Learn to Sail Basic

An Outline of the skills involved in learning to sail a small boat.

Nuts and bolts overview for IUP Sailing Club
* May 2012*
* US Sailing Online Primer – http://www.sailingcourse.com/primer_html.htm*
* Monkey See – Sailing Videos – http://www.monkeysee.com/play/11341-sailing*

Wind Awareness

  • Sail boats cannot sail directly into the wind.
  • Knowing where the wind is coming from allows you to control your boat.
  • Wind direction shifts often, especially from lakes; use your senses to keep oriented.

Sail Trim

  • Sails usually power the boat most efficiently when they have a gentle curve, something like the shape of an airplane wing.
  • Find the right “angle” by letting out the sail until it begins to flap (luff), then trimming it back in.
  • When you change the boats angle on the wind (by steering) or when the wind direction itself changes, you will need to adjust your sail trim.

Points of Sail

Direction Changes: Tacking and Jibing

  • Tacking – Sailing up wind requires a zig-zagging procedure we call tacking.

    The key to successful tacking is being able to coast through the “no-go” zone without loosing momentum. You steer the front (bow) of the boat through the wind pretty quickly, ducking under the sail/boom, and settling onto your new tack.

US Sailing Tacking Video – http://www.videos.sailingcourse.com/sb-tack.htm

  • Jibing – Beginners often avoid jibing. Jibing is a quick, powered movement; the key is to anticipate when the boom will shift and HELP IT across the boat by sheeting in and then preparing to let it out again quickly.
    Puddle Ducks are relatively stable when jibing in moderate winds. In a lively boat or higher winds, the skipper and crew must be prepared to move quickly to the new windward side in order to keep the boat balanced.

US Sailing Jibing Video – http://www.videos.sailingcourse.com/jibing.htm

Stopping and Starting

  • Safety Position

    On most points of sail, you can let out the sail to slow down or stop. On Puddle Ducks, you can always let the sail out to stop if there’s danger.

  • Stuck in irons; If you sail into the no-go zone, your boat will stop or may even sail slowly backwards.
    To recover from this position, you push the boom and tiller BOTH in the direction you want to end up sailing. Your boat will slowly back and turn. Then trim in the sail and you’re off. Getting out of Irons – image – http://www.kevanesails.com/article_irons.php
  • Trimming in the sails Be conscious of the angle of wind on your sails. Sails should have a pleasing wing-like shape. Find your trim by letting (easing) out the sail until it begins to flap (luff), then trim it back in slightly.

Overboard and capsize recovery

  • Person overboard

    Sail a figure-eight back to your person overboard;
    then head into the wind and luff the sails to haul him/her back on board;
    Usually it is safest to bring them over the rear (transom). Right a capsized boat by firmly stepping/pulling on the centerboard. If you have crew, one member should hold up the mast (to keep the boat from inverting totally); then when you’re ready to right the boat, the crew position him/herself to be scooped back in.

It can sometimes be necessary to lower the sail before you can right a boat.[US Sailing Capsize Recover Video – http://www.smallboat.sailingcourse.com/capsizerecovery.htm] (http://www.smallboat.sailingcourse.com/capsizerecovery.htm)

Parts of the sailboat

Parts of the sail – http://www.ashoreschool.com/Lesson%204.html
Part of the boat – http://www.ashoreschool.com/Lesson%202.html


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