Mon 21 Aug 2017 — Tue 08 May 2018


I have RYA level 1.


Dinghies are small. Lasers are a type of dinghy. Single person-dinghies usually have only one sail, multi person dinghies have a jib.

Dinghies might have a daggerboard, which slots in, or a centreboard, which rotates down.

Keelboats are larger and have a heavy bit underneath to keep them upright. You can usually move it up so you can get to land.

Multihulls are stable and fast, but maybe harder to turn? They often lack a boom, and allow the sail to tilt instead.


If it's cold, wear a wetsuit.


Leeward vs windward


Luff and leach is front and back Head and foot is obvious… Tack and clew are the front and back corners at the bottom

Jib and mainsail are front and back sails.

A flapping sail means less power. Maybe no power at all.


Sheets are the robes which control the sails.

The halyward hoists the mainsail up.

The kicking strap or kicker tensions the boom downwards. Leave this loose if you don't want the sail to function.

The traveller is where the mainsheet attaches to. It lets it go from side to side.

Fixed Cables

Shrouds are metal cables which hold the mast up.


Jib first.

Point into the wind for the mainsail. It can be done on land or in water. Make sure the mainsheet and kicker are slack.


Single-handed dinghies are usually reefed by wrapping the sail around the mast.

Larger boats involve rolling the sail up vertically and tying it there.


Reef knot

Useful for reefing sails.

Like a normal double knot, except that you tie the second one backwards.

Round turn and two half hitches

Useful for tying up your boat, because it can take a lot of weight without tightening too much.

Loop your string all the way around the thing you are tying onto.

Then, with the remaining ends of your string, tie two hitches (normal knots) and pull them tight against your loop.

Bowline Knot

Use it to tie the top part of the sail to the mast. It makes a loop of fixed size.

First make the hole (a loop).

With the lower part of string, stick it up to form a tree.

The top part of string is your rabbit. You use it to make a second loop, which is the part which will stay fixed at the end. Next, it goes up through the hole, then round the back of the tree, then back down the hole.

Figure of Eight

Used to make a stopper knot on the end of a rope.


Sit on the windward side.

On a beam reach (across the wind), you want the sail out a bit.

As you turn into the wind, haul the sail in closer. As you turn away from it, let the sail out.

In general, you want the sail tight enough so that it doesn't flap and the tell-tales look right. That is, they should be parallel on both sides of the sail and not flapping about.

As you turn away from the wind, you might want to raise the centreboard. Remember to put it back down again when you turn into the wind.

In general, you want the boat to lay flat in the water. This might mean learning out sideways and using the foot straps. When heading upwind, you should move your weight forward.

Balance is harder when you're gybind (turning through the point which is directly downwind). Lean backward.

Pull in or let out the sails at the same time or slightly before you turn, and they will help you.

Steering Multihulls

A little more complicated. Make sure you have enough speed, and back the jib. I don't know what this means yet.

Getting going again

If you're facing into the wind, you have no power and the sail is flapping.

Turn the rudder, push against the air with the sail, move the rudder straight, pull against the air with the sail.

Repeat as necessary.

Centreboard / Daggerboard

These provide sideways force. I don't know much about when you do or don't need this yet. I suppose it's less bad to drift sideways when you're going downwind?


If you're under the sail, use your hand to push it up and create an airspace.

Get to the daggerboard, centreboard or keel. Push down on it to right the boat.

For a two-person boat, use the jib sheet for leverage.

For dinghies, you want the mast to point downwind. For multi-hulls, the opposite.

Man Overboard

Let the sheets loose, and get control of the steering.

Approach the person on a close reach so you can stop easily.


Lower the sails, the pull up the daggerboard or centreboard.


Stay on the right.

Technically powered boats are supposed to give way, but they might not always do so.


Thing High Pressure Low Pressure
Direction Clockwise Anti-clockwise
Weather Nice Cold, windy
Fronts Not really Warm and cold fronts

Where your isobars are close, you'll get lots of wind.

Local geography can funnel, bend, or generally mess up the wind.

A sea breeze is an onshore wind. It usually happens in the afternoon, once the sun has heated up the air over land.

As a newbie, don't go above Beaufort 4. Otherwise, 6 is the limit but might not be much fun.

Offshore winds are bad news.

Watch the water to see where the wind is. Glassy looking water usually means less wind.

The Sea

Check the tides!

The slowest water flow is at high tide and low tide. The tide usually moves fastest midway between those.

There are charts for most locations.

If the wind is blowing against the tide, expect choppy conditions. This can let you go faster, so it's nice if the wind is light.

If the wind is blowing with the tide, you'll have to sail upwind a lot.

To spot lateral movement due to tides, line up a couple of points on the shore.