Learning to sail isn’t half as daunting or difficult as it may seem. With the right information or instructor, you can learn to sail like a pro in no time. Although some people prefer to hire an instructor to give them hands-on sailing tutorials, others are self-learners and are ready to go out there facing the tide on their own.
Whether you’re an independent learner or need a little assistance, you’ll want to set sail with as much useful information as possible. So, here are a few tips to keep you safe and well informed as a beginner.
Read Up on the Basics and Pick the Right Boat
When starting, the first thing to do is read up on the basics of sailing. Some of the basics include knowing the right boat. Whether you’re renting or buying a boat of your own, you need to conduct some research. Much like beginner drivers are guided using small cars instead of learning with a truck or bus, you’ll need a beginner-friendly boat to learn with.
Most experts advise starting with a small dinghy. However, you can consider a wide beam boat if you’ll be spending time on the river overnight. There are a variety of Widebeam boats for sale online. Once purchased, try to read up on the sailing do’s and don’ts. Like traffic rules on land, there are sailing rules that you should be familiar with before you set off.
Check the Weather Forecast
Sailing in the right weather conditions is extremely important, especially as a beginner. Every sailor aims for fairly calm seas and clear skies to have a successful sail. As a beginner, you don’t want to battle with the waves on a windy day.
Always search the weather conditions in your area to be sure it’s safe for sailing. Look out for the tide and wind conditions. If each of these is favorable for sailing, then you’re more or less safe to sail.
Just like every other sporting or outdoor activity, sailing requires the right apparel. Once again, the internet comes in handy when searching for the right sailing gear. It helps to pick the recommended gear based on the sailing you’re doing (e.g., dinghy or sunfish). Look out for a life jacket, headgear, eye protection, wetsuit, spray gear, footwear, and sunscreen if you’re sailing in the summer.
Watch Out for the Boom
Very few people know of the boom — a horizontal pole/bar extending from the bottom of the mast. It’s relatively heavy and is located at the foot of the mainsail, so you can miss it if you aren’t familiar with your boat’s structural features. Not being aware of the boom can send you overboard or cause serious injuries. So, be on the lookout for when the boom is about to swing so you aren’t unaware.
Issues like these make it best to go out sailing with an instructor the first few times, but if you insist on going out on your own, ensure you read up on how the boom works and how to avoid accidents and injuries related to the boom.