Underway Sailing

Basic Crew

Location of course: English Bay
Cost: $595. Includes course fee, workbook and certification fee. (Deposit: $198.00)


To be able to cruise safely in familiar waters as competent crew of a sloop rigged keelboat of 6 to 10 meters with an outboard or inboard motor in moderate wind and sea conditions by day.



Ashore Knowledge

This section is the same as the Basic Cruising Standard sections I through VII, Performance Objectives 1-34.

Afloat Skills

(18 hours minimum) Recommended vessel should be a 6 – 10 metre, sloop rigged keelboat with an outboard or inboard engine.

Section VIII: Preliminaries
The candidate must be able to:

  1. Demonstrate on land the correct method of putting on a personal flotation device in the water;
  2. Demonstrate the correct use of a heaving line;
  3. Carry out a check of the vessel’s gear and equipment in accordance with CYA Cruising Boat Checklist and demonstrate use and care of onboard equipment;
  4. Select, bend on, check and stow sails;
  5. Coil a line and secure (sea coil);
  6. Properly stow lines and fenders;
  7. Demonstrate how to belay a cleat;
  8. Demonstrate safe winch techniques with particular emphasis on:
    1. Possible high strain on sheet/halyard,
    2. How to avoid riding turns (and how to clear),
    3. Position of hands/fingers,
    4. Winch handles – fitting and removal.

Section IX: Manoeuvring Under Power
The candidate must be able to:

  1. Start auxiliary engine on vessel and under direction of the skipper depart from dock observing commonly accepted safety practices;
  2. Come to a full stop with stem (bow) one half boat length away from a buoy using reverse. (The objective of this manoeuvre is to know how much distance is required to bring a vessel to a full stop. Vessel is to be kept on a straight course while the manoeuvre is being carried out);
  3. Manoeuvre a vessel under power to a position alongside and parallel to a dock portside to and starboard side to not more than two feet off without the aid of lines, without the stern passing a given mark at any time during the manoeuvre;
  4. Apply Rules 5 through 18 of the Collision Regulations as applied to a vessel under power;
  5. Lower the anchor under the direction of the skipper, at the helm or handling ground tackle, under power. The boat will be in more than 3 meters of water and the anchor must not drag when tested under engine power at half-throttle astern;
  6. Raise anchor under the direction of the skipper with boat ready and get under way, at the helm or handling ground tackle, under power;

Section X: Boat Handling Under Sail
The candidate must be able to:

  1. Hoist the basic sails while under power/at anchor, or mooring (head to wind, main sail first), set appropriate luff tensions, and flake halyards;
  2. Apply Rules 5 through 18 of the Collision Regulations as applied to a vessel under sail;
  3. Act as crew responding to commands while demonstrating the proper techniques of beating, reaching and running; tacking and gybing; heading up, bearing away, luffing and heaving to; using the following commands and responses:
    “Head Up”
    “Bear Away”
    “Ease Sheets”
    “Harden Sheets”
    “Ready About”
    “Ready to Gybe”




  4. Demonstrate as crew, trimming of sails either in response to course changes or wind shifts and prepare sails for tacking or gybing with verbal response “Ready”;
  5. As crew, assist the skipper in the management of the sail plan for different wind conditions while keeping the vessel under control, either at the helm or controlling the sails by:
    1. Reefing and shaking out the reef in the mainsail,
    2. Reefing and shaking out the reef, or changing the headsail;
  6. Demonstrate in response to the skipper’s actions/commands, while under sail, the Triangle Method Crew Overboard procedure;
  7. Bring the vessel into irons, unassisted, in response to a Crew Overboard situation. Lower sails ensuring onboard control of all lines, start the engine, and manoeuvre the vessel under power to a successful Crew Overboard return.
    Note: Both Performance Objectives (PO’s) 20 and 21 above must be completed in reasonable time without losing sight of the victim or marker in the water.
  8. Lower sail while under power or at anchor or a mooring.

Section XI: Making Fast and Snugging Down
The candidate must be able to:

  1. Secure a vessel to a dock using appropriate dock lines to prevent excessive movement and set out fenders correctly;
  2. Stop auxiliary engine and secure when departing vessel for night, observing commonly accepted safety practices;
  3. Tie the following knots, bends and hitches within 30 seconds each:
    1. Figure Eight,
    2. Reef Knot,
    3. Double Sheet Bend,
    1. Bowline,
    2. Clove Hitch,
    3. Round Turn and Two Half Hitches.


Resource Material

CYA Basic Cruising Skills by Gillian West
source: copyright Sail Canada.