Sailing: The Basics

121If you like to feel the wind blowing in your face and listen to the rumble of the water as it flows by, then you are a natural sailor. However, just like any activity that involves vessels, there must be adequate preparation before setting out to sail. What does it take to steer a boat alone through deep waters? Why does steering a boat sound so easy yet appear so hard when someone else is doing it? To answer these questions, it is important that new sailors be familiarized with the basics of sailing.

Learn the Theory of Sailing

bookThe simplicity with which a boat floats on the water makes it appear as art, but it is a science. The laws of gravity and buoyancy are at play with every boat you see on the water. For a start, it is important to study the physics behind the phenomenon that is sailing. Understanding why a boat moves in specific directions according to the wind direction and how the water can carry the weight of a boat is important to understanding the role of the forces of nature in sailing.

Parts that Constitute a Boat

Do the words like tiller, leech, telltale or batten make any sense? Well, these are parts of a sailboat. The first rule of learning to operate something is having a basic knowledge of the parts that make up the vessel. Knowing the parts will give you intimate knowledge of the vessel and knowing the nautical terms is essential.

Points of a Sail

122Before a sailor sets out on a sail to a certain destination, the plan of the route must be first drawn taking into consideration the direction and strength of the wind. The angle with which a boat sails will determine the destination at the end of its voyage. To avoid taking wrong routes or being blown off course by the wind into directions you never planned for, consider that the elements of nature will influence the course of the boat. This is a fundamental principle of sailing.

Learn the Controls

After having successfully mastered how nature influences sailing, it is important also to learn the different ways of navigating a boat. Having navigation options at your fingertips helps to steer the boat even if conditions are harsh on the water. Some of the navigations methods for a boat are:
• Engine
• Paddle
• Sails
For a comprehensive guide on how to sail, watch the following complete guide to sailing video.