales make it simple to get things right. Now, watch today’s video to see these steps in action.

http://www.skippertips.com/members/2490print.cfm Page 2 of 2

Sailing Master Secrets ~ John Vigor on Sailing “Democracies”

Today, we feature John Vigor, sailor and veteran author of 12 boating books and scores of articles in boating magazines on three continents. John has written for Cruising World, Sail, and Good Old Boat. His career as a newspaperman spanned nearly 40 years in America, England, and South Africa. Visit John’s highly entertaining blog at JohnVigor.com

PEOPLE AROUND HERE have gotten quite spoiled by democracy. Women no longer have to chain themselves to railings in order to vote for their political leaders. Kids no longer have to be silent at the dinner table. They’re allowed to speak now, for goodness’ sake, without even having been spoken to first.

And modern guests on yachts, well, they seem to think they have the right to sit anywhere they like, even on the top step of the companionway. They also talk, nay chatter, without permission, and even use the head without asking. Such extraordinary liberties.

There can be only one boss on a sailboat. By the very nature of things, a skipper must be a dictator — a benevolent dictator if you’re lucky. There can be no democratic committee meeting about whether or not to take in a reef, in the face of an approaching line squall. There can be no split vote on the question of whether or not to put the engine in reverse with the dock fast approaching.

Call me Captain Bligh if you must. I don’t mind. Bligh, in fact, has often been unfairly characterized. He was a very skilled navigator who chose to apply the shipboard rules quite strictly. But he applied them fairly, and he safely delivered to their destinations those who spoke only when spoken to.

One of the persistent fantasies of democracy is to imagine you can be the boss and everybody’s friend at the same time. Forget it. Just be the boss.



ASA video tip – winches

Click below for ASA tip – winches

ASA video tip – winches

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Dock Your Boat Like a Pro – Part I form Skipper Tips

Dock Your Boat Like a Pro – Part I Skipper Tips

a sample of their work…

Skipper tips.com

While previewing and referencing additional videos for the Docking Group, I found 2 new ones from Skipper Tips.  I followed the you Tube videos back to Skipper Tips (http://www.skippertips.com/members/programs/opendownloads.cfm) and after a brief review, subscribed to their membership.  Their monthly fee is about $8, a good investment for your dollar.  Membership includes the ebook titled ‘Docking Your Boat like a Pro’.   I expect we will use Captain John’s directions during your course.

49 Things You Need to…

DockingJust finished reading this short but complete guide to docking.  I’ll be adding many of the author’s ideas into my instructions.

Captain Howard’s Docking


Docking Fundamentals

Docking is a 3-phase process:  (a) planning/preparation, (b) approach and (c) landing


10 minutes or so prior to landing rig for docking

(at Shilshole Bay Marina do it inside the breakwater)

In unknown territory:  approach and slowly circle the area and then decide on your approach and landing.

Order of preference:

An upwind and/or up current docking

A cross wind being blown on to the dock

A cross wind being blown off of the dock

A down wind and/or down current docking

Adjust your planning accordingly and then announce “port-side docking” or“starboard-side docking”


In known territory:  make your announcement:  “port-side docking” or “starboard-side docking” with plenty of notice

Rig fenders appropriately

Have a dock hook handy

Uncoil bow and stern dock lines and run them through the chocks and outside the lifelines and stanchions back to(ward) the shrouds

Assign and clarify roles for each crewmember.

Roles may include (depending on number and competency of crew):

Look out

Step off at shrouds and secure the bow line

Step off at shrouds and secure the stern line

Fend off

Give your most agile/competent crewmember the most critical role

(often the stern line on a cleat)

Instruct crew not to jump on to the dock, only to step on to it.


Plan and visualize your approach.

Be mindful and compensate for the effects of wind speed and current

Longer approaches give you more time to gauge these effects

If you don’t like it abort it early.

Position crew at the shrouds and outside the lifelines, ready to step on to shore.

Instruct crew to take one wrap around the cleat, but not to cleat it off initially.

Docking Fundamentals (continued)


Remind crew:  not to jump to the dock.

Approach the dock at a 20-degree angle – or as appropriate for the conditions

If needed ask for help from anyone on the dock.

If offered accept help from the dock and throw them the dock lines.

Choose reverse gear early, and let the motor idle until you need a burst of power to stop

With the engine in reverse use power to come to a dead stop: then shift to neutral.

Hint:  you must look perpendicular to the direction of the boat  (not forward) to know your exact dead stop

Helmsman remains at the helm with the engine running until the boat is docked securely


Adjust and tie off the bow and stern lines with cleat hitches; tie off the two spring lines; adjust fenders and tidy up lines.

Finally, stop and take one long look at your handiwork, to see that everything is done with excellence and nothing is forgotten.

If the spirit moves you, thank you boat for bringing you to safe harbor!


At  SSC your “docking” may be straight in with boats on either side of you.

In this case motor to a nearby boat and “walk” your boat to its final docking.

Your “docking” may be rafting up to a nearby boat.


Key Points

Approach a dock at minimum necessary speed.

Don’t rely on your crew to stop the boat!

Don’t begin an approach until the preparation is complete.

A good landing is a result of a good approach.

If the approach is poor abort your landing.

There is no shame in a missed approach;

there is only shame in a collision with a dock or boat.

Asking for/accepting help is good!

You always have the option to dock nearby and “walk” your boat to its final location.

Under adverse conditions, you always have the option to dock anywhere.

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ASA video clip: Spring Lines

Spring lines

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