Beginners’ Sailing Guide
Is it your first time to experience unforgettable holiday afloat? Then you are lucky enough to know that you are reading the most useful sailing guide for beginner sailors, a manual that will protect you from avoiding common mistakes that may lead to irreparable causes.
For most of us, sailing sounds like a difficult holiday option, since various factors contribute to creating different circumstances for the sailors and the crew, who always have to conform to each environment, so as to ensure a pleasant and funny trip. Nevertheless, things can indeed become easier, as long as the basic sailing “rules” are respected and the crew is always alert to deal with any problem that may occur.
The main purpose of this manual is, basically, to sharpen your mind and make you aware of everything that you have to keep in mind, when planning holiday afloat ˙ that is some basic information about sailing, actions to take before the departure or while mooring and anchoring, how to tackle with possible troubles, etc.
The Basics in Sailing
Obviously, a beginner sailor has undoubtedly to know all the required nautical terms that are provided throughout the educational procedure that must have been fulfilled before the trip. These terms are going to be really useful, so that the sailors can understand the positioning and the functional system of the sailing boat and of course, this knowledge will be determinant in case of an emergency.
Such terms are:
- Nautical Mile (NM)
- Magnetic North
- GPS, and others that indicate the position of the sailing boat in the sea ˙
- Front / back / left / right of the boat or Bow / Stern / Port / Starboard of the boat
- Mast and Sails
- The jib sail
- The boom
- The mainsheet
- Windward and leeward side
- The telltales
- The winch, and others that indicate the “anatomy” of the boat ˙
- How to sail in strong winds or upwind ˙
- How to make knots.
If the sailor has caught a glimpse of the terms above, then it would be a good idea to practice his/her knowledge, trying short holiday afloat in, as possible, calm waters.
A crucial matter when it comes to sailing preparation is definitely the weather. A sailor has to be always up to date with the latest weather forecast of the region of sea that he/she is going to sail, so as to be properly prepared to deal with any circumstances.
The Beaufort Scale
As long as the “theoretical” part is fully completed, a first-time sailor has to ensure that the required amenities of the boat are sufficiently provided. In this framework, the sailor and the crew have to:
- Check safety features /equipment (safety briefing, lifejackets, first aid kit, torch, binoculars, flares, fire extinguisher, knife, VHF, life raft)
- Ensure food provisions, depending on the duration of vacation. Focus on snacks and food that can easily be stored and preserved.
Sailing itself doesn’t seem to be that simple. It requires respect to the elements of nature and to the conventions of sailing inshore and offshore.
Depending on the points of sail, the trip can be differentiated. Therefore, the sailor has to know how to steer accurately and of course to recognize when a sail is correctly trimmed. Inevitably, every sailor has also faced the “challenge” of manoeuvres, which are essential, for example when entering or leaving a marine, though they are being differentiated by the wind blow.
Tips to pay attention while sailing:
- Take care of your skin, as mainly in Greece the sun is burning hot. Always use sunscreen and protect yourself from the dangerous sunrays, with hats, sunglasses, etc.
- Everything is better, when the boat is neat and all the things are in its place. This way, injuries and accidents are more efficiently avoided.
- Mind the boom, it can cause serious damages!
- Especially, when there are kids on board, the crew has to maximize the safety rules, so as to ensure an ultra-pleasant trip!
When it comes to a collision while sailing, there is a general dominant rule: the blame is apportioned. Both parts should have paid more attention and have noticed the “opposite” boat sailing towards them.
And when a problem occurs while sailing? Of course, it happens. The main characteristic of a good sailor is the ability to handle it, while ensuring that the members of the crew remain safe.
A problem can be differentiated and cause more or less serious damages. A fire, a plastic bag stuck in the propeller, a tangled anchor, an engine problem or even injuries of the crew, are example that prove that a sailor needs to acquire skills, like adaptability and quick decision making, so as to handle every possible situation. Remaining calm and following the instructions provided for every case, contribute to a very pleasant, happy end!
In general, it is obvious that sailing for the first time is not an easy case, since the sea and the unpredictable factors that may occur contribute to creating different sailing circumstances each time. Therefore, some useful advice could be:
- Choose a smaller boat for your first trip, so as to learn how to sail with less lines and sails.
- Better travel in calm and less crowded waters. It will be easier to practice and test your skills, while sailing or maneuvering.
- ALWAYS try to practice as much as you can. No manual or theoretical guide will show you the way better than a real-life sailing experience.
And, while sailing can be a very adventurous and entertaining hobby, sailors have to continuously care about environment protection, which is very often set in danger due to numerous of rubbish that are being thrown in the seas. Plastic, cigarettes, glass, metals and liquids can extremely harm the beauty that each one of us seeks to enjoy, a problem that is often maximized by the bad habits of sailors.
So, keeping always in mind that sailors — and especially the beginner ones — have to respect the “rules” of a holiday trip afloat, we hope that we have provided a manual with useful advice, so that you can be always alert in case of an emergency. The goal is to collect as many as possible adventurous and exciting memories to remember, and therefore our goal was to ensure that.