Your First Sail

By: Elearn, Learn To Sail

Preparing for your first time on a sailboat?

You get the call from a friend and they ask you to go sailing. What do you do? Do you ask them about all the things you need or do you ask the American Sailing Association how you should handle the situation?

I say go to the pros.

First, you can check out our social media profiles for some answers or you can ask us questions directly.


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We understand that going out on a sailboat for the first time might be a little intimidating. Don’t worry, there is a reason why so many people call sailing a part of their lifestyle. Once you feel the wind on your face and the tug of the sails you’ll be hooked. The bow will glide through the water, the sound of the ocean will soothe your soul and the feeling of freedom will envelop you.  

However, before you go let’s help you get a feel for what to expect.

The American Sailing Association has put together a short, fun, online sailing course, Your First Sail,  designed to familiarize you with the world of sailing.  It goes over the basics like what to wear and what to expect.  You want to be comfortable so you’ll be reminded that the weather is important and it will dictate how you dress. However, you don’t have to go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe just for an afternoon sail. Unless you just want to look good. If that’s the case, by all means, go shopping.

You Will Need:

  • Light Sweater
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Water

Take a look at ASA’s Your First Sail and familiarize yourself with some useful sailboat information such as:

  • Parts of the Boat
  • Onboard Orientation Terms
  • How Sails Work
  • Points of Sail
  • Sailing Terms and Commands

While you can’t learn to sail a boat while taking an online course you can gain a headstart and make yourself a better part of the crew by becoming familiar with the boat, sailing terms, and commands.

After taking ASA’s Your First Sail you will be prepared to embark on your first daysail. You might even convince everyone around you that you are a sailor.    While ASA has all the knowledge to prepare you for sailing it is advisable to ask questions of the skipper about current conditions as well as what to expect on your daysail.  


Sailing Made Easy Textbook

Your Next Step…

You’ll be hooked so start planning your sailing education by taking a look at what you can expect from ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing

Try the ASA Sailing Challenge App to practice your sailing skills and to familiarize yourself with sailing terminology and points of sail. You can also sail a boat from the palm of your hand.

Also, if you want to prepare yourself for a sailing course explore Sailing Made Easy, The Official Manual and Textbook for the ASA Basic Keelboat Sailing Course.

Find a local ASA Sailing School to inquire about ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing. 


The Art of Sailing

  • Understanding Points of Sail The direction of the wind dictates the direction a sailboat can sail. The Points of Sail describe the range of courses a sailboat can and cannot travel.
  • Understanding the Sails The sail is the driving force of the boat. A sailboat is only as good as its sails when you consider that capturing the wind’s energy is the premise behind what sailors do to propel their boats in a forward direction.
  • Understanding the Wind A sailor’s world revolves around the wind and staying aware of the wind’s direction is crucial. Your ability to accurately sense changes in the wind, its speed and its direction will improve as you learn.
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