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Sailing Tips

Insights and experiences from our team.

"Everyday should feel this good."

- Evan Swain

Techniques and Maneuvers 


The Crazy Ivan

This maneuver was developed to increase both downwind and upwind performance especially at night.


We all know the difference between sailing close hauled and close reaching. Your most efficient way of getting to an upwind destination is close hauled (45 deg off the wind). You will move faster close reaching (more than 45 deg off the wind) but you will be going away from your target. So, sheet the jib in tightly and keep the tell tales streaming - easy peezy.


As it becomes dark and you can't see the tell tales, close reaching feels very much the same as sailing close hauled, but it's hard to differentiate whether you're sailing 45 deg or 55 deg off the wind. What we do every 20 minutes is head up until you hear the jib luff then head down 5 deg until it quiets, you will be close hauled- and get there sooner.


On the downwind aspect of the Crazy Ivan, consider the boat to be on a broad reach when sailing with the wind more than 90 deg off the bow down to where your jib collapses behind the mainsail (about 160 deg off). If your destination is directly downwind, 160 deg off is more advantageous than for example 140 deg off the wind. Like the above, both angles feel the same when it comes to what you "feel" wind-wise (apparent wind). Every five or ten minutes when sailing on a broad reach, "crazy Ivan" the bow downwind until the jib collapses behind the mainsail, then immediately head up until the jib fills. You will now be on a low broad reach giving you your best performance downwind and you'll get there sooner.

The Short Spring

Any technique that relieves the stress when coming to a dock is a good thing. This is especially true when the boat is large, or handled by a small crew. Try the short spring trick early on and save yourself a lot of hassle. It works best when coming to an alongside dock such as the typical fuel dock or floating finger pier, but can be adapted to suit most situations.

The cardinal rule is to avoid any "helpful" dock hand from taking and pulling in a bow line tight. Most of these people have never handled a large yacht and have no appreciation of the havoc that this action can cause. The simplest way to avoid this happening is to keep the bow line out of their reach! When approaching a dock have a short spring line attached to a cleat near to the widest point of the yacht. This is where there is a gate in the lifelines. The bow and stern lines are attached to their cleats, brought back or forward to the lifelines near to this point, and hitched for easy access.

One person is on the helm/engine control, and remains here. The other (the linesman) is by the gate, calling out distances away from the dock. Ideally the yacht is brought to a stop alongside, so that the linesman can just step off with the short midships spring. He or she immediately ties this spring line to the nearest cleat on the dock, taking up as much slack as possible without actually using any strength to pull in the yacht. The shorter this line is kept, the better everything works. Now the boat is not going anywhere; by putting the engine into forward gear and steering the helm towards the dock the bow may be brought in. It is a simple matter to unhitch the bow line from the rail and walk to a suitable dockside cleat or bollard, then do the same with the stern line. There is no hurry because the helmsman can keep control of the yacht's position by motoring against the short spring in either direction.

Once the yacht is safely tied bow and stern, the short spring can be removed and normal fore and aft spring lines rigged at leisure.

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