Basic Keelboat (BKB – ASA 101)

BKB Sample Daily Agenda


Getting to Know Each Other

  • Introductions
  • Materials
  • Liability Forms
  • Physical Restrictions and Special Considerations
  • Logistical Considerations
  • Class Timing

On dock and boat

  • Dock and Boat Safety
  • Line Handling
    • Basic knots
    • Coiling a Line
  • Discussion of Sailing Terminology; aka  Tack, Tack, and Tacking
  • S.A.F.E.T.O.G.O. and C.O.O.L
  • Getting the boat ready to sail
    • Pre and Post Cruise Checklist
    • Tides, Currents, & Weather
  • Motoring
    • Departing the dock
    • Boat handling under power
    • Docking
    • Picking up a mooring (optional but recommended)
  • Sail Handling
    • Parts of a Sail
    • Raising and Lowering Sails
    • Reefing
  • Sailing under a Main
    • Reaching
    • Heading Up
    • Bearing Away
    • Sail Trim at Various Points of Sail
    • Tacking
    • Jibing
  • Boat Clean Up

Classroom Discussion

  • Boat Parts (Review Boat Parts From Preview Day)
  • Rules of the Road
  • Aids to Navigation (ATONs)
  • Introduction to Charts

Maneuvering Under Sail

  • Tacking with Main and Jib
  • Jibing with Main and Jib
  • Heave To
  • Figure 8 Crew Overboard
  • Reefing Underway
  • Anchoring under sail

Boat Clean Up


  • Review Boat Parts
  • Review Rules of the Road
  • Review Knots
  • Discuss Navigation Lights



  • Docking Practice
  • Practice All Sailing Skills

Boat Clean Up


BKB Description
From the ASA Standard

Demonstrated ability to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds and sea conditions. Knowledge of basic sailing terminology, parts and functions, helm commands, basic sail trim, points of sail, buoyage, seamanship and safety including basic navigation rules to avoid collisions and hazards. Auxiliary power operation is not required.

Recommended Class
Sailing Areas

Each day’s sailing location is up to the discretion of the individual instructor; however, all allowable areas of the “practice area” should be explored. 

One possible schedule of locations is as follows:

Day 1 – Marina Bay

Day 2 – Keller Cove (aka Chevron Cove or “The Practice Area”, with a stop at the side tie dock in Brickyard Cove to show possible docking area and bathroom.

Day 3 – Marina Bay (with a possible trip down Santa Fe Channel)

Additional Required Equipment

The following additional documents and/or equipment should be on board.

  • For all classes
    • Type I PFD for each person on board (optional in BKB)
    • USCG Commercial approved ring buoy (optional in BKB)
    • Instructors Packet Including
      • Updated chart of the area (18649)
      • Coast Pilot and Updated Light List
      • Current Local Notice to Mariners
      • Drug Test Kit
      • Safety Briefing Outline
  • Additional for Basic Keelboat Class
    • Line to practice knots
    • Crew overboard practice jugs (Chuck and Bob)
    • Mooring line (if optional mooring is planned)

Day One

Dock and Boat Safety

Safety Note:
One hand for yourself;
One hand for the boat.

Students should be introduced to each new term and/or boat part as encountered in the lesson plan.  For example, shroud, lifeline, boom, deck, and cockpit may be introduced during the Safe Boarding exercise.

Demonstrate the proper method of boarding a boat at the shrouds

  • Firmly hold a shroud
  • Announce in a loud voice “Stepping Aboard”
  • Step up onto the gunwale of the boat with both feet outside of the lifelines
  • Step over the lifelines while continuing to hold firmly to a shroud
  • Gain a new handhold (e.g. boom, winch, etc.) and carefully move into cockpit
  • Reverse the above  to step off

Each student should now step aboard, move into the cockpit, return to the shrouds, and step off.  Make sure to observe and correct the boarding technique as required.

No gear should be held or carried during the boarding process.  All gear will be handed from the dock to a person onboard.

Now is a great time to demonstrate and stress that all skills learned at this level can be “scaled up” for use on a larger boat.  As an example, you might board one of the nearby Bronze or Silver Fleet boats using this technique.

