Once the primary mode of transportation and exploration, sailing remains a popular recreational activity and sport to this day. If you are interested in learning how to sail a yacht, you might want to consider taking sailing lessons at your local sailing club. There are quite a few things to learn and here are some of the basics.
Often it is easy to start your sailing learning experience on a small multi-crew boat (a four-person boat, for example), because then you get a personal assignment and you can learn how the boat operates one step at a time, while you do not have to get away from the dock and back by yourself.
Most people believe that sailboats can only sail when the wind is blowing from behind. This is far from being accurate. Going upwind, which is going as close to the wind as you can is called tacking. At the same time, going downwind is called jibing and is somewhat more complicated and requires practice. There are a lot of terms overall, but you can learn them pretty fast during your sailing lessons.
The best way to learn is to sail a smaller boat at first, so that you have to do a lot of things compared to sailing on a big boat, where you do a lot less, because the crew is bigger. That way you get the feel of how the boat actually operates at sea. Each person on a crew has a responsibility and if they do not do it, then the boat wont sail. Here are a few tips on the basics of sailing and what can you expect on your maiden voyage.
- First things first, put up the main sail. Your main source of propulsion will be, of course, the wind, and sails will help you catch it an drive your sailboat forward.
- Second, take control of the rudder. Rudder is a vertical metal or wooden plate that controls the steering of the boat. Without a rudder you wont be able to guide your boat into the right direction. Controlling the rudder may alos take some time and can be not quite natural for most people.
- And third, beware of the boom. As stated on the wiki page boom is a spar (pole), along the foot (bottom edge) of a fore and aft rigged sail, that greatly improves control of the angle and shape of the sail. In simple words, its that horizontal pole that often changes sides of the boat and can hit you on the head and push you overboard while doing it, so be careful.
Some basic courses can take about 50 hours (couple of weeks) of sailing lessons. You will learn the basics of sailing and gain valuable experience of actually sailing a boat. After that you may continue mastering your sailing skills on your own or stay with your friends at your sailing club.