Whether you have a deep love for exploring unknown places, racing, or you’re passionate about the sea, sailing can be a very rewarding experience. Once you learn how to get into yachting you may even find it difficult to spend time away from your boat, considering you’ll experience a type of freedom you never have before. Sailing isn’t just about exploring, it can also be a great way to stay active. The big bonus here is leading a more active lifestyle by doing what you love.
Key Takeaway: In order to boost your sailing skills it’s important to not only enroll in a local yachting club, but focus on learning about local tide, wind, and water conditions as well. When planning a long trip at sea, knowing how to work as part of a crew and how to predict upcoming weather and water conditions will ensure a safer trip and a more enjoyable yachting experience.
Now, let’s learn more about yachting and what you can expect from this exciting sport.
Entering the World of Yachting
If you’re new to yachting or sailing in general and don’t know how sailboats work, there are plenty of training centers that can help you to get started, and if you progress to sailing or racing, you’ll quickly find that this sport can offer one of the most challenging workouts around.
Sailing is one of the best ways to experience total tranquility and freedom. You don’t have to be able-bodied or physically fit to sail, as there are boat styles that can cater to every need. You don’t even have to be a strong swimmer however, you should be comfortable with being in the water.
Joining a yachting club can be an affordable, easy way to get started. If you’ve never spent time at sea, you can benefit from instructional courses offered by private instructors or through a local yachting club. These clubs can be the perfect resource if you’re interested in the sport but not sure about purchasing your own yacht at this point. You can interact with people who have sailing experience who may even be willing to take you out on the water, so you can enjoy some firsthand experience with yachting.
Yacht sailing can be an enjoyable, relaxing way to discover new places, plus it’s the perfect outdoor adventure for the whole family because there are opportunities for every family member to participate.
What is Yachting Exactly?
What does the term yachting mean, exactly? How does yachting differ from traditional sailing? Yachting is in a class all its own. If you have experience navigating a fishing boat, you’ll be disappointed that your experience won’t come in handy on a yacht. There really is nothing similar between these two types of vessels. In fact, small boats and yachts couldn’t be more different.
Yachts are very large boats that are mainly used for recreational purposes. When most people think of the term they automatically think of large parties at sea. While it’s true that yachting is often used for luxurious getaways in open waters, they can also be used for racing purposes as well. Both types of yachting have gained popularity among yacht owners.
However, there’s a big difference between motorized yachting and sailing. Nothing can compare to the type of luxury you’ll experience sailing a yacht. Even so, sailing a yacht is a very physically demanding hobby and one that requires sailing equipment and skills. If you’re a beginner and plan to sail your yacht as opposed to using a motor, then you’ll need the help of a skilled crew.
A trained crew can teach you and your family how to sail the yacht on your own in the future.
Another difference in yachts compared to smaller boats is the amount of involvement the owner will have in terms of operating the boat in open waters. If you have a full crew, then you don’t have to be concerned about getting the yacht from one point to the next. But if you and your family or friends are doing all of the hard work, this can be a very demanding job.
If you’re serious about learning how to sail a yacht, now is the time to join a sailing club. You’ll learn how to sail a boat and you can join even if you don’t own a boat. When you sign up with a sailing club, you’ll not only learn a new skill, you’ll also enjoy a whole new social scene. Later on, if you decide you love sailing, then it’ll be worth investing in essential gear, such as a buoyancy aid, boots, and a top of the line wetsuit.
If you want to be prepared at sea, click here to check out our extensive wetsuit buyer’s guide.
The next step in your journey will be crewing. Crewing for someone can help you gain confidence in your sailing skills and will teach you the ins and outs of yachting. You can ask around the fleets at your sailing club and let people know you’re interested in learning how to crew. You can also put up a notice on your club’s website or on their notice board.
During this time, make the most of the social scene and interact with fellow sailors. You’ll quickly find that most sailors are happy to talk about their experiences and will be more than happy to take you for a sail in their boat to help you decide whether or not yachting is right for you.
Before You Dive In
Before you sign up for a sailing club there are some factors to consider. First, do you want to race or cruise around? If you want to sail, you can choose a boat with a fleet at your club, which will help you to progress quickly and test your skills against a ready source of friends who will be supportive and helpful.
Both double and singlehanded boats offer plenty of variety. Determine whether you want to sail with your family or with a crew and what other options are available that would best suit you, such as a non-spinnaker or spinnaker, trapezing or sitting out, boat prices, sizes, and much more.
If you want to use your own boat for class, it’s possible to buy an older one that’s perfect for learning or club sailing for a fraction of what you’ll pay for a new model. Just make sure you take your time shopping around, be realistic about whether or not you have time for boat maintenance, especially when it comes to older models. A newer yacht will cost more but it will be made out of modern materials that will make the boat easier to care for. It may be well worth it to hire a club boat or crew for a while in order to see what you find the most appealing before you take the plunge and purchase your own yacht.
You’ll also need to put in some work in terms of learning how to read clouds, tides, and study local water and weather conditions. Yachting is so much more than just steering your boat twenty miles out to sea.
Study the Weather
If you’ve mastered how to operate and navigate a yacht, with the help of your crew, then your next step will be studying the weather and water conditions and learning how to play it safe when you’re at sea.
In terms of having a better understanding of the importance of weather conditions at sea, your first step should be looking up the Beaufort scale. This is an international scale that provides water and wind conditions based on a scale ranging from one to twelve.
Studying the weather should also involve learning about the regular weather conditions in your neck of the woods. Does the weather tend to kick up at a certain time of day? If you’ve decided to join a local sailing club you can get the inside scoop regarding what type of local weather conditions you can expect.
Sailing forecasting is much different from land forecasting. Any seasoned sailing enthusiast will tell you to focus on sailing specific forecasts and can tell you which well-known marine forecaster to follow for the most accurate information. When you’re planning a sailing trip, you need to pay more attention to marine forecasts since you’ll need to know about weather that’s happening thousands of miles away.
Knowing how to judge upcoming weather conditions based on clouds can take your sailing skills to the next level. Some types of clouds can indicate nasty squalls approaching, or strong winds, while others will indicate good weather.
Squalls, Derechos, and Waterspouts
Squalls, derechos, and waterspouts will seem to appear out of thin air. Learning how to deal with them and understand them can make your sailing experience much safer. Usually, this is just a matter of waiting it out or taking down the sails.
Freshwater and Saltwater
Saltwater can really wreak havoc on your gear and your boat, causing corrosion and even resulting in your equipment seizing. Basically, saltwater tends to destroy anything that gets in its way. Because your yacht will be sailing in saltwater, it’s going to need more routine maintenance compared to a small boat that you use at the lake.
Tides can be very tricky, ranging from one inch up to thirty feet. If you’re new to sailing and sailing through waters that have a discernible tidal range, then learning about the tides prior to your trip should be a priority.