Ask the Expert!

Want to learn how to sail quickly but not sure where to start?
Ask your questions here!

Not bothered to read long articles? Want a faster simpler option to learn how to sail?

Ahoy maties! So you have read through the website and you think that you like sailing, but you don't know where to get started. Or perhaps you have already dabbled into sailing, but want to take it further and don't know how.

You have probably got dozens of questions flooding your mind from "What type of gear to I need?" to "What if I can't afford a boat?" and even "What if I live in a desert?"

Well, I'm here to help. Ask me any question you want.

Ask any question about sailing, whether you be a beginner, intermediate or advanced sailor. Ask even if you don't know anything about sailing and would like to get started in the sport. Ask even if you have just wondered something for ages about sailing and want to settle it once and for all.

There are no bad questions here, only good questions and each question will be answered by me and the community. Strike up an interesting topic and we may even get quite a good discussion going!

So ready to ask your sailing question? Click Here!

Or, if you are a Sailing Expert, why not try and answer a sailing question!


What question should I ask?

Well anything you want about sailing, yachting, dinghies, boats, powerboats, the ocean, blue and the rest of it. If you are confused about anything on the website that isn't explained as clearly as you would like it ask for an explanation and we may even get some differing points of view.

StartedSailing is a community of all types of sailors and non-sailors alike who all strive to increase their knowledge of sailing, the physics of sailing, racing tactics, racing rules and ways to get faster.

Here are some ideas of some problems that you might be having and questions you could ask in your question to the community. Try and be as specific as possible so that we can all help you as best as we can.

  • I am always last in the race at my club, how can I go faster?
  • Why does my boat always turn to one side when I am beating?
  • What point of sail is the fastest and why?
  • I didn't really understand the physics behind sailing, can anyone clarify it for me?
  • What is your favourite boat and why?
  • How do I play the spinnaker more effectively?
  • How do I ...[INSERT YOUR PROBLEM/QUESTION/FRUSTRATION HERE]...?

When asking a question try not to be as vague as I have here. The more detail you put into your question the easier we can help you and the better it will be for future visitors to find the same information you want.

We operate a policy of 'pay it forward' where you ask a question and answer a question. This builds up trust and friendship in the StartedSailing community.

Questions About Sailing, Yachting and Boating

Now if you are ready to ask your question, fire away! Or if you see some questions for which you are knowledgable about, don't be afraid to answer and help out others!

Have fun!

Other Visitor Topics

Click below to see topics from other visitors to this page about sailing, yachting and boating...

Buying first sailing boat/yacht 
Hi All, I am looking for our first sailing boat/yacht and have a few questions that I would like some advice on. 1/ I like the look of the classic …

Right of way at windward mark 
Lead boat has just rounded the windward mark on starboard rounding. They head downwind on a run, maybe favoring the starboard. Trailing boat in leeward …

Motor set up at rear?  
Hi, I would like to ask whether this model of FD sailboat 1979 can set up motor at rear? Is there a link or website address where I can look it …

Genoa 
What does the different percentage mean on a genoa sail?

Sailing terminology 
What is meant by the orders "Ware ship", and also the order "full and by".

How to get over steep learning curve 
Hi, (Sorry for the length of this post.) All my life, I have dreamed of sailing. There is a chance (admittedly slim at the moment) that I may soon …

bailing water out 
What method is used to bail water from a hartley16?

Rigging on Dinghy 
Can you tell me the best knot to use to tie my forestay on Heron dinghy?

