Sailing

Sailing

Overview
Sailing is the propulsion
Marine propulsion
Marine propulsion is the mechanism or system used to generate thrust to move a ship or boat across water. While paddles and sails are still used on some smaller boats, most modern ships are propelled by mechanical systems consisting a motor or engine turning a propeller, or less frequently, in jet...

 of a vehicle and the control of its movement with large (usually fabric) foils called sail
Sail
A sail is any type of surface intended to move a vessel, vehicle or rotor by being placed in a wind—in essence a propulsion wing. Sails are used in sailing.-History of sails:...

s. By changing the rigging
Rigging
Rigging is the apparatus through which the force of the wind is used to propel sailboats and sailing ships forward. This includes masts, yards, sails, and cordage.-Terms and classifications:...

, rudder
Rudder
A rudder is a device used to steer a ship, boat, submarine, hovercraft, aircraft or other conveyance that moves through a medium . On an aircraft the rudder is used primarily to counter adverse yaw and p-factor and is not the primary control used to turn the airplane...

, and sometimes the keel or centre board, a sailor
Sailor
A sailor, mariner, or seaman is a person who navigates water-borne vessels or assists in their operation, maintenance, or service. The term can apply to professional mariners, military personnel, and recreational sailors as well as a plethora of other uses...

 manages the force of the wind
Wind
Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. In outer space, solar wind is the movement of gases or charged particles from the sun through space, while planetary wind is the outgassing of light chemical elements from a planet's atmosphere into space...

 on the sails in order to move the boat relative to its surrounding medium (typically water, but also land
Land sailing
Land sailing, also known as sand yachting or land yachting, is the act of moving across land in a wheeled vehicle powered by wind through the use of a sail. The term comes from analogy with sailing. Historically, land sailing was used as a mode of transportation or recreation...

 and ice) and change its direction and speed. Mastery of the skill requires experience in varying wind and sea conditions
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...

, as well as knowledge concerning sailboats themselves and a keen understanding of one's surroundings.

While there are still some places in the world where sail-powered passenger, fishing and trading vessels are used, these craft have become rarer as internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

s have become economically viable in even the poorest and most remote areas.
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Encyclopedia
Sailing is the propulsion
Marine propulsion
Marine propulsion is the mechanism or system used to generate thrust to move a ship or boat across water. While paddles and sails are still used on some smaller boats, most modern ships are propelled by mechanical systems consisting a motor or engine turning a propeller, or less frequently, in jet...

 of a vehicle and the control of its movement with large (usually fabric) foils called sail
Sail
A sail is any type of surface intended to move a vessel, vehicle or rotor by being placed in a wind—in essence a propulsion wing. Sails are used in sailing.-History of sails:...

s. By changing the rigging
Rigging
Rigging is the apparatus through which the force of the wind is used to propel sailboats and sailing ships forward. This includes masts, yards, sails, and cordage.-Terms and classifications:...

, rudder
Rudder
A rudder is a device used to steer a ship, boat, submarine, hovercraft, aircraft or other conveyance that moves through a medium . On an aircraft the rudder is used primarily to counter adverse yaw and p-factor and is not the primary control used to turn the airplane...

, and sometimes the keel or centre board, a sailor
Sailor
A sailor, mariner, or seaman is a person who navigates water-borne vessels or assists in their operation, maintenance, or service. The term can apply to professional mariners, military personnel, and recreational sailors as well as a plethora of other uses...

 manages the force of the wind
Wind
Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. In outer space, solar wind is the movement of gases or charged particles from the sun through space, while planetary wind is the outgassing of light chemical elements from a planet's atmosphere into space...

 on the sails in order to move the boat relative to its surrounding medium (typically water, but also land
Land sailing
Land sailing, also known as sand yachting or land yachting, is the act of moving across land in a wheeled vehicle powered by wind through the use of a sail. The term comes from analogy with sailing. Historically, land sailing was used as a mode of transportation or recreation...

 and ice) and change its direction and speed. Mastery of the skill requires experience in varying wind and sea conditions
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...

, as well as knowledge concerning sailboats themselves and a keen understanding of one's surroundings.

While there are still some places in the world where sail-powered passenger, fishing and trading vessels are used, these craft have become rarer as internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

s have become economically viable in even the poorest and most remote areas. In most countries sailing is enjoyed as a recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

al activity or as a sport
Sailing (sport)
Sailing is a well organized and recognized sport.There is a broad variety of kinds of races and sailboats used for racing. Much racing is done around buoys or similar marks in protected waters, while some longer offshore races cross open water...

. Recreational sailing
Boating
Boating is the leisurely activity of travelling by boat, or the recreational use of a boat whether powerboats, sailboats, or man-powered vessels , focused on the travel itself, as well as sports activities, such as fishing or water skiing...

 or yachting
Yachting
Yachting refers to recreational sailing or boating, the specific act of sailing or using other water vessels for sporting purposes.-Competitive sailing:...

 can be divided into racing
Yacht racing
Yacht racing is the sport of competitive yachting.While sailing groups organize the most active and popular competitive yachting, other boating events are also held world-wide: speed motorboat racing; competitive canoeing, kayaking, and rowing; model yachting; and navigational contests Yacht racing...

 and cruising
Cruising (maritime)
Cruising by boat is a lifestyle that involves living for extended time on a boat while traveling from place to place for pleasure. Cruising generally refers to trips of a few days or more, and can extend to round-the-world voyages.- History :...

. Cruising can include extended offshore and ocean-crossing trips, coastal sailing within sight of land, and daysailing.

History



Throughout history sailing has been instrumental in the development of civilization, affording mankind greater mobility than travel over land, whether for trade, transport or warfare, and the capacity for fishing. The earliest representation of a ship under sail appears on a painted disc found in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 dating to the late 5th millennium BC. Advances in sailing technology from the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 onward enabled Arab, Chinese
Naval history of China
The naval history of China dates back thousands of years, with archives existing since the late Spring and Autumn Period about the ancient navy of China and the various ship types used in war. China was leading maritime power in the years 1405-1433, when Chinese shipbuilders began to build massive...

, Indian
Indian maritime history
Indian maritime history begins during the 3rd millennium BCE when inhabitants of the Indus Valley initiated maritime trading contact with Mesopotamia. The Roman historian Strabo mentions an increase in Roman trade with India following the Roman annexation of Egypt. By the time of Augustus up to 120...

 and European
Age of Sail
The Age of Sail was the period in which international trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailing ships, lasting from the 16th to the mid 19th century...

 explorers to make longer voyages into regions with extreme weather and climatic conditions. There were improvements in sails, masts and rigging
Rigging
Rigging is the apparatus through which the force of the wind is used to propel sailboats and sailing ships forward. This includes masts, yards, sails, and cordage.-Terms and classifications:...

; navigation equipment improved. From the 15th century onwards, European ships went further north, stayed longer on the Grand Banks
Grand Banks
The Grand Banks of Newfoundland are a group of underwater plateaus southeast of Newfoundland on the North American continental shelf. These areas are relatively shallow, ranging from in depth. The cold Labrador Current mixes with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream here.The mixing of these waters...

 and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and eventually began to explore the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 and the Western Arctic
Western Arctic
Western Arctic is a federal electoral district and senate division in Northwest Territories, Canada, that has been represented in the Canadian House of Commons since 1979....

. Sailing has contributed to many great explorations in the world.

Introduction


The air interacting with the sails of a sailing vessel creates various forces, including reaction forces
Reaction (physics)
The third of Newton's laws of motion of classical mechanics states that forces always occur in pairs. Every action is accompanied by a reaction of equal magnitude but opposite direction. This principle is commonly known in the Latin language as actio et reactio. The attribution of which of the two...

. If the sails are properly oriented with respect to the wind, then the net force
Net force
In physics, net force is the total force acting on an object. It is calculated by vector addition of all forces that are actually acting on that object. Net force has the same effect on the translational motion of the object as all actual forces taken together...

 on the sails will move the vessel forward. However, boats propelled by sails cannot sail directly into the wind. They must tack
Tacking (sailing)
Tacking or coming about is a sailing maneuver by which a sailing vessel turns its bow through the wind so that the direction from which the wind blows changes from one side to the other...

 (turn the boat through the eye of the wind) back and forth in order to progress directly upwind (see below Beating or "Working").

Sails as airfoils


Sails are airfoils that work by using an airflow set up by the wind and the motion of the boat.
Sails work in two "modes" to use the wind to generate force (see Forces on sails):
  • when the boat is going in the same direction as the wind, the wind force simply pushes on the sail. The force on the sail is mostly aerodynamic drag
    Drag
    - In science and technology :* Drag , the force which resists motion of an object through a fluid* Drag equation, a mathematical equation used in analyzing the magnitude of drag caused by fluid flow...

    , and sails acting in this way are aerodynamically stalled.
  • when the boat is traveling across the wind, the air coming in from the side is redirected toward the rear; according to Newton's Third law, the air is accelerated towards the rear of the boat and the sails experience a force in the opposite direction. This force manifests itself as pressure differences between the two sides of the sail - there is a region of low pressure on the front side of the sail and a region of high pressure on the back. Another way to say this is that sails generate lift
    Lift (force)
    A fluid flowing past the surface of a body exerts a surface force on it. Lift is the component of this force that is perpendicular to the oncoming flow direction. It contrasts with the drag force, which is the component of the surface force parallel to the flow direction...

     using the air that flows around them in the same way as an aircraft wing.

Apparent wind


The wind that a boat experiences is the combination of the true wind (i.e. the wind relative to a stationary object) and the wind that occurs due to the forward motion of the boat. This combination is the apparent wind
Apparent wind
Apparent wind is the wind experienced by a moving object.-Definition of apparent wind:The Apparent wind is the wind experienced by an observer in motion and is the relative velocity of the wind in relation to the observer....

, which is the relative velocity
Relative velocity
In non-relativistic kinematics, relative velocity is the vector difference between the velocities of two objects, as evaluated in terms of a single coordinate system....

 of the wind relative to the boat.

