The art of sailing (and it is an art) is quite clearly something that is not going to appeal to everybody. However, if you like your adventures windswept and wild, you are in the right place. From world-famous supermodels to entrepreneurs and politicians such as Lord Laidlaw – who has invested a great deal of his money in sailing boats and the Lord Laidlaw Scholarships – it seems like everybody is going mad for aquatic holidays.
If you are new to sailing but want to get stuck in as quickly as possible, there are some ground rules that you need to familiarize yourself with first. For a start, you must realize that sailing, no matter how fun it looks on television, is a serious hobby. If you are not willing to follow the safety rules and guidelines, you should not consider taking it up – in the wrong hands, a sailboat can be dangerous.
These handy tips and tricks will help you to become a master of the open water in no time.
Choose a suitable vessel
While it might be tempting to go for a large boat, beginners should stick to something that is easily managed, maneuvered, and handled. The fewer lines and sails, the easier the vessel will be to master out on the water. It is a good idea to start learning with a boat that has been rigged to have a single sail.
Capsize your boat
Once you have your single sail rigged boat, get out on the water and make your boat capsize – that’s right, do your best to flip it over. This might sound counterintuitive, but it is one of the oldest sailing tricks in the book. The idea behind it is that, if you have already experienced what a capsizing feels like (albeit in controlled conditions), you will be much less likely to panic if it happens for real.
Watch out for the boom
You will not have to spend long on a sailboat to realize that the boom can be dangerous. In fact, a lot of sailing accidents are the result of incautious newbies forgetting to keep an eye on which way the boom is swinging. If you are not careful, you could end up with a nasty bump to the head, so make sure that everybody on board is aware of how to avoid it and stay safe.
Know how to enter
The documents that you need to legally enter the waters around a country will depend entirely on the country. However, the most common documents required are the registration papers for the vessel, the crew manifest (with full passport details), a radio license for the vessel, visa documents (if necessary), and vaccination certificates (again, if necessary) – sometimes you will be asked for the insurance documents.
While learning how to sail and, eventually, being able to embark on long sailing holidays is something that promises to be a whole heap of fun, it also comes with a serious side. There is a lot of responsibility involved with owning a boat, and you have to be willing to put the time and effort into both caring for it and keeping every voyage accident-free.