When many people start sailing, they want to know how much is considered s too much wind for a beginner sailor. Even the most experienced sailors can capsize in a small boat if they go out sailing in heavy winds.
For a beginner sailor, the wind is usually recommended to be under 10 knots. Those who are more experienced or with a larger boat can consider going up to 12 knots of wind. A knot is not the same as miles per hour or kilometer per hour but is faster than these measurements.
Sailing And Wind
It is essential to understand the amount of wind you and your boat can handle when sailing. The wind can become your friend or become your most dangerous fo when sailing.
What wind speed is best for you depends on what type of boat you will be sailing. The smaller boats as dinghies can turn over much faster with heavier winds than a larger sailing vessel. If the wind is too light for a larger sailing vessel, it may be challenging for the boat even to move.
Here are the different types of wind that is best for beginners and others:
- Absolute Beginners – An absolute beginner can usually sail comfortably in anything under 10 knots. Anything under 10 knots prevents capsizing the boat, which can be very dangerous, especially if you are not an experienced sailor.
- Almost Comfortable Sailor – If you are a beginner but are quite a comfortable sailing, you can sail between 5 to 12 knots. This would be quite a comfortable amount of wind to allow you to still sail and handle the boat.
- Intermediate Sailing – As an intermediate sailor or someone who is seriously training in sailing, the wind between 15 to 20 knots should be fine.
- Advanced Sailing – As advanced sailors or heavy sail boats can usually handle between 20 to 25 knots. For some of these heavy boats wind under 12 knots may be challenging for them to sail.
- Above 25 knots – Above 25 knots is considered rough for any small or midsize boat, so you would have to be sure to have a more substantial boat in this type of wind.
The best speed or wind for sailing is the one that allows you to navigate the boat safely. And to do this, you need to consider your abilities so that your sailing trip is not unnecessarily dangerous.
Knots, Wind, And Sailing
To understand why wind is essential, we need to understand what a knot is and how a knot in sailing is different than just a mile per hour or kilometer per hour wind measurement.
The term knots were used in the maritime during the 17th Century to help determine speed on the water. Today, a knot is a speed unit tied directly to the global latitude and longitude coordinate system. Knots are easier to navigate with instead of using miles per hour (MPH) or kilometers per hour (KPM).
A nautical mile is based on the earth’s degree of latitude. One nautical mile equals 1,852 meters or 6,076 feet.
So in real terms, it can be as follows:
So, in other words, if the knots for a beginning sailor is under 10 knots, then the actual speed in miles per hour would be 10 x 1.151 or 11.51 miles per hour or 18.5 kilometers per hour.
Will you look at knots in terms of the actual speed or the miles per hour, we can see that it is not the same as a knot. That is why some locations may consider light to the medium wind to be closer to under 12 knots. It depends on where and what kind of boat you are sailing and how well the boat can handle the wind speed.
Best Wind Speed For You And Your Boat
Knowing the best wind speed for you and your boat takes time. If you decide to go out in the heavy wind, you could be capsized. Heavy wind with the wrong kind of boat can be hazardous and even life-threatening.
Even the best sailors can capsize if they are in the wrong boat with hefty winds. For most beginners, it is recommended that you learn to sail and be comfortable with the boat when the wind speed is under 10 knots.
Then as you start to become more comfortable with sailing and begin to get more education and learning about wind and a feel for your boat, you can try to increase some of the wind speed to see how you can handle the boat.
Learn From A Qualified Sailing Instructor
We recommend that anyone serious about sailing consider joining a sailing club and learning from a qualified instructor and sailing course. A good course or instructor will let you know when they feel you are ready to be able to handle stronger winds.
As we have said many times, sailing is not just a sport but also a skill. It is like learning to drive a car; you need to understand the rules and exactly what you and your boat can handle, including what type of wind and weather conditions; this understanding only comes from experience and practice.
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If you are going to take up sailing, then the first thing you must do is get on a boat and find out if sailing is suitable. The best sailors can handle their boats in all kinds and types of weather. Find a class that you can join and get certified. Sailing requires knowledge and skill. Find yourself a sailing community that you can be part of.