Steering a sailboat – an instruction for beginners

Sailing a yacht is not just entertainment, but sport and science in one bottle. Therefore everyone who asks how to sail should be ready to diligently and attentively learn the art of sailing. That being said, everyone can learn how to sail a yacht. And having mastered this skill professionally, you can simultaneously combine leisure and ship management, enjoying the warm sun and the sea air.

The sea is a harsh element that does not forgive mistakes and can become both a loyal friend and a dangerous foe. For the splashing waves and a light sea breeze bring you real pleasure and the conquest of the sea was safe and easy, you should consider such an interesting hobby as ship management.

How to steer a sailboat

steering sailboat
steering sailboat

Managing a sailing yacht is a certain action of the rudder, the sails, driving the vessel in the necessary direction. There are quite a several yachts by type, but they all have 4 key elements, each of which plays a role in her stability and directional motion on a particular course. These include:

  • hull,
  • sail,
  • keel (centerboard),
  • rudder.

These elements always interact with each other, and their combination in different versions defines the character of the boat. They must, by their design, help the ship to move on a given course.

Rules of steering a sailing boat

Steering a yacht is not as difficult as it seems, it is only necessary to memorize some rules and hone your skills to automatism, then this process will be a pleasant pastime or a sporting hobby.

steering a boat
steering a boat

The main rules:

  1. The rudder action is possible only when the boat is moving forward or backward (when drifting sideways, the rudder is not engaged).
  2. The boat may move when the forces in the sail are applied, or when the oars or the engine are used. When the forces that propel the boat cease to act, the boat stops moving after a certain period.
  3. The wind is a changeable phenomenon, it constantly changes its direction and intensity.
  4. Sailing involves three possible options:
  • movement on a tack, but when there is the possibility of some change (sharp or full courses),
  • maneuvering (overstretch, gybe),
  • drift (controlled or not controlled).

Any training related to learning sailing techniques should begin in the daytime, in an area free from other boats, with the light wind, not more than 6 m/s, and its intensity up to 3 points.

sailing steering
sailing steering

An experienced instructor will always help you faster master the art of yachting, as well as timely and correct the actions of the trainee. Before the command: “Moorings out!”, it is necessary to make sure the safety and reliability by checking the serviceability of both the equipment of the yacht itself and the presence of life jackets on the entire crew, determine the wind direction, as well as to conduct a preliminary briefing with the crew.

Starting to steer

To be able to turn the boat with the bow to the wind, it is necessary to use the existing stock of inertia and the possibility of shifting the rudder, though not much, to steer the boat. Then as soon as possible select the halyards and raise the sails themselves. The tension of the Bolt rope, jib, and boom should be as high as possible. When the sails are in working position, the boat should be turned to the left or right by 45 degrees or more against the wind, and then the halyards should be selected. When the sails are shaped close to the correct aerodynamic shape, they will have a thrust that propels the boat forward.

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