What you’ll learn on a sailing course

sailingThe idea of going sailing conjures up romantic images. Hitting the open seas is something many of us might like the idea of, but feel like it’s not within our reach. In fact, the opposite is true. The coastal regions of South Africa have strong sailing communities and because of the interest, you can find sailing courses in the likes of Cape Town and Durban. And it’s best to sign up for a course so that you learn everything there is to know about sailing. You’ll be able to remain safe while on the water and know what steps to follow to have a great experience.


When you learn to sail, you need to be prepared to get into the water as soon as possible. Learning through experience is perfect but having some knowledge before you try is crucial to successfully sailing too. You need to have the basics down and understand the terms properly and you need a great teacher on board with you.


When you sign up for a sailing course you will learn the following skills.


You will learn sailing language


This language used has to do predominantly with the wind, directions in which you’re heading, the sides of the boat, and boat positioning. How the boat is positioned in relation to the wind is paramount or you could end up in danger. You also need to know the language so you can listen and communicate with those who are sailing with you. Your instructor will speak to you in sailing terms too so you must study the language to know what they’re talking about.


You will learn what the different parts of the boat do


You’ll receive material, online or printed, that will tell you exactly what each part of the boat is called. There’ll be information on why it is there and what it does specifically. Often there are photos or short videos that’ll accompany the studying material. And in this way, you’ll be able to correctly recognise the boats parts and their functions when you finally set out to sea.


Once the theory is over you’ll head outside to rig


After having completed the theory behind sailing and how the boat operates, you will head out to an actual boat and learn how to rig it. Rigging refers to putting on the sails and all the wires, ropes and lines that control the sails and support the rig. You’ll be put through your paces by your instructor and you’ll receive a lot of materials showing you exactly what needs to be done. If you require more information you can always have a look at online tutorials for a real time view of what it takes to rig a sailboat.


You’ll practice sailing techniques


Once you have a keen understanding of the boat and how it operates you will need to practice managing the vessel. Of all the things you need to do when sailing, managing the sails and in which direction they go is vitally important. For a long time, while on the water, you’ll move in one direction but eventually you’ll want to turn around and go home. And you need to have the skills and understanding to maneuver the boat accordingly.  


You’ll learn how to recover and get home successfully


Sailboats are not hardy vessels; they’re quite light and that’s what makes them delightful to sail. But this can also result in your boat tipping over if the winds are too strong. This is called capsizing and you need to learn how to recover safely and get yourself back home. So in order to get home in one piece, whether you’ve capsized or not, you will need to know how to dock and anchor the boat. The sailing course will take you through a capsizing drill and show you how to dock and anchor properly every time.


You’ll learn all about knots


All sailors need to know about the different knots and how to tie them. This is an important technique to have and you’ll need to have the basic sailing knots down before you can safely hit the water.


Safety techniques are crucial and you’ll learn them before you can finish the course


Sailing is a lot of fun. Once you’ve completed your course you can head out and hit the water without a care in the world. But you’ll only truly enjoy yourself if you properly equipped with safety techniques as well as equipment and the knowledge of how to use it. If you want to make sailing a family activity then it’s even more important to completely understand safety and impart that knowledge onto your family.