Do you like the feeling of being free, getting up close to nature and forgetting about life on land?
Sailing lets you immerse yourself in the elements with only your dreams on the horizon. Using all parts of your body, the boat, wind and sea you will get the feeling of gliding over the water with nothing there to stop you.
A real rush of adrenalin will get you feeling great for days.
Sailing is not just for people with lots of money or the really competitive, its a great part of a healthy lifestyle and can be just a relaxing time spent out on the water exporling rivers, beaches and secret spots that can only be accessed by water.
Do you like the sound of being in a secluded bay with only the sea and beaches in sight? Diving off the bow of the boat to explore what the sea has to offer? Or entering a race and exploiting your competitive nature? Sailing can offer all of these.
What is Sailing?
A sailing boat basically consists of a hull, mast, boom, rudder, dagger board and sail / sails and some ropes in between.
With some good tuition and a bit of practice rigging a boat can be simple and quick, getting you out on the water in a hassle free and safe way. The principals of sailing are pretty simple:
✓ keep the boat as flat as possible
✓ keep the sails filled
✓ use the rudder steer to where you want to go
How do I get into sailing?
Whatever age or ability there are many different ways to get into sailing. For example: Join a sailing club, Sailing schools, schools / colleges / Universities, Water sport holidays. A lot of these can be found from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) website www.rya.org.uk
These are also a great place to try out different boats and a great place to meet new people with the same love for being out on the water. There are a lot of boats out there so try and have a go on as many as you can to find the one that is right for you.
A great thing about sailing is that it can be a very social sport both on and off the water.
Participating in a RYA recognized course is the best way to get an introductory experience into the sport and also includes basic safety training and knowledge on how 'sailing' works. It will also give you the confidence to go sailing as a crew or on your own. The courses run by the RYA give a good pathway right through from the beginning to advanced sailing. http://www.rya.org.uk/coursestraining/courses/Pages/default.aspx
Choosing a boat.
Once you get a love of sailing and gain an understanding of it, buying a boat is the next stage so you can have the freedom to go sailing whenever you like. As there are so many boats out there and everybody is different, choosing a boat can be quite daunting for the first time.
There are a few questions that you should ask yourself before buying a boat.
What will I be using the boat for? (Family cruising? Training? Racing? Recreation?)
Do I want to sail on my own or with crew?
Once I get a boat where will I put it? (Boat park? Home? Mooring?)
How much can I realistically afford? ( Including: Insurance, safety equipment, covers, trailer, storage summer / winter, club membership, spares, etc)
Your local instructors/coaches and fellow sailors will be able to offer you a lot more advice on this possibly tricky decision when the time comes.
Sailing + Healthy Living
There are lots of benefits to keeping yourself healthy and sailing is a great way of exercising. Sailing can be a fast moving sport whether you are racing or just sailing around, the elements around you can always change but using some of the components of fitness you should be able to control the boat and keep the boat in an upright position.
Your quality of life can improve from sailing and this is due to the exercise carried out. It will make you feel and look better and sailing will become easier with a good physique.
Muscular endurance is important in sailing because if you are racing or just sailing around you have use arm strength when pulling the sail in and core muscles and leg muscles when hiking out to prevent cap-sizing.
Agility is also a large factor when being good at sailing as you must be able to move around the boat effectively and quickly when tacking and gybing. Also, when hiking out the explosive movements would be leaning in and out this would prevent you the sailor from capsizing, and would help keep the boat as flat as possible to produce maximum speed.
To move across the boat you need speed as the wind changes and the balance of the boat changes all the time which means you need to act fast and react with your movements to keep the boat upright.
A lot of the other components of fitness are also important such as reaction time and power. They all work together at different times within the duration of the activity. Body composition is not as important as the other long as you have to flexibility to move under the boom and can control where the weight of your body goes, it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are!
All of these factors in your fitness will increase as you sail more and more, do not think that you need to be a finely tuned athlete to get into a boat for the first time, this is not the case at all.
Sailing is accessible for anyone!
The Sailing Lingo!!
You may enter a sailing club and think that they are talking a different language!! There are lots of terms used for the different parts of equipment you will need to put together your sailing boat. With these simple lists you may just understand what sailors are talking about! Don't be daunted by the amount of words on the lists you need to know them of by heart but you will pick them up when sailing!
I have put it in to two lists:
1.) Parts of the boat
2.) Out on the water
Parts of a boat:
• Bow: Front of the boat
• Stern: Back of the boat
• Starboard: Right had side of the boat
• Port: Left hand side of the boat
• Deck: The top of the boat
• Hull: The underneath of the boat
• Rudder: The blade in the water at the stern used for steering
• Tiller: The pole attached to the rudder to assist with steering
• Tiller extension: The pole attached to the tiller to able you to steer from the side of the boat.
• Center board / daggerboard: The blade in the middle of the boat the prevents drifting sideways.
• Main sail: The large sail that is attached to the mast and to the rear of the boat
• Fore sail (jib): A smaller sail attached between the bow and the top of the mast
• Spinnaker: Large lightweight sail for off wind sailing
• Mast: The Vertical ,tall stick in the center of the boat which the mainsail is attached
• Boom: The horizontal pole in the center of the boat which supports the foot of the mainsail.
• Down haul: Rope used to tension the sail down the mast.
• Out haul: Rope used to tension the foot of the sail
• Kicker: Rope used to stop boom 'kicking' up
• Cleat: Fitting to secure rope
• Batten: Wooden or plastic strips in the sail to support the sails leach
• Reefing lines: Ropes near the bottom of the sail to reduce sail size.
• Shrouds: Wires from the top of the mast to the side of the boat.
• Sheets: Ropes used to pull sails in and let out
• Halyards: Ropes used to pull sails up and let down
Out on the water:
• Port Tack: With the wind coming over your port side and the boom is therefore on the starboard side
• Starboard Tack: With the wind coming over your starboard side and the boom is therefore on port side
• Gybe: To turn the stern of the boat through the direction of the wind
• Tack: Turning the bow of the boat through the wind
• Trim the sails: Adjusting the sails in and out as the wind changes direction and strengths
• Upwind: Towards the wind
• Windward: Side close to the wind
• Leeward: The side away from the wind
• Head-to-wind: Pointing directly into the wind
• Down Wind: Going away from the wind
• No go zone: Area into which a boat cannot sail directly into the wind
• Running:Sailing with the wind
• Reaching: Sailing directly across the wind
• Pinching: Sailing too close to the wind and slowing the boat down
• Leeway: Sideways drift produced by wind and current
• Luff up: To turn the boat towards the wind
• Heel: Angle at which the boat angles when sailing
• Bear away: Turn the boat away from the wind
• Goose-wing: When the jib is set on the opposite side to the mainsail
Written by Alice Rushworth-Lund