3 Skills Any Sailor Should Master


Step up your game by refreshing yourself on these three core skills any sailor should know.

Whether you’re new to sailing or have many years at the helm of a yacht, there are some skills that never cease to be important and worth brushing up on. These skills are usually easy to get down but really mastering them to the point where you’re always comfortable performing the right maneuvers at the right time is no easy feat. Give these tips a shot and remember that these skills are essential for any sailor to master and become proficient in.

1. Docking Your Yacht

When entering a marina, there may be a lot of tight spaces that aren’t easy to navigate in addition to winds that may not be working in your favor. This can make it difficult to come and go from the dock freely. Take your time and ensure that your berthing position will allow the crew to safely step, not jump, ashore. Approaching at the right speed—typically taking things slow is for the best—is, of course, an important factor, but you want to also take note of the wind as well as the current.   

2. Tying Your Boat

When securing your vessel to a dock you will need to take into account if the dock is fixed or floating, as well as if you will be able to tie the boat off on both sides or only one. When securing to a floating dock, you will want to prevent fore and aft movement with spring lines, and prevent side to side movement with bow and stern lines. If your able to tie off to both sides of the vessel, add a second set of bow and stern lines to the opposite side of the boat to keep you off the pier. Be sure to place plenty of fenders between your boat and the dock to cushion the evitable bumps against the pier. Tying to a fixed pier is similar to the above, but you will need to take into account tidal swings. Look up the local tide tables to see what the normal swing will be, but keep in mind other factors may increase the total rise. To help deal with tidal swings, use longer lines and tie them to points as far as possible.  The extra length will help to compensate for the vertical changes. It will be important to check your lines often and adjust them if needed as the tide rises and falls.

3. Anchoring

Anchoring correctly is all about location. Find a spot that is sheltered from the prevailing wind with a good holding bottom. Sites like www.activecaptain.com contain community based knowledge that can help you find a suitable location. Once you have picked a spot, drop the anchor and let out an appropriate amount of anchor rode. For all rope rodes, a good starting point is a 7:1 scope – 7 feet of rope for each foot of water depth + the height of your bow. You may be able to use less for a quick lunch in a crowded anchorage but will need more if you’re expecting the winds to pick up overnight.

Once the you have let out your rode, use the engine in reverse to set the anchor. This will help the anchor burry its self into the bottom for maximum holding power. Once set, the boat should come to a stop. If it doesn’t set, don’t worry, retrieve the anchor and try again. If you still can’t get it to set, try letting out more scope, or search for another spot with better holding.

Reach Out to Tidewater Today!

If you’re in the greater Baltimore area and are in need of boat services, contact Tidewater Yacht Service at 410-625-4992 or by email at info@tysc.com. Our location is at 321 East Cromwell Street Baltimore, MD 21230. Get in touch with us today! Whether you need hauling, systems repaired, or storage, we have the experience and expertise to help. We’ve been providing our services to the Chesapeake Bay for over 30 years and know how to properly handle your vessel with care.


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This entry was posted on Friday, September 28th, 2018 at 12:40 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.