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Is Sailing Hard?

If you’re here reading this, you probably think sailing is pretty cool. Or you know sailing is pretty cool. We certainly know it – so much so that we started a business teaching sailing courses. Maybe you’re here to gauge whether or not learning to sail is something you should do and you’re curious; is sailing hard?

offshore sailing school

There isn’t a short answer. Sailing can be as simple or as complex as you make it. One sailor may have the end goal of sticking to coastal waters, taking casual and relaxing day sails in the bay. Other sailors go off to sail to the top of the world, where it’s brutally cold. There is obviously a differing degree of difficulty between those two activities. At its core sailing is simple enough; you harness the power of the wind to propel a boat through the water. With that granular perspective it seems pretty straightforward, but mastering the art of sailing takes time, practice, and a willingness to learn.

Learning how to handle a boat on the water is the fun part, and often the part that many beginners are surprised comes relatively natural. Practice is certainly key here, but everything from steering a course to tacking and jibing can be pretty intuitive once you get the hang of it. Just like every new skill, the more time you spend on it, the more confident you’ll become.

Sailing Jargon Can Be A Lot To Take In

Honestly, one of the more difficult aspects for aspiring sailors is understanding sailor speak. There’s a whole lexicon of nautical terms to familiarize yourself with. Why is the room with a toilet called a head? What is the difference between trimming and raising sails? And why on this big blue Earth is boatswain pronounced “bosun”? Fortunately, we live in the age of information, and there are plenty of resources available: forums, courses, Google, and more to help you navigate the ocean of vocab. Flash cards are always cool, too.

The Wind and Weather are No Joke

Perhaps the biggest challenge of all is learning to read the wind and the water. Calm seas and gentle breezes may offer an ideal learning environment for beginners, but they don’t always reflect the reality of sailing. Rough weather, with high winds and large waves, tests even the most experienced sailors. For beginners, it can be downright intimidating. Sailing is a dynamic sport, and conditions can change rapidly. Being able to anticipate these changes and adjust your situation accordingly is crucial to becoming the safe and salty sailor you want to be. To learn the ways of bluewater cruising, there are offshore sailing schools that are here to help.

Sailing is So Much Fun

Tahoe sailing charters

Of course, sailing isn’t all hard work and challenges. There’s plenty of joy to be found out on the water. The feeling of using the power of the wind to move across the water is a magical feeling. Whether you’re racing against other boats or simply cruising along at a leisurely pace, there’s a sense of freedom and exhilaration that comes with sailing that’s hard to beat. The deep camaraderie that comes with sailing is also hard to find elsewhere. It doesn't matter if you’re solo or with a crew, there’s a strong sense of community among sailors. Something about having the same interests and facing the elements together forges bonds that can last a lifetime.

Cruisers Academy | Sailing Lessons Lake Tahoe

In the end, whether sailing is hard or not depends on perspective. Yes, there are challenges to overcome and skills to master, but the rewards far outweigh the difficulties. So if you’ve ever dreamed of setting sail, don’t let fear get in the way. Reach out to us at Cruisers Academy, and start learning ASAP.


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