How to do a Mediterranean Mooring

Posted by Director of Education on July 17, 2013 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

 Mediterranean Mooring

The Med Mooring now becomes simple and unintimidating because of your new awesome backing skills you have learned in the NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power course.

Here’s an html5 animation on how to do a Mediterranean mooring. Click the start button and read along. To continue, click the instructions inside the green box. Doing a Med mooring requires some very good maneuvering skills and so we highly advise that you practice this before you head to the Med.

The key lies in doing it all in one swoop and not stopping short then trying to restart your aftward motion – your propwalk and the wind is going to really mess you around. You’ll have no water over the rudder and no steerage. If you try to straighten her up and try to back in again – it just will not work. You’ll be better off completely starting again from distance. If you’re practiced at backing now, this will be easy.

One other piece of advice, when you get ready to stop the boat using forward thrust, don’t leave forward thrust on too long otherwise your boat will start moving forward again. You can see how this will quickly turn into a mess. You’ll have some crew on the dock, the docklines will be too short to reach, your aft crew will be throwing lines into the water while you have the prop churning away. Dock lines will get wrapped around the prop, you’ll be half out of the slip getting pushed against the next boat by the wind. The engine will be stalled. Everyone will be yelling at you in goodness knows what language. It will be mayham – just because you left the forward thrust on a little too long. Become a master at stopping the boat dead.

Once the boat gets close to the dock wall, have some crew ready to step off (no jumping) and receive the stern lines cast to them from crew at the aft. Then a crew member with rubber gloves or a plastic bag around their hand, should take the slime line forward. The slime line may be the forward mooring line or it may just be a small line to be able to pull up the mooring line. Either way pull the forward mooring line up out of the slimy bottom and wrap it around the windlass and crank it up.

Doing all this requires some very good maneuvering skills and so we highly advise that you take the NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power course. The last thing you want it o be trying to figure out how to do this in a 40 knot mistral cross wind. Using this method of the Mediterranean mooring shown here you should have no problems BUT … take the Maneuvering Under Power Course. It’ll teach you all about backing a sailboat and how to handle prop walk and high winds in a marina.

If you like this – please share us via your social networks. It really helps us grow – thanks!

Take the Maneuvering Under Power course now


NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power Course



How to Spring off the Dock

Posted by Director of Education on July 8, 2013 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Springing Off the Dock in a Sailboat

Here is a simple animation that shows you how to spring off the dock when the wind is blowing you back onto the dock. Often there may be another boat in front of you and so trying to push the bow out first can easily lead to disaster by you scrapping all the way along the boat in front. It’s much easier to just spring the stern out and back away from danger.

Start springing your boat off the dock by clicking the start button in the animation below.

This animation is embedded into the NauticEd maneuvering and docking a sailboat under power course. In that course there are dozens of other get out of and stay out of trouble tips and tricks. Just one scratch on someone else’s gel coat can cost you hundreds of dollars not to mention the shear shame and embarrassment of such a ding. On top of that however is the cool factor that you have when people are watching you expertly and confidently maneuvering your boat (or a charter boat) around in a tight marina with high winds.

Take the NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power Course now! Also available in iBook format for the iPad see our Sailing Apps page

Plus if you’re planning on ever chartering a boat, you definitely need this course. Often times you’ll be asked to back the boat down a slipway then have to make a tight turn into the slip – all the while going backwards and in a cross wind. How confident are you? This course gives you that confidence. We’ve received hundreds of excellent reviews on this course. See the reviews on the course page and you’ll see why this course is the world’s most advanced Maneuvering a sailboat course.


Take the NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power Course now!


How to dock a sailboat

Posted by Director of Education on June 27, 2013 under Bareboat Charter, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Maneuvering and docking a sailboat

Here is a short clip on maneuvering a sailboat into the slip – backwards. The wind is coming right out of the slipway and so driving the boat directly up into the wind then expecting to be able to turn the boat around perfectly while the wind takes over is a bit risky.

