Fundamentals : Sailing Basics

Sailing is for all kinds of people – cruisers, racers, adventurers, poets – and people who just like the feeling of wind in their face and the sound of water going by. But before you can enjoy the satisfaction that comes from steering a boat around a harbor by yourself, it’s important that you understand the basic principles of sailing.

We have collected what we think you ought to know, about how a sailboat works and about how you can make it work for you.

Sailing Theory

Before you set sail, it's a good idea to study up on the physics behind sailing. What makes the boat move? Why does it move in specific directions? Answer these questions and more with this piece on sailing theory.

Parts of a Sailboat

Batten? Leech? Tiller? Telltale? Are you lost yet? Now that you understand the physics of sailing, you will want to familiarize yourself with the different parts of a sailboat. 

Points of Sail

Learn about the angle of your sail, and how it should be used in conjunction with the direction and strength of the wind.


Learn about wind, the horizontal movement of air, and how your ability to predict and harness it can make or break your sailing experience.

Finding Your Way

Once you've learned to maneuver your boat, you will want to study up on the different methods of navigation.

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