Parts 1 to 5 in this learn-to-sail course have covered all the basics for how to sail a small daysailer. The best thing now is to get out there and sail! Keep practicing the basic techniques for sail trim and steering in a variety of wind and water conditions. Soon you’ll find maneuvering a sailboat as easy and natural as riding a bike.
At the same time, sailing can involve many additional skills, and your sailboat may have additional equipment beyond the basics covered in the earlier lessons. Following are some additional topics to keep developing your skills.
When learning to sail, it’s important also to learn and use the correct terms for different parts of the boat and for sailing maneuvers. Start here to review basic sailboat terminology and the terms involved in sailing itself.
Knots. Sailors need to know how to tie certain knots for different sailing applications. Here are step-by-step descriptions and photos for tying essential knots.
Types of boats. Interested in the different types of sailboats you see out on the water? Learn the difference between a ketch and a yawl, a sloop rig and a cat rig.
Reading the Wind. Learn how to observe the boat and water to understand wind conditions and anticipate changes.
Traveler. A mainsheet traveler helps you set the mainsail perfectly at different points of sail. Learn how to use it to your advantage.
Outhaul. The mainsail outhaul is another sail control that helps you shape the mainsail for different wind conditions. Use it to get as much speed as you can from your boat!
Boom vang. A boom vang also helps control the mainsail when you’re off the wind. Learn how to adjust it for maximum efficiency.
Reefing. When the wind comes up, you may have to “shorten sail” by reefing your main. Learn when and how reefing works.
How to sail from a beach. Getting started with a Hobie, Sunfish, or other small sailboat on the beach involves some important skills.
Anchoring. When you’re ready to go cruising, you’ll want to be sure you know how to anchor the boat well so you don’t go drifting into the rocks in the middle of the night. It’s not as simple as just tossing the anchor overboard!