So here we elected to begin backing the boat from the start of the slipway. Then it is a simple matter of steering the boat into the slip keeping boat momentum and water flow over the rudder which is imperative for steerage. If we’d tried to turn the boat, the boat stops and we loose steerage allowing the wind to take over. Learn everything you need to know about maneuvering your boat in a marina (where most accidents occur) by taking the Maneuvering and Docking a Sailboat Under Power course at

This is just one of 27 concepts that we go through in the Maneuvering and Docking a Sailboat Under Power course



In the course we explain every wind and forward-backing situation that you will encounter in a marina. If you’ve ever thought about taking a bareboat sailing vacation OMG you need this course. Learning to do a Mediterranean mooring in a marina in Greece with your whole crew and every one on the docks watching is going to be embarrassing to the tune of more than the cost of this course. OR imagine how expensive it is to ding your boat and someone else’s – just because the wind took over instead of you maintaining control.

We cover propwalk – how it occurs and how to take advantage of it.

We also provide you with a printable PDF or 27 different exercises that you take out to the boat  and practice each exercise. At the end of about 3 hours, you’ll be an expert. Take a friend with you and make it a fun day out.

The course is also available in iPad format as well – just go to our sailing apps page

docking a sailboat ibook

docking a sailboat ibook

Learn everything you need to know about maneuvering your boat in a marina (where most accidents occur) by taking this course NOW!

How to dock a sailboat

Posted by Director of Education on March 10, 2013 under Maneuvering Under Power | Comments are off for this article

Here’s a fun suggestion – grab a sandwich, a few drinks and a mate (with a boat if you don’t have one) on a sunny windy day and get out to the boat with your new found maneuvering under power skills from our Maneuvering Under Power Course. Gingerly take the boat away from the marina and then both of you start working through and mastering the exercises one by one. If you’ve both got boats – try the exercises on each other boats. It’ll make a FUN day out and improve your friendship. Good idea? Of course it is – we thought of it!

This month we’re focusing on our Maneuvering Under Power Course. If you’ve already taken this course, you’ll know the confidence it gives you in the marina and thanks btw for all your positive reviews. Also then, please tell your friends about this course via the referrals discussion below.

Docking a SailboatIf you’ve not taken this course whether you own a boat or not, it’s something that we think is A MUST. In the marina is where you are being watched the most and where you can do the most damage – especially if there is an unfavorable wind direction and strength. It’s not the place to be practicing or hoping.

We’ve had students take this course where they were originally very timid in maneuvering around the marina to a point where they are now CONFIDENT with a 40 knot cross wind. The course is THAT POWERFUL. HOW can that be? You say, especially because it’s an online course? Here is what we do in this course. We give you all the theory about what is happening especially in cases of prop walk etc., we tell you what will happen to the boat in different wind conditions so that when you’re out there nothing is going to be a surprise. You’ll know that if you poke your nose in that dock lane under X wind conditions then Y IS going to happen to your boat etc. We cover all the scenarios in detail – THEN we give you 27 different exercises and have you do them yourself on the water in your boat or a mates boat – BUT not in the marina  – NO – you do them around a floating buoy out where you can’t do any damage. The key is .. to do all these exercises. They cover just about every scenario you’ll come across.

By the end of the course, you’ll feel CONFIDENT to back a boat into a slip in a 40 knot cross wind. Yes indeed!

docking a sailboat ibook

docking a sailboat ibook


If you don’t own a boat – you DEFINITELY need this course as well. Why? Because one day you’re going to need this skill and it’s going to be under the most pressure of situations. For example, the Captain has broken his arm or has become incapacitated. The last thing you want to do is bugger his boat up too and have to tell him when he wakes up in hospital.

Become an expert at docking – take the $39 Maneuvering Under Power course. Compare $39 to the cost of one gel coat scratch and you’ll see the value. Or compare $39 to dock side snickering from by-standers.

You can also get the Maneuvering Under Power iBook for $12.99. The test is not included and you’ll need to pass the test to add this course to your Sailing Certification accepted by Yacht Charter companies worldwide.

So take us up on the fun suggestion – call a mate and get out on your boat

The Maneuvering Under Power course is discounted when you invest in the Bareboat Charter Master Bundle of Courses.

