Bywith USCG Captain Terry Willis and USCG Captain Grant Headifen, NauticEd
Topics covered in the online NauticEd Skipper Course
Weather and Sea Conditions
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More about this online Skipper Sailing Course
View Skipper Course excerpts
This is an online course and test viewable in your browser window. You will also be able to download a PDF version to print or view on your iPad or tablet.
(Or $62 with the Skipper Rank bundle of sailing courses)
You can also download the Skipper course material on the iBookstore via iTunes (the certifying test is accessed seperately via our NauticEd testing app for extra investment).
Not convinced yet that online sailing courses are cool? Visit our fully interactive and completely free Basic Sail Trim Sailing Course. You'll see why online e-learning is SO MUCH BETTER than a boring ol' Book.
Note: Errors noted above were attended to immediately and fixed.
Upon completion, you will feel confident that you know the theory of what to do when in command of a sailboat. And if you're new to the fun of sailing, you'll look like a pro in front of your hands-on instructor.
Are you ready to "get your feet wet" and feel the exhilaration of sailing? Then let's get started!
The test is reasonably simple as long as you have read the material. You can take the test as many times as you like to pass or improve your score with out any extra cost. Once passed, you are awarded the NauticEd Skipper Certificate and you'll be on your way to building your sailing proficiency resume, which can be used with charter companies world wide. And the great thing, once you've registered, you can log back in for life for FREE to review the material and brush up your skills. We're constantly updating the course and adding information on new technologies as they emerge, so for just $67.50 - you'll always be up to date.
Learn all the theory of sailing in the comfort of your home at your own pace with NauticEd. Register for the Skipper Course now!
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Excerpt from the course
Module 4 Rigging and Sails- Excerpt:
The following illustration shows the parts of the sail and associated control lines. Of note is the bolt rope which is one of very few actual ropes on a boat (another is the bell rope).
- The bolt rope provides strength to the luff of the sail and is used also to slide into the track if there is one. On a head sail the bolt rope provides strength to the luff of the sail when "hanks" are used.
- Hanks are basically sliding clamps that slide up the forestay and are clamped onto the bolt rope at the leading edge (luff).
- The main halyard is attached to the head of the sail and is used to pull the sail up the mast.
- The gooseneck is a swivel connection from the boom to the mast.
- The reefing points are points where the sail can be pulled down in order to reef the sail if a roller furling system is not used.
- The topping lift holds the back of the boom up.
- The boom vang holds the boom down when beating to wind. On down wind legs the boom vang can be loosened to provide more shape to the sail.
- The cunningham pulls the sail down tight and is used also when reefing.
- The outhaul line is attached to the clew to pull the sail out along the boom.
Module 5 Rules and Safety- Excerpt:
In the video below, you can see two sailboats on a collision course. The sailboat on a port tack correctly changes course to avoid the sailboat on a starboard tack. The port tack boat also could have turned to starboard to duck in behind the other boat. However, in this case it chose to tack. The decision to tack or duck is up to you.
Module 6 Slip Departures and Returns - Excerpt:
(3) Wind pushing into the dock and current from behind.
This is a little more tricky. If you try to go out forwards the wind could potentially push you into other boats. Additionally as you turn the wheel to head out, the rear of the boat will swing around towards the dock and other boats. therefore it is recommended that you reverse out using a spring line.
(A) Once you are confident of your plan,
- Appoint a crew member to use a fender at the front of the boat to prevent the boat from touching the dock.
- Release and stow the dock lines but leave one spring line from the dock near the center of the boat attached to the front of the boat.
- The spring line should be arranged so that it is attached to the forward cleat, runs freely around the dock cleat and returns back to the appointed crew member. In this manner the crew member can release the line and retrieve it by letting it slip around the dock cleat. ENSURE that there are no knots in the line to get caught on the dock cleat as it runs through.
- Turn the wheel towards the dock and engage forward gear.
- This will have the effect of pushing the rear of the boat away from the dock.
(B) Once the boat has turned out from the dock, engage reverse and have your forward crew member release and retrieve the spring line.
(C) Continue backing out to be completely clear before engaging forward gear. Remember the rear of the boat will swing back towards the dock once you engage forward and turn the wheel to windward, so ensure there is plenty of room.
Module 7 Sailing - Excerpt:
Conversely, when you ask the wind to bend too much, the wind will spawn off creating turbulent air flow. This reduces the effect of the sails and slows the boat. The higher the velocity of the wind the less the wind tends to bend. This is one of the reasons why in high wind conditions you need to reduce the size of the sail. Since the sail is smaller when reefed, the wind is required to bend less over the distance from the front (luff) of the sail to the back (leech) of the sail and therefore the wind will not break away from the sail as much. Once the wind breaks away from the low pressure side, as in the diagram below, you're reducing efficiency. In the same way, an aero plane will stall. When the flow of air breaks away from the top side of the wing, lift is lost and the plane quickly aims it self at the ground. In sailing, the resultant is less dramatic. Simply let the sail out and the wind will reattach to the leeward side of the sail.
Module 9 Anchoring and Mooring- Excerpt:
Care must be given to swing. As the wind changes during the night your boat will move with the wind and can put you into a precarious situation by being to close to the shore. Many times you'll find an anchorage area with moorings. Remember that boats tied to moorings swing less than anchored boats. In this circumstance you may swing into other boats. Golden rule is "watch your swing".
In addition, consideration must be given to the tide. As the tide "ebbs" out, you not only get closer to the bottom but your swing circle grows and the shore becomes closer. This diagram shows your swing path with deep water and correct scope.
Module 10 Emergencies - Excerpt
Deep Beam Reach
- Bear away to a broad reach
- Trim the main sail for speed, furl or drop jib.
- Sail a beam reach toward the victim.
- Make final approach to the leeward of the victim.
Each Module has associated with it approximately 20 test questions. Here is an example?
Q Who has Ultimate right of way in this scenario?
You will find the answer to this question in Module 5 of the Skipper Course.
Upon passing all the tests associated with each module, your NauticEd Sailing Certificate is automatically updated. This is not a USCG Captain's license. It is an acknowledgement that you have passed the NauticEd Skipper Course which is recognized by charter companies worldwide.
Get your sailing certification started now with the NauticEd Skipper Sailing Course.