Ah, the sailboat. Â Romanticized in books and movies. Â Harnessing the wind as power. Watching the sky, pulling on ropes, and yelling something about a â€śjibâ€ť… Of course, there is a little bit more to sailing than that.Â
Long before buying or even renting a sailboat for the first time, the best way to learn to sail is to start by tagging along with a sailing friend on a sailboat fishing outing and paying close attention. Maybe there is a â€śyacht clubâ€ť at your local lake. Â There is much to learn regarding how to sail. For example, BoatUS.org offers a beginnerâ€™s online sailing courses and it takes about 3 hours to complete. A friend even took a class at MIT and found just the knot instruction challenging. Â
To learn how to sail, start by familiarizing yourself with some of the sailboat terms:
Port : left .
Leeward: direction the wind is blowing.
Tacking: turning so that the wind is now on the other side of the boat.
Boom: what you will need to duck from when tacking.
And so onâ€¦
If you want to try sailboat fishing, here are a couple of things to keep in mind. Have everything ready before you set out. You will be multitasking enough on a sailboat without the complications or re-rigging fishing gear. Some fish are attracted to the wake of a boat. Trolling with rods mounted in rod holders can be done as long as they are not in the way of that potentially swinging boom. Stop or at least slow when a fish is hooked to help land it. Or just wait and try jigging, once you have sailed to your destination and anchored. And remember: sailboats tip. Pay attention to boating safety and make sure all gear is secured.
Start learning how to sail on a calm day, so watch your weather closely. Â As your skill level increases, so can the wind in the forecast. And as with any boat, make sure your boat registration is up to date.