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How do You Learn to Sail a Boat?

How do You Learn to Sail a Boat?

As a small child, you have always played pirates and as an adult, your dream of being the ruler of the sea has not yet passed away? Then take the first step in this direction and learn to sail!

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There are many reasons why you should learn to sail. It is a strengthening sport that fills a sailor with a lot of satisfaction, and most importantly – it is a simple and fun activity. Sailing means more than sport, it is a lifestyle

Learning to sail does not have to be complicated, especially if you use the time for a sailing course or do it from school right from the start.

sailing boat

How do you want to learn to sail?

There are many ways to learn how to sail. Popular learning ways are an intensive course on vacation, sailing tutorials on the Internet, courses of a sailing school that go over a longer period or by friends and acquaintances. The Sailing Association recommends a basic sailing course. Such a course usually lasts one to three weeks. The course contains theoretical parts but is practice-oriented. After a week you can sail a boat alone under favorable conditions. If you want to find out if sailing is for you at all, you can take a faster course or ask a sailing acquaintance if they will take you on their boat.

If you want to get a sailing license, you can only get it through a course at a sailing school. Such courses have a theoretical and practical part, in each of which an examination must be taken.

Start small

The dream of many beginners is to sail a yacht. But there is a long way to go: a yacht is very large, so there is a lot to consider. After all, a driver would not start with a truck or bus in road traffic. Therefore: You learn to sail on a small boat. The boat reacts directly to everything you do and you can also control the dinghy on your own. Find the best beginner sailboat and after a while, with more experience in your pocket, you will later switch to larger boats.

Keep the ball rolling

Basically, sailing is like cycling: once learned, you can do it forever. However, it won’t help you if you stop sailing after a course. Take every opportunity to get on a boat. You can rent boats or become a member of a sailing club. Your knowledge will only be consolidated through regular practice. And with every sailing unit, you become safer. After a basic course, it is also advisable to attend an advanced course.

fastest yachts

Know the knots

best knots

Even if you would like to get on the boat immediately and hoist the sails – sailing also includes theory. If you want to sail independently, you should be able to knot a few knots. The bowline, figure-eight knot, square know, and others that you can read about here.

Nautical language

The theory also includes the nautical language – terms that you should know as a sailor. Here are some terms you should know:

  1. Aft – The back of a ship. The aft is also known as the stern.
  2. Bow – The front of the ship is called the bow.
  3. Port – Port is always the left-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow.
  4. Starboard – Starboard is always the right-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow.
  5. Leeward – Also known as lee, leeward is the direction opposite to the way the wind is currently blowing (windward).
  6. Windward – The direction in which the wind is currently blowing.
  7. Boom – The boom is the horizontal pole that extends from the bottom of the mast.
  8. Rudder – Located beneath the boat, the rudder is a flat piece of wood, fiberglass, or metal that is used to steer the ship.
  9. Tacking – This basic sailing maneuver refers to turning the bow of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side.
  10. Jibing – This basic sailing maneuver refers to turning the stern of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side.

sailing boats


Before you go on the boat, there are a few things to consider. It starts before you leave your apartment. Be sure to find out about the weather every time you sail: It is ideal at the beginning when there are few waves, light wind, and a clear water surface. Of course, the weather can change quickly. Therefore, you should take your cell phone with you and check it regularly for new weather reports. Various apps for sailing weather can help: Here you enter where you are sailing and receive specific information about wind and waves directly on the display.

Check boat and equipment

Once you have arrived at the dinghy, you should always give it a quick check. Sail, bow, stern – everything should be checked at the beginning. This applies to both rented and own boats. With rented boats, the previous tenant may have caused damage that was not noticed. Damage to your boat may have occurred, especially if you have not sailed for a long time. Damage is easier to detect on land than in the middle of the water. Otherwise, it can quickly become dangerous.

Sailing equipment

sailing equipement

For your safety, you should always carry certain things with you. A life jacket is mandatory for every person on board. Shoes with non-slip soles are important – in the boat, it gets wet quickly and with flip-flops, you will land on your face quickly. As it can get cold in strong winds, it is advisable to dress warmly enough.

Learn how to sail, completely relaxed

Sailing looks easy, in reality, it is not – at least at the beginning. Do not panic. The more often you practice, the faster the routine returns. You mustn’t overestimate yourself. Sail at your own pace, and so fast that you always have the boat under control. This means that you can swerve if necessary and always keep an eye on the situation. Practice makes perfect!


As a beginner, you should not sail alone on your first tours. If you don’t know any experienced sailors, friends with a similar level of knowledge can accompany you.

Especially in the beginning, it is good if you can talk directly to someone if you have questions and you are not alone in emergencies, like suddenly appearing very strong winds. Through sailing, you get to know new people, especially in courses, with whom you can exchange experiences.

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