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Points of Sail

This is an extract from the RYA's Navigating the basics of sailing: A beginner's

  1. No go zone: This is the direction that you can’t sail in. Your sails will start to flap, and your boat will come to a stop.

  2. Close hauled: This is as close to the wind as you can go. You'll need to make sure your sails are pulled in nice and tight.

  3. Close reach: Not quite as tricky as close hauled, with close reach you’ll need to let your sails move about a bit.

  4. Beam reach: This is the fastest and easiest point of sail. The wind will be on the side of your boat (beam) and you’ll sail with your sails out halfway.

  5. Broad reach: On a broad reach you’ll be heading a bit further downwind, so you'll have to let your sails out a bit more.

  6. Training run: Here, the wind will be slightly to one side of your stern making it a bit easier to steer than in a dead run.

  7. Run: With the wind directly behind you this is the trickiest point of sail to steer as it can be quite unstable. On a run your sails can be let out on the opposite side of the boat to catch the wind, sailing goosewinged, or with a big sail called a spinnaker.


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