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Fast Track to Sailing: Learn to Sail in Three Days

Fast Track to Sailing: Learn to Sail in Three Days

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Fast Track to Sailing: Learn to Sail in Three Days

368 pagine
3 ore
Feb 6, 2009


The learn-to-sail book for when you are in a hurry to gain your sea legs

At the Offshore Sailing School, the Colgates have taught more than 100,000 adults how to sail. Now they are making their proven instructional methods available to you so you can fulfill your sailing dreams in little time. Though designed around three days of intensive instruction, the book adapts easily to any learning pace. You can master the fundamentals in three days--or over a summer of leisurely sailing.

Feb 6, 2009

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Fast Track to Sailing - Steve Colgate







Steve and Doris Colgate

Copyright © 2009 by Steve and Doris Colgate. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

ISBN: 978-0-07-161520-4

MHID: 0-07-161520-2

The material in this eBook also appears in the print version of this title: ISBN: 978-0-07-161519-8, MHID: 0-07-161519-9.

All trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Rather than put a trademark symbol after every occurrence of a trademarked name, we use names in an editorial fashion only, and to the benefit of the trademark owner, with no intention of infringement of the trademark. Where such designations appear in this book, they have been printed with initial caps.

McGraw-Hill eBooks are available at special quantity discounts to use as premiums and sales promotions, or for use in corporate training programs. To contact a representative please e-mail us at

Photography supplied by the authors, Billy Black, Dana Bowden.

Illustrations by Affinity Design Group. Illustrations on pages 18 (middle), 37, 69 (bottom), 88 (top) by Elayne Sears. Illustration on page 75 by U.S. Coast Guard.


This is a copyrighted work and The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (McGraw-Hill) and its licensors reserve all rights in and to the work. Use of this work is subject to these terms. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976 and the right to store and retrieve one copy of the work, you may not decompile, disassemble, reverse engineer, reproduce, modify, create derivative works based upon, transmit, distribute, disseminate, sell, publish or sublicense the work or any part of it without McGraw-Hill’s prior consent. You may use the work for your own noncommercial and personal use; any other use of the work is strictly prohibited. Your right to use the work may be terminated if you fail to comply with these terms.

THE WORK IS PROVIDED AS IS. McGRAW-HILL AND ITS LICENSORS MAKE NO GUARANTEES OR WARRANTIES AS TO THE ACCURACY, ADEQUACY OR COMPLETENESS OF OR RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED FROM USING THE WORK, INCLUDING ANY INFORMATION THAT CAN BE ACCESSED THROUGH THE WORK VIA HYPERLINK OR OTHERWISE, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. McGraw-Hill and its licensors do not warrant or guarantee that the functions contained in the work will meet your requirements or that its operation will be uninterrupted or error free. Neither McGraw-Hill nor its licensors shall be liable to you or anyone else for any inaccuracy, error or omission, regardless of cause, in the work or for any damages resulting therefrom. McGraw-Hill has no responsibility for the content of any information accessed through the work. Under no circumstances shall McGraw-Hill and/or its licensors be liable for any indirect, incidental, special, punitive, consequential or similar damages that result from the use of or inability to use the work, even if any of them has been advised of the possibility of such damages. This limitation of liability shall apply to any claim or cause whatsoever whether such claim or cause arises in contract, tort or otherwise.



As owner of The Moorings and Sunsail, the largest sailboat charter companies in the world, TUI Marine has 1,500 charter boats in service at forty-two bases in twenty-one countries. We are constantly on the lookout for capable sailors as clients. Steve and Doris Colgate, the owner/operators of the Offshore Sailing School, have developed more than 100,000 such sailors in their many years of teaching sailing. They have done so by never lowering their teaching standards and by perfecting a tried and true system that covers all the ways people learn: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. First they send the aspiring sailor a book to study at home before the course (visual). This book, Fast Track to Sailing, is the culmination of years of development through their introductory sailing program. Second, one of their excellent licensed and certified instructors explains sailing in a series of classroom sessions to reinforce the book (auditory). Third and most important, the new sailor sets sail for comprehensive sessions on the Colgate 26 sailboat, which was designed by Steve specifically for sail training (kinesthetic). At the end of the course, the participant sails without an instructor, gaining the confidence that comes from handling a 26-foot sailboat with other new sailors.

We heartily recommend Fast Track to Sailing to anyone interested in taking the first steps to a new and wonderful lifestyle. Learn with a good foundation and you will enjoy sailing forever. Learn it right the first time and the rewards are incredible—and this book teaches it right. Sailing is one of the most environmentally responsible sports you can ever aspire to. Its carbon footprint is virtually invisible. Start now!

—Lex Raas

President, TUI Marine

November 2008


We are forever grateful to the more than 100,000 graduates who chose the Offshore Sailing School as their path to a lifelong adventure on the water. Their praise of our programs and instructors continues to inspire all of us on the Offshore team to go the extra mile and to provide the very best sailing education there is.

