Expert yachtsmaster Bill Johnson outlines his five golden rules for manoeuvring

Not everything is possible

People get in trouble by thinking they ‘ought’ to be able to achieve a particular manoeuvre, rather than trusting their own judgement if they think it’s too difficult.

The very first manoeuvre on my instructor exam was, naturally, leaving the marina. The unfortunate candidate who was picked to do it made the obvious assumption: ‘Surely this must be possible if the examiner has asked me to do it?’

But the wind and the yacht’s prop walk made the ‘obvious’ manoeuvre practically impossible. After the initial cock-up, the examiner suggested trying out different approaches to make the manoeuvre work, and we spent the next hour or so doing this. (The first guy passed, by the way.)

If you come back from a charter, and are faced with a blustery wind and strong ebb tide into your down-stream facing berth, then consider the option of parking on the hammer- head, walking up to the charter office and inviting them to have a go (they’ll probably leave it there till the next morning).

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Go slowly
  3. 3. Take it calmly, don't panic, and don't try to show off
  4. 4. Not everything is possible
  5. 5. Try to do what the yacht 'wants' to do
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