Offshore Sailing

Written by Jen Nichol
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Offshore sailing is an entirely different experience than coastal cruising. Many budding sailors think that because the wind and one's responses work the same way, that it's the same sport, simply farther out from shore. The truth is something entirely different, however.

With coastal cruising, you are generally within easy range of a safe harbor. Chances are you won't get swept out to see on a strong current or with a sudden squall. One needn't necessarily be as alert when one is coastal cruising, especially on a nice, sunny day in the company of other boats and boaters.

Why Is Offshore Sailing Different from Coastal Cruising?

Successful offshore sailing, however, relies totally on the skills of the sailors to understand approaching weather, negotiate the paths of larger, faster ocean-going craft, and be at all times working expertly with the wind direction. These skills are more important out in open water, as one's safety depends on them. However, a good school can take you from a coastal cruiser to someone confident in offshore sailing in a fairly short amount of time.

You will learn to gauge when the wind will hit, where it will come from, and how to navigate without using points on land. You can learn storm procedures and anchoring, as well a how to more efficiently tack. A good ASA-certified school will make anyone a better sailor. In the big picture this means not just more skills, but greater levels of on-deck enjoyment.

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