Maneuvering Under Power Clinic

Lifetime access
Rating is 4.98 (based on 3587 reviews).


Captain Grant Headifen, USCG Master

In this Maneuvering Under Power Clinic you will learn

  • Beginner to advanced maneuvering skills
  • How to dock a large sailboat
  • How to reverse your boat into a slip with ease
  • How to handle high winds from any direction when docking
  • How to use prop walk to your advantage
  • How not to get pushed around by the wind
  • How to maneuver a sailboat in a tight marina with high winds

We guarantee both your satisfaction AND Lifetime access to any sailing course you buy from us

More About the NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power Clinic

  • View an excerpt of the Maneuvering a Sailboat under Power Sailing Course
  • Contains 27 practical exercises in a PDF download to complete on the water
  • Theory portion will take about 3 hours to complete
  • Take as long as you need to complete the clinic
  • Return as many times as you like to brush up
  • Is a prerequisite for the NauticEd Rank of Skipper
  • Adds the Maneuvering Under Power Endorsement to your Sailing Certificate
  • The online version is also available in  Available in french portuguese (Select "French" or "Portuguese" when you invest in this course or at any time when taking the course)
  • You may take the test at anytime online via browser or offline via our iPad testing app. Visit our Sailing Apps page
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.
Today's Investment: $39 (Or $33 with the Skipper Rank Bundle of sailing courses)
Maneuvering Under Power
NauticEd Sailing Apps: Also available on the iBookstore via iTunesYou can also download the Maneuvering Under Power course material on the iBookstore via iTunes (the certifying test is accessed separately via our NauticEd testing app for extra investment).

Buy this Skipper course as a hardcopy paper book from our Amazon Store. Videos, animations, and links are included in the book using QR codes.

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 old Book.

Maneuvering a sailboat under power is one of the most over looked and under taught NECESSARY skills. When sailing in open waters it's reasonably difficult to hit something so long as you have a proper watch out, radar and navigation skills. When maneuvering around in the marina it's reasonably easy and common to hit something namely the dock or other boats. And of course hitting something is expensive and embarrassing.

You will receive access to our interactive online sailing lesson, plus a downloadable PDF document of the entire course for optional offline reading and the real-time graded test. This $39 clinic will take you about 3 hours to complete online including the test. The practical exercises given to you in PDF format at the end of the clinic will take about 2 hours to complete on the water. This clinic will give you one of the best returns on investment you have ever made. $39 here now can save you thousands of $ in damage. Looking good in the Marina? - PRICELESS.

maneuveringPhoto Courtesy of Beneteau

Foreword by the Author, Grant Headifen. Near the beginning of my open water sailing career, I chartered a 46 ft sailboat in St Maarten. In St Maarten, the charter base is located in a protected cove but with a tricky reef entrance. Therefore the charter base requires that a pilot come out to your boat in a speedboat, jump on board and bring the boat through the reef and park it in the slip at the marina for you. I spent some time observing this very talented Rastafarian expertly maneuver my chartered boat into the slip. It was a maneuvering job with which I was very impressed. Why? Well, just days before I had knocked the bbq off the back of the 46 ft sailboat because I could not maneuver the boat in a tight marina with 20 knots of side wind just as it was getting dark. I was trying to back up to a concrete wall and simultaneously lasso pilings as they went past to hold the front of the boat in place and not hit the wall. As captain, I was seeing very quickly that my open water experience was not paying off and was about to cost me, the charter company and the insurance company a lot of money.

I remember a year later maneuvering a Beneteau 50 ft sailboat into the marina in the beautiful port of Bonifacio, Corsica. Our slip was right next to the side walk restaurant loaded with tourists, so it was imperative to my ego to get it right. Well, I did but actually, I still think it was really more luck than anything else. As we sat on the back of the boat celebrating a no damage docking we watched a crew expertly maneuver their boat backwards down a row of slips, turn right angles then back their boat into a tight slip, stopping perfectly. We all cheered and clapped as it was very impressive. I vowed right then and there to learn the skill.


