The 3 Most Underrated Sailing Skills That Every New Starter Needs To Learn

Posted on August 6, 2014 by Lee under First Aid, Sailing, Sailing Courses Comments Off on The 3 Most Underrated Sailing Skills That Every New Starter Needs To Learn

When learning to sail, mastering the basics is incredibly important as it develops the platform from which all future learning will be based.

Sailing courses will focus on these aspects to ensure that people are aware of what they are doing – but there are some skills that are absolutely essential, especially if sailors wish to keep themselves out of trouble.

First aid courses should also be completed before going out on the water as they provide sailors with the necessary skills to cope in an emergency.

While all necessary care can be taken to reduce risks, accidents can still happen and these courses will help sailors to act accordingly.

From dressing wounds to placing people in the recovery position, any actions in an emergency situation could potentially be life-saving.

Sailing on open water in certain conditions can be a challenge for even the most experienced sailors, but consideration of the following three major factors should prevent them from getting into difficulty.


beginners learning to sail


#1 Patience

Becoming a good sailor comes with experience, so it’s very important that new sailors don’t expect to become the very best in a short space of time.

Years of practice have helped professional sailors such as Ben Ainslie to the level that he is at today, so while he is someone to aspire to, reaching his level is no easy feat.

In the early stages, it’s also likely that anyone leaning sailing skills will make mistakes but this is simply a part of the learning process and budding sailors should not get disheartened.

Learning from these errors will help people to become better sailors and improve their technique and it is only possible with patience.

While it may be very easy to become frustrated when something doesn’t quite work in the right way, only keeping a cool head will solve the situation.

It’s essential to remember that learning takes time and those that do not rush their tuition are more likely to develop and improve in the long-term.

#2 Knowledge of your limitations

At the same time, a sailor that is in the early stages of learning to sail is unlikely to be able to pull off some of the manoeuvres they may have seen in videos or on TV.

In the initial stages of learning, it’s very important that sailors do not over-stretch themselves – this not only endangers them but also others in the vicinity.

Some sailing skills are incredibly complex and should only be attempted with an instructor to hand, while anything that has not been taught should not even be tried on open water.

Learning and practice go hand in hand, and becoming a top sailor is achieved by learning one small step at a time.

Sailors at a more advanced stage of their learning may want to consider day skipper training to enhance their skills, but this should only be attempted when all the basics are complete.

#3 Understanding changing weather conditions

As mentioned already, open water can present several challenges to sailors and none more so than in the event of changing weather conditions.

Strong prevailing wind conditions can make manoeuvring very difficult, so checking weather conditions before heading out on to the water is essential.

Recognising potential changes in conditions is also important, so the best sailors will often look out for certain signs of imminent change.

Cloud movements and changes in wind conditions can signal this, while acting accordingly is just as important – sailors do not want to be out on the water in the event of a thunderstorm!

As a result, anyone learning to sail should ensure they can travel safely to land if necessary and should maintain a watchful eye on the weather at all times.



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