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When you are just beginning to learn sailing, it might seem like the wind is coming constant from one direction. But, as you begin to learn advanced sailing techniques through sailing courses designed for experienced sailors, you will realize the wind is always changing. It comes from one direction and as soon as you utilize your know-how to deal with it, it changes just as fast as it came. That is fine as those with advanced sailing instruction know how to deal with changing wind. It is actually one of the more challenging aspects of learning to sail. A shift in the wind is called a header, therefore a boat has been headed or has sailed into a header. Here are some tips for handling wind once you have basic sailing lessons behind you:
*If the wind shifts more toward the stern of the boat, you can point higher than you were previously pointing or sail more toward the original wind. This wind is called a lift. Most wind shifts are 10 degrees or less, but when you are taking a sailing course, you might learn about wind shifts through diagrams where they are exaggerated so you can better understand advanced sailing knowledge.
*If a large shift hits a boat on port tack, to respond and keep the sails full, the skipper has to fall off to the new heading. But, a lift is a helpful wind shift helping a boat head more directly toward the desired destination upwind.
*If you watch high performance sailing races, you'll soon find that these experts know how to manipulate their given circumstances. For example, a header for a boat on port tack is a lift for a boat on starboard. And since a lift helps you sail closer to your destination, a skipper will often change tacks when headed. Racers almost always tack when headed if they want to come in first.