Important Tips for Beginner Sailors
As newbies get their feet wet for the first time, JFA Yacht and Ship CEO and Captain, James Fachtmann, shares his top 4 tips to ensure smooth sailing when starting out.
Having a good insurance plan in place will put new yacht owners at ease with peace of mind while they’re on the water. Just like anything that takes practice, sailing your vessel will get easier over time as your experience grows. “Newbies can expect to make mistakes,” James says, “which is ok, but also those mistakes can be extremely costly and even result in a nightmare scenario.” Having the right insurance is a critical safety net and should be a top consideration.
FIND AN EXPERIENCED CAPTAIN TO TRAIN YOU AT THE HELM
Having a skilled captain for your vessel is the difference between a dream trip and a stormy nightmare. James recommends having “a yacht consultant guide you to find a captain to give you good instruction, so you don’t wreck your brand-new boat right out of the gate.” The right captain can teach new owners the ropes and give their spouses instruction on how to guide the boat to safety in case of emergency.
HAVE A GOOD WEATHER PLAN
Plan your boat trips on beautiful days with calm seas. Be willing to be flexible on scheduled trips if the weather looks like it’s changing course. Bad weather can be riskier for new captains as they take more skill to navigate and can also be far from a fun adventure. James emphasizes this by stating, “trust me, when your wife says, “I don’t want to go anymore,” and you just bought this beautiful yacht, and she’s no longer enjoying it, then you’re not going to have that companion with you next time you want to go out.” New yacht owners can rely on the captain whose training them, or their yacht consultants to help pick days that will be fun. Then, as your cruising experience gets better, you can explore more on windy or wavy days, and ease into it.”
USE YOUR YACHT
Incorporate your yacht into your planned vacations. “The worst thing you can do for a yacht is not to use it,” James says, “and if you can’t use your yacht very often, make sure you have somebody maintain it on a regular basis.” This could be in a charter program or, on a maintenance program with yacht management so when you’re ready to get on the water again, nothing breaks as soon as you set sail.