This study sheet is designed to help you prepare for and qualify as a Local Skipper

To qualify to skipper a boat, an individual must pass a written test of basic sailing knowledge, and a practical test of sailing skills. The written test consists of approximately 42 multiple-choice questions, A score of 80% is required to pass. Most questions come from the areas listed below, and some will be covered during the check-sail. Information about any item can be found in most basic sailing book.

Part 1: Parts of a Boat

A Skipper is expected to be familiar with the names and functions of equipment and parts of a sailboat. Some of these are:

Mast Spreaders Tiller Luff Outhaul Cleat Fairlead
Boom Bow/Stern Tack Leach Batten Winch Sheets
Shrouds Telltales Clew Foot Jib Sloop Shackle
Headstay Backstay Rudder Head Halyard Mainsail Bilge

Part 2: Terminology
A Skipper is expected to use proper terminology when getting under way, and maneuvering.

Standard Terminology to alert the crew to prepare for a tack:
Helmsman: “Ready About”
Crew: “Ready”
Helmsman: “Helms a’lee”

Standard Terminology to alert the crew to prepare to jibe:
Helmsman: “Prepare to Jibe” or “Stand-by to Jibe”
Crew: “Ready”
Helmsman: “Jibe Ho” (as the stern passes through the wind)

Standard reference to points of sail:
Close hauled, Close Reach, Beam Reach, Broad Reach, Run

Standard reference to directions including:
Forward, Aft, Abeam, Astern, Port, Starboard, Windward, Leeward

Descriptive statements of the wind:
Apparent wind, True wind, Puff, Lull, Header, Lift

Standard commands:
Ease, Trim, Haul, Head-up, Fall-off

Part 3: Seamanship and Safety
A Skipper is expected to be competent and safe on the water at all times. Every skipper will perform a man-overboard recovery before being qualified.

Knowledge of Man Overboard Recovery techniques applicable to a shorthanded, small keelboat, including the “Quick Stop” maneuver.

Proper placement of crew and passengers for weight and balance.

The effect of changing the trim and/or shape of sails on performance of the boat including: Weather helm, Lee helm, helm effects when sailing under main or jib alone, what effect moving the jib fairlead has on the sail shape, under what conditions would you want a full-draft mainsail versus a flat sail, and other ways sail shape can be adjusted.

Environmental Awareness and safety:
Symptoms of hypothermia, effects of tides and currents

Emergency/Distress signals:
The radio call “Mayday”, some typical visual signals, red flares

Basic knots and their uses:
Bowline, Figure-8, cleat hitch, clove hitch, proper way to coil a line

Sailing risks:
Sailing by the lee (accidental jibes), tacking vs. jibing in heavy winds

Part 4: Rules of the Road
A skipper must be familiar with both the power and sail rules of the road. Note that our boats are not allowed to sail after dark, so no knowledge of navigation light configurations is required.

Basic buoy colors (red and green) and locations when entering and leaving harbor. Note that the boundary for the Inland Rules of the Road in Monterey Bay lies between the Coast Guard Pier and the north end of Monterey Municipal Wharf #2.

Basic Sailboat Right of Way (not including racing rules):
Starboard tack has the right of way over Port Tack
Leeward boat has the right of way over the windward boat
Overtaken boat has the right of way of the boat overtaking

Basic Powerboat Right of Way:
Meeting head-on
Crossing (yield to the boat on your right)
Overtaken boat has the right of way of the boat overtaking

Relative Right of Way among hand powered craft, sailboats, pleasure powerboats, etc.

Fog signals
Powerboat: 1 prolonged blast at not more than 2 minutes
Sail boat: 1 prolonged and 2 short blasts at not more than 2 minutes

Part 5: Local Regulations

Sailing activities are to be canceled in the event of any of: Low visibility (fog), current or approaching bad weather, if any doubt exists in the skipper’s mind regarding weather, sea conditions, or crew ability.

In the event of any serious damage, equipment failure, collision, or grounding of a boat, immediately after securing the boat the skipper shall report the circumstances to an NPSSA officer.

Sailing privileges may be suspended for any of the following reasons: Being observed violating the rules of good seamanship or safety, being involved in the collision of a boat, being negligent in the timely return to the pier.

The responsibility for the care and handling of an assigned boat lies with the person who signed the boat out.

Rental fees for the sailboats may be paid with either cash or a personal check made out to NPS Sailing Association, payable in a lock-box on the boat at the time of rental.

The California Harbors and Navigation Code requires that the operator of a boat involved in a collision stop and identify himself to the other boat, render assistance to other persons affected by the collision, and submit a written report when property damage exceeds $500.00.

Every boat must have a qualified Skipper and at least one other able-bodied crew member along.

Boundaries established for day sailing are:
End of Coast Guard Pier
Red bell buoy “4” off Cannery Row
Yellow buoy “158” off Pacific Grove
Yellow Buoy “MY3” off Point Pinos
Line extending through yellow buoy “MY6” of Sand City to 2 fathom curve
2 fathom curve along Sand City / Monterey coastline to Municipal Wharf No. 2


All discrepancies in the condition of the boat will be noted and reported on the inspection checklist during the rental.

NPSSA sailboats can never be used for swimming and/or diving

Operating NPSSA boats under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited.

The ‘preferred’ method for man-overboard recovery in a keelboat is “Quick Stop”.

The person who signed the boat out is responsible for cleaning out the boat and leaving it in good condition after it has been used.

Everyone in the boat is required to wear a properly fitting PFD at all times in NPSSA boats.

A natural hazard in our sailing area is kelp and it is normally found in large concentrations near Cannery Row and Monterey Beach.

If you are in the designated sailing area and fog sets in unexpectedly you should sail a course of 180 degrees (magnetic) to reach landfall closest to the Coast Guard pier:

Any of the following events can take precedence over recreational sailing: Marina special events, scheduled racing, sailing lessons or instructional courses, marina maintenance

Boats are not allowed to sail after sunset because the running lights are not maintained.

The preferred way to store a sail at the marina is to fold it like an accordion, with folds along lines of wind flow, loosely.