Sailing – The Different Aspects of the Sport

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Sailing is a very adventurous sport which can be used for recreation once in a while. It is done with the help of sailboats which consist of a boat with a sail. The sail, also known as foil, is usually made up of fiber. It originated somewhere in the fifth millennium and was initially used for fishing, exploration, invasion, warfare and transportation.

Even these days some countries in Africa and Asia used sailing for fishing. Although these days’ sailboats come with motors to enhance its working, true motorless sailboats lower their mainsail after completion of their training session and they return to their mooring only with their foresail up.

Some useful and important aspects of sailing include maintaining a balance, keeping the sailboat at trim and maintain the course of the boat in the right direction. The course of the boat can be maintained in the right direction with the help of the steering wheel towards the desired buoy or course. The points of the sail can be different. It can be towards a landmark, a definite bearing like 90 degree or at a desired defined angle to the direction of the apparent wind.

A trim is basically the fore and aft balance of the sailboat and it is aimed towards adjusting the crew or the movable ballast backwards and forwards to get an even kneel. When the course is upwind, then the crew also known as the movable ballast sits forward in order to reduce drag. When the boat is in ideal sailing condition or in running, then it’s preferred if the crew sits backward or towards the rear of the boat. As the size of the boat increases, the position of the crew starts mattering less.

The aim of balancing is to adjust the weight of the crew either leeward or windward so as to prevent increased heeling of the boat as that can cause the boat to topple over if it is small. Also a boat moves faster if it is lying flat to the surface of water as compared to if it is heeling. Another aspect of sailing is trimming the sail of the boat. In layman terms a sail should be pulled till it is filled with air. However it should not be pulled further a point where sails front edge comes perfectly in line with the wind. It should be allowed to flap and when it starts to do so then it should be pulled till the flapping stops.

A centerboard or a dagger board also has a big role in the sailing of a boat. In case a moving dagger board or centerboard is being used then it should be raised high in case of a downwind course to prevent excess drag but it should be lowered down when the boat is sailing close to the wind. The main function of a centerboard is to prevent lateral movement and support upwind sailing. In case of running this board should be kept halfway up and in case of haul it should be kept down.

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