How to leave a slip with crosswind

Here’s a question from one of our students about leaving a slip in a sailboat in a cross wind.


We had a real mess on a charter in the BVI, but I’m not sure where we went wrong. We were docked bow to in a slip, taking a stiff wind over the port beam.  We attempted to back out then upwind.  But initially we didn’t have enough steerage to pull the stern upwind, so it was blown downwind.  When we got steerage, we were able to pull the stern upwind, but the bow was blown downwind before we cleared the neighboring boat.  What should we have done?


The trick is to hold the bow upwind with a dock line to the end of the dock. Make sure when you engage reverse you “engage reverse” I.E give it plenty of power to get the boat moving so that the stern does not have time to get blown downwind. In the maneuvering Under Power course we discuss and show how to not be timid about using power.

Watch the animation here to view the whole process.

We highly recommend taking the NauticEd Maneuvering and Docking a Sailboat Under Power course. Getting into embarrassing situations  is not good for your own ego. It may humor others on the dock but thats not the goal. For $39 you can alleviate all that and give the charter company confidence that you won’t ding their boat. Or you can access the Maneuvering Under Power iBook in iTunes for $12.99. Note that this does NOT add the course to your sailing certificate however.

Note if you invest in the iBook you can gain access to the test and the certification by making up the difference in cost by buying the test (and content) via our NauticEd Testing App for iPad

Take the Maneuvering Course Online

Docking a Sailboat

My vision for NauticEd is to provide the highest quality sailing and boating education available - and deliver competence wherever sailors live and go.
Grant Headifen
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Last updated on May 18th, 2022