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The basics of sailing

The main language on board is English. All instructions will be given in English.

Terms and commands

Please find below a few words you will hear on board quite often: the information below is for your inspiration! For a voyage on board the EUROPA is no prior sailing experience needed!

Haul Away Pull on the rope hand over hand or by sweating.
2, 6, HEAVE Everybody pulls together on HEAVE!
Ease away Ease the line slowly at first with a turn around the pin.
Hold / Stop Stop hauling or easing.
Cast Off  Take the line off the pin and let it run out on its own.
One step forward / Come up With the line in your hands, take one step towards the pin.
Let Go Let go of the line and let it run out freely
Make Fast / Belay Belay the line to the pin or cleat.
Stand-By Get the lines ready by dropping the coils and taking it down to one turn on the pin. 
Don’t take action yet.
Coil down Coil up all the lines that are on deck and hang them nicely on the pins.


Points of Sail

Different points of sail have their own sail tuning. We divide the points of sail into four directions of the wind compared to the ships heading: downwind, broad reach, beam reach and close hauled.

Going downwind/running

The wind comes from behind, yards are braced square. Most of the time we’re only sailing with the square sails and we take the spanker down, to prevent the boom from coming over. Sometimes we set some staysails (for example the outer jib) to be able to catch up when the ship luffs, as it makes it easier to steer. We clew up the main, to give the fore course more wind. We can ease out the sheet of the fore square sails a little, so the bow doesn’t get pushed down too much. When there’s a nice breeze for it, we can set studdingsails on both sides of the foremast.

Broad reach

The wind comes in at a slight angle from the back. We can brace the yards up a little, not too much, to not cause overlapping. If the ship wants to luff too much, the spanker can be taken away so the pressure on the aft ship decreases. Studdingsails can be set at both sides of the foremast or on the windward side of the fore mast and the leeward side of the mainmast.

Sailing at beam reach/reaching

This is the fastest course. The ship sails at a ninety degree apparent angle to the wind, allowing all sails to be set. 

Close hauled/Full and by

The lowest yards are braced as sharp as possible, so they are just not sitting on the backstays. The yards above are braced with ‘fanning’, meaning that each yard up is braced a little more square than the yard below. The objective is to sail as close as possible to the wind without the sails luffing, because then you will lose speed and increase your drift.