electronic translators, electrical exam prep, scanners, spy gadgets, dvr, hidden cameras, weather radios
Bookmark and Share
Products Articles  Book Reviews  Brainpower Newsletter Contact Us      Home  Search

Sailing information center: set sail smartly

Interests Main Menu

Sailing: Books | DVD | Games (video) | Prints, photos, and posters


While you're docked at harbor, prepare for your next outing here. Or simply buy a great sailing poster for your wall so you look forward to your next sailing experience even more.

 Sailing: Some facts for those just getting started

By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor


Types of Sailboats:  

  • Keelboat: They have a heavy weight underneath them (representing around 40% of the total boat weight). The keel has two main functions: Lift- (allowing it to sail at up to 38° into the wind), and Weight, which makes it much less likely to capsize than a centerboard boat.·

  • Center/Daggerboard Boats: They have a centerboard serving as a "fin". It is located on the centerline of the boat, which also allows it to sail at up to 38°. The centerboard can be raised or lowered as needed, which comes in handy especially on shallow waters and with light winds. The disadvantage is that the boat can capsize easily in inexperienced hands. 

  • Multihulls/Catamarans:· These are boats with two or three hulls. This makes them very stable, although it's very possible to tip them. The mast usually rotates together with the boom, which gives it a smooth airflow over the mast/mainsail combination. They have a daggerboard or a keel underneath each hull, and two tillers on the opposite hulls. The tillers are connected to a tiller extension on the main hull or the middle of the trampoline. These are very often extremely fast boats.

There are two types of rigging: the standing rigging and the running rigging. The important components are:

  • Halyards. Lines that hoist and lower the sails. There is, for example, a jib halyard and a main halyard.·

  • Sheets. Lines that trim the sails. They are attached to the clew of the sail, and they are also called a main sheet, or a jib sheet.

  • Stays. Wires that prevent the mast from falling over the stern or the bow. The stay leading from the mast to the bow is called a forestay (sometimes called a headstay, or a jibstay), and the stay leading from the mast to the stern is called a backstay.·

  • Shrouds. Wires that prevent the mast form falling over the sides. Since they make a much sharply pointing angle than the stays, they run through spreaders located on the mast. This provides a greater support for the top part of the mast.·

  • Knots.·The bowline knot is probably the most popular knot in the sailing world. If you want to learn only one knot, learn this one. The eye (the hole resulting from closing a bight) will not slip.·

Most sailors will never really need navigational skills, so they can sail where they want to sail. They will probably see the place right over the bow. People who sail farther in the oceans, seas, and even on the Great Lakes of North America will not get far without even the most elementary knowledge of how to find themselves on the charts, and where to sail next. As a matter of fact, they will sail far, very far, but from the course leading them to their port of destination.·

Electronics you will need are Speedometer/log, Depth sounder, and GPS/Loran.·A GPS is a very useful tool, providing a lower margin of error than traditional navigation. You should not leave your port for longer sailing trips without the GPS. But once your batteries are gone, you are on your own. Without knowledge of navigation you are basically stranded. Basic navigation tools you should have on board include chart, course protractor, binoculars, hand-bearing compass, pencils, and a watch.

It's vital that you have a chart. There are small-scale and large-scale charts. The ones that are used most often by sailors are 1:80,000, 1:40,000, and 1:20,000. If you are going for a rather long trip, it might be useful to have a 1:200,000. The charts give you important information as:

  • Depth of water.

  • Shape of the shore and the islands.

  • Location, type, and color of government and private aids to navigation.

  • Bridge clearances.

  • Land topography.

  • Composition of the seabed.

  • Tides.

You can update your charts by contacting your local Coast Guard District. They provide regular corrections and updates for free. You can also purchase the charts in most marine stores. Last, but not least, is a weather report before sailing. You can contact a National Weather Forecast Office for real time buoy reports, which includes wave heights.

If you have never sailed, but want to, you should take a basic sailing course. Many are available online. On your first few times out, make sure you sail with an experienced sailor who is willing to supervise, advise, and tutor you. This will give you some on the job training, make you safer, and improve the overall enjoyment of the trip.


About Cathy: She and her Doberman Trooper conduct research into all kinds of topics and produce articles like the one you see here. To contact Cathy, write to thecathyfactor@yahoo.com. Get the facts from Cathy, and let the Cathy Factor give you an edge.



Check out these sailing posters:




Articles | Book Reviews | Free eNL | Products

Contact Us | Home

This material, copyright Mindconnection. Don't make all of your communication electronic. Hug somebody!