You are bound for a pristine anchorage 10 miles to the north. But now the wind has shifted to the northwest, so you will need to beat the rest of the way. You need to make it to that anchorage before sunset–only a few hours away! Follow these easy steps to learn the secrets of how to sail a boat to a windward destination faster than ever before.
Most small cruising sailboats can point within 45 to 50 degrees of the true wind. Add food, water, fuel, sailing gear, and other cruising provisions and your pointing ability could suffer even more. Use these three secrets to get to any windward landfall in the most efficient way every time:
1. Choose the Longest Tack
Start out on the longest tack that will take you closest to your target destination. You will often find that the wind blows to one side of a windward objective. In our scenario, the wind blows from the northwest. Which tack would you choose? Sail the port tack first. This tack will take you on the longer leg, closer to your goal.
2. Point Higher on Lifts
Watch the water for telltale signs of higher wind gusts. Dark patches of ruffled water indicate an area of higher wind. When you sail into a dark patch, the wind will shift toward your stern. Take advantage of these “lifts” to point higher, sail faster, and make more progress toward your destination.
3. Tack on Sustained Headers
Remember your objective–to stay on that tack that keeps you moving closest to your destination. In our scenario, you are on port tack with the wind out of the northwest. But if the wind shifts toward the north–or to the right–it will move closer to the bow (“head”) of your boat.
Sailors call these wind shifts “headers”, and you will tack on a header to keep moving toward your destination. Before you tack, make sure the new wind direction stays steady for at least 30 seconds. Then, tack the boat right away to keep moving toward your goal.
Use these three secret strategies to learn how to sail a boat better than ever before. Experience the thrill and satisfaction of a faster, more efficient passage to any windward destination that lies just over your horizon.
Captain John Jamieson shows small boat cruising skippers how to reach their sailing dreams today! Get his popular free report “Save Hundreds on Marine Ropes for Sailing with These Seven Tips” at http://www.skippertips.com/public/231.cfm
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