Line Handling

Focus on the purpose of the knot as well as the name and method of tying.

Make a point of showing
examples on the Capris of how and
where each knot is used.

The following basic knots are part of the ASA 101 Standard.

Basic Knots

  • Cleat Hitch
  • Clove Hitch
  • Round Turn with Two Half Hitches
  • Figure 8 Knot
  • Bowline
  • Reef Knot

In addition Tradewinds requires lessons on the following:


  • Locking Coil (e.g. how to coil and stow dock lines, how to coil a halyard while under sail, coiling the mainsheet when not in use.
  • Flemish Coil (such as excess length of sheets and dock lines when “putting the boat away.”

While still on the dock is a good opportunity to demonstrate and practice the:

Cleat Hitch

Clove Hitch

Round Turn with Two Half Hitches

  • Figure 8 Knot
  • Use the dock lines to demonstrate and practice the cleat hitch.
  • Using the fenders to tie the Clove Hitch and the Round Turn with Two Half Hitches also allows for discussion of the need for and use of fenders
  • Use of the jib sheets demonstrates the purpose and use of the Figure 8 knot.


Students should be introduced to each new term and/or boat part as encountered in the lesson plan. 

For example, shroud, lifeline, boom, deck, and cockpit might be introduced during the Safe Boarding exercise previously completed.

Getting the Boat
Ready to Sail

Assign a “Skipper” for the day. 

The skipper will complete the Pre-Post Checklist, having the other class members to complete tasks and assist as required.

Each participant will be assigned the role of “Skipper” for one day during the class.

The “Skipper” will typically be the first to do each new exercise.

Discuss the roles for the various positions.

  • Skipper … responsible for the safe operation of the boat, and safety of the crew
  • Helmsperson … steers the boat
  • Crew member … assists in the safe operation of the boat

Watch/Lookout … Rule 5 of the NAVIGATION RULES
“Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”

Use the Pre and Post Cruise Check List for the Small Boats as an aid to introducing terminology and in getting the boat ready to sail. 

Identify each item on the list, and discuss the importance and/or legally required status of the item.

Tide Books

A Tide Book contains a great deal of information that is neither needed nor relevant at this stage of the students sailing career.

Cover the following points in detail:

  • Tide is the level of the water
  • Zero in the tide book is based on the average of the lower of two low tides every day over an approximate 19 year time span.
  • Additional information will be covered in the day two discussion of Charts.
  • Current is the movement of the water.  A high tide of 6 feet, lowering to 1 foot means 5 feet of water needs to “leave” the bay.

Other areas in the Tide Book, such as tide and current offsets, current maps, and phone number lists will be explored in Basic Coastal Cruising and Bareboat Charter.


S … Safety Equipment
A … Atmosphere
F … Floorboards
E … Engine
T … Tides and Currents
O … Onboard rigging
G … Gas (or Diesel)
O … Steering


C … Coolant
O … Oil
OL … Overboard Lines

Outboard Motor
Setup and Operation

Safety Note: 
Before starting the motor, verify that all people and objects (e.g. the boom) are clear of the person starting the motor. Elbows and noses or booms do not play well together.

Demonstrate the engine setup, starting, and stowing process.
Have each participant setup, start, and stow the motor.

Fuel Tank

  • Open Vent
  • Check fuel level and note on Pre-Cruise Check List

Un-Tilt the Motor

  • Demonstrate tilt release lever position and operation 
  • Motor should not be left in full forward tilt position when the boat is put away

Lower the Motor Mount Bracket 

  • Lower motor to bottom position to start and run

Attach the fuel supply line

  • Stress the importance of quick and efficient attachment to avoid fuel spills.
  • Pressurize the fuel system using the “bulb”

Starting Motor

  • Attach Shut-Off “Key” (kill switch)
  • Shift to neutral
  • Throttle up to “start” position with the molded triangle lined up with the square
  • If engine is cold
    • Pull out choke
    • Slowly pull starting cable one time to prime carburetor
    • One “quick, hard” pull of the starting cable to should start the motor
    • Immediately press the choke in
    • Throttle down to idle position
  • If the engine has previously been started, the chock and prime steps are not needed. 
  • Slow to idling speed

