Destined to Dive – 5 Must Know Tips for the Seafaring Hopeful
The waters off the coast of Australia are some of the most popular for sailing anywhere in the world. So, if you find yourself with a gloriously sunny afternoon and a thirst for adventure, you might want to try your hand at the helm of a boat. While first time sailing can be a little daunting, to call it an adventure is an understatement.
There is nothing to compare with being out on the open water, with the wind in your hair, and the freedom to cruise or coast hop all day long. With the help of a trusted sailing centre, like Multihull Solutions, it is easier than you think to get set up. You can take lessons on the iconic Sydney waterways or even charter a sailboat and head out alone.
This guide to first time sailing will give you some tips on how to prepare and handle your boat.
Dress for the Occasion
While this might sound obvious, you’d be surprised at how many people head out onto the water without any kind of wet weather clothing. Even if it is hot out and the sun is shining, you should still take a raincoat for protection against the spray and wear closed shoes. Other than that, there is no strict dress code. Wear what you feel comfortable in, but avoid shoes with heels, sandals, dangling jewellery, and tight jeans.
Keep Your Lifejacket Close
Most keelboats and smaller vessels (apart from dinghies) don’t require lifejackets to be worn at all times. Normally, they are mandatory only in certain weather conditions or sailing locations. Nevertheless, they should be kept close by at all times. If you feel safer wearing your lifejacket throughout the trip, keep it on, as long as it doesn’t impair your ability to handle the boat. Do not head out on a boat which doesn’t have a lifejacket for every person present.
Stick to a Simple Itinerary
If it is your first time sailing, you should stick to a very simple itinerary.
This is an activity which needs to be mastered slowly and with patience, so don’t try to run before you can walk. Inaugural adventures can be great fun, particularly if you find a spot just off the coast that you can explore for the afternoon. Focus on getting to know the boat and enjoy the opportunity to tame the waves. There is plenty of time for more ambitious trips in the future.
Be Vocal About Your Plans
Whether you’ve been sailing for ten days or ten years, it is really important to tell somebody that you’re going out onto the water. Serious accidents and emergencies on keelboats are quite rare because somebody on shore is always keeping an ear open for trouble. So, if you don’t arrive back in the harbour when you’re supposed to, somebody will know to come look for you. This is why all sailors take the time to log, record, or share their itineraries with others.
Take Command of the Sails
The best skippers are those who find they have an innate skill for sail control.
Generally speaking, sails should be flat when the wind is very light or very heavy. They need to be full when wind conditions are relatively moderate. There is, of course, a lot more nuance to it than this, but it is a good place to start. If you’re learning out in safe, uncrowded waters (not too far from the shore), you can experiment with sail control and refine your skills.
Why Sailing Should Be Your Next Adventure
Many people dream about sailing the seas, but they assume that you need a special skill set or specific qualifications to do it. This is not the case. Anybody with a reasonable degree of physical fitness and the ability to learn the basics can get out onto the water. Plus, there are scores of great sailing schools and charter companies in Australia, so you don’t have to own an expensive vessel to make a start.