6 Essentials of Sailing

Sailing demands a lot of preparation and concentration. There are a lot of skills that one needs to learn before engaging into the sailing world. Here are 6 essentials regarding sailing that you need to grasp in order to ensure the safest trip for your family and friends. Make sure to check these essentials whenever you change course.

Boat Balance

Wind is very dangerous in the sailing sphere. You have to keep your sailboat balanced at all times. If you sail too close to the wind the heeling effect will increase and in order to keep your sailboat upright you need to use your body to shift the weight. The latter is achieved by sitting on the deck, depending on the wind's direction, so that you can counter balance and reduce the heeling effect.

When on a yacht, in order to keep the yacht balanced all you have to do is to steer the rudder to keep the yacht on course, as a result the boat will slow down giving you the chance to refine your bearings.

Sail Trim/Setting

Whatever sail you have set, jib, mainsail or spinnaker, it has to pull until it fills with the wind, that’s until the front edge of the luff is in line with the wind. If it starts to flap a little bit just pull it gently.

Fore Trim and Aft Trim

How the weight of the crew is distributed is of utmost importance. The idea is to shift the weight towards the winds as much as possible. The latter isn’t easy to master but with some practice and determination it can be overcome. This depends on whether the course is an upwind or a downwind one. In the former scenario than the crew has to stay forward, if the latter’s the case than the crew should shift their weight on the rear of the boat.

The Position of the Centerboard

This technique is to prevent leeway as much as possible. Leeway happens when the yacht is pushed sideways because of the force acted on the sails by wind. To eliminate this problem you need a centerboard (or keel). The type of keel depends on how old the yacht is . The center board prevents the yacht from shifting sideways and hence allowing it to sail upwind. As mentioned before there are various types of centerboards or permanent keels but eventually they are used for the same purpose. The yacht may even have a permanent keel and in some yachts the work to prevent leeway, is done by the hull itself.

Course Made Good

Maybe the most important thing to do before setting sail is to plan your journey well by finding the safest and quicker route to reach your destination. The ideal course should form a straight line but this is not always possible. Remember prevention is better than cure thus it's better to avoid certain risks to ensure a better trip.

First Aid

Always remember to keep a first aid kit on your yacht and to have a functional radio (CB) to call for help. Don’t take this lightly because sailing is dangerous to the non-prepared.