Join Date: Jan 2003
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new to helming
Two things to help with the "feel" - it WILL come.
One, focus on a point well forward of your boat. Same in driving - if you're looking only a few yards ahead you'll waver. Get the long view....at least 50-50 yards ahead and that will keep you from jerking the wheel (or tiller). When I was very young, my father would have me concentrate on something on the other shore. Make sure it's not a sailboat under sail!
Two, we used a Windex and just kept the tail within the red lines. This is especially handy in light winds when the direction isn't all that obvious. As long as there's nothing in front of you, just look up.
For reversing - if you want to pull your stern into a dock, first pull ahead just far enough to turn your bow away from the dock, then, without moving the wheel (tiller) slowly reverse. Your stern should swing right in. Remember, the power is in the stern of the boat, not in the front like a car. It's nice to have a long line ready too!