When sailing upwind the apparent wind is greater than the true wind and the direction of the apparent wind will be forward of the true wind. Some high-performance boats are capable of traveling faster than the true windspeed
Sailing faster than the wind
Devices that are powered by sails can sail faster than the wind. Such devices cannot do this when sailing dead downwind using simple square sails that are set perpendicular to the wind, but they can achieve speeds greater than wind speed by setting sails at an angle to the wind and by using the...

 on some points of sail
Points of sail
Points of sail describes a sailing boat's course in relation to the wind direction.There is a distinction between the port tack and the starboard tack. If the wind is coming from anywhere on the port side, the boat is on port tack. Likewise if the wind is coming from the starboard side, the boat...

, see for example the Hydroptère
Hydroptère
The Hydroptère is an experimental sailing hydrofoil designed by French yachtsman Alain Thébault. Her multihull hydrofoil design allows the sail-powered vessel to reach high speeds on water. The design is based on experience from a range of hydrofoil sailcraft that Thébault built in cooperation with...

, which set a world speed record in 2009 by sailing 1.71 times the speed of the wind. Iceboats can typically sail at 5 times the speed of the wind.

The energy that drives a sailboat is harnessed by manipulating the relative movement of wind and water speed: if there is no difference in movement, such as on a calm day or when the wind and water current are moving in the same direction at the same speed, there is no energy to be extracted and the sailboat will not be able to do anything but drift. Where there is a difference in motion, then there is energy to be extracted at the interface. The sailboat does this by placing the sail(s) in the air and the hull(s) in the water.

A sailing vessel is not maneuverable due to sails alone—the forces caused by the wind on the sails would cause the vessel to rotate and travel sideways instead of moving forward. In the same manner that an aircraft requires stabilizers
Stabilizer (aircraft)
In aviation, a stabilizer provides stability when the aircraft is flying straight, and the airfoil of the horizontal stabilizer balances the forces acting on the aircraft....

, such as a tailplane
Tailplane
A tailplane, also known as horizontal stabilizer , is a small lifting surface located on the tail behind the main lifting surfaces of a fixed-wing aircraft as well as other non-fixed wing aircraft such as helicopters and gyroplanes...

 with elevators
Elevator (aircraft)
Elevators are flight control surfaces, usually at the rear of an aircraft, which control the aircraft's orientation by changing the pitch of the aircraft, and so also the angle of attack of the wing. In simplified terms, they make the aircraft nose-up or nose-down...

 as well as wing
Wing
A wing is an appendage with a surface that produces lift for flight or propulsion through the atmosphere, or through another gaseous or liquid fluid...

s, a boat requires a keel
Keel
In boats and ships, keel can refer to either of two parts: a structural element, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event...

 and rudder
Rudder
A rudder is a device used to steer a ship, boat, submarine, hovercraft, aircraft or other conveyance that moves through a medium . On an aircraft the rudder is used primarily to counter adverse yaw and p-factor and is not the primary control used to turn the airplane...

. The forces on the sails as well as those from below the water line on the keel, centerboard, and other underwater foils including the hull itself (especially for catamaran
Catamaran
A catamaran is a type of multihulled boat or ship consisting of two hulls, or vakas, joined by some structure, the most basic being a frame, formed of akas...

s or in a traditional proa
Proa
A proa, also seen as prau, perahu, and prahu, is a type of multihull sailing vessel.While the word perahu and proa are generic terms meaning boat their native language, proa in Western languages has come to describe a vessel consisting of two unequal length parallel hulls...

) combine and partially cancel each other to produce the motive force for the vessel. Thus, the physical portion of the boat that is below water can be regarded as functioning as a "second sail." The flow of water over the underwater hull portions creates hydrodynamic forces, which combine with the aerodynamic forces from the sails to allow motion in almost any direction except straight into the wind. When sailing close to the wind the force generated by the sail acts at 90° to the sail. This force can be considered as split into a small force acting in the direction of travel, as well as a large sideways force that heels (tips) the boat. To enable maximum forward speed, the force needs to be cancelled out, perhaps using human balast, leaving only a smaller forward resultant force
Net force
In physics, net force is the total force acting on an object. It is calculated by vector addition of all forces that are actually acting on that object. Net force has the same effect on the translational motion of the object as all actual forces taken together...

. Depending on the efficiency of the rig and hull, the angle of travel relative to the true wind can be as little as 35° or may need to be 80° or greater. This angle is half of the tacking angle
Tack (sailing)
Tack is a term used in sailing that has different meanings in different contexts, variously a part of a sail, and an alignment with the wind. When using the latter sense, the maneuver of turning between starboard and port tack is either tacking or jibing....

 and defines one side of a 'no-go zone' into the wind, in which a vessel cannot sail directly.

Tacking
Tacking
Tacking may refer to:*Tacking or coming about, a sailing maneuver*Tacking , a technical legal concept relating to competing priorities between security interests arising over the same asset...

 is essential when sailing upwind. The sails, when correctly adjusted, will generate aerodynamic lift. When sailing downwind, the sails no longer generate aerodynamic lift and airflow is stalled, with the wind push on the sails giving drag only. As the boat is going downwind, the apparent wind
Apparent wind
Apparent wind is the wind experienced by a moving object.-Definition of apparent wind:The Apparent wind is the wind experienced by an observer in motion and is the relative velocity of the wind in relation to the observer....

 is less than the true wind and this, allied to the fact that the sails are not producing aerodynamic lift, serves to limit the downwind speed.

Effects of wind shear


Wind shear
Wind shear
Wind shear, sometimes referred to as windshear or wind gradient, is a difference in wind speed and direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere...

 affects sailboats in motion by presenting a different wind speed and direction at different heights along the mast
Mast (sailing)
The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall, vertical, or near vertical, spar, or arrangement of spars, which supports the sails. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship...

. Wind shear occurs because of friction above a water surface slowing the flow of air. Thus, a difference in true wind creates a different apparent wind at different heights. Sailmaker
Sailmaker
A sailmaker makes and repairs sails for sailboats, kites, hang gliders, wind art, architectural sails, or other structures using sails. A sailmaker typically works on shore in a sail loft. The sail loft has other sailmakers. Large ocean-going sailing ships often had sailmakers in the crew. The...

s may introduce sail twist
Sail twist
Sail twist is a phenomenon in sailing where the head of the sail is at a different angle of incidence from the foot of the sail in order to change the lift distribution with height. Twist is measured by comparing the angle of a straight line between the leading edge and trailing edge with that of...

 in the design of the sail, where the head of the sail is set at a different angle of attack from the foot of the sail in order to change the lift distribution with height. The effect of wind shear can be factored into the selection of twist in the sail design, but this can be difficult to predict since wind shear may vary widely in different weather conditions. Sailor
Sailor
A sailor, mariner, or seaman is a person who navigates water-borne vessels or assists in their operation, maintenance, or service. The term can apply to professional mariners, military personnel, and recreational sailors as well as a plethora of other uses...

s may also adjust the trim of the sail to account for wind gradient, for example, using a boom vang
Boom vang
A boom vang or kicking strap is a line or piston system on a sailboat used to exert downward force on the boom and thus control the shape of the sail. An older term is "martingale"....

.

Points of sail




The point of sail
Points of sail
Points of sail describes a sailing boat's course in relation to the wind direction.There is a distinction between the port tack and the starboard tack. If the wind is coming from anywhere on the port side, the boat is on port tack. Likewise if the wind is coming from the starboard side, the boat...

 describes a sailing boat's course in relation to the wind direction.

No sailboat can sail directly into the wind (known as being "in irons"), and for a given boat there is a minimum angle that it can sail relative to the wind; attempting to sail closer than that leads to the sails luffing and the boat will slow down and stop. This "no-go zone" (shown shaded in accompanying figure) is about 45° either side of the true wind for a modern sloop.

There are 5 main points of sail. In order from the edge of the no-go zone (or "irons") to directly downwind they are:
  • close haul (the minimum angle to the wind that the boat and its rig can manage - typically about 45° )
  • close reach (between close hauled and a beam reach)
  • beam reach (approximately 90° to the wind)
  • broad reach (between a beam reach and running)
  • running (close to directly downwind)

The sail trim on a boat is relative to the point of sail one is on: on a beam reach sails are mostly let out, on a run sails are all the way out, and close hauled sails are pulled in very tightly. Two main skills of sailing are trimming the sails correctly for the direction and strength of the wind, and maintaining a course relative to the wind that suits the sails once trimmed.

Beating or "working"



A boat can get to an upwind destination by sailing close-hauled with the wind coming from one side, then tacking (turning the boat through the eye of the wind) and sailing with the wind coming from the other side. By this method of zig-zagging into the wind it is possible to reach any upwind destination. A yacht beating to a mark directly upwind one mile (1.6 km) away will cover a distance through the water of at least 1.4 miles (2.3 km), if it can tack through an angle of 90 degrees with negligible leeway
Leeway
Leeway is the motion of an object that is floating in the water to leeward due to the component of the wind vector perpendicular to the object’s. The National Search and Rescue Supplement to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual defines leeway as "the movement of a...

. An old adage describes beating as sailing for twice the distance at half the speed and three times the discomfort.

When beating to windward one tack may be more favorable than the other - more in the direction you wish to travel. The best strategy is to stay on the favorable tack as much as possible. If the wind shifts in your favor, called a "lift," so much the better, then this tack is even more favorable. But if it shifts against you, called a "header," then the opposite tack may become the more favorable course. So when sailing directly into the wind the best strategy is given by the old racing adage "Tack on a header." This is true because a header on one tack is a lift on the other.

How closely a boat can sail into the wind depends on the boat's design, sail shape and trim, the sea state, and the wind speed
Wind speed
Wind speed, or wind velocity, is a fundamental atmospheric rate.Wind speed affects weather forecasting, aircraft and maritime operations, construction projects, growth and metabolism rate of many plant species, and countless other implications....

.

