Steering fixed course

Steering fixed courseNow the yacht is off the wind, perhaps, on a broad reach from point A to point B. All the steersman's duty, in an ordinary moderate or light breeze, is to keep her straight.

The beginner is at his helm, let him keep the boat's bowsprit on point B. Let him keep her so by giving her the least possible alteration of helm. Do not let her yaw about. Whether she is running or reaching or anyhow off the wind this instruction applies.

There is only one way to accomplish this. It is exceedingly simple: Keep your attention entirely on the job. It is indeed obvious, and this is the reason of the old saying, "Do not speak to the man at the wheel".

Having said this, we will assume the beginner, af ter some practice, can keep the boat straight without yawing his helm about. Now so far as steering the boat off the wind is concerned the sea being fairly smooth and the vessel going straight the beginner, at this moment, is in the proud position of steering her and we can think of no higher praise.

The fact is, the mere steering of the yacht off the wind in this fine weather is not very difficult. It is just as easy a job in a big yacht as in quite a small boat. The beginner can soon learn to do it with perfect confidence and comfort.

Every yacht owner who wishes to steer his yacht, in our opinion,
should take the helm and learn to do so, and this steering off the wind-just gently keeping her nose straight on a point needs little explanation. Off the wind even a very bad helmsman cannot suddenly lose two or three miles.

Read Trimming the sails off the wind.