Technology is a great tool for learning. For example, you can take online courses to complete your college degree or prepare you for vocational certification. You can go online to learn just about everything you need to know about trading stocks or rebuilding engines. You can even learn how to sail online, at least in theory.

NauticEd is a worldwide company specializing in sailor training. They are one of a handful of companies offering online courses that teach sailing theory. Obviously, no online course is a complete substitute for hands-on training. But the theory learned online is easily applicable to training on the water. And the certifications one can earn through online training can set that person up for a lifetime of successful sailing.

A Definition of Sailing Theory

Sailing theory is a body of knowledge that covers the basic fundamentals of sailing and ships. As with other forms of theory, it covers concrete principles that remain true regardless of the vessel being sailed, the body of water being navigated, and so forth.

A good way to conceptualize sailing theory is to compare it to music theory. If you were learning to play the piano, the theory portion of your lessons would deal with the basics of reading music: time signatures, note values, scales, etc. You would only become an accomplished pianist by applying theory to actual playing.

Sailing theory works much the same way. The new sailor learns the basic components of the sailing vessel. He or she learns the practical aspects of managing a boat and keeping it upright on the water. All the knowledge gleaned in theoretical training is then applied in practical training.

What Goes into Sailing Theory

Learning how to sail online is all about mastering a core set of fundamental concepts. Though every training organization does things differently, there are some basic categories of learning that every student goes through. These are:

  • How Boats Sail – This training covers the actual physics of sailing. It encompasses how a boat moves in the water, how it moves with the wind, and so forth.
  • Parts of a Boat – Just like a piano student needs to learn the various parts of his or her instrument, the sailor needs to learn about the basic parts of a boat. You cannot operate a boat if you do not know how it works.
  • Parts of a Sail – The sale is the ‘engine’ of a sailing vessel, if you will. Students have to learn the different parts of the sail, what they are used for, and how they interact with the wind and the boat.
  • Points of Sail – The angle of the boat in relation to the direction of the wind is known as the point of sail. New sailors have to learn the points of sail or else they will not be able to successfully navigate.
  • Tack – The Tack defines the alignment of a boat with the direction of the wind. There is both starboard and port tack, and each needs to be understood in unison with the points of sail.
  • Rules of the Sea – Just like professional truck drivers have to learn the rules of the road, sailors must learn the rules of the sea. Students learn international maritime standards and best practices to keep every ship on the water safe.

In learning how to sail online, students are not actually learning how to master their boats. Rather, they are learning theoretical practices that translate into safe sailing once the student takes the helm of his or her boat.

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