Travel the Seas by Sailing
Many sailors agree that the sights and sounds of the wind and water make sailing an unforgettable experience. Learning how to make a boat move effortlessly through the water can give you great satisfaction. By starting small and learning from professionals, you can soon get to a point where you are guiding your own craft through the water. Even if you don’t live near the ocean, you can still enjoy sailing on smaller bodies of water. You can also prepare to tour the world in a sailboat.
There’s a lot to know about sailing, including the terminology, safety practices, rules of the water, and the basics of how to operate the craft. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a course or two in sailing taught by professionals. Many packages include in-depth instruction that spans a day or two. If you intend to focus on more advanced goals such as sailboat racing, you’ll need advanced instruction; otherwise, an introductory class should suffice.
The Science of Sailing
Wind is responsible for a sailboat’s movement through the water. Sails full of wind form what’s called an airfoil, which moves the boat across the water with lift that’s similar to the lift of an airplane’s wing. When sailing, your job is to trim the sails, or move them into position to maximize this lift. Raise the sails using the halyards, or lines, then trim them using the sheets, lines that attach to the bottom corners of the sails, to move the boom, which is the pole along the bottom of the sails. Steering is managed by moving the rudder using the tiller. When sailing into the wind, you’ll need to steer in a zig-zag motion known as tacking.
Knowing sailing jargon will help you cruise like a pro. For instance, the keel is the heavy wing on the underside of the boat that helps balance it. The front of the boat is the bow, and the back of the boat is the stern. The port is the left side of the boat, and the starboard side is the right side. Sailors say an object is aft of another object if it is behind it. Something in front of another object is forward of it. The cockpit of a boat is the space in the stern where the steering wheel sits. The anchor and chain locker are stored at the bow of the boat. The jib sail is the sail located at the bow.
The right sailing equipment is a necessity for safety and navigation. Aside from the boat and its gear, including life jackets, you’ll want to make sure to pay some attention to your own personal gear. Always dress for the occasion by wearing layers. Good deck shoes will help you grip the deck and have non-marking soles. Polarized sunglasses will help you be vigilant about the water and wind conditions. Sailing gloves should offer heavy-duty grip on the palms, and some have exposed fingertips for added dexterity. A windbreaker can serve as a barrier for wind and water and also help to keep you warm. It’s not a bad idea to bring a logbook, too, where you can record the number of hours you spend sailing and the places you travel.
Knots to Learn
Sailors need to know many knots, which are used for different purposes. Securing lines to cleats is a common necessity when sailing, and a cleat hitch is the best knot to tie in this situation. The cleat hitch involves wrapping the line around both horns once, making two figure-eight turns around the cleat, and tucking the free end of the line to secure it. The bowline knot is used to tie a loop in the rope that you can quickly untie by taking tension off the rope. Make a small loop in the rope by making a half twist, then pass the end of the rope through the loop and back around the longer length of rope.
Buying a Boat
Anyone who has taken a few sailing courses, tried out the sport, and decided it’s a good fit can definitely benefit by buying a boat. Owning a boat can be surprisingly affordable, especially if you start small. Choose a simple sailboat, possibly a used one in good shape, for your first boat. Some people with the skills might also consider building their own sailboat.
- Will a sudden gust of wind capsize a sailboat? When this happens, just maneuver the boat into the wind. The sailboat might lean, but it shouldn’t capsize.
- What about seasickness? When learning how to sail, some people do get seasick. Staying close to shore so you can see the land often helps with seasickness.
- What happens if someone falls overboard? Throw the person in the water a flotation device, if necessary. Then, maneuver the sailboat to turn around and pull the person back on board.
- Is it hard to work the sails? Sailors need upper-body strength to manage wind-filled sails, so it can be a bit of a workout, but pulleys and winches can make the job a little easier.
- Beginner Sailing Tips From the American Sailing Association: Always choose a day with favorable weather conditions, including calm seas and light winds, when you sail.
- Beginner Sailing Tips: Uncrowded waters are ideal for beginning sailors because you’ll have enough space to practice without other boats around.
- Sailing Tips: What Every Sailor Must Know: Familiarize yourself with sailing terminology before you sail.
- Top Ten Tips You Should Know About Learning How to Sail: Take professional sailing lessons to learn important skills.
- Look After Yourself on the Water: Preparing yourself and your gear before you depart is key to a safe voyage.
- Top Ten Tips for Your Bag of Tricks: Experienced sailors have plenty of tricks that they use while sailing, especially if they’re racing their boat against others.
- 31 Sailing Tips for Beginners: Take a sailing course, get your boating license, and try renting a sailboat before you buy one so you can choose one you really like.
- First Time Sailing: Important Tips for Beginners: Always practice your new sailing skills in calm waters with a small boat.
- Top 15 Sailing Maintenance Tips, Tricks, and Little-Known Secrets: Follow these tips for maintaining your sailboat, which can help you keep it looking and operating at its best.
- Nine Tips for New Skippers: Novices gaining experience with sailing need to study and practice to learn about the many aspects of the sport.
- Six Tips to Make Sailing Easier for Yourself: Follow these tips to make the different aspects of the sailing process easier.
- Top Six Sailing Safety Tips: Always have a life jacket for every passenger on board the boat, and stock enough food and water for the full trip plus extra provisions for emergencies.
- How Safe Is Sailing? Experts say that sailing is twice as safe as driving a vehicle, and sailors can take steps to ensure that their voyages are even safer.
- Recreational Boating: Stay Safe on the Water: Life jackets need to fit properly and be fastened correctly so they can keep you safe.
- Sailing Safety: Top Ten Security Tips for You and Your Yacht: Check travel warnings and stay in populated areas when you’re traveling on a large sailboat.
- Safe Boating Checklist: Tell a friend or relative where you are going and when you intend to return before going out on the water.