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Learn How to Sail a Dinghy and Yacht - Beginners Sailing Basics

Sections: Learn to Sail How to Sail a Sailboat How to Sail a Yacht How to Navigate a Boat

This sailing how to page covers sailing dinghy types and dinghy sailing basics along with sails types. How sails work and how to sail a dinghy which is a basic sailing tutorial along with sailing a yacht. A good resource for sailing boats for beginners and a sailing how to guide.

Easy Guide to Sailing

sailing terms When beginning to learn to sail, a knowledge of the purpose of the hardware on sailboats and common sailing techniques is required. This page contains the full range of sailing terms and is key to understanding terminology used in sailing - Sailing Terms
boat parts Knowing the names of the various pieces of hardware and names of boat parts - Boat Parts
aerofoils and hydrofoils It is helpful to have an understanding of how aerofoils and hydrofoils work on a sailboat producing forward drive - Hydrofoil and Aerofoil Sailing Theory

sail making The art of sail making and how modern technology is constantly evolving the sail making process - Sails  
keel shapes types of rigs To appreciate the various type of sailing rigs from around the world and keel shapes types of rigs - Types of Rigs
Ropes, Cleats and Shackles The elements of the standing rigging  and running rigging  on a sailboat such as Ropes, Cleats and Shackles  along with the Winches and Blocks help in understanding their purpose and characteristics.
Types of Knots An important skill in sailing is the ability to tie the full range of rope knots - Types of Knots

How to Sail a Sailboat

Maritime Weather Forecasts When learing how to sail a sailboat, the first sailing experience should be on a small inland lake or a flat broad water area of the coast. Pick a day with a forecast of steady light onshore breezes and no inclement weather - Maritime Weather Forecasts
Masts and Booms The mast and boom form the supporting structure for most sails. It is important to understand the various mast rigging systems as well as the concepts such as mast rake and mast bend - Masts and Booms
Sailboat Rigging Rig and de-rig the boat at least once by yourself before proceeding on the first sail. Different types of sailboat rigging, mast stepping procedures as well as the boom fittings are contained in - Sailboat Rigging
Centreboard and Rudder The primary control for changing direction is the sailboat rudder. The adjustable center board or daggerboard’s purpose is to counteract the sailboat's tendency to drift sideways - Centreboard and Rudder
Sail Rigging Sail rigging is the next step in preparing to sail.   Rigging the jib and mainsail and how they are controlled utilizing mainsheet systems and boom fittings as well as methods to reef a sail - Sail Rigging
Launching and Recovery Launching a sailing dinghy from a shore requires a different a technique from launching from a pontoon or jetty. When launching from a shore, various elements need to be taken into account as well as an understanding of weather shore and lee shore - Launching and Recovery
Pontoons and Moorings Launching from a pontoon or mooring involves other techniques for leaving and arriving at a pontoon as well as leaving and arriving at a buoy. Pontoons and Moorings
Basic Sailing Manoeuvres Sailing basics requires practicing the basic skills such as stopping the boat along with the understanding the principal points of sailing and sailing fundamentals - Basic Sailing Manoeuvres
Tacking Changing direction into the wind is termed tacking. The tack occurs as the bow of the boat passes through the eye of the wind and is complete when sailing on the new course - Tacking
Gybing Changing direction and sailing away from the wind is termed gybing. In gybing it is the stern, rather than the bow, that turns through the wind with the mainsail staying full of wind throughout the manoeuvre - Gybing
Sail Trim Simulator To apply the theory gained so far, the Sail Trim Simulator allows you to experiment with setting the optimum trim for both the headsail and mainsail - Sail Trim Simulator
Spinnaker Systems To aid in downwind sailing, some sailing dinghies are fitted with spinnakers.  The spinnaker has evolved into the asymmetrical design, allowing high-performance sailing dinghies to carry a spinnaker on a beam reach - Spinnaker Systems
Conventional Spinnaker The conventional spinnaker rigging involves attaching the three corners to sheets and  relying on the wind’s force to keep it in position - Conventional Spinnaker
Asymmetrical Spinnakers The asymmetrical spinnakers resemble a cross between a large jib and a spinnaker and are set from a long, retractable bowsprits projecting from the bow - Asymmetrical Spinnakers
Trapeze Systems When sitting out over the transom, the crew weight keeps sailing dinghies upright, sufficient to balance the power of the sails. High-performance dinghies with larger sail areas need trapeze systems so that the crew weight is further out to increase the righting power - Trapeze Systems
Capsizing and Man OverboardWhen learning how to sail a dinghy, practice capsize procedures on a calm day. Learn to right the boat should it happen to capsize - Capsizing and Man Overboard
Dinghy Sailing Gear To retain body warmth when sailing, the dinghy sailing gear choice is between dry suits and wetsuits.  A sailing wetsuit is the means of staying warm where staying dry is not an option whereas a sailing dry suit has latex seals at the neck, wrist, and feet sealing water from the body - Dinghy Sailing Gear

