Steering without a Tiller

Sometimes tillers snap or rudders fall off. Although you may have a hard time getting your boat back in to shore, fortunately, not all is lost if this occurs while you are out at sea.

  1. You can make your small sailboat turn upwind by leaning inward or moving your body weight to the leeward side of the boat. As a reminder, before tacking a dinghy, move your shoulders and weight inboard slightly to get a bit of leeward heel to assist in heading up.
  2. You can make your small sailboat turn downwind by hiking out on the windward side of the boat.
  3. If your sailboat has two sails, you can make your boat turn upwind if you trim the main in and ease your jib out. You can remember this because if you accidentally let go of the tiller (we all have), the mainsail tends to naturally point a boat into the wind.
  4. If your sailboat has two sails, you can make your boat turn downwind if you trim the jib and ease your mainsail out.
  5. If you have a paddle, you can use it to act as a small rudder.

Every once in a while review these techniques. They may save your butt some day.

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