Downwind sailing

Downwind Sailing Techniques using white sails only.

Downwind Sailing Techniques using white sails only.

The novice sailor might avoid sailing downwind and always opt for a broad reach. There comes a time when it is necessary to sail with the wind up your chuff! If you attend a RYA training course some techniques will be taught. 

If you do attend a RYA course such as Competent Crew or Day Skipper, you should learn how to use a preventer downwind. Poling out the headsail is more likely to be covered in advanced RYA training. These are skills often taught in the RYA Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster courses. Another useful technique is setting twin headsails.

Pip Hare describes in the following article, downwind sailing techniques under white sail only. There is also a great video demonstrating the techniques. Please find this article and video by clicking HERE

Safety is paramount to all the techniques described by Pip Hare. Pip is an experienced single-handed ocean sailor who has had to use these techniques and rig the yacht for downwind sailing by herself. As always, excellent advice for new ocean sailors tackling their first transatlantic crossing and experienced ocean skippers.

If you are interested in learning more about downwind sailing from an experienced instructor, many RYA training centres offer spinnaker clinics or are willing to run a special day or weekend for a small group of interested students. To find RYA training centres worldwide please click HERE.

Thank you to Yachting World and Pip Hare for this article.