Motor Shut Down

Shut down and stow the motor in essentially the reverse order of the previous steps

  • Verify the motor is in Neutral
  • Remove the Shut Off “Key” (replace as soon as the motor dies)
  • Disconnect the fuel line and stow the fuel line in the fuel locker
  • Raise the motor to the top bracket position
  • Place the motor in forward
  • Use the handle on the aft end of the motor to slowly tilt the motor.  Stop when a single click is heard

Motoring Skills

The daily skipper should assign positions for the departure.  The skipper will assume the role of helmsperson.

With the dock lines still attached, the helmsperson should practice the following until he/she is comfortable doing it WITHOUT LOOKING.

  • Throttle up
  • Throttle down
  • Shift into forward
  • Shift into reverse

Stress the importance of being able to handle the motor controls without looking so that control of the boat can be maintained at all times.

Shifting into reverse can be challenging.  Demonstrate the way leverage may be used to facilitate shifting (e.g. fingers on the bottom of the shift lever and palm of the hand on top.

Each participant should depart the dock, practice motoring skills, and return to the dock, maintaining control of the vessel at all times.

Departing the Dock

Spring lines should be removed.
Bow and stern spring lines should be “doubled” and ready to be released/ controlled from the boat.

  • Shift (without looking) into reverse
  • “Aim” the aft portion of the motor and tiller in the desired direction of travel (initially, away from the dock).
  • Helmsperson should issue the command “Cast off the stern line.”  Stern line handler should comply with the command and confirm that the line has been cast off.
  • With the bow line attached, allow the motor to pull the stern away from the dock. 
  • When sufficient angle has been obtained to clear any obstructions behind, the helmsperson should issue the command “Cast off the bow line”.  The bow line handler will comply with the command and confirm that the line has been cast off.
  • Simultaneous with casting off the bow line, the throttle should be increased slightly, causing the boat to pull away from the dock.
  • The helmsperson should steer the boat in reverse down the fairway at a safe speed.
  • Continue backing down the fairway until well clear of boats, docks, and rocks.  When safe, turn (while sill backing) into the large turning area between D and E docks.
  • Transition (without looking at controls) into forward.

Motoring Skills Practice

The location of the motoring skills practice is largely at the instructors discretion. Keep in mind however that time is limited and in short supply. Motoring over to the “mooring balls” requires 5 or more minutes to get there and the same to return. Repeating this 3 times results in a loss of available teaching time of 30 to 60 minutes.

It is recommended that you practice motoring initially in the area bound by the D dock pump out station, E dock, and the park

At a minimum, the following skills must be practiced by each student the first time he/she is acting as the helmsperson while under motor power.

  • Motor in forward using the tiller only to turn the boat to port, starboard, and figure 8s.
  • Motor in forward using the tiller and motor to turn “quickly” to port and starboard.
  • Transition into reverse and practice turning to port, starboard, and figure 8s.  Explore the difference in turning with tiller only and tiller motor combination.
  • While in reverse increase the speed.  Point out the “pressure” felt on the tiller and discuss the results of letting go of the tiller while in reverse.  Letting go of the tiller while traveling fast in reverse will case the boat to abruptly and dangerously change direction.
  • Discuss the impact of the wind during transitions.

An option while practicing motoring for the first time is to have each student motor into and out of a slip.

Instructor Best Practice: If your student(s) are struggling with the tiller, some instructors find it valuable to tell the person to turn their nose in the direction they wish to turn, while pushing the tiller the other way.

It works in forward, reverse, while motoring, and while sailing.

Returning to the Dock

Docking should be practiced in a safe area before attempting to dock for real.  The recommended location to practice is at the “D” Dock pump out station on the same side as the Capris are normally docked.

