Preventing the Frustrating Auto-Tack

Posted by Director of Education on October 3, 2015 under Skipper | Comments are off for this article

First – what is an auto-tack?

It’s when you are sailing along on a close haul about 30 or so degrees off the wind minding your own business when either the wind changes OR you weren’t watching the boat turning up into the wind. Either way the wind now is coming from the front of the boat – it back-winds the jib sail and over you go onto the other tack. Oh man that is frustrating because there is now a lot of work to do with grinding in sheets, getting back up to speed then tacking back. Whew!

Here is a couple of tips on how to prevent that. (thank goodness)

(1) As soon as it has happened take the wheel and do a giant turn to try to bring the boat back onto its original course. I’m not talking about just turning the wheel – it has to be a giant turn and it has to be fast. If you have a tiller then bring the tiller all the way over.

The reason you have to do this large and fast is that you still have velocity in the boat and the rudder at this point is still pretty effective but it has to over come the very large force on the front of the boat because of the wind back-winding on the jib now pushing your boat around. You have a few seconds to use the rudder to quickly over come the force and get it back around. The further the boat goes through the wind the greater the force at the front of the boat. Acting fast prevents the turning force on the jib from getting too big. The other thing that is happening is that the boat is very quickly losing velocity and this is making the rudder less and less effective. Force on the rudder is proportional to the square of the velocity. So if you halve the velocity the rudder become 4 times less effective.

So do a large and fast turn on the wheel or tiller to get the boat back to its original heading.

(2) Another ting to do is to instantly release the jib sheet. This totally takes away the front turning force on the jib, giving all control forces back to the rudder only. Provided you have any speed left in the boat, usually you can get it back around.

Number 1 above is best because it involves less grinding – if you can get it back. Number 2 should be instantly done if number 1 is not working. All in all both have to be done fast.

In reality, this should never really happen to you if you are constantly aware of the wind forces on the boat. You can feel these forces easily because the boat heels over (even slightly) due to the wind. If the boat begins to stand up straight it is happening for 1 of 2 reasons. 1- you are heading too close into the wind either by not paying attention to your heading or a wind shift to forward or 2 the wind suddenly dropped. In both cases you will make a turn down wind. 1 is obvious but 2 is because if the true wind drops then the apparent wind shifts to more come from the front of the boat. Thus in both cases, when the boat stands up you shuld be turning the boat down wind. Number 2 (wind drop) is not going to make you auto tack but number 1 a wind shift to forward or an unbeknownst unwatching turn into wind will make you auto tack.

Thus the zeroth way to prevent an autotack is to feel the boat. But this takes more experience.

Anecdote: One time I was out with some friends sailing. I had a friend steering. He kept on doing autotacks – from just not paying enough attention and not feeling the boat stand up and not making the turn down wind. I told him the next time he did that he would have to start doing all the work on the jib sheets. That fixed him – he doesn’t do it anymore. Hee hee. Learn by fire!

Here is a quick animation to show a rookie helmsperson not paying attention and turning the boat up into the wind. Half way through you release the jib sheet removing the forward force and then also doing a big turn downwind with the rudder.


Names of things on the mainsail

Posted by Director of Education on September 21, 2015 under About NauticEd, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Here is a fun interactive image of names of things on the mainsail of a sailboat.

Test yourself can you get 100%? Click on a letter to expose the name, click again to hide. Have fun and share this with your sailing wannabe friends.

If you like this kind of teaching, you should take the NauticEd Skipper Course.

skipper course

Skipper Sailing Course

NauticEd’s iPhone/iPad App

Posted by Director of Education on September 20, 2015 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Storm Tactics, Videos and photos, weather | Comments are off for this article

We think this is the world’s best sailing App and for good reason.


First off, it is free  (that’s good) and second off with that you get NauticEd’s free course on Navigation Rules. Pretty soon we’ll also add NauticEd’s FREE Basic Sail Trim Course.

In addition, any course that you have invested in with NauticEd automatically appears on your App. And to top that off, you can also take your tests for all your courses on the App offline. That’s a big wow!

There is zero reason not to download the App – and imagine if everyone did and took the FREE Navigation Rules Course. You could stop worrying about if the “other guy” heading at you knows the rules or not. So spread the word generously.

