Sailing can be a fun and satisfying activity whether you dream of sailing around the world someday or just enjoying the water and sky. It takes time and practice to become a skilled sailor, but it is definitely worth it as the popularity of the sport attests.
While some may think of sailing as an activity for coastal regions, this sport can be enjoyed almost anywhere there is sufficient water. Keep reading to learn how to sail, even if you aren’t within cruising distance of the coast.
Dress in warm and water resistant attire and wear a life jacket.
Learn the parts of a sailboat. For example, you will need to identify that the boom is the horizontal bar and the mast is the large vertical bar. You should know that the main sail is the large sail and the halyard is the rope for raising and lowering the sail.
Begin with small crafts and work your way up when learning to sail. Smaller boats are not built for long-distance travel, but they can be great for tooling around in smaller bodies of water and gaining knowledge of how the wind affects almost every aspect of this sport.
Move the tiller (used in smaller boats) in the opposite direction of that which you wish the boat to go. In other words, if you wish to go left, push the tiller toward the right, or starboard, side of the boat; to turn right, shift the tiller to the left, or port, side of the boat.
Learn to read the wind. It's something that only time and experience can really teach, but definitely something you should pay close attention to as a beginner. You will need to adjust the sails to best take advantage of the wind.
Learn to stop. Stopping a sailboat is not like stopping a bike or car. There is a certain degree of momentum involved, and the wind doesn't seem to heed the call of man and stop on cue. One good method for stopping is pointing the boat straight into the wind (or as much as possible) and heading for shore. The hope is that you are merely coasting as you approach the shore (the absence of wind in your sails should help with that). The beach will draw you to a complete stop.