Learning to Sail

by | Jun 6, 2022 | News


What is sailing?

Sailing is a recreational activity that entails navigating a boat on water. It is possible to do so with powerboats, sailing vessels, or windsurfing and catamaran charter. It is a wonderful hobby, but it can seem like quite a daunting experience to someone looking at it from the outside. There are so many things that you need to know and to get comfortable with, so this blog is here to provide everything you need in order to enjoy your sailing experience and be as competent as possible.

Types of Sailing

There are several different types of sailing, including yachting, dinghy racing, keelboat racing, and the non-competitive sailing of cruising, chartering, and fishing.

The basics of sailing

Sailing is basically using wind power to move boats over water. It can be as simple as using a long stick with a sail attached to it or as complex as a yacht that uses modern technology to move its sails automatically.

The different types of boats

During the 1896 Olympics, the most common type of boat that was used was a catamaran charter boat (soft-hulled vessels), usually made of fiberglass or other synthetic materials for strength and weight savings. Much larger ocean boats are called yachts.


Dinghies are small boats that usually have just one sail, and they are used mainly for racing purposes or for recreational activities such as fishing or kayaking. They are usually made out of fiberglass or aluminum, so they weigh less than other types of boats, but they still need at least one person on board to operate effectively.


 Keelboats are larger than dinghies but not nearly as large as yachts, so they can hold more weight without sinking into the water too deeply when there is extra cargo on board, such as passengers or equipment like fishing gear and life jackets.


Yachts are usually used for hunting or chasing fish. Yachts are also often used for racing purposes, and as such, are designed to be fast and maneuverable. A yacht can also be used as a private cabin cruiser or a private pleasure boat. However, most people use their yachts for leisurely activities such as fishing, swimming (swimming platforms), diving (diving platforms), or just sailing around the world!

These are some parts of the boat you need to know about.


The rudder is the most vital component of the boat. It has a large surface area and exerts a lot of force on the water, making it able to turn the boat in any direction.


The keel is also an important part of a sailboat. Its function is twofold: firstly, it keeps the center of gravity low, which makes the boat more stable; secondly, it helps with steering by providing resistance against the movement in one direction or another.


The mast is an upright spar (pole) that holds up the sails. In order for it to stand up straight, there are several wires that run through it called shrouds and stays. Most masts are made out of aluminum or fiberglass, but some older boats have masts made out of wood instead.


The boom is attached to one side of the mast and runs across the front of the boat all the way to the other side, where its end is attached to something called a gooseneck, which holds it in place while sailing. The main sail is attached to this boom at its top end and usually has two sheets—one running from each side—that need to be pulled tight in order for it to catch wind properly and make your boat move forward at speed.

Sailing vocabulary

There are a lot of things to learn when you’re starting out, but we’ll try and break it down into the basics.

These are the following terms you need to know.


Switching from one side of the boat to the other. This is done by turning through 180 degrees so that it faces in the opposite direction. The wind will blow against the sails when tacking, pushing them back and making it harder to go fast.


 The direction away from the wind (windward). The leeward side of your boat will be facing into the wind when tacking.


The direction in which the wind is blowing (leeward). The windward side of your boat will be facing away from the wind when tacking.

By taking baby steps, you can start sailing right away!

Sailing is a beautiful adventure. Whatever your goals and ambitions are, sailing will teach you something new. So if you want to get started, I hope this blog has given you an idea of how to get going on this beautiful water sport.


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BPY does reciprocity with other sailing clubs! It’s like a buddy/sister club system where if you’re a member at another sailing club, you might get membership discounts at BPY too. Talk to Ruth in the office — she’s very nice and helpful if you have any questions.If you have a story to share about Blue Pacific Yachting, please click a review platform icon below to tell your story —  or if you have something newsworthy for our blog, please feel free to reach out to us here.

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We look forward to helping you achieve your nautical goals. If you're just starting out, or hoping to increase your experience level and skillset, we'll get you there. Blue Pacific Yachting has served the Marina del Rey community for more than 30 years. With Sailing instruction, powerboating courses, trips to Catalina Island and the Channel Islands, yacht racing classes, spinnaker clinics, catamaran courses, docking clinics, instructor certification courses — we cover it all. Plus, we have a beautiful fleet of boats to bareboat charter. We are proud to be LA's premier boating destination.


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