If you like to sail, you already know a thing or two how to handle your yacht. But for those who just start to experience sailing here are a few tips to make life a bit easier.
Check the wind
Determining where the wind is coming from is not always a simple process, especially if it has variable speed and changes direction constantly. Sailors that are serious about their undertaking need a little information, more than just a wet thumb provides. A vane of a flag can show the direction in which the wind is blowing, but a short piece of yarn attached to something on the boat will do the same thing. The waves and ripples on the water are yet another indicator.
There is really no good excuse nowadays to going sailing without having a good weather report first. Its available on your weather channel at home, on the internet and even on the radio. Sailing can depend on quality weather and you really need to understand what you are going to confront when you are out there on that particular day. You should get the weather forecast before you leave the dock, not when you depart or when you are already offshore. Get the accurate weather reports and forecasts from the internet to make sure your sailing trip will be as pleasant as you plan it to be. VHF radio marine weather forecast is handy and convenient when you are sailing and should be used.
Safe anchoring is an art in itself. There are some key issues that you want to consider whenever you are making the decision to anchor at a particular location. First, make sure you have the appropriate bottom that your anchor will hold on. Next, you need to have sufficient depth not too deep and not too shallow. You need the appropriate swing rope, meaning that when you anchor-up and the wind shifts and your boat shifts with it, you dont bang into a shoreline or another sailboat in the area. Lastly, but most importantly, you want to be sure that anchorage is on a leash or in a protected area.
Maintaining a safe vessel has to one of the key concerns of todays mariners. You should always have a first aid kit on your boat. Depending on how far and how long your cruise is going to be, you may need larger first aid kit to be self-sufficient at sea. Be sure that everyone onboard your vessel knows where the life jackets are stored prior to leaving the dock. Anyone who cannot swim should wear one at all times during your trip.
Knowing you exact location, you speed and direction is very important at sea. That is why nowadays one of the most valuable pieces of electronics you need on your yacht is a GPS navigator. The main information you want to know from it is your VMG or Velocity Made Good the speed at which you approach a waypoint. Depth sounders can help tell you the depth of water and help keep you from running into the ground, as well as determine what type of bottom is underneath you, which is good information if you wish to drop anchor.