Sailing for Beginners

Beginning any new hobby can feel exciting at the start. There is always a learning curve to any new skill, but it gets easier once you get past that. Learning how to sail presents a learning curve of its own, but sailing helps you experience adventures like never before. To sail like a pro, you have to know how to read the wind and waves, among other things, to determine the best routes to take. Fortunately, you don’t have to master the skill of sailing to enjoy this sport. As long as you know how to navigate, you can start to relax by soaking in the sun as you sail around. No matter what skill level you are at, sailing can be quite enjoyable.

If you are just starting in the sport of sailing, you are in luck. Today we will help you learn the basics and give you a leg up on what you need to know as a beginner.

Before you sail

Before you go out and sail, first, you need to attend an introductory sailing class. To be prepared as a beginner, 15 or more instruction hours will set you on the right path to success. Online videos and articles can give you an idea of how to sail, but it is best to experience it firsthand to understand the concepts you learn online. Don’t get ahead of yourself and take as much time as you need before setting sail alongside sailing veterans.

Weather and wind conditions

To sail, you have to have the wind to propel in any direction. Therefore, as a sailor, you have to learn how to read the wind. The most important things you have to determine are which direction the wind is coming from and how fast it is. Reading the wind is a bit more complicated than licking your finger and letting the wind hit it. A more effective way of reading the wind is by using your face and rotating it until the wind blows directly on you. Another way to determine the wind’s direction is by looking at a flag or noticing the ripples on the water’s surface.

Weather conditions are another thing to consider before sailing. If you notice thin Cirrus clouds above you, this is sometimes indicative of a storm approaching. Alternatively, if you see single puffy clouds in the sky, you will probably encounter perfect weather. If you want to dig deeper into learning about weather conditions, you can use instruments and other tools to predict weather changes. One of the best apps you can use is Windy, and furthermore Savvy Navvy.

Learn your knots

Knot tying is an important skill to learn as a sailor. You have to learn proper knots for doing things like securing a boat and repairing boat lines. Each knot serves its own purpose, and there are so many different knots to learn. Practice tying knots on your own and ask your instructor about what knots they recommend for beginning sailors. It takes time to get the hang of certain knots, so be patient with yourself if you have never learned the art of knot tying before. 

Choosing the right boat

It may be best for you to rent a boat to learn firsthand what you like or don’t like about a sailboat, for starters. You can familiarize yourself much better with a boat after using it, so rent different kinds of boats. 

Everyone has their own opinions about the best boats for beginning sailors. Some will say that you should get something like a dinghy with a single sail. Others might tell you that deck boats are better for beginners. Whatever you decide, find a boat that fits your needs, but always start with a used boat. Buying a boat is a journey of its own. It is good to make connections with your local community of sailing enthusiasts and get pointers from them. In the end, you will be able to figure out the right boat for you, so don’t make hasty decisions based on one expert’s opinion.

Sail Positions and Their Names

When you’re sailing, you use specific terms to describe the position of the sail, along with calling the left side of the boat port and the right side starboard. Check the following figure for the terms that indicate different sail positions

Safety first

No matter what, always make sure your boat has the essential safety items, including a first aid kit, necessary navigation equipment, a tool kit, and a repair kit. If you are operating the boat, be sure to check these items off your list before you set sail. It is also in your best interest to brush up on common causes of boating accidents. Some of the top reasons are running out of gas, drinking, and driving, and falling overboard. Accidents happen when safety precautions are neglected. Even though basic safety tips may seem like common sense, it is best to know what not to do before you go out and sail.

If you rent a boat from a charter, the charter should have already put in the proper equipment needed for emergencies. However, if you are outfitting your own boat, check out the safety essentials you need and prepare for the worst-case scenarios. Getting stranded with the proper tools you need could be the difference between life and death in an emergency. 

What to Bring When You Sail

So, you have done your research on where you want to head for your first time sailing adventure, you’ve convinced your group of the closest friends to go along with you, and with it happening just around the corner you could not be more excited. Now, what? With it being your first time heading out on this type of adventure, there must be certain things you need to know what to take along and how to best prepare for this trip of a lifetime. Well, there absolutely is and that is what we are here for. So, take a look at the must-have checklist for sailors and start checking it off so that when the time finally does come for you to start sailing away, you are fully prepared and ready to take off on what is sure to be one of your best trips yet!

Sailing for Dummies

If you like to know and learn more about sailing and you like reading, don’t forget to order this book.