The Offshore Sailing School is supported not only by the most professional faculty of instructors you'll find, but by our loyal staff behind the scenes who work diligently to make your experience flawless. The input of the entire team throughout the years has helped shape this book and match it as closely as possible to the needs and questions of new sailors.

We also thank our host partners for providing fantastic sailing venues and vacation destinations as well as beautiful cruising boats for those who dream of taking their first step to ultimate freedom—cruising under sail. We remain dedicated to our goal of making sailing the ultimate rewarding lifestyle for those who respect our world and its vast but fragile treasures.

Sailing—Good for you. Good for the World.


The ultimate goal of many sailors is to go cruising. To help achieve that goal, we wrote the book Fast Track to Cruising in 2005. Because some sailors prefer to sail close to home on small to midsize sailboats, we present here an easy to read, colorful stand-alone book for the new sailor called Fast Track to Sailing.

You are about to embark on a most rewarding adventure, taking you from the desire to learn how to sail to ready to sail in easy, logical steps. We have always been strong proponents of learning the right way the first time. When I started Offshore Sailing School in 1964, I realized I was encapsulating over twenty years of intense sailing knowledge into three or four days of training. In that short time, if you absorb everything—that is, everything this book—you will gain a sailing foundation that will last a lifetime. The knowledge and methods herein give you the insight and understanding to build sailing confidence and skills. You will learn why you are doing something, not just how to do it. The text and illustrations provide everything you need to know to be a competent sailor. At the end of each chapter you are encouraged to test what you learned.

Hands-on is a must! I discovered the best method of skill development: read the book first; practice on the boat; go home and read more; more practice. SUZANNE WENDEROTH (34), NORTHPORT, NY

This book, patterned after Fast Track to Cruising, will teach you the basics, including the language of sailing and how it applies to maneuvers aboard, and the theory and functions that make handling a sailboat easy. You will progress from the initial steps of boarding a small to mid-size sailboat to sailing away from a dock or mooring, then to understanding how to use wind to move your boat efficiently and return safely and confidently back to a dock or mooring.

You will become skilled at controlling a boat in overpowering conditions. You will learn procedures for picking up a hat that has blown overboard or a crew member who inadvertently ended up in the water. Maneuvers such as tacking and jibing will become second nature. You will learn how to stop the boat where and when you want and how to sail backward—all without a motor, of course. You will practice the safe way to handle lines, and the proper way to ease or pull when forces and friction

Learning to fly a spinnaker enhances your sailing.

Claudia Logothetis in St. Barts on a Coastal Passagemaking course.

The Colgate 26 we used for the basic keelboat course was the right size, and at the end we were able to handle it very well. The next step was the Beneteau 464 [a 46-footer]. I had no idea what this boat would be like, but when we arrived at the marina I couldn't believe my eyes. We would maneuver this boat? It is only a matter of practice. After a few maneuvers in the harbor before leaving—that was it; the fear that I would not learn to handle this boat was gone!


are involved. Learning how to navigate when there are no road signs will become as natural as driving a car on a crowded highway.

We feel that the use of a spinnaker—the colorful balloon-shaped sail—for downwind sailing enhances the sailing experience so we include it in our Learn to Sail course at Offshore Sailing School even though it is a more advanced topic. For that reason we have added the basics of spinnaker work to Fast Track to Sailing.

We hope you enjoy this book and keep it as a reference for future sailing. May it always be an incentive to get deeper into an activity from which you learn something new every time you sail. And when you sail, remember—you are driven by wind, not by engines requiring fuel. Sailing is the ultimate way to reduce your carbon footprint.

The authors, Doris and Steve Colgate.




The language of the sea is deeply rooted in the era of square-rigged ships, and today sailors around the world use a kind of shorthand that has evolved from that period. We were reminded of the importance of sailing language when we raced our 54-footer with crew from various countries. We could all communicate easily during those races—even though we didn't share a common tongue.

To the uninitiated, sailor-talk may sound strange. But it's an essential language to learn. There are times on a boat when the correct action must be taken quickly and at the right moment, or problems will result. You can't afford to say, Let go of that thing over there! when you really mean, Free the jibsheet! Through repetition, you will learn the necessary sailing terms to help you sail well.

I was apprehensive about all of the language involved with sailing, but that's all gone.


Although there are many types and sizes of sailboats, this book focuses on one type of boat—the Colgate 26, a family sport boat designed for training, racing, and family fun. The Colgate 26 is characterized as a slooprigged keelboat. The word sloop refers to a boat with one mast; the keel is a heavy fixed fin beneath the boat that provides stability. What you learn on this boat can be applied to any sailboat.


This chapter covers some key terms that are important to learn, along with summary lists that will serve as an easy reference.

If you are standing on a sailboat facing forward, you are looking at the bow, with the starboard side on your right and the port side on your left. Conversely, if you are

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