Invest in yourself, your boat, your friend’s boat and the Maneuvering Under Power Course now!

About Sailing Badges and Status

Posted by Director of Education on October 29, 2012 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Videos and photos | Comments are off for this article

If you think Badges are a great idea and help people become better sailors, please LIKE this via facebook and g+1 it. Thanks it helps promote safety on the water.

Earn Sailing Badges and Status with NauticEd

Earn Sailing Badges and Status by doing the right kind of activities on the water. This training system is FREE and gives you instant feedback on how you can be better.

Watch this explanation video

Why Do We Sponsor This?

Boating is dangerous. Because of our extremely wide student body reach, coupled with deep technology implementations, NauticEd is uniquely positioned to take responsibility of promoting safe and proper boating habits worldwide. These include having a well maintained boat, being properly educated, regularly inspecting onboard equipment and having the proper practical experience along with other behaviors.

Through our Status and Badge technology platform, we recognize and promote those individuals who exhibit the proper and responsible boating behavior albeit through anonymous user names for privacy. We believe this leads to a viral and peer pressure effect to make our global waterways more safe and enjoyable for all.

Thus, this is no gimmick. When you participate in this effort, you are showing the world you’re also committed to safe boating and you’re encouraging others. Please participate to your maximum ability!


How Do Badges and Status Work?

Each Badge has associated and related behaviors called Activities. Each Activity has an assigned amount of points.

You earn Badges by earning points from the related Activities. For example you are awarded points towards your Safe Sailor Badge if you check your fire extinguishers, inspect your rigging, have an onboard functioning and inspected EPIRB etc etc.

You earn Status from your total accumulated points regardless of Badges.

Higher Status and more Badges indicate your proper responsible behavior associated with boating.


Expiring and Declining Points

Some points expire: We do this because it is necessary to constantly keep vigilant with things on your boat. For example you’ll need to inspect your rigging and change your oil on a regular schedule. You’ll see this type of expiring points when there is a check box next to the Activity and we’ll send you an email to remind you of the correcting Activity to gain back the points (you can turn these off). In this we’re helping you keep diligent about your responsible boating behavior.

Some points decline over time: We do this because your activity in the past, while important, has declined in its value. For example, if you sailed using a spinnaker this month, this is more practically valuable than having gone sailing with a spinnaker 2 years ago. You’ll see this type of declining point activity when you see an ADD button next to the Activity. “ADD” because you can repeat this behavior many more times than once. Thus the points accumulate but then decline over time.

Automatic Points

Some points are awarded automatically based on your NauticEd site behavior. For example, when you pass a course we know you’ve been educating yourself. When you go sailing and log the time in our online logbook we know you’re gaining practical experience. You’ll see these types of automatic points when there is no checkbox or ADD button.

The Honor System

Yes this is mostly all build on the honor system. If you cheated a boy scout badge when you were young you probably feel pretty bad about it today. Be honest with thy self.

We sincerely hope you participate. We’re sure that Status and Badges will lead to discounts with many participating and affiliated companies in the future.

Start building your Status and Badges today!

Login and click on your Sailing Badges tab

Grant Headifen

Grant Headifen
Educational Director

How to dock a sailboat in heavy wind

Posted by Director of Education on October 31, 2011 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper, Storm Tactics | Comments are off for this article

Docking a boat on to an end-tie or tee head with a strong wind blowing you off requires some knowledge on how to do it and it’s one of those things that you SHOULD practice for WHEN the time comes.

Trying to just sidle up along side like you might do in a no wind condition or where wind is blowing you on to the dock is just not going to work.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways of doing it.

(1)  Motoring forward up to the tee head directly into the wind.

Have dock lines prepared and cleated to the forward and aft dock side of the boat.

NOTE: Make sure that the dock lines are run outwards underneath the life lines first then back onboard over the top of the line lines. This ensures that when the line is deployed, it will be clear of the life lines. Since this is usually a crew member doing this, it pays to physically show the crew member when you are out away from the marina if you’re not sure they will do it correctly. Running them inboard and over the lifelines can create a huge havoc at the wrong and crucial time.