Typical minimum pointing angles to the true wind are as follows. Actual course over the water will be worse due to leeway.
  • about 35° for modern racing yachts which have been optimized for upwind performance (like America's Cup
    America's Cup
    The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging...

     yachts)
  • about 40 to 45° for modern cruiser-racer yachts (fast cruising
    Cruising (maritime)
    Cruising by boat is a lifestyle that involves living for extended time on a boat while traveling from place to place for pleasure. Cruising generally refers to trips of a few days or more, and can extend to round-the-world voyages.- History :...

     yachts)
  • about 50 to 60° for cruisers and workboats with inefficient keels, inefficient hull shapes, or low draught, when compared to craft designed for sailing performance, and for boats carrying two or more masts (since the forward sails adversely affect the windward ability of sails further aft when sailing upwind)
  • close to 90° for square riggers and similar vessels due to the sail shape which is very ineffective when sailing upwind


Sailing close-hauled under a large amount of sail
Over-canvassed sailing
A sailing boat that is carrying too much sail for the current wind conditions is said to be over-canvassed. An over-canvassed boat, whether a dinghy, a yacht or a sailing ship, is difficult to steer and control and tends to heel or roll too much...

, and heeling a great deal, can induce weather helm
Weather helm
Weather helm is the tendency of sailing vessels to turn towards the source of wind, creating an unbalanced helm that requires pulling the tiller to windward in order to counteract the effect. Weather helm is the opposite of Lee Helm....

, or a tendency for the boat to turn into the wind. This requires pulling the tiller to windward (i.e. 'to weather'), or turning the wheel leeward, in order to counteract the effect and maintain the required course. The lee side of the hull is more under water than the weather side and the resulting shape of the submerged parts of the hull usually creates a force that pushes the bow to weather. Driving both the asymmetric heeling hull form and the angled rudder through the water produces drag
Drag (physics)
In fluid dynamics, drag refers to forces which act on a solid object in the direction of the relative fluid flow velocity...

 that slows the boat down. If weather helm builds further, it can limit the ability of the helmsman to steer the boat, which can be turned towards but not effectively away from the wind. At more extreme angles of heel, the boat will spontaneously 'round up' into the wind during gusts, i.e. it will turn into the wind regardless of any corrective action taken on the helm.

Any action that reduces the angle of heel of a boat that is reaching or beating to windward will help reduce excessive weather helm. Racing sailors use their body weight to bring the boat to a more upright position, but are not allowed to use "movable ballast" during a race.

Reducing or reefing
Reefing
Reefing is a sailing manoeuvre intended to reduce the area of a sail on a sailboat or sailing ship, which can improve the ship's stability and reduce the risk of capsizing, broaching, or damaging sails or boat hardware in a strong wind...

 the total sail area will have the same effect and many boats will sail faster with less sail in a stiff breeze due to the reduction in underwater drag. Easing the sheets on aft-most sails, such as the mainsail in a sloop
Sloop
A sloop is a sail boat with a fore-and-aft rig and a single mast farther forward than the mast of a cutter....

 or cutter
Cutter
A cutter may refer to several types of nautical vessels. When used in the context of sailing vessels, a cutter is a small single-masted boat, fore-and-aft rigged, with two or more headsails and often a bowsprit. The cutter features a mast set farther back than on a sloop...

 can have an immediate effect, especially to help with manoeuvering. Moving or increasing sail area forward can also help, for example by raising the jib
Jib
A jib is a triangular staysail set ahead of the foremast of a sailing vessel. Its tack is fixed to the bowsprit, to the bow, or to the deck between the bowsprit and the foremost mast...

 (and maybe lowering the staysail
Staysail
A staysail is a fore-and-aft rigged sail whose luff can be affixed to a stay running forward from a mast to the deck, the bowsprit or to another mast....

) on a cutter.

Reaching


When the boat is traveling approximately perpendicular to the wind, this is called reaching. A beam reach is with the wind at right angles to the boat, a close reach is anywhere between beating and a beam reach, and a broad reach is between a beam reach and running.

For most modern sailboats, that is boats with fore-and-aft
Fore-and-aft rig
A fore-and-aft rig is a sailing rig consisting mainly of sails that are set along the line of the keel rather than perpendicular to it. Such sails are described as fore-and-aft rigged....

 sails, reaching is the fastest way to travel. The direction of the wind is ideal when reaching because it can maximize the lift generated on the sails in the forward direction of the boat, giving the best boat speed. Also when reaching, the boat can be steered exactly in the direction that is most desirable, and the sails can be trimmed for that direction.

Reaching may, however, put the boat on a course parallel with the crests of the waves. When the waves are steep, it may be necessary to sail closer to the wind to avoid waves directly on the beam.

Running



Sailing the boat within roughly 30 degrees either side of dead downwind is called a run. This can be the most comfortable point of sail, but requires constant attention. Loss of attention by the helmsman can lead to an accidental jibe
Jibe
A jibe or gybe is a sailing maneuver where a sailing vessel turns its stern through the wind, such that the wind direction changes from one side of the boat to the other...

, causing injury to the boat or crew. All on deck must be aware of, and if possible avoid, the potential arc of the boom, mainsheet and other gear in case an accidental jibe occurs during a run. A preventer
Preventer
A preventer, or jibe-guard, is a mechanical device on a sailing vessel which limits the boom's ability to swing unexpectedly across the boat due to an unplanned accidental jibe....

 can be rigged to reduce danger and damage from accidental jibes.

This is generally the most unstable point of sail, but the easiest for a novice to grasp conceptually, making it a common downfall for beginners. In stronger winds, rolling increases as there is less rolling resistance provided by the sails, as they are eased out. Also, having the sails and boom(s) perpendicular to the boat throws weight and some wind force to that side, making the boat harder to balance. In smaller boats, death roll
Death roll
In a keel boat, a death roll is the act of broaching to windward, putting the spinnaker pole into the water and causing a crash-gybe of the boom and mainsail, which sweep across the deck and plunge down into the water. The Death Roll often results in destruction of the spinnaker pole and sometimes...

s can build up and lead to capsize.

Any boat over-canvass
Over-canvassed sailing
A sailing boat that is carrying too much sail for the current wind conditions is said to be over-canvassed. An over-canvassed boat, whether a dinghy, a yacht or a sailing ship, is difficult to steer and control and tends to heel or roll too much...

ed on a run can round up
Rounding up
Rounding-up is a phenomenon that occurs in sailing when the helmsman is no longer able to control the direction of the boat and it heads up into the wind, causing the boat to slow down or stall out. This occurs when the wind overpowers the ability of the rudder to maintain a straight course...

, heel excessively and stop suddenly in the water. This is called broaching
Broach (sailing)
A sailboat broaches when its heading suddenly changes towards the wind due to wind/sail interactions for which the rudder cannot compensate. This causes the boat to roll dangerously and if not controlled may lead to a capsize...

 and it can lead to capsize, possible crew injury and loss of crew into the water. Also on a run an inexperienced or inattentive sailor can easily misjudge the real wind strength since the boat speed subtracts directly from the true wind speed and makes the apparent wind
Apparent wind
Apparent wind is the wind experienced by a moving object.-Definition of apparent wind:The Apparent wind is the wind experienced by an observer in motion and is the relative velocity of the wind in relation to the observer....

 less. In addition sea conditions also falsely seem milder on this point of sail as white caps are less apparent. When changing course from this point of sail to a reach or a beat, a sailboat that seemed under control can instantly become over canvassed and in danger.

Options for maneuvering are also reduced. On other points of sail
Points of sail
Points of sail describes a sailing boat's course in relation to the wind direction.There is a distinction between the port tack and the starboard tack. If the wind is coming from anywhere on the port side, the boat is on port tack. Likewise if the wind is coming from the starboard side, the boat...

, it is easy to stop or slow the boat by heading into the wind
Wind
Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. In outer space, solar wind is the movement of gases or charged particles from the sun through space, while planetary wind is the outgassing of light chemical elements from a planet's atmosphere into space...

; there may be no such easy way out when running, especially in close quarters or when a spinnaker, whisker pole or preventer are set.

Basic sailing techniques



Trim


An important aspect of sailing is keeping the boat in "trim".
  • Course made good - The turning or steering of the boat vessel using the wheel or tiller to the desired course or buoy. See different points of sail
    Points of sail
    Points of sail describes a sailing boat's course in relation to the wind direction.There is a distinction between the port tack and the starboard tack. If the wind is coming from anywhere on the port side, the boat is on port tack. Likewise if the wind is coming from the starboard side, the boat...

    . This may be a definite bearing (e.g. steer 270 degrees), or towards a landmark, or at a desired angle to the apparent wind
    Apparent wind
    Apparent wind is the wind experienced by a moving object.-Definition of apparent wind:The Apparent wind is the wind experienced by an observer in motion and is the relative velocity of the wind in relation to the observer....

     direction.
  • Trim - This is the fore and aft balance of the boat. The aim is to adjust the moveable ballast (the crew) forwards or backwards to achieve an 'even keel'. On an upwind course in a small boat, the crew typically sit forward to reduce drag. When 'running', it is more efficient for the crew to sit to the rear of the boat. The position of the crew matters less as the size (and weight) of the boat increases.
  • Balance - This is the port and starboard balance. The aim, once again, is to adjust weight 'windward' or 'leeward' to prevent excessive heeling. The boat moves at a faster velocity if it is flat to the water.
  • Sail trim - Trimming sails is a large topic. Simply put, however, a sail should be pulled in until it fills with wind, but no further than the point where the front edge of the sail (the luff) is exactly in line with the wind. Let it out until it starts to flap, and then pull it in until it stops.
  • Centreboard (Daggerboard) - If a moveable centreboard
    Centreboard
    A centreboard or centerboard is a retractable keel which pivots out of a slot in the hull of a sailboat, known as a centreboard trunk or centerboard case...

     is fitted, then it should be lowered when sailing "close to the wind" but can be raised up on downwind courses to reduce drag. The centreboard prevents lateral motion and allows the boat to sail upwind. A boat with no centreboard will instead have a permanent keel, some other form of underwater foil, or even the hull itself which serves the same purpose. On a close haul the daggerboard should be fully down, and while running, over half way up.


Together, these points are known as 'The Five Essentials' and constitute the central aspects of sailing.

Tacking and jibing


There are two ways to change from port tack to starboard tack: either by turning the bow
Bow
Bow may refer to:* Bow , an archery weapon that uses elasticity to propel arrows* Bowing , to lower the head or the upper body* Bow , the foremost point of the hull of a ship or boat...

 through the eye of the wind
Eye of the Wind
The Eye of the Wind is a ship built in 1911 by C Lühring of Brake, West Germany, originally as a topsail schooner named 'Friedrich'.-History:The 'Friedrich' was initially used as a schooner for the South American hide trade...