How to Sail a Yacht

Yacht Rigging Starting to learn how to sail a yacht requires an overview of yacht rigging such as standing rigging and tuning along with the various sail furling systems - Yacht Rigging
acht Sail Handling How to handle sails on a yacht is the next step to setting sail. Understanding the various facets of the mainsail, headsails and spinnakers is required for good crew work - Yacht Sail Handling
Nautical Rope and Rope Work The main controls on a yacht are lengths of rope. Knowing what types of rope suit different applications and rope work, the art of tying basic knots and rope handling skills are covered by - Nautical Rope and Rope Work
Yacht Emergency Drills At sea, a potential life-threatening situation is treated as an emergency. Be prepared for any emergency by practicing the following emergency drills before setting sail - Yacht Emergency Drills
Handling Under Power The yacht now needs to be released from its mooring or berth and motor out of the marina. A different skill set is required for handling a yacht under power along with understanding ‘prop walk’ and wind and tide effects - Handling Under Power
Yacht Sailing When sailing a yacht, the skipper and crew need to experience the boat’s characteristics under different situations. How the boat drifts, the effects of sail configurations, sail balance and heaving to is covered in - Yacht Sailing
Basic Yacht Manoeuvres The procedures of the tack and gybe are the same for yachts as for dinghies but the sail handling equipment is different and the manoeuvres take longer. The procedures for different sail control along with the spinnaker broach are described in - Basic Yacht Manoeuvres
Sailing in Fog When sailing a yacht and fog descends, take steps to increase safety, the yacht’s visibility and use the correct sound signals - Sailing in Fog
Mooring and Anchoring Securing a boat without coming alongside a quay or pontoon can be done by mooring and anchoring. Moorings are laid in harbours, rivers, and bays providing convenient securing points for visiting or resident yachts - Mooring and Anchoring
Techniques for Mooring Rope and Mooring Lines Boat berthing involves the use of bow, stern and breast ropes, and bow and aft springs at a pontoon or quay. Understanding the procedure and skills required is contained in Preface to Boat Berthing and Techniques for Mooring Rope and Mooring Lines.
Marina Berthing Different types of berths present different challenges which are covered in Quay Berthing and Marina Berthing as well as Rafting Up.

How to Navigate a Boat

Basic Navigation An understanding of a few basic concepts to begin navigating such as the meaning of position, direction, distance, and depth then apply them to practical maritime navigation - Basic Navigation
IALA Maritime Buoyage System Sailing along coasts and in estuaries requires an understanding of the IALA Buoyage System. Buoyage is the system of buoys and other markers identifying features such as channels or obstructions - IALA Maritime Buoyage System
Passage Planning Passage planning starts prior to a voyage with the preparation of a detailed navigation plan estimating of the number of sailing hours, allowing for weather or other factors - Passage Planning
Maritime Navigation Rules of the Road Maritime navigation rules of the road apply to confined channels where the application of the rules prevents a collision with other vessels - Maritime Navigation Rules of the Road
Tides In tidal waters, knowing the height of the tide and the direction of the tidal stream/current is important for safe navigation- Tides
Navigation Lights Identification at night of both vessels and the IALA buoyage system involves a  standard pattern  of marine navigation lights - Navigation Lights
Pilotage Pilotage is the navigation by eye, compass, and chart, when in sight of land. Pilotage is used when entering or leaving harbour where an error of a few boat's lengths can be critical – Pilotage
Shaping a Course Navigating is setting a course to steer from departure point to destination and known as shaping a course, and is a vital skill for safe navigation offshore – Shaping a Course
Fixing a Position When plotting the estimated position on a passage, errors occur, making the position doubtful. Periodically the navigator fixes the position of the yacht relative to known landmarks or features – Fixing a Position
Plotting a Position Records of the course steered, distance run, times of course alterations, and the leeway experienced is used in plotting Estimated Position on the chart - Plotting a Position

learning the basics of sailing and easy guide to sailing