  • Bow and stern lines and line handlers should be in place.
  • Approach the dock slowly and under control from an angle of 30 to 45 degrees.
  • The bow of the boat should be directed to the cleat it will come to rest at.
  • Use neutral, forward, and reverse to bring the boat to a stop just before contact with the dock.
  • With the boat at a stop, the bow line handler should “capture” the cleat on the dock.  The line may be cast to the cleat or a boat hook may be used to assist.  Once the line is attached, the line handler will announce “bow line on”.
  • The helmsperson should now place the boat into reverse, point the aft end of the motor and tiller at an angle towards the dock, and “pull” the stern to the dock.  Once at the dock, the stern line can be attached to the dock and the announcement “stern line on” made.
  • The motor may now be returned to neutral.

Instructor Best Practice: The bow line handler often struggles with getting the line around the cleat. Try practicing this while still at the dock, prior to casting off the first time.

Leave the bow and stern breast lines in place. Remove the bow spring line from the dock. Leave it attached to the bow cleat on the boat and practice “throwing” the line around the nearest dock cleat.

Optional But

Depart the dock and proceed to the TWSC mooring balls.  Approach and pick up a mooring using a mooring line from the bow. 

If time permits allow each participant the opportunity to be the helmsperson while picking up a mooring.

Assuming everyone has lunch with them. you may even wish to have lunch while tied to the mooring.

A demonstration of raising and lowering the boat’s main sail is easily conducted while on the mooring ball.

Introduction to
Sail Handling

New Terms to introduce while discussing sail handling and sailing under a main:

  • Mainsail
  • Head
  • Tack
  • Clew
  • Batten
  • Reef
  • Jib/Genoa
  • Foot
  • Luff
  • Leach
  • Batten Pocket
  • Cringle

Recommended Sail Handling Exercises:

  • Demonstrate and practice raising and lowering the Mainsail
  • Demonstrate and practice putting in a reef
  • Demonstrate and practice deploying and furling the Jib

All of the “Sail Handling exercises should be introduced while tied head to wind at a dock, in a slip, or on a mooring ball.

Raising The Mainsail

With the boat positioned “head to wind”

  • Skipper/Helmsperson issues the command to “Prepare to hoist the main”
  • The crew:
    • Removes the sail ties
    • Slacks the main sheet
    • Slacks the boom vang
    • Places approximately 3 wraps of the halyard around the halyard winch
    • Responds “Ready”.
  • Skipper/Helmsperson issues the command “Hoist the main”

The crew will now raise the mainsail, pulling on the halyard by hand until it gets difficult, at which time a winch handle may be used for mechanical assistance.

Lowering The Main

  • With the boat positioned “head to wind”
  • Skipper/Helmsperson issues the command to “Prepare to Lower (or douse) the main”.
  • The crew:
    • One crew positions him/herself forward of the mast, facing aft, with feet well braced on either side of the cabin top.
    • One crew opens the halyard clutch while maintaining tension on the halyard.
    • Responds “Ready”
  • Skipper/Helmsperson issues the command “Lower the main”
    • The crew will now pull the sail down, flaking the sail as neatly as possible as it comes down.
    • When the sail is down and flaked on top of the boom, the sail ties should be put in place.

Introduction to Reefing

While demonstrating how to raise and lower the main, you should also demonstrate how to reef.

Use the following steps.

  1. Ease the main sheet.
  2. Ease the main halyard while pulling down on the Reef Tack line.
  3. When the reef cringle is at the boom, close the clutch on the main halyard to prevent it from lowering further.
  4. Tighten the Reef Tack line found on the starboard side of the boom, and put in a cleat hitch.
  5. Tighten the Reef Outhaul, also found on the starboard side of the boom, and put in a cleat hitch.
  6. Trim the main halyard using the halyard winch.
  7. Trim the mainsheet.

Note: Reefing while under sail will be covered in a later lesson.

Discuss the importance of reefing early.  A reef may be put in:

  • At the dock
  • While raising the main
  • While close hauled under jib alone (main luffing)
  • While hove to

All methods of reefing should be practiced regularly!

Unfurling the Jib

Safety Note:
The jib may be unfurled on any reach (a broad reach may be better in stronger wind conditions).

However … the jib should always be furled while on a “deep” broad reach, where the main is blanketing and de-powering the jib.