, "tacking
Tacking (sailing)
Tacking or coming about is a sailing maneuver by which a sailing vessel turns its bow through the wind so that the direction from which the wind blows changes from one side to the other...

" or the stern
Stern
The stern is the rear or aft-most part of a ship or boat, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter rail to the taffrail. The stern lies opposite of the bow, the foremost part of a ship. Originally, the term only referred to the aft port section...

, "jibing." Tacking is the safer method and preferred especially when sailing upwind.

During such course changes, there is work that needs to be done. Just before tacking the command "Ready about" is given, at which point the crew must man the sheet lines which need to be changed over to the other tack and the helmsman
Helmsman
A helmsman is a person who steers a ship, sailboat, submarine, or other type of maritime vessel. On small vessels, particularly privately-owned noncommercial vessels, the functions of skipper and helmsman may be combined in one person. On larger vessels, there is a separate officer of the watch,...

 gets ready. To execute the tack the command "Lee-ho" or "Hard-a-lee" is given. The latter is a direct order to the helmsman to push the tiller
Tiller
A tiller or till is a lever attached to a rudder post or rudder stock of a boat that provides leverage for the helmsman to turn the rudder...

 hard to the leeward side of the boat making the bow of the boat come up and quickly turn through the eye of the wind to prevent the boat being caught in irons. As the boat turns through the eye of the wind, some sails such as those with a boom and a single sheet may self-tack and need only small adjustments of sheeting points, but for jibs and other sails with separate sheets on either side, the original sheet must be loosened and the opposite sheet lines hauled in and set quickly and properly for the new point of sail.

Jibing is often necessary to change course when sailing off the wind or downwind. It is a more dangerous maneuver because boom
Boom
-Pole or spar application:* Boom , spar at the foot of a sail on a sailboat* Boom , a wishbone shaped piece of windsurfing equipment* Boom barrier, a barrier used to block vehicular access through a controlled point...

s must be controlled as the sails catch the new wind direction from astern. An uncontrolled jibe
Jibe
A jibe or gybe is a sailing maneuver where a sailing vessel turns its stern through the wind, such that the wind direction changes from one side of the boat to the other...

 can happen suddenly by itself when sailing downwind if the helmsman is not paying attention to the wind direction and can be very dangerous as the main boom will sweep across the cockpit
Cockpit
A cockpit or flight deck is the area, usually near the front of an aircraft, from which a pilot controls the aircraft. Most modern cockpits are enclosed, except on some small aircraft, and cockpits on large airliners are also physically separated from the cabin...

 very quickly and with great force. Before jibing the command "Ready to jibe" is given. The crew gets ready at their positions. If any sails are constrained with preventer
Preventer
A preventer, or jibe-guard, is a mechanical device on a sailing vessel which limits the boom's ability to swing unexpectedly across the boat due to an unplanned accidental jibe....

s or whisker poles these are taken down. The command "Jibe-ho" is given to execute the turn. The boomed sails must be hauled in and made fast before the stern reaches the eye of the wind, so that they are amidship and controlled as the stern passes through the wind, and then let out quickly under control and adjusted to the new point of sail.

Reducing sail


An important safety aspect of sailing is to adjust the amount of sail to suit the wind conditions. As the wind speed increases the crew should progressively reduce the amount of sail. On a small boat with only jib and mainsail
Mainsail
A mainsail is a sail located behind the main mast of a sailing vessel.On a square rigged vessel, it is the lowest and largest sail on the main mast....

 this is done by furling
Furl (sailing)
Furling refers to stowing or dousing a boat's sail by flaking , packing , roller furling or just lowering it onto the deck. Nowadays, it is becoming more common to use the term "furling" to refer to reefing a sail that is part of a roller furling system....

 the jib and by partially lowering the mainsail, a process called 'reefing the main'.

Reefing
Reefing
Reefing is a sailing manoeuvre intended to reduce the area of a sail on a sailboat or sailing ship, which can improve the ship's stability and reduce the risk of capsizing, broaching, or damaging sails or boat hardware in a strong wind...

 means reducing the area of a sail without actually changing it for a smaller sail. Ideally reefing does not only result in a reduced sail area but also in a lower centre of effort from the sails, reducing the heeling moment and keeping the boat more upright.

There are three common methods of reefing the mainsail:
  • Slab reefing, which involves lowering the sail by about one-quarter to one-third of its luff length and tightening the lower part of the sail using an outhaul
    Outhaul
    An outhaul is a line which is part of the running rigging of a sailboat, used to extend a sail and control the shape of the curve of the foot of the sail. It runs from the clew to the end of the boom...

     or a pre-loaded reef line through a cringle
    Cringle
    A cringle is an eye through which to pass a rope. In nautical settings, the word refers to a small hole anywhere along the edge or in the corner of a sail, rimmed with stranded cordage and worked into the boltrope. Typically it encloses a metal grommet for reinforcement and to reduce wear...

     at the new clew, and hook through a cringle at the new tack.
  • In-mast (or on-mast) roller-reefing. This method rolls the sail up around a vertical foil either inside a slot in the mast, or affixed to the outside of the mast. It requires a mainsail with either no battens, or newly-developed vertical battens.
  • In-boom roller-reefing, with a horizontal foil inside the boom
    Boom (sailing)
    In sailing, a boom is a spar , along the foot of a fore and aft rigged sail, that greatly improves control of the angle and shape of the sail. The primary action of the boom is to keep the foot of the sail flatter when the sail angle is away from the centerline of the boat. The boom also serves...

    . This method allows for standard- or full-length horizontal battens.


Mainsail furling systems have become increasingly popular on cruising yachts, as they can be operated shorthanded and from the cockpit, in most cases. However, the sail can become jammed in the mast
Mast (sailing)
The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall, vertical, or near vertical, spar, or arrangement of spars, which supports the sails. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship...

 or boom slot if not operated correctly. Mainsail furling is almost never used while racing because it results in a less efficient sail profile. The classical slab-reefing method is the most widely used. Mainsail furling has an additional disadvantage in that its complicated gear may somewhat increase weight aloft. However, as the size of the boat increases, the benefits of mainsail roller furling increase dramatically.

An old saying goes, "The first time you think of reducing sail you should," and correspondingly, "When you think you are ready to take out a reef, have a cup of tea first."

Sail trimming



Sail trimming is a large subject and a matter of debate.

The most basic control of the sail consists of setting its angle relative to the wind. The control line that accomplishes this is called a "sheet." If the sheet is too loose the sail will flap in the wind, an occurrence that is called "luffing." Optimum sail angle can be approximated by pulling the sheet in just so far as to make the luffing stop. Finer controls adjust the overall shape of the sail.

Two or more sails are frequently combined to maximize the smooth flow of air. The sails are adjusted to create a smooth laminar flow
Laminar flow
Laminar flow, sometimes known as streamline flow, occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers. At low velocities the fluid tends to flow without lateral mixing, and adjacent layers slide past one another like playing cards. There are no cross currents...

 over the sail surfaces. This is called the "slot effect". The combined sails fit into an imaginary aerofoil outline, so that the most forward sails are more in line with the wind, whereas the more aft sails are more in line with the course followed. The combined efficiency of this sail plan is greater than the sum of each sail used in isolation.

More detailed aspects include specific control of the sail's shape, e.g.:
  • reefing, or reducing the sail area in stronger wind
  • altering sail shape to make it flatter in high winds
  • raking the mast when going upwind (to tilt the sail towards the rear, this being more stable)
  • providing sail twist to account for wind speed differential and to spill excess wind in gusty conditions
  • gibbing or lowering a sail

Hull trim


Hull trim is the adjustment of a boat's loading so as to change its fore-and-aft attitude in the water. In small boats, it is done by positioning the crew. In larger boats the weight of a person has less effect on the hull trim, but it can be adjusted by shifting gear, fuel, water, or supplies. Different hull trim efforts are required for different kinds of boats and different conditions. Here are just a few examples: In a lightweight racing dinghy like a Thistle
Thistle (dinghy)
The Thistle is a high performance one-design racing dinghy, also used for day sailing, popular in the United States. The Thistle was designed by Gordon K. Douglass who later designed the Highlander and Flying Scot. Starting in 1945, 4000 boats have now been built. Their construction originally...

, the hull should be kept level, on its designed water line for best performance in all conditions. In many small boats, weight too far aft can cause drag by submerging the transom, especially in light to moderate winds. Weight too far forward can cause the bow to dig into the waves. In heavy winds, a boat with its bow too low may capsize by pitching forward over its bow (pitch-pole) or dive under the waves (submarine). On a run in heavy winds, the forces on the sails tend to drive a boat's bow down, so the crew weight is moved far aft.

Heeling



When a ship or boat leans over to one side under wind pressure, from the action of waves or from the centrifugal force of a turn, it is said to 'heel'. A sailing boat that is overcanvassed
Over-canvassed sailing
A sailing boat that is carrying too much sail for the current wind conditions is said to be over-canvassed. An over-canvassed boat, whether a dinghy, a yacht or a sailing ship, is difficult to steer and control and tends to heel or roll too much...

 and heeling over beyond a certain angle sails less efficiently.
When a vessel heels, the buoyancy of that part of the hull which is being submerged acts to balance the heeling force. A weighted keel provides additional force to right the boat. In some high-performance racing yachts, the angle of the keel can be changed to provide additional righting force: such keels are called canting keel
Canting keel
A canting keel is a form of sailing ballast, suspended from a rigid canting strut beneath the boat, which can be swung to windward of a boat under sail, in order to counteract the heeling force of the sail...

s. The crew may move onto the high (upwind) side of the boat, called hiking
Hiking (sailing)
thumb|350px|A sailing canoe with crew hiking out on the outrigger, in Ailuk Lagoon, [[Marshall Islands]].In sailing, hiking is the action of moving the crew's body weight as far to windward as possible, in order to decrease the extent the boat heels...

, which changes the centre of gravity. They can trapeze if the boat is designed for this (see Dinghy sailing
Dinghy sailing
Dinghy sailing is the activity of sailing small boats by using five essential controls:* the sails* the foils ....

