Following on in our series of sailing school skills, this time we are going to look at how a sail works. If you are a complete beginner to yachting then this handy guide will give you a basic understanding of what’s involved, ideally by joining one of our sailing school courses you will come away with a good understanding of sail handling, safety on board and the ability to cruise safely as both skipper and crew member in familiar waters by day.
A sail in basic terms is just a means of capturing the wind in order to generate enough force to move a sailboat forward. What happens is that the sail generates lift using the air that flows around it, in much the same way that an aeroplane’s wings work.
The wind will flow over the surface of the sail which creates a force perpendicular to the sail and when this force is parallel to the keel of the sailboat, it will propel the sailboat forward.
Couple of points to note about sails is that you they are most often a triangular shape, which is due to the fact that the material they are made from needs to be flexible enough to allow the wind on both sides so that the boat can change direction, and be able to support itself in the wind, thus the triangular shape. Also a sail will always have a smooth surface to it so that less friction is created in order to not slow your sailboat down.
If you do one of our beginner sailing school courses with us here at our Vancouver sailing school, either our Basic CYA Sailing Course which consists of 3 evening sessions and 3 sailing days, then you will learn how to handle sails and the theory behind it. Alternatively you can choose to do our Vancouver Cruise & Learn: 5 Days Basic Sailing Course where you are onboard for the duration of the course. For more information contact us at Nanaimo Yacht Charters and we would be happy to help you.