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Sailing boat and it's equipment

Sailing boat and it's equipment can be basically described as:

Sailer’s body can be made of wood, metal, concrete or – today most popular – polyester, a bit more prestigious material is carbon.

Rudder is used to direct the boat. First the wooden sticks or oaks were used for stirring. The first real rudders came from China, in the Middle Ages.

Keel ensures stability of a sailer in a stronger wind (helps sailing boat to keep the direction) and enables better control in stirring. Keels as known today were made in the 19th Cent.

Sails were known already in the old Egypt, but for a long time sailors could sail only with the wind. In 17th and 18th Cent. first sails for sailing with a side wind were made, and only since the end of the 19th Cent. we know how to sail against the wind (so called Bermuda sails).

Mast and boom were for a long time wooden. In the 19th Cent. they tried the metal masts and booms but they did not work out very well. Aluminium masts and booms were made after the 2nd World War, and from the 1990’s we have also masts and booms from carbon. Of course the wooden masts and booms still exists.

First ropes were made of grasses, but they were not strong. For the long centuries the resistant ropes from hemp were used. Since the second half of the 20th Cent. the synthetic ropes are widely used, and for the mast the metal ropes.

Pulleys are known since Antiquity. First they were wooden, and metal since 19th Cent. In the 20th Cent. pulleys with plastic bearing and with carbon wheels are made as well.


For sailors the most important wind is up till 50 meters. Wind can grow and becomes stronger, it can stop or cease, it can start turning to the left or to the right. A sailor must know the winds and the behavior of the air steam on the surface of sails.

We know three different directions of sailing:

  • windward (orza) –20°-45° toward the direction from which the wind is coming
  • with the side wind (mezzanave) – 45°-75° according to the direction of a wind
  • downwind (krma)– with the (back) wind, 75°-90° according to the direction of a wind

When sailing against the wind (winward) jib and the main sail get the wind from the same direction, 20°-45° according to the wind. This way the sails distribute the wind to two forces, and the oscilation in pressure between them appears. The area with a higher pressure (the back side of a sail according to the wind) pressures to the area with a lower pressure (the front side of a sail according to the wind) and this way pushes the boat to move forward. A sailing boat therefore can not sail directly against the wind, because the pressure would be the same on the both sides of a sail. The fastest direction to sail against the wind is between 30°-45° according to the wind.

When sailing with a side wind the highest speeds can be achieved. We capture the wind right-angled to the sail, and the sail may not be right-angled to the sailing boat.

When sailing downwind the sail is right-angled to the sailing boat.

When sailing, the sails can be on our left side, than we sit on the right side of the sailer and we sail from right to the left according to the wind; or the other way around.


Rudder is used to maintain and change a direction of sailing. Rudder consists of:

  • usually plastic or wooden plate or board which is in the water while sailing
  • a tiller - stick that is attached to a board; the tiller is used to control the direction of the board and it attaches the whole rudder to the boat
  • the tiller is lenghtened by a smaller hiking stick, which makes steering with rudder easier

With rudder we keep the direction of sailing. When we push the tiller away from ourselves, the sailing boat turns against the wind, and when we pull the tiller towards ourselves, the sailing boat turns away from the wind.


If the keel is removable, we use it only when sailing against the wind or with the side wind, because it helps preventing the drift of a boat to leeward from its heading. When we sail with the wind the keel can be pulled out. The keel also keeps the stability of a sailer and helps preventing it to turn around.


When sailing against the wind the sails are kept flat when the wind is strong; when the wind becomes weaker we let the sails to round. When sailing with the side or the back wind we let the sails round as much as possible. With the side wind we keep them flatter if the wind becomes stronger.

The position of a sailor

It is important where on the sailing boat sailors and passengers seat because this effects tilting of the sailer. We must try to keep the sailing boat as straight as possible, so it may not be tilted too much to the left or to the right, neither backwards or forward, because this slows down the sailer.


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26. Jan. 2007:
Leilani Sailers in neuen Raumen in Selnica bei Maribor.

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