Many certainly dream of leaving all their problems on land and sailing into the boundless waters. However, dreams alone are not enough. To start the real adventure with sailing, proper preparation is necessary.
The good news is that it is never too late for sailing. This elite sport can be practiced at any age, as long as your health and physical condition allow it. However, the question of whether sailing is really for you can be answered only after you have sailed a few times. The most passionate enthusiasts claim that sailing is not only a sport but, above all, a way of life. There will also be those who, despite everything, feel safer standing their ground.
To begin with, let’s consider the absolutely crucial issue, i.e. the body of water. Each body of water obviously has its own characteristics that must be taken into consideration before boarding a yacht. Beginners are advised to make their first few voyages in the so-called inland waters, where you sail relatively close to the shore for the whole trip. This will provide considerable psychological comfort and also make possible assistance come much faster. A good choice for the so far “landlubbers” will be the bodies of water in the Mazury Lake District or even Zegrzyński Lagoon.
Seas and oceans are a completely different story. On the way there may appear a lot of complications. Sailors are often exposed to strong wind or high waves, and in the fight against the elements the crew is on their own – because it is far from land. For this reason it is often said that these waters are for “sea dogs” only. It should be remembered, however, that a beginner does not have to start his or her adventure at the helm. There is always something to do on board so you can take up something that suits your experience.
Just like any other sport, there are a few rules to sailing. Some of them are quite obvious – the absolute attention to your own and others’ safety or abstaining from alcoholic beverages should come as no surprise. However, it is worth to stop at the appropriate clothing. A hat (with a visor or a warm one) should be on your head. When the sky is cloudless and the sun is shining, a light jacket will do, however during more extreme weather conditions we have to equip ourselves with a storm jacket, which includes both a waterproof jacket and pants. We should also remember about sunglasses and sunscreen, because the weather can be capricious.
What if we have already taken our first sea voyage and would like to take the next step? There are three types of certificates of competency in sailing, namely: yachtsman, helmsman and yacht captain. The first two are obtained by passing an examination organized by the Polish Yachting Association. The test consists of two parts – theoretical and practical, and anyone over 14 can take it. The rank of captain, on the other hand, is awarded only after a sufficiently long period of seniority.
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