Process Of Sailing is a Pleasure Of Life

In my last sailing beginner article, I discussed the sailing term tacking which is when you sail upwind or towards the wind. In this article, I will cover how to sail in moderate winds anywhere from 10mph and up to gusts of 20mph.visit the page

Doesn’t sound like much, but when using conventional sails with a constant wind sustaining at over 10mph is challenging enough, especially on smaller lakes where the water real estate is very limited. It’s one thing to be on a large lake or the ocean where you have unlimited water surface to sail downwind if necessary, but it’s another ball game when you can’t!

On the little lake that I sail often, I don’t have unlimited amount of water to navigate on, so I have to be on my toes if I’m going to successfully tack back from the far end of it. This lake runs in an east/west direction, and the wind blows either from south to west or north to west.

I put in on the west portion of the lake, so it’s a breeze to sail downwind, but a real challenge to come back. Now add the element from moderate sustaining winds to wind gusts of 15-20mph to the mix and you have a sailing recipe much like that of riding a bull in a rodeo. Ride um cowboy!

Between white caps and a good stiff breeze generated by the mountains that surround the lake, it’s a good thing that my Renken pocket cruiser was built to handle these water conditions. It’s a good stable sailing vessel and the perfect lake cruiser. I hope that one day you too can feel the thrill of sailing and have the same enthusiasm as I do about the sport!


You will want to learn how to sail in light wind conditions first with the mainsail, then add the jib sail in a combination of both. It’s a great building block and confidence builder as well.

Although I’ve sailed with both the mainsail and the jib sail together in moderate to gusting winds up to 20mph, I honestly wouldn’t recommend it. It can be dangerous for a sailing beginner to say the least. If the wind is only blowing at 10mph than it’s doable, but again start with the mainsail first then build your sailing skills using both when you have gained a good deal of experience with sailing with just one.

With that said, before I make a turn I judge the wind first by feeling it with my face and looking at my tell-tale a sailing term for a piece of cloth or fabric attached to a stay. Also I glance at the waves about a 100 yards out or more upwind to see how much white is on top of the waves. If I sense the wind is not blowing that hard, I will execute a jibe and make my turn. On the hand, if it’s really blowing hard, I will do a tack or upwind turn, otherwise a jibe turn could compromise my safety and may damage the sailboat.