Sailing is touted as one of the best activities in the world.
Steering your own ship amidst the wide expanse of the crystal blue sea can give you freedom, relaxation, and an adrenaline rush.
But to beginners, sailing may appear to be a complicated feat. Though it might take you years of practice to become a pro, you can have a smooth sailing experience with the right tips and guidance.
Here are a few sailing tips that will help you in your first days in the water.
1. Get Familiar with Basic Sailing Terms
As a beginner, you should probably read up about sailing and the common terms used when you’re out in the sea. When you’re well-acquainted with the common sailing terminology, you’ll be able to easily understand what your instructor is trying to tell you and communicate with other boaters, making the experience a lot easier.
Some beginner nautical terms you should know are:
- Aft- back of the ship
- Bow- front of the ship
- Port- left side of the boat when you are facing the bow
- Starboard- right side of the boat when you are facing the bow
- Windward- the direction in which the wind is blowing
- Leeward- the opposite direction to the current wind
2. Take All Mandatory Boat Equipment
While the correct attire is important for experts too, beginners should be especially careful about what to wear when they’re on their sailboat. A life jacket is a must for all sailors to ensure safety in case something goes wrong. You would also need rubber-soled shoes to avoid slipping on a watery deck and possibly injuring yourself. You should carry appropriate equipment like water-resistant bags to ensure your belongings remain safe.
Since you want to make your experience as pleasant as possible, make sure you carry a water bottle, food and basic medicines should you experience nausea or seasickness.
3. Avail Professional Experience
You won’t become a sea dig overnight and it will likely take years of practice. However, even when you’re starting off, avoid teaching yourself when on the water. This is not only dangerous but can be time-consuming as well. While you can pick up basic instructions from self-help sailing books and guides, you should always enroll in sailing lessons with a professional to master the art of safe sailing. The good news is, there are lots of affordable sailing lessons that you can sign up for!
4. Start in Isolated Waters
An important tip for beginner sailors is to start off in calm, isolated waters where there is less risk. It can be hard for a novice to maneuver their boat around yachtsmen who know what they are doing; you might place their safety and yours in jeopardy! Similarly, begin by sailing in calm water. The rough sea can be a challenge even for the best of sailors, so beginners should steer clear! Start in waters where the crowd and winds are low.
5. Start with A Small Boat
As a beginner, you should always start sailing on a smaller boat. This will be more manageable and perfect your sailing skill better. A smaller boat will also be easier to deal with if your boat capsizes, which is almost inevitable at some point. Once you master the art of sailing, you can always move on to bigger boats.
6. Test Capsize
Before you start venturing into waters on your own, you should try out a test-capsize with the assistance of an expert who can tell you what to do. While it is scary to think about it, all sailors will capsize at some point in their sailing journey. Therefore, it is always better to be prepared before the situation presents itself in front of you in open waters!
7. Know the Navigation Rules In your Area
Just like there are certain traffic rules, there are guidelines when you’re out in the sea. Before you set out sailing, it is important to be familiar with the nautical rules of that specific area. This will help prevent collisions or any other accidents. Beginners often think that sailing allows them a free pass to maneuver the boat in whichever direction they want. However, this is untrue! You should always know the right of way to prevent any mishaps.
Sailing in the open sea can be a relaxing experience. But when you’re out in the waters, safety should be your top priority. If you follow these simple sailing tips for beginners, you can ensure you enjoy a smooth sailing experience, mitigating chances of any accidents.