Ultimate Sailing Guide For Beginners

Written by Wendy Tucker

Sailing is the art of controlling a boat or ship by using the wind and other environmental factors to propel it through the water. It has been around for thousands of years and was once the only way to travel across oceans. But today, sailing has evolved into a popular activity enjoyed by people worldwide.

Let’s look at how people incorporate sailing into their daily lives.

Sailing as a Sport or a Hobby

Sailing can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience or an adrenaline-pumping sport. It all depends on how you approach it. Whether you’re looking to relax or get your heart racing, sailing is the perfect activity.

Nowadays, sailing is often done as a sport, and you can do it in both inland and coastal waters. In addition, there are various types of sailing, including yacht racing, dinghy sailing, and windsurfing.

Let’s take a quick look at all the different types of sailing.

4 Different Types Of Sailing

Since there are many different types of sailing, each has its unique challenges and rewards. Let’s take a look at each one below.

Yacht racing


Yacht racing is a popular competitive sport that involves racing sailboats or yachts. You can do it in both inland waters and coastal waters. Yacht races usually take place over long distances and can last for several hours or days.

The boats are typically operated by a crew of two to eight people. The number of people needed to run the ship will usually depend on the size of the vessel.

It is also a popular spectator sport, especially in Europe and North America. Some of the most famous yacht races include America’s Cup, the Sydney to Hobart Race, and the Fastnet Race.

If you want to check out some good sailboats or yachts, you can check out Red Beard Sailing for more information.

Dinghy sailing


Dinghy sailing is a type of sailing done in small, lightweight boats called dinghies. Dinghies are usually sailed solo or with one other person. They are easy to manoeuvre and can be sailed in various types of water, including inland lakes and coastal waters.

Dinghy sailing is a popular sport worldwide and is often used as a training ground for more extensive yacht racing.



Windsurfing is one type of sailing that uses a board powered by wind. Windsurfing boards are long, narrow, and have sails attached to them. The sails are often used to catch the wind and propel the board across the water.

Windsurfing is a popular sport worldwide, especially in areas with large bodies of water and strong winds. You can also do it for recreation or competition.



Kitesurfing is a type of sailing that uses a kite to propel a board across the water. The kite is controlled by the wind and the rider’s body movements. Kitesurfing is most commonly done in coastal areas with strong winds and large bodies of water.

Kitesurfing is a new sport that has gained popularity in recent years. Along with windsurfing, you can do it for recreation or competition.

Sailing as Transportation

Sailing was once the only way to travel across oceans, and today, it is still used as a means of transportation by people worldwide.

Sailing Vs. Cruising

There are times that people think of sailing and cruising as the same thing. However, each one has its characteristics that set them apart.

But basically, a sailing trip usually involves a short maritime expedition in which you can reach your destination relatively quickly.

In contrast, you travel around the world for an extended time when you cruise. In addition, since cruise ships offer a more extended stay, they provide more entertainment options than sailboats.

Here are the main factors that will differentiate sailing vs cruising

Boat Size

Cruise boats often outsize sailboats. However, it’s not universally true because sometimes there are sailboats that you can use for cruising purposes.

But, most will favour sailboats for cruising if it comes down to powerboats versus sailboats.

The reason behind this is due to the cost of money required. Powerboats tend to cost, especially when travelling long distances on the ocean.

On the other hand, if we’re talking about a more traditional cruise ship or a yacht, its size will be larger than a larger-sized sailboat.

Crowd Size

A sailing trip is often cosy and intimate. But, on the other hand, cruises will have bigger crowds.

There will be 100 or 200 people on board with you for small cruises, maybe even more, and the most significant cruise boats can accommodate over 5,000 people. Therefore, it almost feels like living in a big town but closer quarters.

Trip Length and Number of Destinations


One of the critical differences between sailing and cruising is that the latter lasts much longer.

You will usually have one destination you’re heading for when you sail. It’s a short trip: there, back, and then home. For example, if you decide to go sailing, it may take an afternoon to reach it, sometimes longer, but you’ve never gone for upwards of a week.

But on a cruise, you’re not limited to a single destination. Instead, your ship will port at several places so that you can see many places during your trip. But, one downside of a cruise is not being able to spend as long there as you would have wished.


The shorter your trip, the less it tends to cost. This is because the boat doesn’t venture out as far. Thus it uses less fuel and other resources. So, sailing is more budget-friendly compared to cruising.

In addition, longer trips often include more entertainment and accommodations, which increases the price.

Entertainment and Activities

Internet service can be spotty when riding a boat. Going on a trip for a few hours or overnight will be fine, but when you go on multi-day trips, not having a proper internet connection and not enough activities can bore you to death.

This is why cruises have a lot of entertainment options available onboard.


You can always be flexible and move based on your time when it comes to sailing. Often, you’re only going to one destination on a sailboat, so there’s more room in the schedule for alterations.

But, when you are on a cruise, there is a strict schedule to follow.

Sailing as a Business

Sailing can also be done as a business. Sailing businesses offer various services, from transportation to recreation, including charter companies, yacht clubs, and sailing schools.

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting way to start your own business, sailing might be the perfect option.

Sailing as a Way Of Life


For some people, sailing is more than just a hobby or an activity. It’s a way of life. These people live on boats and sail from one place to another. They may even make their living by sailing. So if you’re looking for a unique and exciting way to live your life, sailing might be the perfect option.

Staying Safe When Sailing

Sailing is a safe activity, but there are always risks involved. There are many factors to consider when sailing, including the type of boat you’re using, the weather conditions, and your skill level. Therefore, it’s essential to be prepared and know what you’re doing before heading out on the water. Before you start sailing check out to learn the basics on how to drive or sail your boat.

The most important thing to do is be prepared and know what you’re doing. If you’re new to sailing, here are some helpful tips:

  • First, it’s essential to be ready and know what you’re doing.
  • Second, always wear a life jacket.
  • Third, start with small boats in calm waters before moving on to larger ships in more challenging conditions.

With a bit of practice, you’ll be sailing like a pro!


Wendy Tucker


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