).

The underwater shape of the hull relative to the sails may make the boat turn upwind when it heels excessively: this can reduce the force on the sails, and so allow the boat to right itself. It is known as rounding up
Rounding up
Rounding-up is a phenomenon that occurs in sailing when the helmsman is no longer able to control the direction of the boat and it heads up into the wind, causing the boat to slow down or stall out. This occurs when the wind overpowers the ability of the rudder to maintain a straight course...

, and can lead to difficulties in controlling the vessel if overcanvassed. A boat can be turned upwind in gusts to produce the same effect, or wind can be spilled from the sails by 'sheeting out', or loosening them. Sail shape can be flattened, for example by tightening the downhaul
Downhaul
The downhaul is a line which is part of the rigging on a sailboat; it applies downward force on a spar or sail. The most common downhaul on a modern sailboat is attached to the spinnaker pole, though this may be referred to as the foreguy in some rigging nomenclature...

.

If a sailing vessel heels too much, the real solution is to reduce the sail area, by removing and/or reefing
Reefing
Reefing is a sailing manoeuvre intended to reduce the area of a sail on a sailboat or sailing ship, which can improve the ship's stability and reduce the risk of capsizing, broaching, or damaging sails or boat hardware in a strong wind...

 sails. Raising the centreboard can reduce heeling, which can be surprising, but it is not an ideal solution as it only works by increasing leeway
Leeway
Leeway is the motion of an object that is floating in the water to leeward due to the component of the wind vector perpendicular to the object’s. The National Search and Rescue Supplement to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual defines leeway as "the movement of a...

. As a sailing boat heels further over, wind spills from the tops of the sails, so that an equilibrium angle may be reached. This may not be satisfactory if the angle is so great that rounding up makes the boat uncontrollable or if the roughness of the sea due to the wind, when combined with an extreme angle of heel makes progress untenable. If however a boat heels beyond a certain point of stability, it can capsize.

Yachts with heavy keel
Keel
In boats and ships, keel can refer to either of two parts: a structural element, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event...

s may need a combined effect of wind- and wave-induced heeling to put the tip of the mast so far into the water that they go beyond their point of negative stability and roll. Depending on their stability when floating deck-down, when combined with the roughness of the sea tending to disrupt this, they may remain inverted or self-right themselves in this extreme case. Dinghies and other vessels without a weighted keel, including open boats and many historic vessels, are easier to capsize. If sufficient buoyancy has been built in, as it should have in modern sailing dinghies, the craft may fill with water but still not sink. This may not be true for older vessels, or those where the buoyancy structures have not been properly maintained.

Sailing hulls and hull shapes




Sailing boats with one hull are "monohulls", those with two are "catamarans", those with three are "trimarans". A boat is turned by a rudder
Rudder
A rudder is a device used to steer a ship, boat, submarine, hovercraft, aircraft or other conveyance that moves through a medium . On an aircraft the rudder is used primarily to counter adverse yaw and p-factor and is not the primary control used to turn the airplane...

, which itself is controlled by a tiller
Tiller
A tiller or till is a lever attached to a rudder post or rudder stock of a boat that provides leverage for the helmsman to turn the rudder...

 or a wheel, while at the same time adjusting the sheeting angle of the sails. Smaller sailing boats often have a stabilising, raisable, underwater fin called a centreboard, daggerboard, or leeboard such as used on the Puddle Duck Racer
Puddle Duck Racer
A Puddle Duck Racer or PD Racer is an 8 foot long, 4 foot wide, 16 inch high, spec series, racing sailboat or day sailer. It is a one design hull shape with wide options in other areas. Billed as "the easiest sailboat in the world to build", the scow hull is a simple box, usually built of...

; larger sailing boats have a fixed (or sometimes canting) keel
Keel
In boats and ships, keel can refer to either of two parts: a structural element, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event...

. As a general rule, the former are called dinghies, the latter keelboats. However, up until the adoption of the Racing Rules of Sailing
Racing Rules of Sailing
The Racing Rules of Sailing govern the conduct of yacht racing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, model boat racing, dinghy racing and virtually any other form of racing around a course with more than one vessel while powered by the wind...

, any vessel racing under sail was considered a yacht, be it a multi-masted ship-rigged vessel (such as a sailing frigate), a sailboard (more commonly referred to as a windsurfer) or remote-controlled boat, or anything in between. (See Dinghy sailing
Dinghy sailing
Dinghy sailing is the activity of sailing small boats by using five essential controls:* the sails* the foils ....

.)

Multihulls use flotation and/or weight positioned away from the centre line of the sailboat to counter the force of the wind. This is in contrast to heavy ballast that can account for up to 90% (in extreme cases like AC
America's Cup
The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging...

 boats) of the weight of a monohull sailboat. In the case of a standard catamaran
Catamaran
A catamaran is a type of multihulled boat or ship consisting of two hulls, or vakas, joined by some structure, the most basic being a frame, formed of akas...

 there are two similarly-sized and -shaped slender hulls connected by beams, which are sometimes overlaid by a deck superstructure. Another catamaran variation is the proa
Proa
A proa, also seen as prau, perahu, and prahu, is a type of multihull sailing vessel.While the word perahu and proa are generic terms meaning boat their native language, proa in Western languages has come to describe a vessel consisting of two unequal length parallel hulls...

. In the case of trimarans, which have an unballasted centre hull similar to a monohull, two smaller amas
Ama (sailing)
The term ama is a word in the Polynesian and Micronesian languages to describe the outrigger part of a canoe to provide stability. Today, among the various Polynesian countries, the word ama is often used together with the word vaka or waka or va'a , cognate words in various Polynesian languages...

 are situated parallel to the centre hull to resist the sideways force of the wind. The advantage of multihulled sailboats is that they do not suffer the performance penalty of having to carry heavy ballast, and their relatively lesser draft reduces the amount of drag, caused by friction and inertia, when moving through the water.

One of the most common dinghy
Dinghy
A dinghy is a type of small boat, often carried or towed for use as a ship's boat by a larger vessel. It is a loanword from either Bengali or Urdu. The term can also refer to small racing yachts or recreational open sailing boats. Utility dinghies are usually rowboats or have an outboard motor,...

 hulls in the world is the Laser hull. It was designed by Bruce Kirby in 1971 and unveiled at the New York boat show (1971) It was designed with speed and simplicity in mind. The Laser is 13 feet 10.5 inches long and a 12.5 foot water line and 76 square feet (7.1 m²) of sail.

Types of sails and layouts




A traditional modern yacht is technically called a "Bermuda sloop
Bermuda sloop
The Bermuda sloop is a type of fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessel developed on the islands of Bermuda in the 17th century. In its purest form, it is single-masted, although ships with such rigging were built with as many as three masts, which are then referred to as schooners...

" (sometimes a "Bermudan sloop"). A sloop is any boat that has a single mast and usually a single headsail (generally a jib) in addition to the mainsail (Bermuda rig
Bermuda rig
The term Bermuda rig refers to a configuration of mast and rigging for a type of sailboat and is also known as a Marconi rig; this is the typical configuration for most modern sailboats...

 but c.f. Friendship sloop
Friendship Sloop
thumb|left|[[Fiberglass]] Friendship Sloop Bay Lady The Friendship sloop, also known as a Muscongus Bay sloop or lobster sloop, is a style of gaff-rigged sloop that originated in Friendship, Maine around 1880...

). A cutter (boat) also has a single mast, set further aft than a sloop and more than one headsail. The Bermuda designation refers to the fact that the sail, which has its forward edge (the "luff") against the mast (the main sail), is a sail roughly triangular in shape. Additionally, Bermuda sloops only have a single sail behind the mast. Other types of sloops are gaff-rigged sloops and lateen
Lateen
A lateen or latin-rig is a triangular sail set on a long yard mounted at an angle on the mast, and running in a fore-and-aft direction....

 sloops. Gaff-rigged sloops have quadrilateral mainsails with a gaff
Gaff rig
Gaff rig is a sailing rig in which the sail is four-cornered, fore-and-aft rigged, controlled at its peak and, usually, its entire head by a spar called the gaff...

 (a small boom) at their upper edge (the "head" of the sail). Gaff-rigged vessels may also have another sail, called a topsail, above the gaff. Lateen sloops have triangular sails with the upper edge attached to a gaff, and the lower edge attached to the boom, and the boom and gaff are attached to each other via some type of hinge. It is also possible for a sloop to be square rigged (having large square sails like a Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

-era ship of the line
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

). Note that a "sloop of war", in the naval sense, may well have more than one mast, and is not properly a sloop by the modern meaning.

If a boat has two masts, it may be a schooner
Schooner
A schooner is a type of sailing vessel characterized by the use of fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts with the forward mast being no taller than the rear masts....

, a ketch
Ketch
A ketch is a sailing craft with two masts: a main mast, and a shorter mizzen mast abaft of the main mast, but forward of the rudder post. Both masts are rigged mainly fore-and-aft. From one to three jibs may be carried forward of the main mast when going to windward...

, or a yawl
Yawl
A yawl is a two-masted sailing craft similar to a sloop or cutter but with an additional mast located well aft of the main mast, often right on the transom, specifically aft of the rudder post. A yawl (from Dutch Jol) is a two-masted sailing craft similar to a sloop or cutter but with an...

, if it is rigged fore-and-aft on all masts. A schooner may have any number of masts provided the second from the front is the tallest (called the "main mast"). In both a ketch and a yawl, the foremost mast is tallest, and thus the main mast, while the rear mast is shorter, and called the mizzen mast. The difference between a ketch and a yawl is that in a ketch, the mizzen mast is forward of the rudderpost (the axis of rotation for the rudder), while a yawl has its mizzen mast behind the rudderpost. In modern parlance, a brigantine
Brigantine
In sailing, a brigantine or hermaphrodite brig is a vessel with two masts, only the forward of which is square rigged.-Origins of the term:...

 is a vessel whose forward mast is rigged with square sails, while her after mast is rigged fore-and-aft. A brig
Brig
A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. During the Age of Sail, brigs were seen as fast and manoeuvrable and were used as both naval warships and merchant vessels. They were especially popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries...

 is a vessel with two masts both rigged square.

