When the breeze drops to zero, a lot of sailors head for the docks, but Coach Willie McBride and the Skiff Squad have found that hours on the water can still be productive in super light conditions if they’re spent the right way.

That’s where Boat Yoga comes in. It’s a drill that forces sailors to feel the heel of the boat and work on balance & smoothness as they move from one position to the next. Boat Yoga has a special place in the hearts of the Skiff Squad. They invented a few poses. Enjoy these photos, courtesy of the Skiff Squad.

Remember, if you decide to try these on your own, be sure you have appropriate supervision and safety precautions in place.

Model Pose

The crew hooks in and hangs on the windward side of the boat
while the skipper maintains consistent leeward heel to keep
the crew out of the water.

Handstand

The crew performs a handstand on the side of the boat while the
skipper balances the boat using the mainsheet and body weight.

Chair Pose

The crew trapezes off of the boom while the skipper trims the mainsheet.
Try to sail around the course like this.

Racecar

The crew hangs off of the windward side of the boat and
assumes the “race car driver” position while the skipper
steers to make the boat respond to the crew’s motions
and sound effects. For example, the crew might say
“veeeeerrrooooommm,” and pretend to turn a steering
wheel right, so the skipper would turn the boat right.

Walk On Water

The crew hooks into the trapeze above the puck (as high as possible)
and heels the boat to windward so that they can “walk” with their feet
above the water. The skipper keeps the boat balanced for as long as possible.

Wheelie

Both crew members go to the back of the boat and cause it to pop a
wheelie. Try to get the centerboard out of the water without capsizing.

Article and photos by Willie McBride and the Skiff Squad. The Skiff Squad is a regional sailing program based in Southern California, that helps high performance sailors develop a process for improvement in sailing with implications far beyond the race course. The Squad aims to create lifelong sailors who fall in love with the sport by organizing and supporting training, clinics, and regattas in the 29er sailboat class, as well as working with Olympic hopefuls in high performance Olympic classes. As a partner in the Challenger Project, its aim is to develop leaders in and through the sport of sailing. To learn more about what the Squad alumni have accomplished, visit www.skiffsquad.com.

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