General Lesson Notes
The introductory course is designed to show you all the basics
of sailing and is an inexpensive way to check out the sport.
It's a great day out and an affordable way not only to go
for a sail but to learn how to sail and experience the freedom
associated with sailing.
The Course Covers:
- Prepare and Plan - Group and individual safety awareness, clothing, safety equipment, sailing boundaries
- Rigging - wind awareness, awareness of parts of and rigging the training boat
- Ropework – Figure of eight, round turn and two half hitches, reef knot, bowline
- Sailing Techniques - Sailing to windward, reaching and sailing downwind
- Manoeuvres - tacking, gybing, points of sailing, basic heave-to, primary boat controls,positions on the boat and helming under guidance
- Man overboard (MOB) procedures and drills, towing procedures
- Coming alongside to a fixed structure and mooring, launching and recovery of craft.
- Sailing Theory and Basic right-of-way Rules - avoiding collisions, power/sail right,port/starboard, windward/leeward, keep to the right of channels, overtaking vessels
- Weather awareness for safe inshore sailing
Please double click the thumbnails
below to enlarge prior to printing.
- The images below can be enlarged
and printed out prior to our lessons.
- In the most part, they are generic
to all sailing boats.
of the boat
- Our yachts have 1 mast, 1 boom and 2 triangle sails.
- The front sail is called the headsail( jib and genoa are other names).
- The larger back sail is called the Mainsail.
- These 2 sails are controlled by
sheets (jargon for ropes)
- The front of the boat is the
- The back of the boat is the stern.
- The left side facing towards the
bow is PORT(
There is only a little PORT
LEFT in the bottle)
- The Right side facing towards the
bow is STARBOARD
Points of Sailing
Main Points: Every
sailing consideration is in relation to the wind
- YOU CANNOT SAIL DIRECTLY INTO
- YOU HAVE TO SAIL AT AN ANGLE TO THE WIND(click on Points of sailing above)
- YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH THE WIND
IN ORDER TO MOVE.
- THE WIND DIRECTION IS ALWAYS
CHANGING DIRECTION, SO YOU HAVE TO ADJUST THE YACHT AND
OR SAIL ANGLE TO THE WIND.
- On average you can only sail
at 45 degrees to the wind.
- Sometimes you need to 'zig zag'
into the wind in order to get from one point to another.
- There are 6 standard points of
sailing: Click on the image above
- Close hauled to windward( sailing
to windward, 'Beating' to windward)
- Close Reaching
- Beam Reaching
- Broad Reaching
- Quarted Running
- Running Dead or Square
Telltales - How to see the wind on your sails and tune them to the wind direction
Click on links below for:
- If the wind is arriving at the boat
on the Right / STARBOARD
side, then the boat is on STARBOARD
- If the wind is arriving at the boat
on the left / PORT
side, then the boat is on PORT
- A TACK IS
A CHANGE OF DIRECTION WHEN THE BOW OF THE BOAT FACES INTO
- ANOTHER NAME FOR TACKING IS 'GOING
- A GYBE is a change of direction
when the bow is facing downwind, the same direction the
wind is moving. The process is called GYBING.
- There are rules of the water
that must be adhered.
- Most rules relate to the wind direction.
- Generally boats on STARBOARD
TACK have right of way
- Skippers / boats must avoid a
collision at all costs.
- If sailing socially always give
way to yachts racing.
- Always give way to commercial craft
- Always give way to row boats
- Never assume that power boat
drivers understand the rules or care!
Quiz - Please click on Rules
Quiz link left- Thanks
David -'Samsakar' HBYC
Knots and their
Most common knots are:
- Figure of eight or stopper knot
- Horned Cleat 'figure of eight'
- Round turn and two half hitches
- Reef Knot
Keelboat Man Overboard Drill
1. The Key is reacting quickly
& not panicking
Beforehand - Develop analysis:
• How strong is wind & how high waves?
• How cold is water in terms of hypothermia?
• At outset, inquire if crew can swim & experience
Importance of practicing man overboard drill –
Importance of PFD (Personal Floatation Device)
2. Inside the boat commands
• Yell "man overboard"
• Throw flotation devices immediately
• Spot man overboard & assign spotter
• Put tiller to leeward immediately
3. Plan recovery
• Head up into wind, come about, backwind jib
• Approach target; throw lifesling, horseshoe, line
tied to seat cushion, or line
• Heave to ( slow a stop facing into the wind)
• Approach from windward so victim can be brought aboard
from leeward quarter(opposite side from wind direction)
• In heavy seas, approach from leeward if danger of
boat coming down off wave onto victim
• Avoid jibing in rough sea or wind as may be dangerous
in a panic situation
• Instead of circling victim, come from "inside"
• Elegance of quick stop: after tacking, by pushing
tiller "hard alee" second time, have quick heave
to "on top of" victim
4. Hauling aboard-may be most difficult
• Haul aboard off cockpit since bow & stern see-
saw more so as to come down on top of victim
• Swim ladder-may be best & easiest way
• Hand over hand along gunwale to stern if swim ladder
there & if victim & conditions permit
• Life sling or rope using block & tackle
• Foot or knee loop (bowline)
• Use of jib if victim unconscious
Raising & Lowering
1. Plotting a course
• Allowing sea room for mishaps
2. Preparing sails for hoisting
Reinforce the importance of these
• Shackling halyard on correctly
• Check halyards for fouling & securing with bungie
• Positioning topping lift to be clear when main is
3. Hoisting mainsail & jib
• Convention: Point &
motor into wind
• Alternative useful for
jiffy reefing: hoist jib first and sail on jib alone
4. Reefing mainsail - Point &
motor into wind
(Sail close-hauled on jib, luffing main)
• Drop main halyard to reefing point
• Tighten jiffy reefing line (or tie leech reefing cringle
down & back with line)
• Some boats: take out sail slides, reset stop and/or
attach luff cringle to reefing hook
• Rehoist main halyard
5. Sail selection as wind increases•
Analysis again of "not being overpowered"
(Sailing as a series of control stages)
1. Safety issues
• Danger of accidental jibe
• Danger when boom on same quarter as wind
• Keeping out of boom path
• Use of preventer
• Centering main while keeping same relation to eye
• Danger of accidental tack
• Be vigilant when oncoming traffic
• Correct helm and / or release backwinded jib sheet
• If tack, choice of coming up or 360' turn
2. Importance of maintaining a course
• Fundamental: sailing in relation to eye of wind
• Eye is true wind (Flag Flapping)
• Apparent wind is vectored forward by boat’s
own speedcreated wind(Flag from moving car)
3. Circle exercise-understanding close-hauled
• Figure 8 exercise-understanding points of sail
• Series of quick tacks & jibes-confidence at the
• Helmsman’s 3 fold job-monitoring helm, traffic
• Balancing the helm by using sails
• Release mainsheet if puff (temporary overpowering)
threatens accidental tack
• Single handing exercise
How to Sail
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