How To Sail A Boat To Windward
Do you want to know how to sail a boat windward? The ability to sail a boat windward is key to the development of modern societies. Since the early days of sailing, the phenomenon of a boat moving toward a point that was upwind was hard to understand, but very helpful. Some civilizations developed techniques to make the most of that, while others only sailed when the wind was fair and rowed the rest of the time.
What you need to sail a boat windward is:
- A sail boat
- A water body
- Safety devices
- Enough crew members
The steps to sail a boat windward are:
- Place the boat on the water.
- Set sails and arrange the maneuver.
- Put on the life vest and sailing shoes. Gloves are advised, but not required, to prevent the ropes from hurting your hands.
- Determine the direction and power of wind. This is crucial to decide which sails to set. If the wind is strong, a smaller head sail will make it easier to take turns.
- Check for wind turns or changes in the intensity of the wind. This is also important to decide your turning pattern. If the wind turns a lot, try to make more turns to take the most profit. On the other hand, if the wind is steady, longer legs will prove more efficient.
- Leave the shore. Choose a destination point, preferably a static visual mark, and go towards it. A regular sailboat can sail with the wind at least 30 degrees from it's axis. This means, a 60 degree angle ahead of the hull's axis is unreachable, but you can sail at a 30 degree angle to each side of the wind's theoretical origin point.
- If your destination point is within that 60 degree section, you have to sail to one side until that point leaves the forbidden zone. That's why you have to make legs or turns. To decide when to turn, a series of parameters count: availability of deep water, other ship's trajectories, areas with blocked wind and availability of calm waters. All of those will determine your speed.
- Try to keep the rudder in line with the hull's movement. Every time you move the rudder, a lot of friction acts against the flow of water surrounding your boat's hull, thus lowering your speed. If you can manage to keep the rudder steady and in line, making the course corrections as smooth and few as possible, you will gain speed.
- Anticipate every turn to your crew with enough time. When sailing with a crew, communication is key to success. As helmsman or commander, letting everyone else know about your tactic and anticipating your decisions is vital to let everyone organize their duties, thus gaining precision and energy economy.
- Practice. Like any other sport, sailing requires a lot of practice. And also, as a team sport, sailing requires good communication and team working skills. Practice makes perfect in sailing, too.
Remember to use safety devices at all times. Even in shoal waters, a life vest is required.
"The Annapolis Book of Seamanship", by John Rousmaniere, ISBN 9780684854205.