What types of single hander are there. 
Thinking about getting a single hander (currently sharing a flying fifteen)I know lasers are very popular but what other types are there i know about picos …

Turning 180 Degrees Going Up and Down Wind 
What is the best way to turn 180 degrees at each point of sail? Also, how should the sail be adjusted to ensure max stability and minimal risk of capsizing? …

Inflatable dinghies, laser 
Alex, You mentioned inflatable sails boats on your website...Any ideas where I could find one? Thanks Alex

Laser Dinghy hull damage from mast 
Hi, wondered if anyone knows if a raised hull around the bottom of the mast is problematic for a 1986 dinghy? Boat is in good condition except for this …

sail size 
How much sail can I put on a 16 foot mast? How many square meters?

draft choice 
hey im new to sailboating and just trying to figure out the differences between sailboats. Im interested in a boat i found and the draft is 4'4. My plan …

mast lowering 
I want to sail/motor up the river Severn to Worcester in the spring, but am thinking all the bridges may slow me down! I would be most gratful for any …

Teen sailing in the summer 
I am in high school in Florida and am looking for the best places to sail around my area. Any ideas?

which boat to buy? 
Hi i recently passed my level 2 and am hooked but not yet got my first dinghy i learned in a GP and loved the boat but have been but off buying one …

Bad at sailing 
Hi! I just got into high school sailing 2 months ago but it seems that im not very good in 420. I always come in last and no one wants to sail with me …

sailing solo in a miracle dinghy 
Hi i am new to sailing but here goes is it best to use main only if sailing alone i ask because i am a pensioner. Regards John

Reading the Wind? 
the wind fuels the sails, but i dont know how to read wind, talk wind or understand wind. what is sailing without wind, torture i tell you. do you have …

Type of Block? 
This is kind of an odd question, but I thought maybe you could answer it. Someone gave me a pendant that he said was of something used in sailing. It's …

Sailing to France 
My name is Gary, I have just come across your website while looking for more information on sailing, this is by far the most informative site I have found. …

Club 420 with an FJ mast 
My Sons Club 420 borrowed from the Yacht Club seems to have a messed up Rig possably from an FJ? It is showing excess rake, the shrouds are very tight …

Laser Pico or Byte 
Hi Until I retired in 2007 and moved to France, I sailed a solo from Papercourt Sailing club, Surrey. Since I left the UK I have not sailed except …

Click here to write your own.

sail CLA relative rto hull CLA 
How far forward of the hull/keel center of its lateral area (CLA) hould the sail CLA be to aid comming-about f0r tacking quick? I sailed a homemade …

What dinghy to buy 
I am a beginner having only sailed a dingy a couple of times but have done a lot of windsurfing so understand the principles of sailing. Looking to buy …

GPS average speed 
Is there a GPS that will average the speed over the last couple of seconds. This would be better that speed taken every second that shows 20% change due …

Navigation 
Is Mercator sailing the same as Rhumb Line sailing?

Heavyweight Sailing 
I am 320 lbs and skipper a 420 in collegiate regattas, now i notice that I cannot point as high as the boats around me and definitely can't maintain that …

Sailing Videos 
I am grandmother to several neat teenagers whom I would like to encourage to learn to sail. I like the format of these videos and wonder where to purchase …

Centerboard Well 
How can I prevent water from gushing in my centerboard well while under sail in a good wind? Geoffrey

How common are hand injuries in sailing? 
Hello~ I am sending my 14 year-old son to a reputable sailing school for a week this summer to learn how to sail. I have a question that's probably …

Sail battens 
On a fully battened main sail, if the battens are tapered, should the tapered end go at the luff or leach?

Sail Number 
What does the number on a sail mean? Eg: GP9463 Thanks, Fiona Hi Fiona, The number on the sail is a distinctive unique identifier, which …

Sailing Christmas Gifts 
what do you suggest we get someone that lives on a boat? its my boyfriends dad and we are scratching our heads on sailing christmas gift ideas.

Sailing From Fife to Minorca 
I'm writing a novel in which the main character is forced to sail a 29ft sloop from Fife, down the east coast of the UK and round to Minorca. Trouble is …

How much power needed for a 25ft O'Day 
Will a 6hp 4 stroke push a 25ft O'Day? I just need to get in and out of the marina and I am sailing inland. Thanks, Liz

Points of Sail Question 
1. If the boat is facing point north and wind is coming NE at 45-50 degrees what is the point of sail? 2. If the boat is facing point north and the …

GP 14 rigging 
Hi, I am an experienced sailor but the only small craft I have sailed are lasers and Hobie cats. I have bought a GP 14, wooden model and as it seems to …

Right of Way 
This was not a race, just pleasure sailing on an inland midwestern US lake. Two boats were running on a parallel port tack about 20 ft apart. The windward …

Which boat to buy 
My two girls are getting old enough that I would like to get them into sailing. I'd like to buy a boat that is relatively simple to sail and learn on, …

Rigging a Sunfish Sailboat 
For some reason, I cannot pull the mainsail up to the top. Does it matter how long the boom is to the mast?

