Did you know that there are three fast, easy ways for sailboat cruising skippers to stop their boats--without an engine? As Olympian Steve Colgate says "To sail well is to have complete control over the sailboat at all times". These three super tips will put you at the helm--in complete control!
You are approaching a mooring in a new harbor. Crowds of sail and power boats make your course to the mooring like a giant slalom course. Or, your engine won't start and you need to come alongside a dock under sail. Follow these three easy methods for perfect control:
1. When in Doubt, Let it Fly!
Have you ever been sailing and needed to stop right away in an emergency? Slack the mainsheet all the way and cast off headsail sheets all the way. This dumps the wind and the boat will round up (turn) into the wind like a windvane. Dinghy sailors use this strategy and so can you. If you've run out of ideas, let it fly and you'll stop on a dime!
2. Shift Gears with a Close Reach
Forget about how to approach on a beat (close hauled) point of sail and then round up into the wind at just the right moment. That's not control--that's guesswork. Sure, you might be able to do this most of the time. But remember the last part of that quote says "...at all times".
Make your approach on a close reach. This reach gives you three-way gear-shift control. Here's how:
* To speed up - pull in on your mainsheet
* To slow down - ease off on the mainsheet
* To stop - slack the mainsheet all the way
No other point of sail allows so much control, along with the ability to luff the sails all the way to stop the boat. You can slow down to a crawl, keep easing the mainsheet, and come right up to that mooring buoy, anchor spot, or dock under picture-perfect control every time!
3. Back-wind the Mainsail
Steal another super effective strategy from the dinghy crowd. Are you sailing toward that dock a bit too fast? Slack the mainsheet all the way. Still too much speed on? Grab the sailboat boom and push it hard back against the wind. You can also use this back-wind technique when anchoring under sail too. Stop the boat, lower the anchor, and back-wind the mainsail. This will dig the boat anchor deep into the seabed--without an engine.
Become master and commander of your cruising sailboat with these three easy sailing techniques. You will boost your sailing skipper-skills to higher levels than you ever thought possible--wherever in the world you choose to cruise!
John Jamieson teaches sailboat cruising skippers the skills they need to set sail for a day, a week--or a lifetime! Get his popular free report "Ten Tips to Save You $1000s on Your Next Small Cruising Sailboat" at Skippertips.com.
John offers free articles, videos, and the "Skipper Tips" Newsletter with subscription at ==> Skippertips.com.
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