Sailing Basics for Prospective Boat Owners

Taking on any new hobby is exciting. Deciding to start sailing gives the word “adventure” a greater meaning altogether. 

Whether you’re taking local classes or buying a boat of your own, learning to sail is a worthy endeavor.

As a potential boat owner, you’ve come to the right article for sailing basics to start out with. Detailed below is everything you need to know about getting started in the world of sailing with success.

You’ll find that connecting with other experienced sailors is in your best interest, too. Their advice can save you effort or even money in the long run, and there are plenty of them out there. 

After all, the vast United States boating industry generated $42 billion in sales in 2019 alone.Keep reading to ensure you’re making the most of your upcoming investments. Once you master the skills, the whole wide ocean will become your new playground.

Of course, getting familiar with a sailboat’s parts and functions is a great place to start. You should be able to recognize a sail itself, which is attached to a tall pole known to sailors as a mast. Then, the main structure of the boat that sits on the water is called a hull.

Sailboats with one main hull are called monohulls and are known to pitch side-to-side more. The bigger and steadier sailboats with two equal hulls are catamarans. Modern hulls are most often made from fiberglass, but some of them can be aluminum or steel.

The smaller sail at the front of the boat is called a jib, and the larger one is called the mainsail. At a ninety-degree angle to the mast, the bottom part of the mainsail is attached to the boom.

If you’re at the wheel of a sailboat (or, the helm), different directions of the boat have different names. Up ahead toward the front of the boat is called the bow, and to the back of the boat is the stern. Looking to your right is called looking starboard, and on your left is the port side.

Take the time to study and get familiar with these basic sailing terminologies. These universal terms make sailing on the open seas a lot easier to understand.

Other Sailing Basics Worth Knowing

Controlling the position of the boom allows sailors to steer. This is done by angling the boom against the wind in a useful way for either speed or direction.

It takes time and practice to master these angles as a sailor. For that reason, it can be wise to start learning to sail on a smaller boat that’s more easily controlled.

The good news is that there’s a whole system that new sailors can get to know. Techniques for angling sails and wind are called points of sail.

The first time you take your new boat out on the water for a sail, you’ll need to note the direction of the wind. In order to hoist the mainsail, you’ll actually steer the boat directly into the wind. At this point, the sail is luffing, which means it’s flapping in the wind.

Once the mainsail is all the way up, you’ll have to rely on points of sail to guide the boat. Sailing upwind and sailing downwind, for example, require very different techniques. If you’re going to be a proper sailor, you need to memorize these by heart.

Always Keep Safety as a Top Priority

Whether you’re the only one on the sailboat or you have other passengers, safety should always be a sailor’s top priority. It’s true that you don’t want anyone to get hurt or endangered while you’re a skipper. In addition, though, you don’t want to damage the sailboat due to negligence.

Consider the following statistic from the Department of Homeland Security. It shows that in the single year of 2018, the Coast Guard reported 4,145 boating accidents. These then resulted in over 600 deaths and $46 million in property damage.

Practicing smart safety practices can minimize your boat’s risk of collisions and damage. Keep a sober, attentive focus on handling the boat when out on the water, for one thing. Even if you and your friends go sailing to let loose and have some fun, stay responsible.

It’s also essential to keep a surplus of life jackets or other floatation devices on the boat at all times. There should be at least one life jacket for any person on a boat, with an extra or two available just in case. It’s up to you to know your local regulations about life jackets, too.

Invest in the Most Reliable Equipment and Tools

A sailor’s navigation tools are one of the most important components of the boat itself. A compass and map are great basics to have, but more advanced navigational technology exists, too. Take the time to research which boating gear brands and tools might help you succeed on the water.

Don’t forget to take proper care of all of your boating tools and equipment, too. If you avoid regular maintenance or repair routines, for instance, it could cost you in the long run. Consistent and proper maintenance practices can save you a lot of headaches and money.

Put Your Knowledge of Boating Basics to the Test

At this point, you’re prepared to get out on the water and try out the above sailing basics on your own. You know how to monitor the wind and waves, and you’re ready to explore.

As you start to get more comfortable in your sailing abilities, it’s still important to keep investing in the craft. In fact, that’s where this website can come into play. We bring readers like you the latest and greatest guidance in the world of sailing and boating.

We encourage you to check out the rest of our knowledge base on our blog. Doing so could help you grow as a sailor and make the wisest financial investments in the industry. In fact, check out this article on essential boating accessories to get started.

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