  • Position the boat on a reach (close reach, beam reach, or broad reach)
    Note:  This exercise may be conducted while head to wind at the dock and/or mooring ball to demonstrate and practice.
  • Skipper/Helmsperson issues the command “Prepare to unfurl  the jib”
  • Crew:
    • Un-coil and un-cleat the jib furling line, preparing it to run freely
    • Prepare the “working” sheet to pull the jib out on the same side as the boom
    • Release the “lazy sheet”
    • Respond “Ready”
  • Skipper/Helmsperson issues the command “Unfurl the jib”
  • Using the jib sheet on the same side of the boat as the boom, the jib is pulled out as far as is desired, while maintaining resistance on the furling line.
  • One out, the remaining furling line should be cleated and coiled and the jib trimmed to the point of sail.

Furling the Jib

  • Position the boat on a broad reach, very close to a run (this will allow the mainsail to blanket the jib, reducing the pressure on the sail and running rigging.
  • Skipper/Helmsperson issues the command “Prepare to furl the jib”
  • Crew:
    • Un-coil and un-cleat the jib furling line
    • Prepare to ease the “working sheet”
    • Respond “Ready”
  • Skipper/Helmsperson issues the command “Furl the jib”
  • The “working sheet” is eased while the jib furling line is pulled in, causing the sail to roll around the forestay.
  • Continue to furl until two wraps of the jib sheets can be seen around the furled jib. 
  • Cleat and Coil the furling line.

Reefing the Jib

A reef is accomplish in the same manner as furling. Simply roll the jib to the point desired.

Getting Underway
the First Time

New Terms to introduce while discussing sail handling and sailing under a main:

  • Points of Sail
  • Close Reach
  • Beam Reach
  • Broad Reach
  • Run
  • Heading Up
  • Tack/Tacking
  • Ready About
  • Jibe/Jibing
  • Jibe Ho
  • Port Tack
  • No-Sail Zone
  • Head to Wind
  • In Irons
  • Close Hauled
  • Luffing
  • Bearing Away
  • Jibe
  • Helms a-lee
  • Prepare to Jibe
  • Starboard Tack
  • Heel

If the Introduction to Sail Handling section was completed at the dock, have the participants depart the dock and proceed to a safe area to raise the mainsail. Bring the boat head to wind, while maintaining good steerage speed. Raise the mainsail. Bear Away to a close to beam reach. Trim the mainsail. Shut down the motor  

If the Introduction to Sail Handling section was completed at a mooring ball, the participants may optionally raise the mainsail while still moored. If so, point the tiller in the direction the bow should turn and cast off the mooring line. Allow the wind to back the boat away from the mooring, turning away from the wind in the process. When the boat has turned to a close reach, trim the mainsail.

Sailing Under
Main Alone

Depending upon conditions and the participants, an instructor may decide to sail solely under main alone during the first day of class. Mild conditions and student who learn quickly may benefit from having a portion of the first day conducted with both main and jib.

However, it is generally recommended that each participant receive at least one turn at the tiller while under main alone.

Each participant should practice each of these skills from each of the crew positions onboard.

  • Heading Up
  • Bearing Away (falling off)
  • Reaching
    • Close Reach
    • Beam Reach
    • Broad Reach
  • Sailing Close Hauled
  • Tacking (close reach to close reach)
  • Jibing (broad reach to broad reach)
  • Sail Trim (at all points of sail)

Initially, the helmsperson should be located on the windward side of the boat during sailing while tacking/jibing.  As each maneuver is completed, the helmsperson should move to the windward side.

Steps for Tacking
Under Main Alone

  1. While on a Close Reach or Close Haul … Helmsperson checks for traffic and obstacles in the area the boat will be turning into.
  2. Helmsperson issues the command “Prepare to Tack”.  An alternate more traditional command is “Ready About”.
  3. Crew will make sure they are safely positioned, and respond “Ready”
  4. After all crew have responded “Ready”, the helmsperson will announce “Helms-a-lee” (or “Tacking”), and move the tiller to the leeward side of the boat to begin the turn.
  5. As the boat turns, the main will begin to luff, and move to the other side of the boat.  When the main is on the new side, and filled with air, the helmsperson will straighten the tiller stopping the turn.

