Understanding these changeable conditions is crucial to be able to enjoy yourself while on board. No matter if you are sailing in a lake or hopping from one tropical island to another, the basics are the same. Like using the wind and current to get from point A to point B.
However, a genuinely liberating sailing experience has its quirks. But no worries, we promise you that after reading our sailing tips for beginners you will be able to get a head start in sailing and embark on water adventures this summer!
Learning to Sail
Decide What Type of Boat Is Right For You
At first, you may be a bit confused by all the types of boats there is. They can range from dinghies to super yachts, from catamarans to monohulls. Therefore, deciding what is the right kind of boat for you and how you would like to sail is the first crucial step. In order to figure that out, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- – Am I looking for a big boat or a small boat?
- – Will I be sailing with friends or family on the boat?
- – Do I need a boat that will have a lot of storage space?
- – Will I be sailing with my kids on this boat?
- – Do I need a cabin below deck so the kids can spend the night on the boat?
If you are still unsure what is the right boat for you after answering these questions, remember you can always contact our charter experts! The Tubber Team is happy to help you out.
Get the Needed Licenses & Follow the Regulations
Boat Licenses differ from country to country and also depend on what and where you will be sailing. For example, lake sailing most probably has different licenses and regulations in comparison to coastal sailing. A basic license you will need is a VHF radio license.
Understanding the Weather
Learn the Beaufort Scale
Before you can sail anywhere, you need to check out the Beaufort Wind Scale and memorize it. This is an international scale that presents the wind and water conditions on a scale from 1 to 12. This will allow you to tell if the wind is appropriate for sailing, as well as make you sound like a sailing pro.
Study Sailing Forecasting
Sailing forecasting differs from land forecasting. In order to get a grip of sailing weather and understand how the forecasting works, follow some well-known marine forecasters. Take this very seriously, because once you start the sailing holiday you will be looking at the weather of destinations that are thousands of miles away and you will need to prepare for the conditions in advance. This can make or break a sailing holiday experience.
Understand the Weather Phenomena
Nature can be very unpredictable. Sometimes waterspouts and storms can appear out of nowhere. Understanding the quirks of nature and learning a bit of geography can make sailing a lot safer and more comfortable. Of course, it can also be a case of simply taking down the sails and waiting it out!
Understanding the Water
Understand Tides and Currents
Tides can be tricky creatures. In case you are learning to sail in a place with a distinguishable tidal range, this will the first thing you will need to study and understand. The next one is currents. Currents are observed in lakes, seas, and oceans. They can be very local, but they can also be seen on a global level like the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic. Generally speaking, a rule of thumb is that you don’t want to be sailing against the current, but its best to learn your local currents. And don’t forget they can change direction at specific points in the day.
Avoid Wind-Over-Tide Situations
Wind-over-tide is a situation in which the wind is traveling in one direction, and the tide is moving in the opposite direction. This could be potentially dangerous, especially when the wind is strong, and the opposing tide is also strong. It can create large standing waves, which is something you don’t want to encounter. But no worries, these situations can be avoided because tides are predictable. So keep updated tide timetables always with you.
Safety on Board
Know How to Handle A Fire Onboard
Fires are one of the worst things that can happen on board since boats are both flammable and can melt. Fires are one of the most damaging occurrences on a ship. Therefore, be careful with what you bring on board, even candles can be dangerous. In case anything like this happens, you need to have one or more fire extinguishers onboard. Position them in quick-grab places and make sure everyone on board knows how to use them, even the kids.
Know the Mayday Protocol
The Mayday protocol is a life saver, in case you know how to use it. The most important is knowing how to issue a Panpan and a Mayday. Learn in what situations these are used. A tip we can give is to get a laminated Mayday card and position it next to your VHF radio. This way, you can read it in an emergency.
Use Navigation Lights
Just like with any other vehicle, being in the dark without lights is a bad idea. With sailing, lights are not only meant to show others where your boat is, but their different colors also indicate your traveling direction. Before you depart, check if they are working. This sometimes can mean you will have to walk to the other end of the marina when they’re turned on, but it’s definitely essential.
Learn To Read Paper Charts
With the advancements in technology, many people rely solely on electronic charts. But what are you going to do if the electrics fail? In such situations owning and being able to read paper charts is your salvation.
Extra Tips & Tricks
Learn How to Deal With Seasickness
Seasickness is one of the main reasons why so many people are unsure if they could sail. And that is understandable since it can really be awful and different for everyone. However, there are various tactics of dealing with it, you just have to find your cure. Try everything from ginger biscuits to prescription tablets. And above all, stay hydrated and have someone to take care of you in case nothing works.
Stock Up On Essential Supplies
When sailing, the main supplies you need are food, water, and medicine. Cooking on board can be a challenge, but we have tips and easy recipes already prepared for you. Plenty of drinking water is essential and having things like medicine, and first aid kit is a must. Once again, we have you covered with our packing list, so there’s nothing to worry about
Sailing offers you the possibility to explore the whole world independently. Learning to sail the proper way can make the experience a thousand times better. Of course, sailing with a skipper is always an option, but there is something magically rewarding about sailing on your own. Feeling the water move beneath you, steering the boat in the direction you want, feeling the breeze in your hair as you take control over the sea. Once you master the art of sailing, you will be unstoppable.
However, above all, you have to remember to have fun! Sailing is all about freedom. To explore, to laugh, to scream, to be you in all your glory. All you need to do is dare and hop on board with a smile and an adventurous spirit.
We hope we managed to help out all the beginners out there! In case you feel inspired, start planning your introduction to sailing and check out our best sailing destinations for beginners. In the comments below or on our Facebook Page, you can also share your useful tips and tricks!