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Getting Started - Five Sailing Essentials


Five Sailing Essentials Sailing entails knowledge and understanding of various skills and techniques. Among these are five essentials: Sail Trim or Setting, keeping the Sailboat balanced, Sailboat Trim (fore and aft trim), Centerboard Position, and Course Made Good. Check these components whenever you change course.

In this section, know and understand the Five Sailing Essentials:

  • Sail Trim / Sail Setting
    A Sail is set best when it begins flapping along the Luff, and then pulled in until the flapping ceases. In this case, there is an even flow of wind across both sides of the Sail. Telltales are strips of wool or nylon which are sewn or fastened on the Jib Luffs and Leech of Mainsail. They can inform you if your Sail is correctly trimmed or not and if the wind flow condition is smooth. The Sail is correctly - trimmed if the Telltales are streaming in parallel. On the other hand, it is not trimmed properly if the telltales go in circles or flutter.


  • Sailboat Balance
    This is keeping the boat balanced on both Port and Starboard sides. If you sail closer to the wind, the Heeling effect increases. Use your body weight to keep the Sailboat upright. Sit on the deck to counter-balance Heeling.


  • Fore and Aft Trim
    Use of body weight is also crucial in this aspect. Both the helmsman and crew should keep their weight concentrated. When sailing windward, make sure that the body weight is concentrated towards the wind. When sailing off the wind, shift the body weight to the middle. This can also be affected by wind speed and direction and shape of the Hull.

    In Dinghy Sailing, take the Points of Sailing into account. In stronger winds, sit further aft. Otherwise, sit forward.


  • Position of the Centerboard
    It is important to change the position of the Centerboard whenever you change course. When sailing close to the wind, lower your Centerboard. On the other hand, raise it partially when reaching across the wind. Raise the Centerboard fully when sailing downwind (running). However, leaving a small amount will help in steerage.


  • Course Made Good
    Plan your route or course accordingly. Select the route that will enable you to reach your destination in the shortest possible time. You may go on a straight-line course when sailing offwind in inland waters. Deal with Leeway and you must know when and how to tack and gybe.


These are the Five Sailing Essentials. Know the different features of these components so you will know what to do when you alter course.

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