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Learn to Sail

Updated on August 26, 2019

Lear to Sail

Sailing Basics
Sailing Basics | Source

Learning the Basics of Sailing

Learn the basics of sailing online by using the resources below. They won't make you a master mariner but they will familiarize you with the basic principles and common terminology of the sport and get you sailing as fast as possible. Sailing is a lot of fun and, although it takes a lifetime to master, learning the basics is simple and easy when you use the guides below. Take the class and get out on the water!

Online Sailing Simulator

Lear to Sail Online
Lear to Sail Online

Bernoulli Principle Explained

Learning to trim your sails

On a sailboat your sails are your engine that propel your vessel across the water so learning to work these engines properly is an important skill that you need to work at developing. Sails work on exactly the same principle as an airplane wing i.e. the famous Bernoulli principle. In order to get your boat moving you have to angle your sails correctly to the wind to generate forward movement. Fortunately for you there is an excellent, online sail trim simulator that can help you learn the correct position of the sail relative to the direction of the wind. If you only learn this one skill, you will have gone a very long way to becoming a good sailor. Practice trimming your sails by using the simulator in the module to the right.

If you want an explanation as to what exactly the Bernoulli principle is and how it makes your sailboat move forward of your airplane lift up into the sky, there is also a video below. Don't be put off or intimidated by the video, you don't need to understand the exact science.

How Important Is Sail Trim?

The most common argument on a boat is how to set the sails. One sailor is yelling to 'sheet in' while another is hollering to let them out. Because you are constantly changing the direction of the vessel and because the wind is always shifting, the sails are moved around a lot so spend as many hours as possible on the simulator and become familiar with the right position to put your sails in.

Animated Knots

Animated Knots
Animated Knots

Learn to Tie Knots

On a sailboat you mostly use ropes to control your sails and to tie your boat to the dock. Before you start sailing you probably think sure there are lots of different knots in this old world, but one knot is pretty much as good as another, right? Nope. I could go into a long explanation about why some knots are better for some jobs than others but this page is about teaching you the basic skills that you need to get you started sailing as fast and as safely as possible. The knot that you will probably use the most is called the bowline and it’s used to secure the ropes to your sails.

Note: On a boat, ropes are called various things including lines, sheets and halyards.

Avoiding Collision at Sea

Boating Rules of the Road
Boating Rules of the Road

Boating Rules of the Road

Rule 1: Don’t hit anything, especially another vessel. Just like when you are driving your car, there are road rules for boats too and learning them is VERY important. A cautionary note – some boaters never bother to learn the road rules and some just refuse to obey them so, although it’s vital that YOU know and obey them, always remember rule number 1, avoid collision. Right is a link to a very good, online, animated guide to learning the boating road rules.

Sailing Game

Practice Sailing
Practice Sailing

Practicing Your Sailing Skills

This simple, online sailing game might look like a children's game but I assure you that it is much more. It is, in fact, also a valuable tool for anyone of any age that is learning to sail. And just like sailing, it is also a lot of fun for the whole family. Understanding how the boat steers and what effect the position of the sails has on the way the boat moves is critical to having safe fun on the water. This game will not only make you a better sailor but it will also give you an excuse to play a video game for hours on end.

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How To Sail Video Tutorial

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Dale Anderson


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    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      9 months ago from The High Seas

      Thanks Peggy! I made that hub article because, when I was learning ho sail, there wasn't really much help out there... unless you count all of the people that would help you for lots of money. So, as I find free, useful resources, I add them here. I really hope that it helps other people get out on the water safely.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 months ago from Houston, Texas

      It is good that you are sharing this information with others in that case. Many people might be able to learn a bit easier as to how to sail a boat.

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      12 months ago from The High Seas

      Peggy, oddly enough, an awful lot of boaters that I know didn't realize these kinds of resources were available for folk. In fact, in all of the boating classes, courses, lectures, etc. that I have attended, not once has anyone mentioned these resources. That's pretty much what inspired me to make this article, to let others know about the help that is out there.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      When my uncle learned how to sail, there were no online courses such as there are today. I did not even know that they existed until reading this. It is not too surprising with everything else that is on the Internet. This would be very useful for those who wish to learn how to sail a boat.

    • profile image

      Anika Diaries 

      5 years ago

      Thanks @GetitScene. Try it out. It is super delicious.

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      5 years ago from The High Seas

      Glad you liked it. Just read your carrot dessert recipe, sounds delicious!

    • profile image

      Anika Diaries 

      5 years ago

      This was something really new and interesting for me. Enjoyed reading it.

      Bookmarked the animated knots. They are so much fun to watch and I learnt few of them too. Voted up!

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      5 years ago from The High Seas

      Honestly I am baffled by that myself. Da Vinci even washed out on this and he understood water movement so hell if I know. Nice observation by the way.

    • aethelthryth profile image


      5 years ago from American Southwest

      As all my boating experience is whitewater rafting and kayaking, I learned a lot from this! So if sails work on the same principle as an airplane wing, how come it took mankind so long to invent airplane wings?


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