Learn to Sail: Where to Start and Essential Skills for Bareboat Sailing

Written by Marin @Danielis on June 06, 2017 in Yacht Charter Advice

There are a number of ways that people get into sailing. If you are lucky, you may have grown up around sailing. Perhaps your family owned a yacht or rented one on a regular basis. Or maybe you lived in a country where sailing was part of a basic education. Or perhaps your parents dropped you off at a local sailing club to learn.

But many people have no history of sailing at all. They simply have a fascination with the sea, and they feel its call pulling at their souls.Danielis Yachting offers sailing courses for absolute beginners as well as for experienced sailors who want to renew their knowledge. We encourage you to subscribe on our mailing list under apply section to stay updated with new Sailing School dates.

Regardless of your own sailing background (or lack thereof), you need to find a way to pick up the following essential skills before you safely chart your course along the coast of Croatia, exploring its turquoise waters and balmy archipelagos. 

1. Basic boathandling skills

Handling a boat can be quite tricky in some circumstances, especially docking and undocking. You can expect the highest degree of challenge with a monohull. If you don’t have basic boathandling skills, you’re going to inconvenience not just yourself, but others on the boat and the dock as well. In the video shown above, you will be able to see how we do it in our Danielis Yachting Saling School.

2. Basic sailing skills

Sailing may appear simple, but you still need to make sure you’ve got the basics down: how to raise and lower your sails, heave-to, trim, steer, reef, moor, and anchor. Look at what our skipper have to say.

3. Anchoring


Dropping anchor is also pretty simple and straightforward, but it can take practice to get it down in different environments with different types of seabeds. If you want to learn more about anchoring, check out our detailed anchoring article and in depth tutorial.

4. Engine skills


This is a bit like driving a car. You do not have to be an engine expert to do so, but you do need to know how to monitor fluid levels and top them up as needed, tighten belts, and so on. It also is smart to get a number for a mechanic who can help you if something goes wrong.

5. Navigation

You need to be able to get from point A to point B, and no amount of other sailing skills are going to help you do that if you cannot plot and follow a proper course. There will probably be a chartplotter for you to use at the helm of your charter vessel. But you also should learn how to use paper charts and do calculations involving time, distance and speed. Here are some insights into how we do it in Danielis Skipper & Crew Training.

6. Local knowledge


Sailing conditions are different everywhere you go in terms of the wind, waves, currents, and seabeds. There are also differences in anchorage rules, docking procedures, and so on. For example, in the Mediterranean, you need to tie up your boat with the stern facing the dock, which is known as a “med-moor.” 

7. Inspections

When you rent a charter boat, you will need to undergo the charter checkout process before you can set sail. As with renting any other type of vehicle, this entails walking around the vessel with a company rep who helps you check that everything is in working order and identifies any existing damage to the boat. Knowing how to inspect a boat ensures you will be able to spot potential issues.

8. Provisions


When you charter a boat in Croatia, you can either let the company give you food or you can provision your trip yourself. Either way, you need to get enough food and beverages for your journey.

9. Rescue and emergencies


Make sure you and everyone onboard your boat can use the VHF radio to send out a distress call if necessary. Want to know what else to pack? Here is a detailed article of what you should bring with you on your sailing vacaiton.

10. Dinghy use

Dinghies are useful for moving supplies back and forth, and people as well. Learn about how to operate dinghies and use the air pump if necessary. You will find dinghy knowledge particularly valuable in Croatia, because your dinghy gives you the option to anchor in calm bays and ferry yourself to shore and back instead of mooring only at docks.

11. Etiquette


A lot of people who rent charter boats have no idea what they are doing, and it shows—not just in the sailing and boathandling errors they make, but also in their poor etiquette toward dock workers, others anchored in the same bays, and so on. Be sure you learn overall etiquette rules for sailing as well as specifics as pertain to Croatia (or anywhere else you will be sailing in the future). It also helps to have some social and leadership skills for dealing with others on your crew, since you will be working together in a confined space. If you are interesred in learning more about how to talk to Croatia mariners - click here.

You can see that there is a lot for you to learn before you set sail on your Croatia charter adventure! Here is how final day of our Skipper School looked like.

If you do not have prior experience, how can you pick up these essentials?

Consider joining the next course at our Danielis Skipper School!


Click here to read all about it. Leave your credentials and we will contact you with information and new dates for our Skipper School.

We can’t wait to see you there.