Which way is the right way?
Trying to steer an accurate compass course is like trying to draw a straight line without a ruler, sometimes it just seems impossible! Here are a few easy tips that will keep you running along the same line.
1. Pick a Point Ahead in Inland Waters
Pick an object that lines up with the bow pulpit or headstay. Some examples may be, a house, dock, tree, or anything that is large enough to see from a distance. Once you are steady, glance down at your steering compass and realign to the object ahead.
2.Follow a Cloud or Star Offshore
If you are out of sight of land, your next option is to use natural objects for steering points. During the day, aim for low level clouds (puffy, cotton-ball cumulus clouds) to steer on. Note, because clouds move periodically, you will need to check the compass more often than in inland waters.
At night, your best best is to choose a star or planet. Line up some part of the standing rigging, with the pinpoint of light.
3.Tack with Over-the Shoulder Bearings
Stand dead center at the wheels and face the bow. Turn your head to windward and look over your shoulder. Pick an eye- catching object on the shore/ offshore. Make the tack and line up on the object.
Check out more information on the Steering Compass.