Helpful Tips for the Novice Sailor

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Do you have an interest in sailing, but not much experience? Or perhaps a good friend of yours is getting into the sport and you would like to join him or her on their adventures? Aside from basic water safety, like being a decent swimmer and wearing a life jacket on rough seas, there are few things that might be helpful as you set sail on the open water.

Learn the basic parts of a sailboat. You do not need to become an expert skipper, but having a sense of what the tiller or jib are will come in handy. Another landscape to know is the deck itself. Where is the hull, but just as important is knowing which side is starboard and which is portside. When facing toward the front point of the sailboat, portside will be on your left and starboard on your right. These directions never change and are critical for orienting yourself at sea.

An experienced skipper will walk you through getting your sails up and the boat seaworthy, but, once you are out on the water, knowing how to steer the boat is one of the most crucial tasks. This allows you to avoid collisions and get where you want to go.

You can also learn a lot from the experiences of other sailors. Two books that depict life on the water in entertaining detail are Joshua Slocum’s late 19th-century account of sailing alone around the world and Bernard Moitessier’s book The Long Way, which details his tragic, but ultimately successful journey around the world in the 1970s.

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