As one gets into three or more masts the number of combinations rises and one gets barque
Barque
A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts.- History of the term :The word barque appears to have come from the Greek word baris, a term for an Egyptian boat. This entered Latin as barca, which gave rise to the Italian barca, Spanish barco, and the French barge and...

s, barquentine
Barquentine
A barquentine is a sailing vessel with three or more masts; with a square rigged foremast and fore-and-aft rigged main, mizzen and any other masts.-Modern barquentine sailing rig:...

s, and full rigged ship
Full rigged ship
A full rigged ship or fully rigged ship is a sailing vessel with three or more masts, all of them square rigged. A full rigged ship is said to have a ship rig....

s.

A spinnaker
Spinnaker
A spinnaker is a special type of sail that is designed specifically for sailing off the wind from a reaching course to a downwind, i.e. with the wind 90°–180° off the bow. The spinnaker fills with wind and balloons out in front of the boat when it is deployed, called flying. It is constructed of...

 is a large, full sail that is only used when sailing off wind either reaching or downwind, to catch the maximum amount of wind.

Sailing by high altitude wind power


SkySails
SkySails
SkySails GmbH & Co. KG is a Hamburg-based company that sells equipment to propel cargo ships, large yachts and fishing vessels by the use of wind energy. The company was founded in 2001 by engineers Stephan Wrage and Thomas Meyer...

 is sailing freighter ships. Speedsailor Dave Culp strongly introduced his OutLeader kite sail for speedsailing. Malcolm Phillips invents an advanced sailing technique using high altitude kites and kytoon.

Rigid foils


With modern techonology, "wings", that is rigid sails, may be used in place of fabric sails. An example of this would be the International C-Class Catamaran Championship
International C-Class Catamaran Championship
The International C-Class Catamaran Championship, or ICCCC or I4C has taken over from the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy for the International C-Class Catamaran match racing of highly innovative catamarans, predominantly with a wing rig instead of a conventional sail plan.The prior racing...

 and the yacht USA 17
BMW Oracle Racing 90
USA-17 is a LWL, beam, sloop rigged one-off racing sail trimaran built by the USA sailing team BMW Oracle Racing for use in a Deed of Gift challenge for the 33rd America's Cup...

 that won the 2010 America's Cup. Such rigid sails are typically made of thin plastic fabric held stretched over a frame.

Alternative wind-powered vessels


Some non-traditional rigs capture energy from the wind in a different fashion and are capable of feats that traditional rigs are not, such as sailing directly into the wind. One such example is the wind turbine
Wind turbine
A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy. If the mechanical energy is used to produce electricity, the device may be called a wind generator or wind charger. If the mechanical energy is used to drive machinery, such as for grinding grain or...

 boat, also called the windmill
Windmill
A windmill is a machine which converts the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades. Originally windmills were developed for milling grain for food production. In the course of history the windmill was adapted to many other industrial uses. An important...

 boat, which uses a large windmill to extract energy from the wind, and a propeller
Propeller
A propeller is a type of fan that transmits power by converting rotational motion into thrust. A pressure difference is produced between the forward and rear surfaces of the airfoil-shaped blade, and a fluid is accelerated behind the blade. Propeller dynamics can be modeled by both Bernoulli's...

 to convert this energy to forward motion of the hull. A similar design, called the autogyro
Autogyro
An autogyro , also known as gyroplane, gyrocopter, or rotaplane, is a type of rotorcraft which uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust...

 boat, uses a wind turbine without the propellor, and functions in a manner similar to a normal sail. A more recent (2010) development is a cart that uses wheels linked to a propeller to "sail" dead downwind at speeds exceeding wind speed.

Sailing terminology



Sailors use traditional nautical terms for the parts of or directions on a vessel: starboard (right), port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 or larboard (left), forward or fore (front), aft or abaft (rearward), bow (forward part of the hull), stern (aft part of the hull), beam (the widest part). Vertical spars are masts, horizontal spars are booms (if they can hit the sailor), yards, gaffs (if they are too high to reach) or poles (if they cannot hit the sailor).

Rope and lines


In most cases, rope is the term used only for raw material. Once a section of rope is designated for a particular purpose on a vessel, it generally is called a line, as in outhaul line or dock line. A very thick line is considered a cable. Lines that are attached to sails to control their shapes are called sheets, as in mainsheet. If a rope is made of wire, it maintains its rope name as in 'wire rope' halyard.

Lines (generally steel cables) that support masts are stationary and are collectively known as a vessel's standing rigging
Standing rigging
On a sailing boat, standing rigging generally refers to lines, wires, or rods which are more or less fixed in position while the boat is under sail. This term is used in contrast to running rigging, which represents elements of rigging which move and change fairly often while under sail...

, and individually as shrouds or stays. The stay running forward from a mast to the bow is called the forestay or headstay. Stays running aft are backstays or after stays.

Moveable lines that control sails or other equipment are known collectively as a vessel's running rigging
Running rigging
Running rigging is the term for the rigging of a sailing vessel that is used for raising, lowering and controlling the sails - as opposed to the standing rigging, which supports the mast and other spars....

. Lines that raise sails are called halyards while those that strike them are called downhauls. Lines that adjust (trim) the sails are called sheets
Sheet (sailing)
In sailing, a sheet is a line used to control the movable corner of a sail.- Fore-and-aft rigs:Fore-and-aft rigs comprise the vast majority of sailing vessels in use today, including effectively all dinghies and yachts. The sheet on a fore-and-aft sail controls the angle of the sail to the wind,...

. These are often referred to using the name of the sail they control (such as main sheet, or jib sheet). Sail trim may also be controlled with smaller lines attached to the forward section of a boom such as a cunningham; a line used to hold the boom down is called a vang, or a kicker in the United Kingdom. A topping lift
Topping lift
The topping lift is a line which is part of the rigging on a sailboat; it applies upward force on a spar or boom. The most common topping lift on a modern sailboat is attached to the boom....

is used to hold a boom up in the absence of sail tension. Guys
Guy (sailing)
A guy is a term for a line attached to and intended to control the end of a spar on a sailboat. On a modern sloop-rigged sailboat with a symmetric spinnaker, the spinnaker pole is the spar most commonly controlled by one or more guys.There are two primary types of guys used to control a...

are used to control the ends of other spars such as spinnaker pole
Spinnaker pole
A spinnaker pole is a spar used in sailboats to help support and control a variety of headsails, particularly the spinnaker. However, it is also used with other sails, such as genoas and jibs, when sailing downwind with no spinnaker hoisted...

s.

Lines used to tie a boat up when alongside a dock are called docklines, docking cables or mooring warps. In dinghies the single line from the bow is referred to as the painter
Painter (rope)
A painter is a rope that is attached to the bow of a boat and used for tying up or for towing.Ideally, the length of the painter should be no longer than the length of the boat, especially on small craft, to prevent fouling the propeller of an outboard engine....

.

Some lines are referred to as ropes:
  • a bell rope (to ring the bell),
  • a bolt rope (attached to the edge of a sail for extra strength),
  • a foot rope (on old square riggers for the sailors to stand on while reefing or furling the sails), and
  • a tiller rope (to temporarily hold the tiller and keep the boat on course). A rode is what keeps an anchor
    Anchor
    An anchor is a device, normally made of metal, that is used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the vessel from drifting due to wind or current. The word derives from Latin ancora, which itself comes from the Greek ἄγκυρα .Anchors can either be temporary or permanent...

     attached to the boat when the anchor is in use. It may be chain, rope, or a combination of the two.

Other terms



Walls are called bulkheads
Bulkhead (partition)
A bulkhead is an upright wall within the hull of a ship or within the fuselage of an airplane. Other kinds of partition elements within a ship are decks and deckheads.-Etymology:...

or ceilings, while the surfaces referred to as ceilings on land are called 'overheads'. Floors are called 'soles' or decks
Deck (ship)
A deck is a permanent covering over a compartment or a hull of a ship. On a boat or ship, the primary deck is the horizontal structure which forms the 'roof' for the hull, which both strengthens the hull and serves as the primary working surface...

. The toilet is traditionally called the 'head', the kitchen is the galley
Galley (kitchen)
The galley is the compartment of a ship, train or aircraft where food is cooked and prepared. It can also refer to a land based kitchen on a naval base or a particular formed household kitchen.-Ship's kitchen:...

. When lines are tied off, this may be referred to as 'made fast' or 'belayed.' Sails in different sail plans have unchanging names, however. For the naming of sails, see sail-plan
Sail-plan
A sail-plan is a set of drawings, usually prepared by a naval architect. It shows the various combinations of sail proposed for a sailing ship.The combinations shown in a sail-plan almost always include three configurations:...

.

Knots


Alongside trimming the sails and steering on various points of sail
Points of sail
Points of sail describes a sailing boat's course in relation to the wind direction.There is a distinction between the port tack and the starboard tack. If the wind is coming from anywhere on the port side, the boat is on port tack. Likewise if the wind is coming from the starboard side, the boat...

, knots are among the most important things a sailor needs to know. Although only a few are required, the bowline
Bowline
The bowline is an ancient and simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope. It has the virtues of being both easy to tie and untie. The bowline is sometimes referred as King of the knots because of its importance...

 in particular is essential. By also learning the clove hitch and "round turn and two half hitches," one can easily cope with all of the knot requirements of a boat. A more complete grasp of knot-tying includes mastery of the following knots:
  • bowline
    Bowline
    The bowline is an ancient and simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope. It has the virtues of being both easy to tie and untie. The bowline is sometimes referred as King of the knots because of its importance...

     -- used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope
  • clove hitch
    Clove hitch
    A clove hitch is a type of knot. Along with the bowline and the sheet bend, it is often considered one of the most essential knots. A clove hitch is two successive half-hitches around an object. It is most effectively used as a crossing knot. It can be used as a binding knot, but is not...

     -- securing lines running along a series of posts
  • round turn and two half hitches -- secure the end of a rope to a fixed object
  • rolling hitch
    Rolling hitch
    The rolling hitch is a knot used to attach a rope to a rod, pole, or other rope. A simple friction hitch, it is used for lengthwise pull along an object rather than at right angles...

