Home > Tips for using sailboats

Sailing is romantic, thrilling, inspiring, relaxing, rejuvenating and just plain fun. You can do it alone, with a friend or your whole family. But the key is to learn the right way the first time. Sailors are passionate about their time on the water – excited by a sense of empowerment as the wind fills the sails and the boat glides peacefully through the water. Sailing is a green activity, is wind powered, and is fulfilling for anyone at any age. Sailboats differ from other types of boats in that they are propelled partly or entirely by wind.

Some tips for using sailboats are:-

  • Understand navigational buoys. It is important to look out for and honor navigational buoys–they’ll let you know where the safe water exists.
  • Preparing The Boat: Perform a detailed visual check. Inspect all the standing rigging-the cables and ropes that support the mast-including the turnbuckles and cotter pins securing the rigging to the hull.
  • Determine the wind direction: If your boat doesn’t have some kind of wind direction indicator (Windex) at the top of the mast, tie a couple nine-inch pieces of old cassette tape, or oiled yarn to the shrouds-the rigging cables that hold up the mast. These will show you which way the wind is blowing.
  • Point the boat into the wind: The idea is to have the minimum amount of wind resistance when raising the sail, with the sail straight back. In this position, the sail won’t be snagging on any shrouds or any other hardware, either. This isn’t always easy. The boat won’t turn readily because it’s not moving.
  • Hoisting the Sails: Attach the sails properly. Adjust your heading and sail for the wind.
  • Watch your wind indicators. Let out the sail until it is perpendicular to the wind. You will be constantly; watching the sails, and trimming sails because the wind won’t blow from a constant direction for long. Be careful.
  • Close haul
  • Sail into the wind to a destination. Sail a heading that is as close to the wind as you can, close-hauled. On most sailboats this will be about 45 degrees.
  • Go easy when learning. Understand that it’s best to practice on calm days, and so, for example, learn to reef your boat (make the sails smaller). You will need to do this when the wind is too strong and you’re being overpowered.
  • Sail safely. Remember that your anchor and its chain/line are important pieces of safety gear and can be used to stop your boat from going aground or can even be used to get the vessel floating again should grounding occur.
  • Storing the Sails: Lower and store your sails. When your sails are not in use, they should be folded neatly and placed in their sail bags.
  • Try learning to determine the wind direction using your ears.
  • Use the user manual.

With these sailing tips in mind, you will be able to sail more effectively and smoothly on the waters and also be confident about it.

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