Hello, This will be my first post on this forum. I've been sailing for a couple of months now and the only type of boat that I have sailing experience with so far is the Sunfish. One of the biggest difficulties I've encountered has been learning how to switch sides when I tack. I took a course offered by a local sailing club, but the instructor, who was otherwise excellent, wasn't very helpful at all in this regard. When I privately asked him for details about what he did as he switched sides when he tacked, he wasn't even sure how he did it. He said something about "whatever works for you", which I think is just plain wrong. My position on this is: if you consider skills like swinging a golf club or baseball bat, typing on a keyboard, or playing a musical instrument, would you expect to be told "whatever works for you"? I wouldn't. I was particularly discouraged when I served on the committee boat during a club race and watched him and others round the windward mark. My instructor, who wins most of the races held by this club, actually let go of his hiking stick, spun around, looked back to find the stick, and then picked it back up again! When I saw that I thought "that can't be right!" Other competitors had other methods, but it seemed no two did it quite the same way. I asked a couple of other people who are regarded as skilled Sunfish sailors, and was surprised to find that they also weren't sure how they did it. A couple of them actually had to take their boats out on the water and tack while watching themselves, and one actually got upset because paying attention to what he was doing caused him to become confused. I also searched unsuccessfully for help on the Internet, but I finally realized that I'd have to figure it all out for myself. The following is what I've come up with so far. First, as a beginner I may not be qualified to describe the correct method of switching sides as you tack a Sunfish (if there is a correct method), but I can list some features that this method should have before it can properly be called correct: Always keep control of the rudder. Never let go of the stick with both hands at the same time. Always keep control of the sheet, doing your best to avoid easing the sail so that you have to pull it back in after you've finished. Begin the tack sitting forward in the cockpit. Don't get clobbered in the head by the boom. End the tack sitting forward in the cockpit on the other side, preferably without having to shift your body into that position after you sit down. Be headed in the right direction when you're done. Note: When discussing this I've found it best to not speak or think in term of left and right. (If you do then you'll have to learn everything twice.) Instead, you have an aft hand or tiller hand, and a forward hand or sheet hand. Similarly, you have an aft foot and a forward foot. The following are my seven steps to prepare for a tack, followed by my 12 steps to execute it. This is a work in progress. Preparing to tack: Be sure the sheet is pulled all the way in to the close-hauled position. Kick all of the loose sheet forward. Pull your forward foot in close and extend your aft foot across the cockpit so that your feet are directly across from each other. The object of this is to be able to execute the entire maneuver by pivoting on the balls of your feet without having to reposition your feet. Hold the sheet with your thumb pointing toward the ratchet block. Even if you normally hold the sheet with your thumb pointing back, hold it this way in preparation for tacking. Hold the hiking stick at its end with your thumb pointing forward, "like a microphone", as they say. Choose a landmark behind your back as your target direction and make sure the way is clear. Slide your sheet hand back along the sheet and position it on the side of the cockpit next to you, maintaining enough tension with the aid of the ratchet block to prevent any easing of the sail. Tack: Push the stick across the cockpit for full rudder deflection. As the boat turns into the wind and the boom swings toward you, duck under it and use your sheet hand to help push you off your seat toward the center of the cockpit. As you come up on the other side of the boom, pivot your body to face forward with the hiking stick behind your back. Slide your tiller hand down the stick enough to make room for your other hand to grab it. Bring the sheet behind your back and make sure it goes under the stick. (If it goes over the stick instead, you'll quickly find out why this step is so important.) Take hold of the stick from underneath with your sheet hand, still holding the sheet and maintaining tension, with your thumb pointing toward the end of the stick. You're now holding the stick with both hands and your thumbs are both pointing in the same direction. Release the stick with what was formerly your tiller hand. That hand is now free to help pull you into your new sitting position on the other side. Sit down in your new position on the other side, at the front of the cockpit, as you begin to straighten the rudder. Grab the sheet with your new sheet hand and then straighten the rudder all the way. Grab the sheet either way, but if you grab it with your thumb pointing toward the ratchet block then you'll be ready for the next tack. Drop the loose sheet into the cockpit. Check your heading and adjust the sail as necessary. Kick the loose sheet to the front of the cockpit, forward of your feet. That's what I have so far. I'd love to hear comments and suggestions, and I'm especially curious about how your own method differs from what I've described. Thanks for reading!