If you observe an experienced yacht skipper, they will run a vessel in such a way that they often appear to be doing very little. It is sometimes said that the best skippers are those who seem to do very little, but the boat is still run smoothly and safely.
How can they do that, and is it something that can be learned?
From watching many skippers, I have come to believe that whilst it is essential to take some structured training, with instructors who really know the ropes, the best training is from practical experience. There is nothing like going out on the water in different craft, in a variety of conditions to improve your skill level.
One of the main aspects I have observed, is that the difference between what a skipper who is very capable does, and a less able sailor is often fairly small. Frequently, the difference is a slight change in approach or timing of an action. Unfortunately, once we start to skipper boats we can be very much alone, and it can be very hard to gain exposure to different approaches or concepts, and it can take years to become really competent by trial and error.
These concepts are what this website is about, weekly (when I am not away at sea!) I will publish some of the ideas I have borrowed from my students. Many of the ideas are not new, but I hope you find some of value.
I do not claim credit for any of the ideas here, most of what I do when I run a boat comes from watching thousands of students, then plagiarising their ideas!
Click on the dates below to go to each tip.
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