Table of Contents

Sailing

Sailing is defined as the technique of controlling a boat with the help sails, which are large foils usually made up of fabric. The sailor manages the force of the wind on the sails in order to change the direction and speed of the boat which in turn is controlled by managing the rudder, and sometimes the keel or centre board. Etc. It is important that a sailor has mastered all the sailing skill as well as knowledge concerning sailboats so that he is able to manage sail boat in varying wind and sea conditions.

There are still many places in Asia and Africa where sail powered fishing or transport vessels are used, although this art has become rare because of the outboard and technological advanced modified car engines are easily available even in the poorest and most remote areas of the world. In different parts of the world, people enjoy sailing as a recreational activity. There are two types of recreational sailing known as racing and cruising. The use of sailboats is further divided into long distance sailing such as blue-water or offshore sailing and day sailing.

The history of sailing goes like this- The art or technique of sailing has played a major role in the development of the civilization. The advancement in sailing technology from the middle Ages onward spread across china, India, Arab and Europe. This advancement enabled the explorers from these continents to make longer voyages into yet undiscovered regions with extreme weather and climatic conditions. There were gradual improvements in sailing techniques and equipment also improved. After the 15th century, the ships from European countries went further north, stayed longer on the Grand Banks and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and eventually began to explore the Pacific Northwest and the Western Arctic. Therefore we can see that sailing has contributed in a big way towards the great explorations in the world like moving the great pyramids of Aswan to Giza, facilitating human in migrating throughout Polynesia, to Nelson's defeat of the French and Spanish navies at the Battle of Trafalgar. The history of mankind has been intertwined with this seemingly simple technology known as sailing.

Let us now have a quick look at the types of sailboats used for sailing purpose. The most common type of small to midsize boats used in sailing is called as the sloop. The rig is one mast and two sails. The mainsail is a tall, triangular sail mounted to the mast at its leading edge, with the foot of the sail along the boom, which extends aft from the mast. The sail in front, called the jib or sometimes the head sail, mounts on the forestay between the bow and the masthead, with its trailing corner controlled by the jib sheet.

The tall triangular shaped sails are known as the Bermuda rig, and sometimes the Marconi rig. These are named so because these were developed in Bermudan boats around two centuries back. The Bermuda rig is a common feature of sailing boats because of the physics involved in it. Since the force is generated by wind blowing past a sail, tall thin sails generally have more power when the boat is sailing into the wind. This is why most sailboats today have a Bermuda rig.

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