Approach the tee head near perpendicular but at an angle so that it makes it as simple as possible for the crew member to step off the boat as far forward as possible. As you reach the tee head the crew member will have to step off the boat and onto the dock. This requires a little dexterity on the crew member’s behalf and good throttle work on your behalf to not hit the dock yet get the crew member close enough with out jumping. Since you’re headed directly almost into wind, you’ll have afforded some time with the bow at the dock so that the crew member can take their time carefully stepping off the boat and onto the dock.

The crew member now cleats the dock line to the dock cleat in the direction of where the aft of the boat will sit using about ¼ of the boat length of line between the two cleats.

Now comes your part. Turn the wheel all the way to the stops to the non-dockside side of the boat (tiller to dockside side) and engage forward gear. This creates a sideways force on the rudder and will push the stern of the boat to the dock. Adjust the throttle to over come the windage force on the boat.






(2)  Motoring in reverse up to the tee head directly into the wind.

This method works especially well when the boat has a swim platform and walk through transom.

As above, have dock lines prepared. Then back up to the tee head.

NOTE: You’ll learn in the NauticEd Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power online sailing course that a boat’s stern facing the wind is an extremely stable position and you will not get bullied around by the wind. You’ll also learn that backing into the wind is extremely easy. If you haven’t already, take the NauticEd Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power online sailing course.

The crew member steps off the boat holding the aft dock line when the stern is close enough and cleats the dock line to a dock cleat that lies in a direction more aft of the boat in its final resting position.  Again about ¼ of the boat length of dock line should be allowed between the aft cleat and dock cleat.

Turn the wheel all the way to the stops towards the dock (tiller pointing away) and engage forward.  This will swing the bow of the boat in towards the dock against the wind. Another crew member can toss the forward dock line to the crew member on the dock to aid. Or if the 1st crew member is able they should take a long forward dock line with them when they stepped off the boat originally.






Either of these methods can get you docked safely. And, practiced, a  day skipper could do all the above solo.

Practice both of these a few times and when the real moment comes, you’ll be looking like a pro. Rather than a…

This docking a sailing boat tip was written by Grant Headifen , Director of NauticEd. NauticEd offers an excellent Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power online sailing course as well as many courses on how to sail a boat.


Docking a Sailboat using Spring Lines

Posted by Director of Education on September 14, 2011 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Here’s a question from a student regarding docking a sailboat after they took the Maneuvering Under Power Sailing Course


Hello Grant,

I have a question in reference to the maneuvering under power:

Under the excersice end ties #3, wind from behind, once you have backed the boat to the dock and secured the stern spring line, should the wheel be turned toward the dock and throttle into forward to bring the bow to the dock?


Excellent course!!!


Happy Sailing.



You’re absolutely correct.

Here is a vector force diagram to match. Actually, as you can see, you could do it with out turning the wheel to the dock but the resultant torque (turning moment) would be reduced. Turning the rudder creates extra turning moment. It doesn’t really matter which direction the wind is coming from with this method. Altho if the wind was high and blowing you off the dock. I would do the front spring first, then drive forward with the wheel turned away from the dock.



Docking a Sailboat

Docking a Sailboat

What is Propwalk?

Posted by Director of Education on July 8, 2011 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Be the First to Comment

The information contained in this explanation of what is propeller walk comes directly from the NauticEd Maneuvering and docking a sailboat under power sailing course which forms part of the requirement for the NauticEd Sailing Certification rank of Skipper.

You’ve learned to sail, sailed for a few years, and now you’ve upgraded to a bigger boat with an inboard engine. How frustrating! You want your new sailboat to go backwards but you keep going sideways. Welcome to propwalk. GRRRRR. This is not something that you probably got taught at your local sailing school because you learned on a smaller boat with maybe an outboard. Now you’ve got a much bigger and heavier boat and there are more expensive mistakes that can be made. Propwalk can be frustrating or you can understand it and use it to your advantage.

Let’s Understand Propwalk.