Bored in the doctor’s office? Take the Free Rules of the Nautical Road test!



Download the NauticEd Course and Testing App now

How a Barber Hauler Works

Posted by Director of Education on September 12, 2015 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

If you like this post Please LIKE it and LIKE us on facebook – over there ——->

Easy Rigging a Barber Hauler on Your Boat

A Barber Hauler was invented by the Barber brothers. They wanted to be able to further control the shape of the jibsail and the position of the jibsail clew. On cruising boats, its not sometimes practical to go to all the extra expense of installing all the gear they originally suggested and so various forms of achieving this have been devised and loosely now they are all called Barber Haulers.

We discuss this and many other fine tuning sail trim techniques in our advanced Sail Trim Course.

Sail Trim Course

How to Turn Your Sailboat in a Tight Marina

Posted by Director of Education on August 26, 2015 under Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Turning your boat in a tight marina can be intimidating if you don’t know the secret.

The Secret to Turning Around in a Tight Marina

If you like this little secret exposed the LIKE us on facebook over there ———->

It’s pretty simple really, you just make propwalk work for you using a combination of propwalk and bursts in forward gear always leaving the rudder to starboard.

Watch the Animation below.

There is an additional secret to doing this in extremely high wind conditions which we reveal in our Maneuvering Under Power Course.

Learn to Maneuver and Dock your boat like a pro. Don’t be the dufus caught on camera.

Take the Maneuvering Under Power Course now!

Angular Momentum When Backing into a Slip

Posted by Director of Education on August 24, 2015 under Bareboat Charter, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Backing into a slip is indeed an art form. But once you learn it you’ll be proud of it and your crew will be impressed.

If you like this little tidbit of information, LIKE us on facebook – over there ———->

Here is a situation that comes up when needing to make a tight turn into the slip. During the turn, your boat gathers angular momentum. Meaning once it starts the turn it wants to continue the turn and it will ding you into the slip sides, and at a minimum, chip your gorgeous gel coat and develop gnarly scratches.

Watch the animation below.

The best way to experience this is to take the NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power course. It leads you through dozens of real exercises on the water so that you can gain experience perfectly maneuvering your boat.

Don’t look like a dufus in front of everyone. Become an expert for $39 now!

High Wind Docking Maneuvers

Posted by Director of Education on August 22, 2015 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power | Comments are off for this article

How to back your sailboat into a slip with a high cross wind against the direction of propwalk.

If you like this post please like us on facebook over there ——->

Watch this animation. It deals with an extremely high wind situation.

The trouble is that you are wanting to turn the boat against propwalk and you simply can not get the aft of the boat to turn downwind. Wind turning the bow down and propwalk turning the aft up counteract your rudder no matter how fast you go in reverse. The boat will easily turn clockwise but not counterclockwise. So how do you solve this problem with ease?



What to do next? Next windy day, grab a friend, grab some lunch and a few libations (non-alchy) and head out to the boat. Do all the exercises we prescribe in the Maneuvering Under Power course. But make sure you take the course first.

The Maneuvering Under Power Course is your big money saver. It makes you into an EXPERT at docking. With gel coat on the line, why would you want to be a crappy docker? Learn from the best experts by taking the course now.

The NauticEd Maneuvering and Docking a Sailboat Under Power Course.



Deep Inside NauticEd’s Back End eLearning Software

Posted by Director of Education on July 29, 2015 under About NauticEd, Videos and photos | Comments are off for this article

If you think our eLearning Software is pretty cool please like us on facebook. Thanks it really helps us grow (and pay for the software investment)

Last week we gave NauticEd eLearning Software a new look.

Here is a video giving a run through the back end and how to navigate around, engage in your sailing courses, add experience to your online logbook, view and send your sailing resume to a charter company, earn badges and much more.

Login for free at:

and start one of our free sailing eLearning Courses. Use our FREE online sailors logbook.


NauticEd Sailing Nano-Forums

Posted by Director of Education on under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Storm Tactics, Videos and photos, weather | Comments are off for this article

If you think this is the greatest idea on the planet or at least just a very good one, please like us on facebook.

Posted by Grant Headifen, Global Director of Education – NauticEd.

One of the greatest things I love about my job is the ability to apply the latest technology to the sailing education industry – it is so exciting to be leading the world in this area.

