Need to learn some sailing basics? Beginners know sailing can be relaxing, but few consider that it’s also deadly. That’s why understanding proper sailing practices, procedures, and terminology is paramount.
You need to know what to do and how to do it when conditions become dangerous.
We’ve compiled a list to help you get started. Below you’ll find the sailing essentials every boating enthusiast needs to know. When you’re ready to learn the fundamentals, so you’ll feel safe when conditions get rough, read on.
Sailing Basics: Tacking and Jibbing
To turn your boat away from the wind, you’ll “jib.” Tell your crew what you’re doing before you begin. Do this by saying, “Ready to jib!”
Then, begin turning your boat. Next, say, “Boom coming across!” Next, pull the main mass to the side in which you’re turning. Finally, let out the main and trim the jib on the leeward side.
You use tacking when you turn your boat into the wind. Begin by trimming the new jib sheet. Turn until your sails fill, and you’re on your desired trajectory.
Continue the turn as the luff of your sail. Release your jib sheet. Now it’s time for you and your crew to switch sides on the boat.
Let your crew know by saying, “Ready to tack!” Follow it up with, “Tacking!” Finish by turning your sailboat into the wind.
Basic of Sailing: Terminology
When you learn to sail, you’ll be assailed with dozens of new terms. Get used to saying them aloud. You’ll need them to communicate with your crew in the future.
Bow: The front of the boat. Anything in this area is in the “forward” section of the boat.
Aft: The back of the boat. Things in this section are “astern.”
Prop: A boat prop is what sailors call boat propellers. Yep, to learn how to sail a boat in this day and age, you’ll need to learn how to operate a boat motor. You’ll use it, if at no other time, then when you dock and undock.
Port: The left side of the boat. If you confuse which side is port and which is starboard, remember the word “left” and the word “port” have the same number of letters.
Starboard: If you buy a boat, you’ll need to know the terms that sailors use in place of “left” and “right.” Starboard is used in place of the word, “right.” Anything on the right-hand side of the boat is on the starboard side.
Point of Sail: The direction in which the boat is pointing relative to the wind. Those include reaching, running, and close-hauled sailing.
Helm: The location in which you steer your boat. This location might include a huge wheel or a small tiller, depending on the type of boat you own.
Now that you’ve learned a few nautical terms and other sailing basics, you see just how easy it can be. If you learn these tonight, you can impress your sailing friends the next time you’re out on the water. Happy sailing!
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