Imagine you’re walking up a spiral staircase. Each step is the same height and requires the same amount of energy to go up the next step.

Spiral stair case

Spiral stair case

Now imagine if the spiral stair case was tilted over 20 degrees. You’d find that as you went around the stairs they would be steeper on one side and flatter on the other. Or the stepper side cuts through more vertical space than the flatter side.

Stair case tilted

Stair case tilted

As we look at a propeller and the water flowing through it, the arc that the tips of the propeller follow relative to the moving water pushed by the propeller is a spiral shape, much like a spiral staircase.

Propeller Spiral

Propeller Spiral

Or another way to see it, is to observe the sweep of each blade as it passes through the water.

Propeller moving water through the water

Propeller moving water through the water

Now if we tilt the shaft of the propeller down, the spiral also tilts down.

Tilted Propeller Shaft

Tilted Propeller Shaft

But we have to put put a few prefaces on this. There must be no boat hull above to affect the initial flow of water, the water must be deep and the propeller can not be moving horizontally through the water – that’s a lot of prefaces and not reality. But here is what that would look like anyway.

Propeller tilted down and moving forward

Propeller tilted down and moving forward

Now let’s put the propeller in close proximity to the hull of the boat where the water tends to move horizontally. This is represented here by the imaginary sweep lines. Here then you can see that the up swinging reversing blade (green -starboard) cuts more of the flowing water similar to the tilting staircase example above.

Propeller tilted with water moving horizontal

Propeller tilted with water moving horizontal

In much the same way as the tilting staircase, the down sweeping blade cuts through less flowing water than the upsweeping blade. This creates more force on the up swinging side of the propeller than the down swinging side and thus a torque is produced on the prop shaft.

This results in the following forces and thus a resultant clockwise torque on the boat.

Resultant torque on propeller

Resultant torque on propeller

In a similar fashion, imagine yourself treading water in a swimming pool and your right arm swings in big circles while your left swings in smaller circles. Your body would move backwards but the action would also turn your face to the right and consequently your back to the left. The boat turns in exactly the same way.

In forward gear, the exact same phenomenon occurs, just in the opposite direction. However, we notice it much less because the water from the propeller is being pushed over the rudder which creates far greater forces and thus counteracts any tilt induced torque.

So in summary, a boat which has a counter rotating shaft, when in reverse, yaws clockwise (stern to the left) because the shaft is tilting downwards. Factors to reduce the effect include having a smaller diameter propeller or reducing the pitch (twist) of the blade or lengthening the shaft so that the water flow is further from the boat which would tend to allow the water flow to be more in line with the shaft. The effect is also reduced by a slower turning propeller IE less engine RPM.

An alternative way of mounting the propeller is called a saildrive and these are widely accepted in Europe. Saildrive systems have a horizontally mounted propeller shaft and therefore they do not create prop walk.

A sail drive unit does experience prop walk

A sail drive unit does not experience prop walk

But there is no need to run out and go to the expense of converting your boat to a saildrive unit if you are experiencing frustration with prop walk. Because now that you understand the theory of propwalk, (more than 90% of sailors) all you have to do is practice the exercises in the NauticEd Maneuvering under power course a few times and you’ll have it licked.

So there you have it – now you’re 1 in a thousand sailors who understand how propwalk originates.

The boating rules and NauticEd’s Maneuvering and docking a sailboat under Power sailing course shows students how to take advantage of propwalk. Just imagine you’re trapped in an EXTREMELY tight marina. Exercise number 8 wil show you how to get out. Turn the boat one way and you’re in trouble, turn it the other way and use a combination of wheel and throttle and you’re out of there with out a scratch.

Maneuvering and Docking a Sailboat Under Power Sailing Course

Maneuvering and Docking a Sailboat Under Power Sailing Course

Take Maneuvering and docking a sailboat under Power course from one of the best sailing schools online – NauticEd.


Yacht Club Intelligence: NauticEd Sailing School Press Release

Posted by Director of Education on May 15, 2011 under Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Storm Tactics, weather | Be the First to Comment

Imagine if you could just hang out at the yacht club every day – how much you’d learn from everyone. That’d be cool. Well … now you can!

