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If you want to learn sailing, you must be ready to take on a large degree of responsibility. Sailing is fun and there is nothing like the feeling on a sailboat when it's cruising free and easy. But, it only looks free and easy. It's actually hard work. Sailing classes, if they are well designed, will teach you how to avoid collisions and what the rules of the water are for various types of vessels. Here is some sailing instruction you are likely to get in a good sailing course:
If a boat is heading your way and you don't know if it's on a collision course, use this sailing tip: Note the bearing of the boat and use a compass or line it up with some item on the boat such as a lifeline or starchion. In a short time, take the bearing again. If it has not changed, you are on a collision course and must be ready to react.
Whether you are just beginning to learn sailing or our signed up for an advanced sailing course, you should review the rules of the water. A stand-on vessel has the right of way while a give-way vessel must alter a course to avoid collision. A leeward boat is the stand-on vessel and has the right of way. The windward boat has to keep clear or give way. A starboard tack boat is the stand-on vessel and has the right of way. A port tack boat has to keep clear. When over-taking, the boat ahead is the stand-on vessel. The over-taking boat has to keep clear.