     -- rigging a stopper to relax the tension on a sheet
  • figure of eight -- General-purpose stopper knot
  • stopper knots -- keeps the line from slipping out of things
  • reef knot
    Reef knot
    The reef knot or square knot is an ancient and simple binding knot used to secure a rope or line around an object. Although the reef knot is often seen used for tying two ropes together, it is not recommended for this purpose due to potential instability of the knot.A reef knot is formed by tying...

     -- joining two ends of a single line to bind around an object
  • sheet bend
    Sheet bend
    The sheet bend is a bend, that is, a knot that joins two ropes together. Doubled, it is effective in binding lines of different diameter or rigidity securely together, although it has a tendency to work loose when not under load.The sheet bend is related in structure to the bowline...

     -- joining two ropes of different diameters
  • Cleat "knot"
    Cleat (nautical)
    In nautical contexts, a cleat is a device for securing a rope. The traditional design is attached to a flat surface or a spar and features two “horns” extending parallel to the deck or the axis of the spar, resembling an anvil....

     -- attaching a rope or line to a cleat, such as at a dock


Additional knots are available in the list of knots

The essence of knots used in the day-to-day work of sailing is that they are easy to tie, secure when tied and, equally importantly, easy to untie. Even experienced sailors may forget their knots if they are not performed on a regular basis. Forgetting how to tie an important knot can damage a boat or cause injury.

Rules and regulations


Every vessel in coastal and offshore waters is subject to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 are published by the International Maritime Organization , and set out, inter alia, the "rules of the road" or navigation rules to be followed by ships and other vessels at sea in order to prevent collisions between two or more...

 (the COLREGS). On inland waterways and lakes other similar regulations, such as CEVNI in Europe, may apply. In some sailing events, such as the Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

, which are held on closed courses where no other boating is allowed, specific racing rules such as the Racing Rules of Sailing
Racing Rules of Sailing
The Racing Rules of Sailing govern the conduct of yacht racing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, model boat racing, dinghy racing and virtually any other form of racing around a course with more than one vessel while powered by the wind...

 (RRS) may apply. Often, in club racing, specific club racing rules, perhaps based on RRS, may be superimposed onto the more general regulations such as COLREGS or CEVNI.

In general, regardless of the activity, every sailor must
  • Maintain a proper lookout at all times
  • Adjust speed to suit the conditions
  • Know whether to 'stand on' or 'give way' in any close-quarters situation.

The stand-on vessel must hold a steady course and speed but be prepared to take late avoiding action to prevent an actual collision if the other vessel does not do so in time. The give-way vessel must take early, positive and obvious avoiding action, without crossing ahead of the other vessel.(Rules 16-17)
  1. If an approaching vessel remains on a steady bearing, and the range is decreasing, then a collision is likely. (Rule 7) This can be checked with a hand-bearing compass.
  2. The sailing vessel on port tack gives way to the sailing vessel on starboard tack (Rule 12)
  3. If both sailing vessels are on the same tack, the windward boat gives way to the leeward one (Rule 12)
  4. If a vessel on port tack is unable to determine the tack of the other boat, she should be prepared to give way (Rule 12)
  5. An overtaking vessel must keep clear of the vessel being overtaken (Rule 13)
  6. Sailing vessels must give way to vessels engaged in fishing, those not under command, those restricted in their ability to manoeuvre and should avoid impeding the safe passage of a vessel constrained by her draft. (Rule 18)


The COLREGS go on to describe the lights to be shown by vessels under way at night or in restricted visibility. Specifically, for sailing boats, red and green sidelights and a white sternlight are required, although for vessels under 7 metres (23.0 ft) in length, these may be substituted by a torch or white all-round lantern. (Rules 22 & 25)

Sailors are required to be aware not only of the requirements for their own boat, but of all the other lights, shapes and flags that may be shown by other vessels, such as those fishing, towing, dredging, diving etc., as well as sound signals that may be made in restricted visibility and at close quarters, so that they can make decisions under the COLREGS in good time, should the need arise. (Rules 32 - 37)

In addition to the COLREGS, CEVNI and/or any specific racing rules that apply to a sailing boat, there are also
  • The IALA International Association of Lighthouse Authorities
    International Association of Lighthouse Authorities
    The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities is a non-profit organization founded in 1957 to collect and provide nautical expertise and advice.-Background:...

     standards for lateral marks, lights, signals, and buoyage and rules designed to support safe navigation.
  • The SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
    International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
    The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea is an international maritime safety treaty. The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.- History :The first version of the...

    ) regulations, specifically Chapter V, which became mandatory for all leisure craft users of the sea from 1 July 2002. These regulations place the obligations for safety on the owners and operators of any boat including sailboats. They specify the safety equipment needed, the emergency procedures to be used appropriate to the boat's size and its sailing range, and requirements for passage planning with regard to weather and safety.

Licensing


Licensing regulations vary widely across the world. While boating on international waters does not require any license, a license may be required to operate a vessel on coastal waters or inland waters. Some jurisdictions require a license when a certain size is exceeded (e.g., a length of 20 meters), others only require licenses to pilot passenger ships, ferries or tugboats. For example, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 issues the International Certificate of Competence
International Certificate of Competence
An International Certificate of Competence is a certificate, which may be issued to anyone who has successfully completed certain national boating licenses or has successfully passed an examination to prove the necessary competence for pleasure craft operation.Although only guaranteed to be...

, which is required to operate pleasure craft in most inland waterways within the union. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in contrast has no licensing, but instead has voluntary certification organizations such as the American Sailing Association
American Sailing Association
The American Sailing Association promotes recreational sailing in the United States of America by administering a system of sailing qualifications. The ASA is an association of sailors, professional sailing instructors, sailing schools and charter companies...

. These US certificates are often required to charter a boat, but are not required by any federal or state law.

Sailboat racing



Sailboat racing generally fits into one of two categories:

Class - Where all the boats are substantially similar, and the first boat to finish wins. (e.g. 470
470 (dinghy)
The 470 is a double-handed monohull planing dinghy with a centreboard, Bermuda rig, and centre sheeting. The name is the overall length of the boat in centimetres . The hull is fibreglass with integral buoyancy tanks. The 470 is equipped with spinnaker and trapeze, making teamwork necessary to...

, 49er
49er (dinghy)
The 49er is a double handed twin trapeze skiff type sailing dinghy. The two crew work on different roles with the helm making many tactical decisions, as well as steering, and the crew doing most of the sail control. The design, by Julian Bethwaite, the son of Frank Bethwaite , is revolutionary...

, Contender
Contender (dinghy)
The International Contender is a single-handed high performance sailing dinghy, designed by Bob Miller, latterly known as Ben Lexcen, in 1967 as a possible successor to the Finn dinghy for Olympic competition....

, Farr 40
Farr 40
The Farr 40 is a 40 foot one-design sailboat designed by Farr Yacht Design in 1996 following after the Mumm 30. It is currently built by US Watercraft...

, Laser
Laser (dinghy)
The International Laser Class sailboat, also called Laser Standard and the Laser One is a popular one-design class of small sailing dinghy. According the Laser Class Rules the boat may be sailed by either one or two people, though it is rarely sailed by two. The design, by Bruce Kirby, emphasizes...

, Lido 14
Lido 14
The Lido 14 dinghy was designed by W.D. "Bill" Schock, founder of W.D. Schock Corp. The first Lido 14 was delivered in early 1958 and has been continuously manufactured by W.D. Schock Corp...

, RS Feva
RS Feva
The RS Feva is a two person sailing dinghy designed by Paul Handley in 2002. It is manufactured and distributed by RS Sailing. The RS Feva is an International Sailing Federation International Class, a Royal Yachting Association Supported Junior Class, and has been selected by the Dansk Sejlunion...

, Soling
Soling
A Soling is a class of open keelboat designed by Jan Linge of Norway in 1965. In 1968, it was chosen from among many other boats to be the men's triple-handed boat for the 1972 Olympics...

, Star
Star (sailboat)
The International Star is a 6.9 m one-design racing keelboat for two people.The boat must weigh at least 671 kg with a maximum total sail area of 26.5 m . It is sloop-rigged, with a mainsail larger in proportional size than any other boat of its length...

, Thistle
Thistle (dinghy)
The Thistle is a high performance one-design racing dinghy, also used for day sailing, popular in the United States. The Thistle was designed by Gordon K. Douglass who later designed the Highlander and Flying Scot. Starting in 1945, 4000 boats have now been built. Their construction originally...

, etc.)

Handicap - Where boats of different types sail against each other and are scored based on their handicaps which are calculated either before the start or after the finish. ( e.g. Fastnet Race
Fastnet race
The Fastnet Race is a famous offshore yachting race. It is considered one of the classic offshore races. It takes place every two years over a course of . The race starts off Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England, rounds the Fastnet Rock off the southwest coast of Ireland and then finishes at...

, Commodore's Cup
Commodore's Cup
The Commodores' Cup also known as the Rolex Commodores' Cup is an international offshore regatta held for three-boat national teams held in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. It is a biennial event that lasts for seven days. It was first held in 1992, with the next event occurring in 2010. It is organised...

, Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, Australia on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart. The race distance is approximately...

, Bermuda Race
Bermuda Race
The Bermuda Race, or Newport Bermuda Race, is a biennial yacht race from Newport, Rhode Island to the island of Bermuda, a distance of 635 nautical miles across open ocean. The first Bermuda Race started in 1906 from Gravesend Bay, N.Y. with three entries. The race was held several times in the...

, etc.) The two most common handicap systems are the IRC
IRC (Sailing)
IRC is a system of handicapping sailboats and yachts for the purpose of racing. It is managed by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in the United Kingdom through their dedicated Rating Office....

 and the Portsmouth Yardstick
Portsmouth yardstick
The Portsmouth Yardstick or Portsmouth handicap scheme is a system of handicapping used primarily in small-boat yacht racing.The handicap is applied to the time taken to sail any course, and the corrected time can be used to compare widely different sailboats on even terms. Portsmouth Numbers are...

, while the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) is very common in the U.S.A.

Class racing can be further subdivided. Each class has its own set of class rules, and some classes are more restrictive than others.