Steps for Jibing
Under Main Alone

Safety Note:
On the Capri 22s, a crew member on the leeward side should take up the main sheet … this will help facilitate release of the sheet from the cleat while the boom crosses over.

Remember to stress that while tacks are done quick and sharp, a jibe should be slow and smooth!

  1. While on a Broad Reach … Helmsperson checks for traffic and obstacles in the area the boat will be turning into.
  2. Helmsperson issues the command “Prepare to Jibe”. 
  3. Crew will make sure they are safely positioned.  One crew member will take up the main sheet, and all will respond “Ready”
  4. After all crew have responded “Ready”, the helmsperson will announce “Jib-Ho”).  Depending on the initial point of sail going into the jibe, little or no movement of the tiller should be made at this point.
  5. The crew handling the main sheet will begin to briskly haul in on the main sheet, to bring the boom to the center of the boat, making sure the sheet is NOT CLEATED”
  6. As the boom nears the center of the boat, the helmsperson will begin a slow turn away from the wind (if on the windward side … by pulling toward him/herself)
  7. As the boat turns past dead downwind, the main will quickly move to the other side, at which point the main sheet trimmer will smoothly and quickly allow the main sheet to run out until the mainsail is correctly trimmed for a broad reach
  8. When the boat is on a broad reach, the helmsperson will center the tiller, stopping the turn.

Boat Clean Up

The quality of boat clean up by members is directly related to the clean-up instruction received during class.

Use the Post-Cruise List to walk through the process of putting the boat away. 

Typical time allowance following a day sail in one of the Capri’s is 30 minutes. Boat clean-up will be required at the end of each sailing day.

Boat clean up is required at the end of each day.

During boat cleanup follow the steps outlined in the Post-Cruise checklist. Make sure boat soap and and a boat brush are used to remove dirt and salt spray. Do not replace the sail cover until after the boat is sprayed off. Salt accumulates in the fittings under the cover facilitating corrosion.

Day Two

Classroom Discussion

A complete review of day 1 topics should be presented at the beginning of day 2.  This will help to “cement” the learning, and get the class ready for new topics.  Topics to review include.

  • All knots
  • Boat Parts
  • Sailing Terms Learned
  • Wind Directions and Points of Sail
  • Commands and process to raise sails, tack, and jibe

Rules of the Road

New Terms to Introduce

  • Stand-on Vessel
  • Starboard Tack
  • Leeward
  • Overtaking Vessel
  • Give-way Vessel
  • Port Tack
  • Windward
  • Short-Blast

Introduce and/or review the following “Rules of the Road”

  • Overtaking Rule (Rule 13)
  • Power-driven vessels approaching each other head-on (Rule 14)
  • Power-driven vessel with another power-driven vessel on starboard side (Rule 15)
  • Power vessel approaching a sailing vessel
  • Sailing vessel on starboard tack approaching sailing vessel  on port tack
  • Two sailing vessels on same tack (leeward/windward)
  • Commercial Traffic
    • Fishing
    • Restricted Ability to Maneuver
  • Meaning of 5 short (1 second) blasts of a sound signal

Aids to Navigation

Instructor Best Practice: A diagram or graphic aid will greatly assist with the explanation of the various ATONs.

Examples of graphics to use include the following:

  • AIDS TO NAVIGATION, An ASA Quick Reference Guide to Navigation Aids
  • The American Sailing Association’s SAILING MADE EASY, page 99
  • A white board drawing of the Marina Bay/Portero Reach area, with channels outlined and marked

Aids to Navigation (ATONs)

Describe and explain  the following Aids to Navigation

  • Lateral Marks
    • Red-Right-Return (keep the red lateral marks to the right (starboard) side when returning to port)
    • Green
      • Odd numbers
      • Flat on top
    • Red
      • Even numbers
      • Pointed or conical tops
    • Preferred Channel
      • Multi-Color (Red over Green or Green over Red)
      • Top color is “preferred”
      • May be lettered
  • Safe Water
    • Red & White Vertical Stripes
    • May be lettered
  • Regulatory/Advisory
    • White background
    • Black Letters
    • Orange geometric shape (e.g. circle or diamond)
    • Regulate topics like speed, swimming areas, and shallow areas

Instructor Best Practice: Use Chart No. 18649 (Entrance to San Francisco Bay to identify each of the AToNs above.

