Expert yachtsmaster Bill Johnson outlines his five golden rules for manoeuvring
Try to do what the yacht ‘wants’ to do
Yachts are like people: it is much easier to get them to do what they want to do in the first place.
Very often there will be an easy way and a hard way to turn a yacht. The bows will tend to turn away from the wind, and prop walk will help in one direction and not in the other. Look at both options, and try to go with what the yacht ‘wants’ to do.
The corollary of this rule is ‘If the yacht is already doing what you want it to do, don’t interfere.’ If you are turning the way you want to, to get out of a tight spot, or drifting slowly away from a mooring buoy after slipping, simply wait. Don’t rush into gear and run over the mooring.
The real key to manoeuvring a yacht under power is understanding what’s going on, and being able to anticipate how the yacht is going to behave. That’s why ‘Manoeuvring’ starts with a comprehensive chapter about ‘How a Yacht Behaves and Why’, before going into what you do in different circumstances.
So good luck and good yachting!