In a strict one-design
One-design
One-Design is a racing method where all vehicles or boats have identical or very similar designs or models. It is also known as Spec series. It is heavily used in sailboat racing. All competitors in a race are then judged based on a single start time...

 class the boats are essentially identical. Examples include the 29er, J/24
J/24
The J/24 is an International One-Design keelboat class as defined by the International Sailing Federation. The J/24 is a one design class created to fulfill the diverse needs of recreational sailors such as cruising, one design racing, day sailing and handicap racing.The J/24 is the world's most...

, Laser
Laser (dinghy)
The International Laser Class sailboat, also called Laser Standard and the Laser One is a popular one-design class of small sailing dinghy. According the Laser Class Rules the boat may be sailed by either one or two people, though it is rarely sailed by two. The design, by Bruce Kirby, emphasizes...

, and RS Feva
RS Feva
The RS Feva is a two person sailing dinghy designed by Paul Handley in 2002. It is manufactured and distributed by RS Sailing. The RS Feva is an International Sailing Federation International Class, a Royal Yachting Association Supported Junior Class, and has been selected by the Dansk Sejlunion...

.

At the other end of the extreme are the development classes based on a box-rule. The box-rule might specify only a few parameters such as maximum length, minimum weight, and maximum sail area, thus allowing creative engineering to develop the fastest boat within the constraints. Examples include the Moth (dinghy)
Moth (dinghy)
The Moth Class is the name for a small development class sailing dinghy. There are three "species" of moths currently in existence: the International Moth, a fast sailing hydrofoil dinghy with liberal restrictions; the Classic Moth, a traditional dinghy with tighter restrictions; and the British...

, the A Class Catamaran, and the boats used in the America's Cup
America's Cup
The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging...

, Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo Ocean Race
The Volvo Ocean Race is a yacht race around the world, held every three years. It is named after its current owner, Volvo...

, and Barcelona World Race
Barcelona World Race
The Barcelona World Race is a non-stop, round-the-world yacht race for crews of two, sailed on Open 60 IMOCA monohull boats. Following the Clipper route, it starts and finishes in Barcelona....

.

Many classes lie somewhere in between strict one-design and box rule. These classes allows some variation, but the boats are still substantially similar. For instance, both wood and fiberglass hulls are allowed in the Albacore
Albacore (dinghy)
The Albacore is a 4.57 m two-sailed planing dinghy developed in 1954 from an Uffa Fox design. Hulls may be made of either wood or fibreglass....

, Wayfarer
Wayfarer (dinghy)
The Wayfarer is a wooden or fibreglass hulled Bermuda rigged sailing dinghy, often used for short sailing trips as a 'day boat'. The boat is 15 feet 10 inches long, and broad and deep enough for three adults to comfortably sail for several hours. Longer trips are undertaken by enthusiasts, notably...

, and Fireball
Fireball (dinghy)
Originally designed by Peter Milne in 1962, the Fireball is a one-design high-performance sailing dinghy. The Fireball is sailed by a crew of two, and sports a single trapeze, symmetric spinnaker and chined hull. The class is strictly controlled, but has adapted to advances in building techniques...

 classes, but the hull shape, weight, and sail area are tightly constrained.

Sailboat racing ranges from single person dinghy racing
Dinghy racing
Dinghy racing is the competitive sport of sailing dinghies. Dinghy racing has affected aspects of the modern dinghy, including hull design, sail materials and sailplan, and techniques such as planing and trapezing.-Organisation of dinghy racing:...

 to large boats with 10 or 20 crew and from small boats costing a few thousand dollars to multi-million dollar America's Cup
America's Cup
The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging...

 or Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, Australia on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart. The race distance is approximately...

 campaigns. The costs of participating in the high end large boat competitions make this type of sailing one of the most expensive sports in the world. However, there are inexpensive ways to get involved in sailboat racing, such as at community sailing clubs, classes offered by local recreation organizations and in some inexpensive dinghy and small catamaran
Catamaran
A catamaran is a type of multihulled boat or ship consisting of two hulls, or vakas, joined by some structure, the most basic being a frame, formed of akas...

 classes. Additionally high schools and colleges may offer sailboat racing programs through the Interscholastic Sailing Association (in the USA) and the Intercollegiate Sailing Association
Intercollegiate Sailing Association
The Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association is a volunteer organization that serves as the governing authority for all sailing competition at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in some parts of Canada.-History:...

 (in the USA and some parts of Canada). Under these conditions, sailboat racing can be comparable to or less expensive than sports such as golf and skiing. Sailboat racing is one of the few sports in which people of all ages and genders can regularly compete with and against each other.

Most sailboat and yacht racing
Yacht racing
Yacht racing is the sport of competitive yachting.While sailing groups organize the most active and popular competitive yachting, other boating events are also held world-wide: speed motorboat racing; competitive canoeing, kayaking, and rowing; model yachting; and navigational contests Yacht racing...

 is done in coastal or inland waters. However, in terms of endurance and risk to life, ocean races such as the Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo Ocean Race
The Volvo Ocean Race is a yacht race around the world, held every three years. It is named after its current owner, Volvo...

, the solo VELUX 5 Oceans Race
VELUX 5 Oceans Race
The VELUX 5 OCEANS Race is a round-the-world single-handed yacht race, sailed in stages, managed by Clipper Ventures Plc since 2000. Its current name comes from its main sponsor, VELUX, a Danish company. Originally known as the BOC Challenge, for the title sponsor BOC Gases, the first edition was...

, and the non-stop solo Vendée Globe
Vendée Globe
The Vendée Globe is a round-the-world single-handed yacht race, sailed non-stop and without assistance. The race was founded by Philippe Jeantot in 1989, and since 1992 has taken place every four years....

, rate as some of the most extreme and dangerous sporting events. Not only do participants compete for days with little rest, but an unexpected storm, a single equipment failure, or collision with an ice floe could result in the sailboat being disabled or sunk hundreds or thousands of miles from search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

.

The sport of Sailboat racing
Yacht racing
Yacht racing is the sport of competitive yachting.While sailing groups organize the most active and popular competitive yachting, other boating events are also held world-wide: speed motorboat racing; competitive canoeing, kayaking, and rowing; model yachting; and navigational contests Yacht racing...

 is governed by the International Sailing Federation
International Sailing Federation
The International Sailing Federation is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the world governing body for the sport of sailing....

, and the rules under which competitors race are the Racing Rules of Sailing
Racing Rules of Sailing
The Racing Rules of Sailing govern the conduct of yacht racing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, model boat racing, dinghy racing and virtually any other form of racing around a course with more than one vessel while powered by the wind...

, which can be found on the ISAF web site.

Recreational sailing



Sailing for pleasure can involve short trips across a bay, day sailing
Day sailer
A daysailer, day sailer, or dayboat is a small sailboat with or without sleeping accommodations but which is larger than a dinghy. Dayboats can be monohull or multihull, and are typically trailer-able. Many dayboats have a small cabin or "cuddy" for storage and to provide a shelter, or for...

, coastal cruising, and more extended offshore or 'blue-water' cruising
Cruising (maritime)
Cruising by boat is a lifestyle that involves living for extended time on a boat while traveling from place to place for pleasure. Cruising generally refers to trips of a few days or more, and can extend to round-the-world voyages.- History :...

. These trips can be singlehanded
Single-handed sailing
The sport of single-handed sailing or solo sailing is sailing with only one crewmember . The term is usually used with reference to ocean and long-distance sailing, and particularly competitive sailing....

 or the vessel may be crewed by families or groups of friends. Sailing vessels may proceed on their own, or be part of a flotilla
Flotilla
A flotilla , or naval flotilla, is a formation of small warships that may be part of a larger fleet. A flotilla is usually composed of a homogeneous group of the same class of warship, such as frigates, destroyers, torpedo boats, submarines, gunboats, or minesweepers...

 with other like-minded voyagers. Sailing boats may be operated by their owners, who often also gain pleasure from maintaining and modifying their craft to suit their needs and taste, or may be rented for the specific trip or cruise. A professional skipper and even crew may be hired along with the boat in some cases. People take cruises in which they crew
Crew
A crew is a body or a class of people who work at a common activity, generally in a structured or hierarchical organization. A location in which a crew works is called a crewyard or a workyard...

 and 'learn the ropes' aboard craft such as tall ship
Tall ship
A tall ship is a large, traditionally-rigged sailing vessel. Popular modern tall ship rigs include topsail schooners, brigantines, brigs and barques. "Tall Ship" can also be defined more specifically by an organization, such as for a race or festival....

s, classic sailing vessels and restored working boats.

Cruising trips of several days or longer can involve a deep immersion in logistics
Logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

, navigation
Navigation
Navigation is the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. It is also the term of art used for the specialized knowledge used by navigators to perform navigation tasks...

, meteorology
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

, local geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 and history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, fishing lore, sailing knowledge, general psychological coping, and serendipity. Once the boat is acquired it is not all that expensive an endeavor, often much less expensive than a normal vacation on land. It naturally develops self reliance, responsibility, economy, and many other useful skills. Besides improving sailing skills, all the other normal needs of everyday living must also be addressed. There are work roles that can be done by everyone in the family to help contribute to an enjoyable outdoor adventure for all.

A style of casual coastal cruising called gunkholing
Gunkholing
Gunkholing is a boating and sea kayaking term referring to a type of cruising in shallow or shoal water, meandering from place to place, spending the nights in coves. The term refers to the gunk, or mud, typical of the creeks, coves, marshes, sloughs, and rivers that are referred to as gunkholes...

 is a popular summertime family recreational activity. It consists of taking a series of day sails to out of the way places and anchoring
Anchoring
Anchoring or focalism is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or "anchor," on one trait or piece of information when making decisions.-Background:...

 overnight while enjoying such activities as exploring isolated islands, swimming
Swimming (sport)
Swimming is a sport governed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation .-History: Competitive swimming in Europe began around 1800 BCE, mostly in the form of the freestyle. In 1873 Steve Bowyer introduced the trudgen to Western swimming competitions, after copying the front crawl used by Native...

, fishing
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

, etc. Many nearby local waters on rivers, bays, sounds, and coastlines can become great natural cruising grounds for this type of recreational sailing. Casual sailing trips with friends and family can become lifetime bonding experiences rarely to be equaled in any other way.

External links