The seven cardinal virtues–which a true sailor must not lack

Since 1983, the American Sailing Association has been dedicated to teaching people how to sail safely and quietly. Throughout the years, their members have identified seven qualities that must not be lacking to become a good sailor. Do you think any are missing?

At the top of the list is intuition. All of us, at least once, have been on board with people who seemed to know what to do by “nose.” Where the wind would come from, where it would be edged. The boat was going faster with them in charge, they were able to reason ahead. Of course, experience helps, but intuition, “flair,” is a magical virtue that great sailors possess at an innate level .

The basics, the basics, the basics. Try a walk around the docks, and you will find that not everyone is able to give turn on a bollard correctly. Or ask if anyone can correctly execute a daisy knot. A true sailor, he knows the fundamentals perfectly: knots, nomenclature, reading weather data, everything there is to know about sailing.

MacGyver would have been a good sailor. Things on a boat never go as planned: deck equipment jumps, things fall overboard, lines break, weather conditions can change suddenly. Thus, the ability to improvise is a key characteristic in an activity as unpredictable as sailing: the study of alternative solutions and repairs with the material available in the boat is a prerogative of great sailors. Often the most ingenious inventions were developed by good sailors engaged in long sailings aboard small cruising boats.

Real sailors are never the ones who yell and swear when something goes wrong in the boat. They are the ones who think of a solution while someone else is screaming and cursing. but besides being calm in tense situations, great sailors are calm people in general. Breathe, people-sailing is primarily relaxation.


Those who know how to sail for real can board any boat and make it sail at its best. He will take a quick mental inventory of how the various onboard systems work, and within minutes he will be a perfect crew member or skipper, as if he has been going on that boat for years.

malingri TAG Heuer Velafestival6. EXPERIENCE
In boating as in life, experience is (almost) everything. So many miles on the back usually make one a true sailor. Even if you are not a Russell Coutts, a Straulino or a Ben Ainslie, know that with “flair” without experience you do not get ahead, while the reverse is not true.

This one is very “piratey,” we bring it back: a good sailor should never give up his rum, it is an ancient tradition that will go on for centuries. But without going overboard. Because drinking too much and losing cognition on board can have catastrophic consequences.

The original article in English can be found here.
American Sailing Association website here



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