20 ft Mirage Sailboat  
I just bought a 20 ft mirage sail boat, but I am an inexperienced sailor. I need to collapse the boat to transport it with a trailer. I did research about …

How can I make my beat strategies better? 
I've been sailing for a year and a half, and am moving onto the serious laser circuit. This weekend, I found myself in the top ten at the leeward mark, …

What Catamaran is this? 
Would anyone be able to tell me what type of catamaran this is? (see pic) Thanks, Greg

The Sailing Term for Bulging of Sail? 
I would like to know if there is a word for the 'bulging' of a sail, when a boat sails close to the wind. First it will start flapping, or luffing, but …

Wet sanding the hull? 
I have been working on my laser, before the season starts and I have been trying to repair all the scratches that have acumulated over the years. Could …

Head Sails  
What are the differences between cruising spinnakers, gennakers, and drifters? Thanks JR

First Sailing Dinghy 
As it is likely that I will be solo most of the time I need to look at a dinghy which can successfuly sailed single handed but could accomodate another …

Click here to write your own.

Can I take a boat out without a keel? 
I have been given a 5.45 metre trailer sailboat by an old friend. It has a wind up keel, which has seized inside. I was wondering if it is safe to take …

Do you remember a sailboat called a "Snark"? 
Back in the 70's, I almost bought a "Snark". It was a small, one person sailboat. Is there something similar today where one could enter sailing inexpensively?? …

Rigging Question 
I read in a sailing article "...rig bald-headed and reefed...." What does the "bald-headed" refer to? Thank you Dan

How to steer without a rudder? 
I'm going to be doing my Dinghy Instrustor pre-assessment soon, and one of the things you have to do is sail without a rudder. I've never had to do this, …

Main Sail materials choice for Ranger 23 Tall Rig 
My Ranger 23 Tall rig needs a new main sail. My concern is paying more for a sail that will ware out too fast and not help that much. I have a new 155 …

Head of Sail Shape 
I see many modern boats have the head of the sail extending back up to several feet before the leach heads down to the boom. If I get a new Main Sail built …

Feathering a 420 
I am on the Michigan State Sailing Team, and last weekend I skipped a FJ for the first time. As I was approached the windward mark I realized I was going …

Roll Tack 
I've got a question about roll tacking. Is it really the fast way to tack and how can I do it right, with my one person boat? Hi Joris, …

Putting on sails on the old Tall Ships 
I recently asked a question about docking Tall Ships because operating and sailing them seems like such a hard job. I have another question about sailing …

Tacking a Single Handler 
Describe a smooth tack on a small single sail monohull. Do you face forward or aft? How do you transfer the mainsheet and tiller from one hand to the …

Close to the wind 
From your experience, how close to the wind can a 420 sail. Is the angle less than 30 degrees? What is the closest angle from head on at which the boat …

Points of sail 
Just done level 1 beginners course (Single handed) and am still confused about points of sail. The fastest direction seemed to be at 90 degrees to wind …

Luffing Up 
What is to "Luff up"? Hi Ron, Thank you for your very long question! Finally something I can answer instead of Han making me look stupid (haha …

Pointing and Rig Setup 
What should be the proper rig setup to get my boat to point? If the rigging is too tight she points but losses boat speed and if its too slack she …

How Safe Can Sailing Be? 
I am about to start some courses on yachting (in my late thirties) and have never been much of a sailor previously. I have just done my RYA lvl 1 and …

A Righting Line To Help Right A Boat 
I have a Miracle dinghy which inverted last week and the centreboard went in. Where is the best place to postion a righting line? Thanks Peter …

