Basic Sailing Skills for Newbies

Sailing is the ideal activity for people who love being at sea. If you relish in the feeling of freedom that being on a boat brings, even if you have to spend days in the middle of the vast ocean, then perhaps you should give sailing a try. Whether you can afford to buy your very own yacht, or you would like to rent a catamaran every now and then, sailing is an exhilarating marine adventure that you should definitely embark on!

Now, to get you started, here are some basic sailing skills you need to learn:

  • Read the direction of the wind – Expert sailors wind reading is actually easy, and it will come naturally once you master it. However, it can be tricky to learn. The good news? There are time-tested gadgets that can help you tell where the wind is blowing: telltales, wind vane, and the sails. You can also look out for other signs, such as smoke, flags, and other sailboats.
  • Steering the wheel – Though popularly known or called as the ship’s “wheel,” the proper term for it is actually “helm.” Similar to the steering wheel of a car, the helm controls the direction of a boat. Properly controlling the helm can take you as quickly as five minutes, or a maximum of 10. Some companies that offer yacht cruises also provide sailing lessons, where this is usually tackled and applied.
  • Trimming the sail – Knowing how to properly trim the sail is essential in controlling the speed, performance, and direction of a boat. Learn how to adjust the mainsail, headsail, or staysail so you know how you can optimise wind power and accordingly change your sails. When you rent a yacht in Dubai, try to experiment on different sail trims to get a feel of how they work.
  • Navigating the sea – Finding your way at sea is an essential skill, particularly if you plan on sailing alone in the near future. You can try what experts call the “eyeball navigation,” which is basically using what you see to set your sail. Every sailor must also have the basic tools of the trade: compass and navigation chart. Today, sailors can also rely on modern electronic positioning finding systems, including GPS and LORAN (long range navigation).
  • Understanding sailing jargons – What is a jib? Where is the starboard and port? Before you embark on a sailing adventure, make sure you have familiarised yourself with the basic nautical and sailing terms. This ensures that you are on the same page as other sailors, and you can follow and understand instructions easily.