It’s a very cool piece of technology we just installed on the NauticEd site. It’s called DisQus and the concept is based on crowd intelligence. It shows how the power of the Internet can beat out a boring ol’ book. Thousands of websites have already introduced it and it’s ideally suited for you and NauticEd.

On every page through out all of the NauticEd sailing courses you can now discuss (Disqus) the topic at hand and read what others are saying about the topic.  For example, lets say you know a few things about how to dock a boat using spring lines but are a bit confused about backing into a slip. Right in the course you can add your springing off knowledge and ask all other students their opinions on reversing. When any one comments and adds to those comments you’ll be sent an email (if you want). You can add pictures and diagrams if you want. Our part is to use the crowd intelligence to improve our sailing course material for everyone.

You can even invite facebook friends to join in on the conversation and help out.

Crowd-Intelligence with NauticEd Sailing School

Crowd-Intelligence with DisQus and NauticEd Sailing School

How cool is this? Now you’re tapping into the knowledge of thousands of other NauticEd students – wow that’s a big yacht club with a lot of combined experience. You’re not on your own any more. It’s not just us and our authors pontificating about sailing – it’s a real open discussion and conversation in real time.

But like any party or social – you can’t just stuff your mouth with cake and listen – you’ve got to add your two cents. And you can’t be rude because people are watching and the bouncers will bounce you out. So come on join in – ask questions and post your knowledge.

To kick off, I’ve gone in and asked a few questions and posted a few comments in each course topic. I invite you to join me and start new conversations. Like who gives way – the paddle board or the sailboat? Do you know the answer?

Login and give us your opinion to the Rules of the Nautical Road topic embedded in our Rules course.

And to celebrate the launch of crowd intelligence via DisQus, we’ll award a free sailing course of choice to a student randomly picked from everyone who participates in the conversations over the next week (through May 25th) . Hint, the more you talk the more we’ll notice.

We’ll see you on NauticEd.



NauticEd Launches New Sailing Course: Anchoring a Sailboat

Posted by Director of Education on April 14, 2011 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Be the First to Comment

PRESS RELEASE: NauticEd Launches New Sailing Course: Anchoring a Sailboat

Today NauticEd released another sailing course: Anchoring a Sailboat. The sailing course focuses on knowledge required to effectively and successfully anchor a sailboat.

Anchoring a Sailboat Sailing Course

Anchoring a Sailboat Sailing Course

Captain’s Alex and Daria Blackwell, authors of The Art of Anchoring, wrote the NauticEd specific sailing course. The sailing course consists of 12 modules and will be sold for $17 online.

The Anchoring a Sailboat sailing course modules are:

  • Module 1: Introduction to Anchor Types
  • Module 2: Anchor Types
  • Module 3: Anchor Selection
  • Module 4: Rode and Connections
  • Module 5: Site Selection
  • Module 6: Charts
  • Module 7: Dropping the Anchor
  • Module 8: Scope
  • Module 9: Setting the Anchor
  • Module 10: Swing
  • Module 11: Time to Relax
  • Module 12: Anchoring Etiquette

Grant Headifen, Educational Director of NauticEd, says that the Anchoring a Sailboat sailing course is a welcome addition to the 12 other sailing courses that NauticEd offers. NauticEd plans to make the Anchoring a Sailboat Course a prerequisite to gaining the NauticEd sailing certification rank of Bareboat Charter Master. “We’d received lots of requests for a comprehensive anchoring course from our students. Anchoring expertise is one of those really important sailing skills that is required and sort after. On a bareboat charter sailing vacation, for example, you spend more time at anchor than you do sailing. And anchoring is a bigger stress on the charterer than most other sailing activities. Charter companies don’t really realize that more people would charter if the stress was taken out of overnight anchoring” says Headifen”.

NauticEd believes that the Anchoring a Sailboat Course will be a big seller and will surpass their popular Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power sailing course.

To learn more about the coastal skipper sailing courses and NauticEd Sailing School, go to our website.