Ask The Expert: Questions About The Weather 
Alex had a very sensible inspiration when he introduced a first item about the weather: when you're sailing one of your most important companions should …

Which way to point the Boat? 
I get confused as to which way to point the boat when the wind is blowing from a different direction. Is there a safe rule to go by? Also what is the …

To have the wind free 
"The trip from St Martin to Antigua has the wind free but the Equatorial Current forces you stay close hauled". I am not sure about the meaning of …

How To Start Sailing 
I live in the Midwest. We have lots of lakes, but no ocean. Because it is windy, getting something to sail should be no problem, but I don't have a lot …

I have a sailing regatta in a week and I am utterly terrified! What can I do? 
I only started sailing about 10 weeks ago, with some friends from school. There is this sailing regatta near where I live that my friends pressured me …

1976 laser 
I just got a 1976 Laser and I’m sure its a little soft and prob had repairs but for a couple of bucks it might help me learn to sail. I have had it out …

Downwind Sailing 
What is the term when you are sailing downwind and the jibe is on one side and the main sail is on the other. Used to do this when sailing back to the …

Best books to read to learn about 13th-14th century sailing vessels? 
I'm writing a novel set in the late 13th century, early 14th century, and much of it takes place on a merchant sailing vessel of the time period. I chose …

I'm sailing from Australia around the world making documentary ( sponsor needed ) 
Hello my name is Matt , I'm sailing from Australia ( Tasmania ) and going around the world via most country's solo . I am seeking financial sponsorship …

Click here to write your own.

New to sailing 
Whare can I find information on ropes and names of different rigging as I have just purchased a small 14ft sailing dinghy

Sailboat rudder 
I have a Hartley 16' trailersailer. It is very responsive in the water. I have noticed that when sailing into the wind there is a lot of pressure on the …

Capsizing a dinghy 
When I was young I sailed Sabot's in Victoria with John Bertram. We called a capsize, to Bottle. I have not seen this term since and cannot find it in …

Can't afford to learn to sail! 
Hello, I wanted to ask people who do sailing and people that might know an answer to my question, so everyone. I have always wanted to sail and …

Handling gusty winds on a sailing dinghy 
I already windsurf but about to learn sailboating. How do you handle gusty winds on a boat. On a windsurfer we sheet out - so do you let out the mainsail. …

Triangular Sails 
What do you call triangular sails? Thanks, William Hi William, There are two triangular sails on a Bermuda rig dinghy: the mainsail and …

What is the reason for the different color sails? 
What is the reason for the different color sails do they represent something or is it just a preference in design and color? Are they normally bright …

Centre board sealing on dinghy 
Can someone tell me the best way to seal the centre board box when re-fitting to a GP14? Regards, Mel

The Sail Number 
Can I find anything out about my boat by the sail number (age were it was made etc) and how do I find it? Andrew

Just Started Sailing...Should I Buy A Catamaran? 
I am just in the process of learning to sail, and have a lot to learn. There is a 16' catamaran for sale here thatIi am thinking of buying, but I want …

Sailing with a Jib only? 
Hello! I have a 14' sailboat and I was wondering about sailing with just a jib. Any thoughts? I'd appreciate any response/advice! Hi Catherine, …

Still Scared Of Runs! 
I used to sail at the Harp years ago....now I live down on the Sussex coast and love the sailing here! I sail a Byte, and I STILL get scared when on …

Sail Boat Description 
I am a beginner and looking at a boat which is described as a "16/3". Does that mean it is 16 Ft in length and has 3 sails? Mike Hi Mike …

Why is the triangular course mentioned to be basic? 
Why does your website say that a triangular course is the most basic course? I do believe that it is infact a windward lured course, simply upwind, round …

Click here to write your own.




Return from Ask The Expert to Sailing Forum
Return from Ask The Expert to Started Sailing

Find Started Sailing on Facebook
Follow Started Sailing on Twitter

Smooth Sailing
Sailing Games
Sailing Photos

Privacy Policy | Disclaimer
Copyright EMAR Publishers © 2009-2011