Learning how to sail is not particularly difficult and can change your life!
It cleanses the body and mind as nothing else can do.
It relieves stress and anxieties from work, home and school.
It allows you to enjoy an adventure into the unknown - every time you go.
In Britain, the national sailing organisation is called the RYA (Royal Yachting Association). The RYA has developed a number of courses for people looking to learn how to sail relatively quickly whilst remaining as enjoyable as possible.
The National RYA Sailing Course takes you through from beginner to expert and you will have great times doing them. The courses are available from all good sailing clubs and schools.
So, if you are someone who wants their question/query/frustration/irritation about sailing, boating or yachting answered right NOW, Ask The Expert by using the form below.
In sailing, you can change your boat's direction in relation to the wind by using the tiller. This called the Point of Sail. But on each point of sail, what do you do? Do you let out your sails, tighten them in, pull up the centre board, lean out...!
It is all quite confusing and that is why each point of sail has a name and what you do attached to it so that everyone knows exactly what to do on each point of sail.
What Everyone Ought To Know About Sailing Manoeuvres
Sometimes, when we are on the boat we want to change our direction in relation to wind so that the sails are on the otherside. If we didn't do this then we would only be able to sail in only 135 degrees rather than 270 degrees off the wind.
In order to do this we have to execute a manoeuvre called tacking. Tacking is where the boat's bow (the front) goes through the wind. The boat slows down and the sails and crew/helm change sides.
To find out more about this, read my article on Tacking
Okay so we know how to go through the wind on the bow, but what if we want to go through the wind by the stern (the back)? Instead we do a different manoeuvre. This one is called a gybe.
Gybing is slightly harder than tacking and is a slightly different form of actually doing a tack, but nevertheless it is important to be able to do a full circle on the boat (especially if you get penalties in boat racing!).
Gybing can be done without speed (unlike a tack) and you can come out very quickly. However the sails can violently changed sides and the boat can heel quite alot so it is sometimes favoured to do a tack than a gybe in stronger weather.
If you would like to learn more about this, see my article on Gybing
Well those are the most important things to know when learning how to sail, but here are some more interesting articles for those wanting more information...
You won't get very far without knowing the odd bit of sailing terminology and so it is important for all new sailors to learn the nautical terms for 'left' (port), 'right' (starboard) and other things that they may have to contend with.
Although you do not need to learn the entire list now, after several months of sailing, you should have most of them under your leash.
Sailing is often dominated by the weather, as the wind is the very life force from which sailing happens. Without wind there would be no sailing. Reading the wind is not so difficult, but reading the weather and predicting accurately what will happen is another job entirely.
In the UK the met office is responsible for publishing the official weather report. It is important to understand the weather and how it can effect your sailing as well as judging if the wind is too strong for your boat to handle.
Capsizes are a part of life and there is nothing we can do about them. All we can do is know what to do when one happens to us. A capsize is caused by many things. You may tack in strong winds and keep the genoa on the wrong side. You may have the mainsail tight in on a beam reach. Or you may death roll on a run.
Whatever the reason for the capsize, there are two techniques for righting the boat and it is a ver useful skill to have to ensure your safety whilst boating.
These ingenious little digital age programs are great for learning the rules of sailing and putting into practice what you have learnt on this site. In this article, there are two recommended ones to try out as well as detailed reviews.
I have downloaded both and tried them out. They are very useful in simulating different circumstances and re-enacting situations that have occurred to me, to find out who was right and who was wrong! Very useful for protest committees!