Are you someone who is considering taking sailing up as a hobby? For those looking to dive into the world of sailing, there are multiple ways in which you can get started. You can always sign up to a formal sailing school or learn from friends and family. Whichever route you choose, it always helps to understand what is involved in sailing before embarking on your journey out at sea. In this article, we have a look at some of the steps that any beginner can and should take to start your sailing journey. Read on to find out more.
1. Understand The Basic Terms
Whenever embarking on any new hobby or craft, it is essential that you familiarise yourself with basic terms. Before you even look into boat syndication or purchasing a boat, it is essential that you understand basic sailing terms. There are a number of basic sailing terms that you can look into online, all of which you should look into and familiarise yourself with prior to setting sail. Whilst there are over a dozen terms to consider, some of the most important include the Bow/Stern, Keel, Heeling, Windward and Mainsail. Knowing the meaning of all these terms will ensure that you know what you’re doing!
2. Familiarise Yourself With The Boat
Before you even get into a boat to sail, it is important that you learn all the different components and part of the boat. Some things to look into are basic boat terminology, from boat parts to boat types and every action and command you will need when you’re in the water. Ensuring you are familiar with both the boat and boating terms will make you a competent member of any boat crew. Even instructors will use boat terminology, so it is essential that you look through them and try to learn them by heart.
3. Practice Avoiding The Boom
Any good sailor will tell you that one of the first things a beginner should learn is how to avoid the boom. The boom is the horizontal pole on a boat that extends from the mast. It is not uncommon for beginners to get into accidents when they are unaware of when the boom is about to swing. In order to avoid such an accident from occurring, we suggest always paying close attention to the boom. Being hit by it can cause a cause of man overboard or in some cases, even a concussion, so always be conscious and respectful of the boom. A good thing to note is that the boom usually swings during a tack or jibe. Equipped with this knowledge, you’ll know how to avoid a disaster out at sea.
4. Purchase Appropriate Clothing
Like any other sport, it is essential that you purchase the proper clothing for sailing. The ideal sailing attire is one that shields you from the elements – think of layers, comfortable clothing and non-slip shoes. You can even purchase specialty sailing shoes online. It is usually advised that beginners also use a wet-suit under your layers and leave the fancy clothing at home. Always avoid excessive jewellery or accessories that may get caught on ropes or pose a safety risk. You could even take it one step further and purchase shirts that have sun protection built into them if you’re afraid of the harmful rays you will be exposed to.
5. Understand The Weather
We can’t stress how important it is for you to understand the weather when sailing. It is important that you look up the Beaufort scale and memorise it, as this is the scale that will give you wind and water conditions. Studying forecasting is also advised because, when you embark on sailing, you’ll be looking at weather that’s happening thousands of miles away. Understanding clouds is also a great way to predict the weather. One thing to look into is various weather phenomena, as they can occur out of the blue and unexpectedly. Knowing how to deal with waterspouts and squalls can make your sailing journey a much safer one.
6. Take A Sailing Course
Finally, one of the best ways to learn sailing is by simply taking a sailing course. After you have familiarised yourself with sailing terms, boating terminology and weather, you’ll be ready to tackle any sailing course head-on. Preparing yourself by brushing up on all these pointers will ensure that you fully understand what you are learning during your short course. Sailing courses are also a great way to learn and practice in a safe environment and build up your confidence before you set sail on your own.
We hope that this article has been useful in giving you some insight when it comes to sailing as a beginner. With a little studying and know-how, you’ll be setting sail like a pro in no time.