Righting a Capsized Sailboat

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What do I do if my sailboat capsizes?

Righting a Capsized Sailboat

If you truly want to learn to sail, you have to prepare for the event that your boat might capsize. But, having this happen--even on the open water--doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds. If the proper sailing advice is used, a capsized boat can be righted safely and efficiently. First, you should make sure the mainsheet is completely loose so you don't lift water as you try to right the boat. If your boat has a center board, lean out with your weight to get the mast free of water. When the wind comes up and gets under the sail, the boat should right itself. Then trim the sails and you should be off again.

If the mast comes out of the water on the windward, not the leeward side, the boat will blow over and you'll start all over. This is a common mistake of a novice sailor.

If a boat turns 'turtle' this means the entire boat has turned upside down. If this happens, you should grab the daggerboard and lean back until the sails and board are parallel to the water. Then follow the procedures above.

If your attempt to right a capsized sailboat fails, stay with the boat. Most drownings occur because sailors try to swim to shore instead of waiting for adequate help. Believe it or not, good sailing tip is that you should practice capsizing on purpose! This will build your skill and your confidence as a sailor and you won't fear the water.



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