10 Essential Skills all Yacht Sailors Should Have
Sailing is a popular hobby or sport in the US with millions taking part in sailing competitions and other activities throughout the year. Further, an estimated 30,000 boats are sold in the US annually, shows that the local population has a taste for adventure, excitement and sailing in the open sea!
If you’re considering investing in your own sail yacht or cruiser and are wondering if you’re equipped, read on!
Skills you Need to be a Yacht Sailor
Basic Sailing Skills
The first thing you need to be comfortable with and clear on is your sailing basics. This includes everything from rigging and prepping your vessel to adjusting and managing sails to maneuvering when out at sea.
Other important sailing skills include docking and anchoring your boat at port. Quite naturally, your basic sailing skills are the first set of essential skills you will need as a yacht sailor.
Rigging and Attention to Detail
Rigging is the process of prepping your boat before setting sail. You need to know exactly what to look out for as well as how to set the needful in place. Attention to detail is a useful sub-skill to have here as you will need to check, adjust and take stock of numerous things within the boat to ensure it is safe to sail in.
Mechanical and Engine Work
You don’t need to be a full-blown engineer in order to sail; however, if you’re sailing a yacht, you might also have a backup engine present in the picture. Remember, when you’re out at sea, you can’t really pull over at a mechanics for a quick check if your engine starts acting up.
Further, there may be situations (such as unfavorable winds) that prevent you from using your sails in which case, your engine will take point. As a yacht sailor, it is important to understand the basics of how your boat engine works.
Look up common problems, learn how to troubleshoot and teach yourself a few quick/emergency fixes. Having a basic handle on mechanical and engine work is another essential skill.
Sure, many of us might hire additional crew to help us out during longer voyages; however, if you’re planning on sailing on your own, navigation skills are key. It helps to understand how to read maps, plot courses and tally the same with compasses. This is so even if your yacht is equipped with the latest in GPS and other mapping technology.
In case of emergencies, having basic navigation skills at your disposal is extremely useful!
When you sail, particularly on a yacht, you may cover considerable distances. What we’re getting at is that the weather in the location you’re headed to might be different from the forecasted weather at your point of departure.
You should be able to make the right calls when it comes to the weather; not doing so puts you at great risk. Being clueless about weather signs could result in you steering your yacht, crew and passengers into a storm!
Electricals and Plumbing
Apart from engine maintenance and rigging, your sail yacht might also have numerous electrical functions. Further, depending on size, you could have a cabin lavatory or kitchenette with plumbing that could sometimes give you problems.
In any case, knowing your way around basic electrical maintenance and plumbing ensures that even if something malfunctions while you’re out at sea, you’ll be well equipped to fix it! Imagine having to end your voyage because of a busted radio or clogged toilet!
Emergency skills include everything from being a strong swimmer to understanding how to quickly inflate a lifeboat to knowing what to do in the event of a storm.
As enjoyable as sea travel is, it can also be unpredictable. For this reason, it is important to understand what potential emergency situations could befall you as well as know exactly what to do in case of each.
This way, regardless of what may happen on your voyage, you will be able to ensure your own safety as well as that of your crew and passengers.
Coordination and Etiquette
When it comes to people skills, you will need to know how to coordinate and interact with people in a respectable manner. This includes other sailors you may cross while at sea as well as port and dockworkers.
Coordination is necessary, and if you’re sailing with a crew, the lot of you will need to complement each other’s actions in a calculated manner.
Finally, there are even certain rules of thumb to follow when docking or crossing others at sea. It helps to know and follow these.
Improvisation and Creativity
Even if you do have it all covered and are a good sailor, there might be situations where you need to get creative or improvise. You might suffer a malfunction you’re not equipped to deal with or some other situation which needs tools or equipment you don’t have on your person.
In such situations, improvising is your best bet; a little creativity will take you a long way.
Calm Under Pressure
Finally, if you want to be a yacht sailor, you should be calm under pressure. When out at sea, your crew and passengers will look to you for safety and comfort, so it helps to be someone who has their feet firmly planted on the ground (or in this case, the deck), even if others are afraid or rattled.
If you’ve got these ten skills, there’s no reason you can’t be a brilliant yacht sailor. Of course, if you’re looking to sail, it really helps to have your own boat or yacht!
We run a yacht business and brokerage offering customers new and used yachts and other boats as well as cruisers for sale. Feel free to review the sailing boats we have on offer or alternatively, connect with us for more information!