For example:
Begin with the San Francisco Approach Buoy. RW “SF” Identify how this buoy guides a ship to the entrance to the bay, and the best route across the San Francisco Bar. Continue to the 8 lateral marks outlining the San Francisco Main Ship Channel. “G1” on the left, “R2” on the right, “G3” on the left, etc. as you proceed through the channel.

Once in the bay, identify “G1” to the south of Richardson Bay, and RG “HR” (Harding Rock). “G1” marks the start of the Deep Water channel. “HR” is the Preferred channel mark locating the preferred right side of the channel. Advise the students that “HR” is a preferred channel mark and a ship may go on other side, however, due to rocks 34 and 36 feet under water just south of “HR” the best way to go is leave the mark on the starboard side.

A second Safe Water Mark can be found just east of Angel Island off Quarry Point. This one marks the middle of the channel. Further north is the start of the channel leading to Richmond. Note that the beginning of a channel will always start the numbering sequence over at 1.

East of Paradise Cove are two green over red (GR) marks indicating the port side of the preferred channel. The significance of these marks is that they mark the edges of the dredged channel. Depth outside the marks should be sufficient, however, it is not dredged, and therefore not guaranteed.

Chart Discussion

Terms to Introduce

  • Chart
  • Soundings
  • Fathom
  • Mean Lower Low
  • ATON

Point out and discuss the following:

  • Chart Title
  • Chart Number
    • Discuss the difference between feet, meters, and fathoms
    • White vs. blue areas of chart
    • Explore the depths in several areas, including the area between Marina Bay and Brooks Island
  • Mean Lower Low Water
  • Distance Scale
  • ATON’s the participants will see in the area of Marina Bay

There are 2 low tides each day in San Francisco Bay.  Mean Lower Low Water is the average of the lower of the 2 lows each day over a 19 year period of time.  That average became zero.

Use the chart to indicate the limits of the Bronze Fleet “Practice Area”.  If you follow the recommended location plan, day 2 will take you to Keller Cove, and allow the opportunity to reinforce the Practice Area, ATON’s and the information found on the chart.

Maneuvering Under Sail –
Skills to Introduce on Day 2

Tacking and Jibing
with Main and Jib

If not done on day 1, early on day 2 the class should begin sailing under main and jib.

Points to cover regarding sailing under main and jib include:

  • Use of the self-tailing “cleat”
  • Working sheet vs. lazy sheet
  • Having the lazy sheet “ready” with two wraps around the winch
  • Trimming with the winch handle
  • Timing when releasing and trimming sheets during tacks and during jibes
  • Winch safety

Heaving To

Safety Note:
A boat that is “hove to” is still legally underway, and subject to the rules of the road with regard to stand on/give way vessel responsibilities.

Heaving to on a starboard tack tends to place the vessel in a stand on position in most situations.

Steps for Heaving To

  1. From a Close Haul … Helmsperson checks for traffic and obstacles in the area the boat will be turning into.
  2. Helmsperson issues the command “Prepare to heave to”. 
  3. Crew will make sure they are safely positioned, and respond “Ready”.
  4. After all crew have responded “Ready”, the helmsperson will announce “Helms-a-lee”, and move the tiller to the leeward side of the boat to begin a turn thru the wind. 
  5. The Jib remains cleated.
  6. As the boat turns, the main will begin to luff, and move to the other side of the boat.  When the main is on the new side, release the main sheet and allow the mainsail to luff.
  7. As the boat comes onto the new tack, the jib will “backwind”.
  8. Move the tiller to the new leeward side of the boat.

To “sail out” of a hove to position, center the tiller, trim the main, and bring the jib across to the leeward side of the vessel.

Explain to the students how the wind in the “backwinded” jib turns the boat away from the wind, while the rudder pushed to leeward turns the boat into the wind.  These two forces cancel each other.  The boat will slowly “rock” back and forth, and move generally to forward and to leeward.