And – today comes as a greatly awaited day for us to announce one of the bigger innovations in not only sailing education but in the entire community of eLearning itself.

I’d like to introduce Nano-Forums!!!!!!!!

Please watch this video and you’ll see why our Sailing Nano-Forum is so innovative and such a benefit to the sailing community at large – You’re Welcome! It represents a MASSIVE investment in technology over the past 6 months. Ummm like really REALLY massive but we think it’s worth it!

We think you will really enjoy it.

Oh and btw since this is new technology to the world and we invented it, we are coining the phrase NANO-FORUM right here right now!

What it ultimately means is that we all now can collectively crowd source information in targeted specific areas and re-use the crowds knowledge for educational drill down topic purposes in a way never been done before.

Just watch the video – you’ll get what we are talking about.

Please engage in the Nano-Forums through out our courses. Look for the SeaTalks button at the top right of every page of the course.

Start by taking the FREE Navigation Rules Course at:

NauticEd FREE Navigation Rules Sailing Course

International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea FREE Course

International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea FREE Sailing Course


Entering Experience into your sailors logbook

Posted by Director of Education on July 9, 2015 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Airline pilots, naval seamen, scientists and scuba divers all maintain a logbook. So why don’t sailors? Because it’s just in the too hard bucket with seemingly no point to do it. Until Now!

How to make a logbook entry into your FREE NauticEd Online Sailor’s Logbook

The NauticEd logbook is maintained for you for free in the cloud and is always accessible by you and anyone you specifically designate with permissions.
Additionally it is easy to edit and update. You can do this either online or via our NauticEd App.

But why? Well Yacht charter companies require a resume of your sailing experience, education and your instructor sign offs. You simply can not charter a yacht with out one. Even if you have a certificate from a sailing association, the yacht charter company will not accept it with out a resume.

Until now yacht charter companies have relied on the charterer to fill out a paper resume each time. No, more and more they are beginning to reply upon the NauticEd resume system because it is the only sailing resume system in the world that focuses on delivering the right information to the charter company.


When getting started with NauticEd, you are going to need to enter your past experience. It seems like a daunting task but within about 20 minutes you should be able to have enough of your previous data entered to reflect reality.

Click on  the Logbook macro button when you login. There you will see the page asking you for a sailing date entry. Now we realize it is going to be impossible to make your past entires accurate. So here is our advice. Start with your most recent entries first. How many times have you been sailing this year, last year and the year before? Did you go mostly in the summer and some in the fall, spring winter?

Next realistically start to enter an equivalent amount of days that you probably went this year. Pick dates that would be sort of reasonably close. e.g. if you went sailing say 5 times in the first 2 quarters of the year then pick a day in January, 2 in February, 1 in April and 2 in May. Something like that!

You’ll notice that when making a second entry that the last entry you made is queued up all you have to do is change the date slightly. For past entries, you don’t need to add the non asterix stuff – just the date, the vessel and if you were master or crew. In this manner you can do about 6-10 entires per minute. Now go back to last year and repeat then the year before. Keep going until you have enough entires that realistically reflect your recent 3-4-5 years of experience. This will take about 20 minutes. If you want to go all out go for it.

If you have a few 7 day charters then try to remember the month that you did it in and make the first entry then see the second entry already queued up whereby you increment the date by 1. In this manner a 7 day charter takes about 30 seconds to enter.

This 20 minute exercise will bring you up to date. Now if you have an iOS device make sure you down load our Sailing App. In the App you can make an instant entry when you get off the boat at the end of the day.

Another important feature of an experience logbook is authentication. We created a CrewMate Authentication (TM)  system whereby your logbook entries get reported as authenticated. Read about CrewMate Authentication here. So you want to be setting up CrewMates in your logbook area so that your CrewMates can auto authenticate your entries as you make them (optional but it gives credibility to your logbook).

Finally we are about to launch an exciting new product into our App. It is a gps tracking system that will record and store your daily tracks for you. At the end of the outing the gpx file is uploaded to your logbook and you can see your tracks at anytime in the future. Plus the track stores your miles for you AND this also creates an authenticated entry into your logbook. We expect to Launch this sometime in August 2015.

GPS Track entered into your logbook.

GPS Sailing Track entered into your logbook.