Anyone Can Learn to Sail
What could be a better way to spend the summer months than on the water? If you’ve always dreamed of sailing, make 2018 the year you start.
Those who get into sailing find it is a pastime that they just can’t get enough of. That makes it all the sadder that there are so many people who have sailing on their bucket list of things to do, but never quite get around to it. If that strikes a chord with you, why not make 2018 the year you do something about it?
It’s never been easier for beginners to find their sea legs and learn the basics. In fact, with RYA online courses in everything from navigation to seamanship to radio operation, you can get a head start with the basic theory without even having to get your feet wet.
Learn the theory
The internet is a wonderful place – you can use it to learn the theory behind all sorts of skills, whether it’s driving, learning a new language or, indeed, sailing. Studying for an Essential Navigation or Day Skipper certificate will not make you a master sailor, any more than passing the theory test will make you qualified to drive a car. But it will give you the perfect grounding so that you know what to expect when you get out there on the water.
Again, to use the car comparison, you are not going to head out on the roads by yourself if you’ve only taken the driving theory test. Not only would it be illegal, it would also be incredibly dangerous for you and those around you. The same applies on the water. Put your theoretical learning to the test with some practical instruction.
With the theoretical and practical training completed, you’re ready for your first round the world yacht race, right? Well, not exactly. You might feel confident with a skilled instructor at your side, but it’s a different matter on your own, so spend some hours in calm and uncrowded water where you can really hone your skills. The last thing you need is to be running up against choppy water, or tripping over skilled and experienced yachtspeople. An enclosed marina is the ideal place to start, as long as it’s not too crowded.
….. and small
You might have grand plans, but look at it this way – a bus driver learns to drive a car first. A small dinghy is light, manoeuvrable and easy to put right when you capsize.
Let it happen
Speaking of capsizing, you’ll note we said “when” not “if” – it is inevitable, and it’s all part of the learning experience, so you might want to intentionally capsize your vessel as part of your training. At least you’ll be able to do it in a controlled environment.
Mind the boom!
A final word of advice, and it’s related to the boom. Sooner or later, you will almost certainly come a cropper as it swings across the boat. Try to avoid becoming another statistic, as the boom is the single factor that is the most common cause of onboard injuries. Mind your head, and happy sailing!