In the last article of sailing newcomer, I went over some sailing terms related to rigging and raising the mainsail. In this sailing beginner article we’re going to discuss how to sail from day one, this being the very first day. Hopefully, the wind is only at 5 or 6 knots, which makes it easy to keep control of the sailboat, especially when this is the first time at the helm.
Sailing Tip:Also to keep things manageable, I would suggest using just the mainsail for now, it’s better to wait until you’ve gained a certain amount of expertise by using the sails individually at first.
You’ll have plenty of opportunity to use both in a later time. By the way, a tiller is the steering control mechanism on smaller sailing boats. However take note, the tiller steers in the opposite direction you will want to go. If you turn the tiller to the vent or [left] side of the ship, it will steer to the right or the starboard side. On the other hand, a ship wheel works precisely the same as the steering wheel on a vehicle. So depending on how your sailboat is equipped with a tiller or a ships wheel will determine how you will steer with it.
Sailing Tip:I would suggest learning how to sail with the wind for a while before tacking or sailing upwind.
Just bear in mind that sailing downwind is significantly faster and simpler than tacking! It’s a good reminder to be aware of the time and allow a lot of time to return to your original destination. Your next task is to trim the mainsail to the wind by using the boom block. The boom block is a sailing term that’s a set of pulleys which are connected to the end of the boom and permits you to position the boom in a variety of angles up to 90 degrees perpendicular to the mast.
Running or reaching is the sailing term for traveling downwind and based on the angle of the mainsail in relation to the end, determines if you’re running or reaching. If running, the job of the mainsail is roughly 90 degrees to the center line of the hull. However if you’re reaching, then the mainsail is at an angle less than 90 degrees in relation to the wind.
Based upon your natural abilities, you might be happy reaching at first. By experimenting with angling the boom, you may gain the necessary skills for running or reaching. But there a wide range of boom angles involving a beam reach and running downwind. The sails are eased out away from the boat, but not as much as on a run or dead run (sailing directly downwind).
Next you’ll need to turn or come about. There are basically two ways to achieve this, by tacking or turning upwind is one way, or you can jibe or turn downwind that is quicker than a tack turn. The reason being is that in a jibe turn you’ve got the wind behind you pushing the sailboat through the turn, as opposed to a turning into the wind in a tack turn. I advise you to practice both turns the tack and jibe until you feel comfortable, as you will need this ability to tack or sail upwind.
Hopefully, this article about the best way best to sail is going to be a fundamental building block in your lifelong endeavor of sailing. In my next sailing newcomer article, I will be discussing tacking, until then Happy Sailing!