Basic Sailing Techniques

Anyone who wants to test the waters literally and figuratively is drawn to sailing. A number of factors make a steady progress in your sailing efficiency. Every beginner especially should be well aware of basic sailing techniques and see that they have got them all right. Remember that your sailing techniques will have a direct affect on your sailing performance. One can get a good grasp of these techniques of sailing at sailing schools all across the world.

Here are the important sailing techniques that you should be well aware of:

An important technique of sailing is keeping the boat in "trim". The wheel or tiller is used for steering of the boat to the desired course. One should note the different points of sail. Balance of the boat is important and is adjusted by seating the crew forward or rear of the boat, more so if the boat is small. Adjusting the weight 'windward' or 'leeward' to avoid unnecessary heeling is another of the important sailing techniques, as the boat will move at a faster speed if it is flat to the water. The sail should be pulled in until it fills with wind. Together, these little points constitute the central techniques of sailing.

Reducing sail
An important technique of sailing from the safety point of view is to regulate the amount of sail according to the wind conditions. The crew should increasingly trim down the amount of sail with the rising speed of the wind. To reduce the area of a sail without really changing it for a smaller sail is known as reefing. The main purpose is to lower center of effort from the sails and also reduce the heeling moment to keep the boat more upright. On cruising vessels, mainsail furling systems have become increasingly popular.

Hull trim
Hull trim, another of the basic sailing techniques, is to adjust a boat's loading so as to modify its fore-and-aft attitude in the water. In small boats, as mentioned before, it is done by controlling the location of the crew. In larger boats, however, it can be adjusted by shifting gear, fuel, water, or supplies. Keeping the weight too far forward in small boats can cause the bow to get too low into the waves and the boat may capsize.

A ship or boat is sail to heel of it leans too much over to one side due to wind pressure, or from the action of waves or even from the centrifugal force of a turn. Heeling over beyond a certain angle can lead to less efficient sailing. When a vessel heels the buoyancy part of the hull acts to balance the heeling force. The weighted keel offers an additional force to right the boat. The shape of the underwater hull relative to the sails may make the boat turn upwind when it heels extremely. It allows the boat to right itself which can decrease the force on the sails. Incase there is too much heeling in a sailing vessel; the real solution is to decrease the sail area, by removing or reefing sails. Raising the centerboard can also reduce heeling. If a boat heels beyond a certain point of stability, it can capsize. Keep in mind these important sailing techniques.

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