Sailing Lessons Anyone?
17 October 2010
I first learned sailing from my Uncle Jim. A veteran sailor who had sailed the world several times during his youth, he was the one who thought me the basics of sailing and gave me valuable advice on how to survive the sea. That was why when I decided to purchase my own sailboat and go on my first expedition alone, a close friend of mine asked me to think twice and get basic sailing lessons first.
Of course, my initial reaction was to ignore his suggestion. But while mingling with other sailors, I would often find myself at a lost in the jungle of sailing terminologies and getting advice that I do not understand. That was when I decided that maybe its not bad if I do take formal sailing lessons.
There are three lessons offered based on your skill level: basic, intermediate, and advanced. Basic lessons are for beginners who are just learning the ropes. Classes are held on-board a sailboat in local waters and moderate winds. Besides learning how to handle a boat, students also learn how to navigate and anchor their boat.
More detailed lessons are given to those in the Intermediate Level. Besides moving on to moderately difficult waters, students get to experience lessons on emergency procedures, passage planning, boat maintenance and more. Most of the lessons focus on practical, on-the-water skills which are required when you go bareboat chartering.
Those who managed to pass through the basic and intermediate levels are now well-equipped to take the Advanced lessons. Here, students learn how to handle difficult waters in all types of weather and tough water conditions. I still don't know much what this course contains as I'm still at the Intermediate level, but I heard that one has the opportunity to study about night sailing and experiencing this first hand.
Even if I do know some things about sailing, I can say that I do not regret enrolling for a beginners course in my sailing class. Much of the skills and techniques I know now had come from the lessons that were taught to us during classes. Not only that, I also earned a lot of new friends along the way. So if you were thinking of going into sailing yourself, why not get sailing lessons?
Sailing Essentials: Don’t Leave Port Without It!
17 October 2010
Planning to set sail? Whether you are a newbie or a professional, it always pays to do a maintenance check to your equipment before leaving the dock. But this alone is not enough preparation before setting off into the sea. You need to make sure that you have packed the right sailing gear to assist you in your travel.
One of the most important sailing gear that you need to have is a sailing knife. I cannot emphasize how such a simple tool can save your live. There had been countless incidents of sailors getting entangled accidentally by rope or a Genoa sheet who would have avoided getting themselves killed had they had access to a knife to cut it off. Though a folding knife may be more convenient to bring around in your belt, you would be needing to use two hands to open it which may prove to be inefficient when the situation arrives.
Another important sailing gear is your flashlight. But instead of getting the common hand held flashlight, it is recommended that you get a head band flashlight instead. Most of the work you would be doing on your boat, like engine maintenance, would require the use of both your hands. Bring along at least three spare batteries just in case you run out of power.
Even if you would be sailing on a good weather, it would be best to have a Foul Weather Gear ready. Your gear can compose of a jacket and pants. How thick or thin the material will be depends on where you would be sailing too. Thick, heavy, warm gear would be better if you intend to pass cold areas.
Lastly, keep a waterproof bag for your valuables where you can easily grab them. Zip-lock bags work best in this situation. It will keep them safe from the deterioration brought by sea water and can be quickly opened when needed.
These are just a few essential items that you need to have with you before boarding your sailboat. Depending on the situation or your destination, you may need more gear than what I have already listed. Just keep in mind that it is always best to be prepared for any situation in the sea. Because you'll never know just what will happen to you the moment you set sail.