One year later I was smiling as I maneuvered a 50 ft sailboat in a very tight harbor in Kos, Greece. You can always tell how you are doing in a busy port. If you're doing well, everyone on the other boats will be watching and will continue to drink their Gin. If you're doing bad they are all putting down their drinks and putting fenders over the side. In Greece, everyone relaxed with their Gin!

When I created the fractional ownership industry for sailors a few years later, it was obvious that a course like this needed to be developed. As a result several thousand students have taken this clinic. Through 27 practical exercises, this Maneuvering Under Power Clinic will teach you how to practice and master the skill of placing the boat where ever you want, every time in all wind conditions, with confidence. The lesson is arranged so that you can first read the material and begin to understand the theory. Each chapter also has associated practical exercises that you absolutely must perform and repeat to become an expert. The exercises are designed to get you extremely comfortable with maneuvering your boat.

Upon completion, you'll receive the NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power Certificate of Proficiency. I'm also confident that you'll be so comfortable with maneuvering and backing your boat in a tight marina that you'll never have onlookers put down their drink and pick up a fender. You'll feel great and even if you mess it up a bit, you'll know exactly how to do it better next time. If you're hesitant about the mere $39 cost of this clinic, just think of the cost and embarrassment of one - just one ding into another boat. When you take this clinic, we guarantee you'll have less intimidation when maneuvering your boat and you'll significantly reduce damage to yours and other people's boats.

No one ever has, but if you don't think you received $39 worth of potential damage saving value, simply contact us and we'll happily refund your investment.

In the conclusion chapter there is a PDF document that you can print out and take with you to the boat. It leads you through all the exercises you should perform on the water to learn how to expertly maneuver and dock your sailboat under power.

Please enjoy our Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power Clinic (and no damage docking) bought to you by Captain Grant Headifen.

Register for the NauticEd Docking and Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power Clinic now! It's Fun!

View Maneuvering Under Power Course excerpt

Student Reviews

Craig B.
2022, 11 Jun. 17:25

Okay I have sailed for over 30 years and have a USCG Master Captain license and this course REALLY taught me a lot of information that I found excellent. I am anxious to apply and have already used a couple items. I am going to download the on the water exercises and go over with some of my crew as well as myself. I have used the aft spring line attached to the midship while in forward but there are so many other options I need to try.

Bruno B.
2022, 25 Apr. 13:16

Learned a lot. One of my favourites

Daniel S.
2022, 21 Mar. 01:22

Lots of great examples of how to deploy spring lines to make maneuvering into and out of positions so much easier. Pre-emptive angling of the boat to deal wit prop walk is also an excellent lesson to know. Providing examples of all different wind and current directions was also quite appreciated.

John H.
2022, 23 Feb. 16:39

Good instructions on wind direction and spring lines

Gilles G.
2022, 20 Feb. 20:40

Covers all aspects in an easy to understand format with simulations.

Stephen M.
2022, 17 Feb. 01:46

I've under rated the need to know what to do under power while docking. Very good explanations on how to dock in many situations.

Phil K.
2022, 15 Feb. 23:56

Awesome graphics to drive home the theory and to help visualize the methods.

Lucas v.
2022, 15 Feb. 22:31

Excellent tips help make good boat handlers better

Travis M.
2022, 15 Feb. 21:50

It was hard.

Mark B.
2022, 02 Feb. 08:46

Excellent description of docking situations and methods to execute them.

William l.
2022, 30 Jan. 00:37

It was very fun to read about the maneuvers and then practice them on the water. I definitely learned some new tricks.

John M.
2022, 27 Jan. 05:20

it really made me understand the dynamics. great practice exercises

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Showing 1 - 12 of last 17 reviews.
List Price: $39.00

Excerpt from the course

Expand Excerpt from the course

Reversing a boat has become quite a favorite of mine now and fun to teach. Please don't just give these exercisers lip service. Actually get out and do them and - who cares if others are watching - you'll be able to out back and out maneuver them anytime after this. It's a practiced skill that you'll be glad you did next time you're in a tight marina in some exotic place with 20 knots of wind on the side and every one is watching you. The question is - will they be nervous or impressed - it's up to you.

