Us Sailing Basic Cruising




5 days


About the Course

The Basic Cruising graduate will have successfully demonstrated the ability to responsibly skipper and crew an auxiliary powered cruising sailboat, during daylight hours, within sight of land in moderate wind and sea conditions.

- The prerequisite for Basic Cruising Certification is a US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification.


Basic Cruising Certification requires the successful completion of the following knowledge and skill requirements. These requirements are expected to be able to be performed safely with confident command of the boat in a wind range of 5 to 15 knots. Some regions may have stronger prevailing conditions, which are acceptable if the candidate can safely control the boat, and be aware of his or her limitations in these conditions. The certified candidate will be able to skipper a keelboat up to 32′ in length.

Preparation to Sail:
- Demonstrate ability to recognize and forecast prevailing local weather conditions.
- Perform an inspection of running rigging, standing rigging and hull integrity.
- Check the inventory, location and operation of required safety equipment.
- Check the auxiliary power systems (as applicable to your boat): location and operation of engine controls, engine mechanical and fluids check, transmission controls, ventilation system and cooling system.
- Check the electrical system (as applicable to your boat): main battery switch, electrical control panel and battery terminals.
- Check the bilge pump system (as applicable to your boat): operation of manual and electrical pumps, intake maintenance and bilge pump alarms.
- Check the head systems (as applicable to your boat): location of controls, equipment operation, holding tanks and proper setting of valves.
- Check the fresh water system (as applicable to your boat): adequate quantity, operation of manual and electrical pumps, and proper setting of valves.
- Check the anchoring system (as applicable to your boat): anchors, shackles, rode's, chafing equipment and windlass.
- Check all other equipment specific to your boat not indicated above.
Crew Operations and Skills:
- Demonstrate winch operation and the proper procedure for clearing a fouled winch.
- Demonstrate tying and use of knots: clove hitch, sheet bend and rolling hitch. Review stopper knot, bowline, cleat hitch, round turn & two half hitches and square knot.
- Demonstrate how to heave a line.
Demonstrate the use of sail controls: halyards, sheets, traveler, Cunningham/downhaul, outhaul, adjustable backstay (if applicable), boomvang, leech lines, jib fairleads and boom topping lift.
- Demonstrate the operation of a VHF radio: operation of controls, channel usage, call sign, weather channels and simulate an emergency call.
- Demonstrate a comprehensive crew briefing and plan of responsibilities.
Leaving the Dock or Mooring:
- Demonstrate appropriate helmsman and crew coordination and skills for departure under power suitable to the conditions: line handling, casting off, fending off and boat handling.
- Demonstrate the use of dock lines, including spring lines, for boat control while departing.
- Demonstrate stowing of dock lines and fenders.

Boat Control in Confined Waters:
- Demonstrate in close quarters under power: speed and momentum control, windage and prop walk control, and command of the crew.
- Demonstrate ability to maneuver under sail in close quarters: short tacking and controlled jibes.
- Demonstrate a recovery plan for an engine failure in a crowded and busy harbor.

- Determine your position in open water, the position of your destination, your intended track and approximate travel time to that destination.
- Confirm your progress along that intended track with visual observations or with visual observations and electronic confirmation. Obtain and utilize relevant tide and current information. Using a chart, verify sufficient depth for a planned cruise.

Boat Control in Open Water:
- Demonstrate ability to steer a compass course with changes in course to a given destination.
- Demonstrate helm and boat control in a variety of wind and sea conditions.

Heavy Weather Sailing:
- Demonstrate proper reefing techniques: determining when to reef, roller furling or changing headsails, reefing the mainsail, dropping sails, shaking out a reef, and re-hoisting underway.
- Demonstrate helm and boat control while sailing under shortened sail.