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A Beginner's Guide To Sailing

Updated on October 15, 2013

What You Need To Start Sailing

Sailing is a fantastic hobby that offers excitement and adventure.

Some people think that this is the preserve of the rich and famous, but that isn't true. You can easily take lessons and rent a craft, or take a holiday on a vessel.

The important thing is that if you have an interest and want to do something life is short and so you should go ahead and do it!

Find out how to get into this dynamic sport and what kind of equipment you need.

Sailing
Sailing

Taking Up Sailing

If you live in the United Kingdom or a part of the world that has access to seas, waterways or large lakes, it makes sense to get involved in boating. Some people think that this is the preserve of the rich and famous, but that isn't true. You can easily take lessons and rent a craft, or take a holiday on a vessel. The important thing is that if you have an interest and want to do something life is short and so you should go ahead and do it!

If sailing is the thing that you looking at consider these points. A small boat is best for beginners. For starters, it's much easier to learn how to manage it when there are fewer lines and fewer sails. Smaller craft are also a lot more responsive. If you can, begin on one that has just one sail. This makes it very easy much less complicated.

When you are starting out either with your own boat or with an instructor always make sure that you go into calmer waters. As well, you should go into relatively peaceful waters, ones that are not crowded. It's much easier to practice as a beginner in conditions like this when there are a very light winds and little traffic about.

Before you begin, take some time to find a good book or website that will let you familiarise yourself with the basics. Learn all the terms so that you can find your way around the boat. Another good reason for learning special words is that when your instructor tells you what to do you need to understand what they are saying. So, for example, be sure to understand what port, starboard, aft and fore mean.

It goes without saying that with any interest or sport you must pay attention to the basic safety rules and the same thing applies here. Don't go anywhere without telling someone where you are going and what time you will return. Ideally you should know how to swim. And you should always have some kind of flotation device with you and know where it is stored on the boat. There are many websites and books dedicated to safety practices and you should familiarise yourself with such practices them before you go.

One of the most basic safety things you can pay attention to so that it becomes habitual is taking notice of the boom - the long pole that runs along the bottom edge of a fully rigged sale. The boom is often the subject of jokes in comedy sketches, but when someone is hit with it it's no laughing matter. This piece of equipment is the cause of the most common injuries in sailing and they come about because people are not aware when the boom is about to swing. If you don't want to be hit on the head or knocked overboard remain aware of this piece of equipment all the time and make sure you know when it's going to swing.

If you are going out onto the sea it is very important that you check the tide times. And whatever body of water you going onto take a look at the weather and wind conditions. You need to take a look at the forecast. If you're a novice and a storm is forecast don't risk it. If the weather is going to be changeable but not too severe then you should be okay. However, whatever the environment, take Oakley sunglasses so that you have crisp vision when there is dazzle and glare.

You need to be sure that you protect yourself and take care of yourself or your children if they are the ones who are getting into sailing. Having the right kind of clothing is important. Weather conditions on bodies of water can change quite quickly, so you need to have layers and be able to get warm quickly or cool down quickly. A hat is good, ideally one with a strap so it won't blow away. Waterproof jackets are important and sometimes even protective trousers. Nonslip, flat and comfortable shoes are a must, as are sunglasses.

As with anything else, you are only going to be good at this new hobby if you practice and become familiar with your equipment. The best sailors are people who can quickly adjust the rigging et cetera so that they can take advantage of the weather conditions and the currents. The general rule of thumb is that they should be flat when the wind is light very strong and full when there is a moderate breeze. The more you practice, the more adept you will become, and the more you will enjoy your journeys on lakes or seas.

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