Learn how to sail a sailboat

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Learn how to sail a sailboat
Learn How to sail a yacht
How to learn to sail?

There are a few ways to learn to sail, you can go directly to a sailing school and get certified, have a friend teach you the basics or alternatively you can teach yourself. One advantage of sailing is, the smallest of modern sailboats uses the same concepts as the biggest of sail boats. So although the size and complexity of controls and equipment may differ the principals of sailing are exactly the same. You can learn the fundamentals with a small sailing dingy in relatively sheltered waters in light winds and later progress to larger boats,and on into more open waters.

Teach yourself to sail

There are a myriad of good books taking you through most every detail of sailing. More recently there are online sailing courses available on how to sail a sailboat. The key is to progress slowly and be fully aware of the potential dangers and safety procedures. Here’s a good site that’ll get you started: How to sail, for sailing books if I had to recommend only one it would be the “international marine book of sailing” by Robby Robinson.

Teaching yourself the basics is quite possible for recreational small boat sailing but when you are moving up to coastal cruising and longer trips where you may need to anchor and monitor changes in weather you’ll want to at least have an experienced sailor show you the ropes. A good way to get experience is to offer to crew on other peoples boats for day sails or for racing.

Sailing Certifications

Do I need to be certified to sail? The short answer, in most countries is no, but having a certification helps in a number of ways:

• Confidence in your ability and a structured approach to learning.

• Discounts on insurance if you own a boat.

• If you don’t own a boat and want to charter, most charter companies require proof of ability.

There are a number of certifications for recreational boating,they are different in each country/region and some are recognized more widely than others.Recreational:
RYA – Royal Yachting Association based in the UK, Has over 2,250 training centers in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand and the USA
US Sailing – This association’s history goes all the way back to 1897. US Sailing Seems to be more racing focused as opposed to ASA, it was historically the merging of a number of associations. ASA, American Sailing Association – over twenty five years old, offers certification throughout the US from over 300 schools.
IYT – International Yacht Training, based in Florida since 1998

Commercial:

Taking out paying passengers is a different story altogether and would require some sort of licensing with the local authorities, for example in the US the US Coastguard “six pack” license. This will allow you to take out up to six passengers commercially. Larger vessels or more passengers would require further licensing and experience.

To give you an idea of what is usually covered in sailing certification, the typical areas of study for basic keelboat certification or basic competency: (Keelboat 101)

1. Boat parts – understanding some of the terminology
a. Parts of a sailboat
b. Parts of the rig
c. Names of sails & parts of sails

2. How Sails work

3. Sail Trim – how to get the most out of your sails

4. Sailing Skills & Directions
a. Points of sail
b. Changing Direction
c. Depowering & Reefing
d. Confined waters e. Triangular course
f. Out of irons
g. Man overboard procedure

5. Rules of the road

6. Docking& Anchoring

7. Sailing Preparations

8. Knots and lines

9. Weather

10. Safety and Emergency

11. Basic Navigation

Advanced certifications

There are of course plenty more advanced certifications most of which would require you to have some sailing experience under you belt.These generally cover the following areas of study:

• Coastal cruising
• Bareboat – This is a good certification to have if you wish to charter without the expense of a captain.
• Coastal Navigation
• Celestial navigation
• Offshore passage making

Sailing Jargon

Why so much jargon?!! One difficulty for anyone learning to sail is the obscene amount of jargon, there seems to be a salty name for everything, even a toilet isn’t a toilet anymore. Why do I have to learn all of this nonsense you might ask? The simple answer is for communication, sailing a boat of any reasonable size takes a crew i.e. more than one person. When working in a team you need to be able to communicate effectively most especially in an emergency situation. The captain should be able to shout out commands and the crew should be able to understand and respond immediately, without further explanation.


About Author :

Ryan Trollip runs psychosnail.com, is a heavenly twins catamaran owner and a sailing enthusiast. The aim of psychosnail.com is to provide free resources making sailing more accessible through articles, calculators and lessons on how to sail, specifically how to sail a sailboat.

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