Learning to sail – How difficult can it be?
Like many other sports, learning to sail is relatively easy. However, being very good at it takes a lot of years of study and experience. Many sailors would attest that they are still learning new things even after decades of owning a sailboat or sailing dinghy.
More than any other way of traveling over water, sailing requires active participation. Sailors say learning to sail is much like a love affair. It means not just intimately knowing every feature of your boat, but also every movement it makes as it glides through the water and interacts with the wind. It means never getting tired of learning new things even after years of sailing.
Sailing is also a good way to exercise. Sailing is a dynamic activity that involves physical exertion. If you are going to learn to sail, it is best that you are in good physical health because sailing demands a high level of strength to avoid injury on board.
If you are still reading up to this point, I am pretty sure you are interested in learning to sail. Let me help you with some of the basic things that you need to consider.
Learning to sail – Things to consider…
- Check out training options. Before doing anything major such as buying a boat, check out sailing schools for beginners in your area. You can do this by visiting local clubs and asking for their referrals. You might even find a good personal coach out there!
- Opt for a small boat. When you learn to sail, learning on a smaller boat is easier and more manageable to handle, and many say that you become a more rounded sailor, as you have to do everything to get the job done (as compared to learning on a yacht where you may only do 1 job the whole time). It is less cumbersome to navigate because it has fewer ropes and sails and reacts quicker than bigger boats.
- Set your sights on tranquil and less congested waters. If you are a beginner and not as confident yet, the best time to practice is when the weather is perfect and traffic is manageable.
- Listen to the forecast. Never go out without knowing what to expect. Even if the forecast is favorable, it is always best to bring extra clothing and ample provisions. Always be prepared just like a good scout.
- Practice capsizing. This may sound weird but we learn best through experience. You will never know when a real-life situation such as this will happen. Practicing how to handle a capsized boat in controlled environs will provide you with important learning that will come in handy when the situation arises unexpectedly.
- Learn the traffic rules. Be familiar with sailing rules such right-of-way and safe speed. This is important to avoid collisions on the water.
- Practice, practice, and practice. As I have mentioned earlier, the basics of sailing can be learned in a short span of time. However, learning to sail is a continuous process. Every time you sail, you learn a new trick or you improve on an old one. For sailors, it is one of the things that make sailing exciting – there’s always something more to learn.
The tips offered above are just few of the many ways of making your basic learning experience safer, more enjoyable and fun. Once you embark on your “learning to sail” journey, you will realize there is a whole lot more to learn. But you cannot learn these things by reading a book; you have to go out and experience it.
Sailing on a sailboat is just a different experience. You bank on the wind to move your boat to your destination and feel the rush with every blast of air. You delight in the sound of the water splashing on the hull, of the wind lashing through the sail… or the quiet of a downwind run. Seasoned mariners say, “Once a sailor, always a sailor”. They say they could never resist the call of the sea and the wind and the waves one more time. For a sailor, indeed, the taste of salt never stales.
Enjoy your learning to sail journey – it’s one that you will never forget!