This exercise should take about 45 minutes and is real fun to do. Please actually do it rather than just read it. You'll learn so much and be incredibly confident afterwards. It's more effective to do this on a windy day. Pick a buoy or ideally two that are about 5 boat lengths apart that are out away from the marina and, of course, during the exercises keep a good watch out for traffic.

Exercise 9: With the boat stopped and pointing downwind, first put the wheel hard over and then rev the engine in reverse to 2300 rpm for about 2 seconds.
What you learned: The boat is not nearly as responsive as the same exercise in forward. In fact, it is doubtful that anything actually happened. Except a bit of prop walk.
Note: The rudder only responds to act on the boat when water is flowing over it. When in reverse, the propeller does not help to push water over the rudder and thus control of the boat is only achieved by reverse motion of the boat.



reverse rudder

Note: When ever the boat is reversing, DO NOT take your hands off the wheel or allow it to spin. The fulcrum of the rudder is at the front. Water moving over the rudder will cause the rudder to slam sideways and potentially break the wheel controls. ALWAYS keep a hand tightly held on the wheel. This effect is like trying to hold a sheet of plywood on the downwind edge against the wind with out it flipping around on you - almost impossible. When it flips - it's going to hurt. Same as the wheel, when the back flowing water pushes against the rudder it can whip the rudder over - spin the wheel very fast and slam the workings for the wheel to rudder connections very hard and very likely cause damage. Backing in a marina with high winds is the last place you want the rudder connection to come off. Scared? Don't be, just don't let go of the wheel when backing.
Note: When ever in reverse, only put the wheel a maximum of 80% of the way hard over. If it is all the way over the rubber acts more like a vertical bulldozer blade and reduces the turning effectiveness.
Note: When shifting from forward into reverse and vice versa, ALWAYS stop in neutral for 1-2 seconds before shifting gears. Drifting in a marina under high winds and a sheared propeller shaft key is not something you want to experience. Scared? Don't be, just don't shift the gear lever fast.
Exercise 10: With the boat pointed at about 30 degrees off the wind and idling forward at about 1000 rpm, put the engine into reverse while attempting to hold the boat straight and then begin to back up.
What you learned: On a windy day this is near impossible. The wind will take over and push the bow downwind as soon as the boat stops and thus water stops flowing over the rudder. Regaining control and trying to get the boat to begin backing up while staying on course is difficult and will use up a lot of space. Space that is at a premium in a marina. So instead, always start your backing with the wind to your stern even if that has you initially pointing in the wrong direction.


Even if you try it the other way to counteract the prop walk - in high enough winds your bow will still be blown down wind.

rev 1

Exercise 11: With the boat stopped and positioned stern to wind - just hang out for a sec and observe the boat behavior. Then move into forward gear at about 1000 rpm and slowly move forward, now put the engine in reverse at 2000 rpm. Watch the boat come to a stop and begin backing up.
What you learned: You'll first notice that sitting there with your stern to wind is a stable position for the boat to be in. IE the wind really does nothing to the boat and you can hang out like this for a while. Especially in a marina when you are waiting for other boats to clear out or deciding which slip to go into. Besides a bit of prop walk, once you start going backwards, the boat will hold course and will back straight without all the space used up in the exercise above. Therefore, when ever possible, always begin backing with the stern of the boat facing upwind. Let's repeat that and put it in bold - when ever possible, always begin backing with the stern of the boat facing upwind.
Note: There will be some effect from prop walk which will turn the stern of the boat to port. So learn to anticipate prop walk. IE you know the boat is going to pull stern to port so angle your boat as such before you start to reverse.
Note: Simple rule of thumb for steering a boat backwards. If you want the back of the boat to go one way then turn the wheel that way. Actually this is the same for going forwards, if you want the front of a boat to go right then turn to the right. This is why you see some people turn around and get in front of the wheel when going backwards because it is the same as going forwards. As you get used to backing like this and especially practicing doing figure 8’s around buoys, you’ll no longer need to step around the wheel.

Other Sailing Courses that you might enjoy:

Qualified Crew Member Sailing Course
Coastal Navigation Sailing Course

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