Join Date: May 2002
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Help! How to teach someone to maintain heading
Newbies have a very strong tendency to oversteer the boat, oscillating back and forth across the intended course. I tell the newbie: "Watch my hand on the tiller or wheel, and notice that, for the most part, I hold it absolutely steady, without moving it at all."
If you have a tiller tamer, or can lock your wheel, set it, and show her that holding the steering absolutely steady will hold the boat on course reasonably well. When she realizes that, she will stop oversteering the boat and making it oscillate from one side to the other.
When the boat veers off its heading slightly, show her how to move the tiller or wheel just enough to bring the boat back onto its heading, and then center the steering again, and hold it steady.
Finally, she needs to steer the boat enough to develop her hand-eye coordination, so that she instinctively knows which way to turn the helm, without thinking, to bring it back on course. That requires that you give her lots of "tiller time." Most importantly, be patient with her. She''ll get it in time.