7 Basic Rules of Safe Sailing

The Belief: Sailing is an adventure! I am in love with the sea & the concept “Sailing” is simply fascinating!

The Reality: Sailing is not that cool as safety is not guaranteed! It might be crazy on-board burdened with many mini-crises & conditions.

The “SAIL” Factor:

  • Identifying what’s likely to occur
  • Assessing the complex weather system
  • Assessing pre-collisions
  • Applying navigation nuances at the right time

What it looks like:

Well, it might look like a playbook seeing the dingy experts in the sea when it comes to control while on sails. But this adrenaline sport can get very dangerous if you are new to it. Sailboats differ in terms of size, keel type, the types of hull & configuration, speed, the number of sails it covered, usage and purpose. So are the sailing basics, rules and manoeuvring techniques of handling waves for sailing in the big seas.

The Factors of Sail:

Strong winds – cold & freezing sometimes, lightning bolt, thunderstorms, severe waves are some of the dangerous conditions might spell out worst even for a passionate skilful sailor. These goose pumps are enough to lose out strength to endure longer steering the boat with an attempt to negotiate enough on the huge waves, unless you are an extraordinary competent sailor, to prepare for tracks and jostle your way against the wind. Waves behave differently in light winds, speed winds and strong winds, for which your boats needs to be manoeuvred in order to steer around. It’s important to perfect your steering balance when you are sailing in the waves.

No boat is 100% optimized for sails. What make it to a success are the tactical decisions you take just at the right time. The knowledge of the sea, the motor functioning and body weight balance & setting onto sail and other techniques can minimise risks and set sail smooth. To know more, let’s explore the set of 7 general rules of boat sailing you need to be familiar with to get you started.

#1. Start with positioning a boat: 

When you start off, it depends on the wind direction how you treat your boat. Figure out if your anchor needs another bungee or more lashings to keep it in place. Begin with the bow and work aft (the back of the ship). The winds tend to increase the further you sail. To make the current favourable across the height upwind, use the rudder to turn the ship and steer through the waves.

#2.  Position the Tiller Extension          

Tiller steering boats are simple to operate with outboard motor but basically handled depending on the weight and boat length. As you speed into the waves, your position & moves will also change depending on the type of steering you take. The tiller re-directs the water pass through the hull to create motions that aids to course changes. The helm should sit up by the side of the boat to stay alert of how much the boat is tilting. The general rule is:

  • Sit on the side of the boat
  • Position yourself as far as you can from the centreline
  • Hold tiller extensions with a microphone grip

#3.    Turning the boat

In order to turn the sail boat towards the desired direction, the first rule is to detect the direction of the wind. Else it might end up capsizing the boat in case it’s breezy. To turn the boat at your pace, there are three general turns:

  1. Tacking- This is done when the wind is ahead of you on one side. In this case, if the wind is blowing ahead such as port or left, and you turn the boat across the wind to the left & when the wind is on the other side , you turn it to right.
  2. Gybing- If the wind is behind you at one side (port or starboard) so you turn the boat right so that the rear part of the ship crosses the wind and again the wind comes behind you the other side (port or starboard) you turn right.
  3. Close-hauled- In this case, there’s no crossing of wind direction. Rather, you turn right having the sails close-hauled with the wind on one side (port or starboard), with wind on your port side.

#4. Boat Handling

Always keep the mast upright pointed at the sky. It is wise to work out a plan for boat handling across all major potential situations. In lighter sea conditions, it’s smart to use as little rudder as possible to steer which means more usage of the heel angle to aid the rudder function. While in strong breeze, it’s vital to get the boat upright. If you are willing to change the course, know the course first. Anticipate other boats nearby while maintaining a steady pace enough to get through the wind. Reduce the risk of capsize by simply tacking around rather than gybe.

#5. Steering Lessons

Once the boat starts moving on water, make sure you are positioned and sitting by the side of the boat towards the direction of the wind, just opposite to the sail. This is to keep the boat balanced by going across the wind against sails that keeps the boat balance in terms of weight on one side and the boat heel         or lean over on the other side.  This will also prevent the boat from capsizing.

#6.  Trim the sail

Use sheets for trimming while sailing against the wind. For perfect trimming, let out the mainsheet in a way that the mainsail is perfectly close to the wind and continue the same, until you tighten the mainsheet to adjust directions till the time it stops luffing. The more you sail close to the wind, the more you pull in the sheets. With experience, you can adjust the sails, switch sides and balance the boat for well-trimmed sails.

#7. Navigation techniques & nuances:

It’s not the best move or rule applied to always but the sense applied playfully when it comes to sails. The nuances of sailing also depend on certain smart skills, confidence and I.Q applied by the sailor. Make it or break it in the moment – an exceptional sailor knows which rule applies in the present track or when to withdraw from a given situation that gets the boat around a favourable current.

Sailing might sound like a game of adventure & fun to many sport-oriented people but not many are real sailors on water paradise when it comes to sails.  Think ahead of time, stay prepared, apply what’s ideal at specific situations or crisis- this is such an adrenaline drive sport; if not played by skillful hands equipped with rules & tactics of sailing, the expedition might turn dangerous.

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