Learn To Sail On A Schooner
Although we take our sail training for adults seriously, learning to sail should be fun. You will go home feeling a sense of achievement but hopefully you’ll have a good time and eat well too.
At SchoonerSail we have many years experience teaching people sailing skills and how to be part of the crew on our schooner Trinovante.
The focus is on teaching good, solid seamanship skills whilst visiting some of the best sailing areas in the world. The style is informal. Every voyage is an adventure where you can learn to sail as you go.
If you are a yachtsperson or looking to become one, it is important to be clear that we do not run RYA courses which are geared towards learning to skipper a yacht.
Tall ship sailing where you are member of the crew develops a specific set of skills. You still learn to sail but as part of a team.
If you are looking for something more ‘in depth’ about sailing schooners check out the links to our Learning To Sail A Schooner Articles at the bottom of this page.
I’d done quite a lot of dinghy sailing but had always wanted to experience sailing a “proper ship”. Finding SchoonerSail online it looked like an ideal combination of a small friendly crew and keen sailors.
As a beginner what type of voyage should I choose?
Some people like to try one of our UK Sailing Weekends first before committing to a longer sailing holiday but there is no obligation to do so and many first time sailors go straight for something more challenging.
If you find it difficult to choose or are not sure what any of our voyages will involve just give us a ring on 07977 594649. Remember, because we are not an agency, booking for many boats you will be speaking directly to the people you will actually be sailing with.
What can I expect to learn on a Tall Ships Sailing Holiday?
For starters you are definitely going to learn some new nautical words!
Initially most beginners feel quite daunted – that’s normal. From the moment you step onboard you will learn to sail by being totally immersed in the world of sail and the sea.
On a multi masted schooner we need you, our guest sailors, to be involved in everything. From hoisting sail and steering to dropping the anchor. It’s in our interest to teach you as much as possible. The boat sails better, we get competent crew, you learn and enjoy the sailing more.
There is always a mix of abilities on board from beginners to experienced sailors so whatever level you’re at you won’t be alone.
Every year Trinovante sets sail on a different voyage. See all our 2021 UK sailing holidays here . View the voyage map here. You can join for anything from a few days to a couple of weeks and experience a taster weekend, coastal or offshore sailing.
New Sailing Skills, New Experiences, New Horizons.
Helming The Ship
Yes, really, right from the start and because we only take a maximum of 8 guests you will get plenty of time at the helm.
There’s no shortage of opportunity to steer and learning to steer a compass course or the best course for a particular wind direction is an important core skill you can master.
In your first few days onboard you’ll be learning the basics. By the end of a week you may have a pretty good idea of how to put up the sails and may even feel confident to have a crack at the fishermans topsail. Love it or loath it, one of these can add a knot to Trinovantes speed.
This video was made some time back sailing in the North of Norway.
Handle Ropes Like A Pro
You will get plenty of practice coiling mooring ropes and halyards . Trinovante has winches for the jib sheets but all the sails are hoisted with ropes and blocks – it’s an efficient mix of traditional and modern. cleating them off on the pin rails when we hoist sails.
Then there are five basic knots you can learn – the reef knot, clove hitch, round turn and two half hitches, bowline, and figure of eight. Many people know one or two of them already. Think of them as your basic tool kit.
If you want to learn something before you come onboard try learning to tie a bowline. Watch this video and learn the ‘seamans’ way not the cub scout way.
Learn To Feel The Wind
It’s amazing that we can sail into the wind. On land we rarely pay attention to the wind – at sea on a sailing vessel we notice every tiny change in direction and speed.
What is the wind doing now, what is it going to do in 12 hours, or 5 days? Understanding why we tack or gybe or how to sail the best course to windward are all part of the learning experience.
And of course there is the Shipping Forecast. You may become a keen listener.
Anchoring A Ship
We do a lot of anchoring under sail, it’s not something many boats do these days.
How much chain do you let out, how do you know your anchor is holding, how do you choose your anchorage in the first place?
SchoonerSail Learning To Sail A Schooner Articles
John, Trinovante’s skipper started writing these articles after some Trinovante Crew asked for more information on the fundamentals of schooner handling. None of these articles are invented theory. These are all specific situations that have arisen.
Seafaring is an ongoing learning process and John cautions against set piece manoeuvers. You need a plan but it needs to be flexible because things don’t always go according to plan.
Sail Training involves learning how to safely handle ropes, some basic knots and using winches among other things. Why we need these skills is to be able to carry out manoeuveres under sail or power.
Full knowledge of the why is not essential. Dip into these Learning To Sail articles only if you want to.
Most people just learn to sail when they are onboard.