The Elements of Sailing, Part 1
Filmed on the WoodenBoat School waterfront with veteran sailing instructor Jane Ahlfeld, this episode introduces viewers to the basics of sailing. Our “classroom” is a Haven 12 1/2, one of the beautiful daysailers built at the school and used extensively in our seamanship courses.
This is the first installment of a series on the art of sailing; it introduces wind—how to understand and read it and, most important, how to work with it under sail. Jane also describes the parts of a sail and the boat’s standing and running rigging. She also explains the steps to getting under sail, including stowing and securing all gear, rigging sails, and confirming that sheets are free and halyards coiled. Leaving a mooring or dock under sail requires careful planning, and Jane shows how to do this safely. She then touches briefly on the basics of setting and maintaining the desired course. (The details of tacking, jibing, heaving to, sailing downwind, and lots more will be shown in future episodes.) The process of safely returning to a mooring under sail comes next, and we’ll demonstrate how to accurately and confidently hit the mark on your first attempt.
The episode concludes with a lesson in putting the boat to bed: properly stowing sails, securing halyards, raising the centerboard, lashing the tiller amidships, and installing sail covers.