This is a great opportunity to reef if the boat is hove to on a starboard tack.

Crew Overboard

Instructor Best Practice: If time is available on day 1, each participant may conduct one or more crew overboard recoveries while sailing under mainsail alone.

The goal of the figure 8 crew (COB) overboard recovery is to complete the final approach to the COB on a close reach with main and jib luffing.

  1. Shout … “Man overboard”
  2. Throw … Throw the Type IV PFD(s)
  3. Appoint … One crew member should have the responsibility of continuously pointing at the COB.  In waves, a person in the water is easily lost in the wave troughs.  The larger the waves, the more critical the pointer’s role becomes.
  4. Reach … as quickly as possible; bring the boat to a beam reach.  Prepare the crew and boat for a tack … Sale approximately 6 to 8 boat lengths away.
  5. Tack … Tack all the way around to a broad reach.  The most common mistake in a figure 8 COB recovery is stopping the turn when pointed back to the victim in the water.  At best, this will be a beam reach, and there will be no way to luff the sails enough to stop the boat beside the victim. While on a broad reach, set both sails loosely!
  6. Come up to a close reach … when the COB is approximately 45 degrees off the bow on the windward side, come to a close reach.  This point of sail should allow the COB to be positioned to leeward of the boat.  All sails should be luffing at this time.  If not, release the jib and/or main to allow them to luff. The boat will slow to a stop net to the crew in the water.

Stress the importance of practicing crew overboard recoveries.  If and when a crew member does go overboard, chaos will rule … practice and “muscle memory” will likely be the only thing that gets you back to the person in the water.

Reefing Underway

Safety while sailing on San Francisco Bay requires a knowledge of how to reef while underway. This is accomplished with sailing on a close haul with the mainsail eased and luffing.

While is is critical to be able to reef underway, reefing may also be accomplished while hove too. This is a valuable skill when sailing short handed with untrained crew.

The steps to putting a reef in the main or jib can be found in the Introduction to Sail Handling section.


At a minimum, anchoring should be discussed as a safety measure in the event of engine and/or sail failure.  A quickly deployed anchor can save a boat from grounding or moving into the path of other vessels. If time is available, it is recommended that the class anchor at least one time while under sail.

Anchoring Under Motor

  1. Approach the location to lower the anchor while head to wind.
  2. As the boat slows to a stop at the desired location, shift into reverse and begin to back slowly. Allow the boat to move backward with sufficient speed to provide rudder control.
  3. Lower the anchor to the bottom, and pay out sufficient rode to secure the boat.
  4. Cleat the rode securely.

Anchoring Under Sail

  1. Approach the location to lower the anchor on a close reach with the mainsail luffing, and the jib furled.
  2. As the boat slows to a stop at the desired location, backwind the mainsail.  This will allow the boat to be pushed backward with sufficient speed to allow rudder control.
  3. Lower the anchor to the bottom, and pay out sufficient rode to secure the boat.
  4. Cleat the rode securely.

Day Three


Review prior day topics

A complete review of day 2 topics should be presented at the beginning of day 3.  This will help to “cement” the learning, and get the class ready for new topics. 

New Terms to Introduce:

  • Abaft
  • Steaming Light (Mast Head Light

Conduct a discussion of Navigation Lights … During times of restricted and/or limited visibility.

  • Green light on starboard … visible from straight ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on the starboard side
  • Red light on port … visible from straight ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on the port side.
  • White light on the stern … visible from 22.5 degrees abaft the beam around the stern to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on the other side.
  • Steaming Light (AKA Mast Head Light) … White light visible from 22.5 degrees abaft the beam around the bow to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on the other side.


In most cases, the test will take participants approximately, 1 hour, however, 2 hours should be allotted in case the additional time is needed.

Instructor Best Practice: It is recommended that the test be administered in the morning, however, conditions and classroom availability may cause the test to be postponed until afternoon.

Onboard Skills

The onboard portion of day 3 should be devoted to practicing all maneuvers learned during the class. 

Use the reverse side of the ASA BKB test answer sheet as a guide to the skills to be reviewed.