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Sailing

Everything you need to know about sail boats

Sailing is one of the most ancient—and most challenging—forms of transportation. But though it's traditional, it's anything but simple. Sailing requires a breadth of knowledge about wind patterns, weather conditions, sea changes and the equipment itself.

Sailing is done by using large sheets of fabric (sails) to catch the wind, which pushes the vessel. Sails are controlled by ropes and riggings so they can be turned to better capture the wind and steer the boat in any direction. Sailing requires close attention to the wind and a basic understanding of geometry, as well as good reflexes. Because it's a rather complicated art, it's best to learn from a professional or under the guidance of someone who has lots of experience under his or her belt. But don't be intimidated! With a proper teacher and lots of practice, almost anyone can learn to sail—and, more importantly, to enjoy it.

Types of Sailing

There are three main styles of sailing: recreational sailing (sometimes referred to as yachting), long-distance sailing and day sailing. Recreational sailing also has two different subtypes: racing and cruising. The difference, obviously, is whether you're sailing for fun or in competition.

Sailboats

Simply put, a sailboat is any boat propelled by wind, either partially or entirely. Different combinations of hull styles and sails define different types of sailboats, from a sloop (the most common type, with one mast and two sails) to a schooner (with two or three masts of specific heights).

Sailing Ships

Though still used today in some areas of the world for fishing and transport, sailing ships haven't changed much since the days of Christopher Columbus. There are many types of sailing ships, defined by their number of sails, rigging styles and hulls. However, the term now generally refers to any large sailing vessel.

Catamaran Sailing

Catamarans are boats with two hulls (watertight pieces) joined by one structure. They can be motorized or wind-powered.

Catamarans are built to carry larger amounts of weight more stably than a single-hulled boat (such as a kayak or canoe), even though they are lighter. They are usually faster than their single-hulled brethren, as they are sturdier and can stay upright in strong wind gusts, thereby taking full advantage of the free fuel. However, they do have a wider turning radius.

Whichever boat style and sailing technique you prefer, go out and have an adventure sailing today!