Sailing Part 1: Getting Started

with Ryan and Sophie

3 hours, 12 minutes
20 videos

Learn the foundational knowledge needed to get started in sailing.

About This Course

Start learning everything you need to know to set sail and explore a life of adventures at sea! Part 1 of this course explores the first two pillars of Ryan and Sophie’s guide to becoming a full-time sailor. Learn how to get into sailing with the necessary terms, concepts, and skills you’ll need to survive on board. Go through the full anatomy of a sailboat, types of sails, basic sailing maneuvers, knots and line work, and explore what is actually happening above and below the water when you sail. Develop a core knowledge base of safety and seamanship concepts. Then, get a breakdown of the different types of sailboats available by size, price, and style and determine what equipment you’ll want with you on board. By the end of Part 1, you’ll have the tools and confidence necessary to fast-track your sailing dreams. And you’ll be ready to start tackling part 2 of the sailing journey: destination research and passage planning (which will be available for purchase in 2023)!

What You'll Learn

  • All the sailing terms and what they mean 

  • An overview of all the parts of a sailboat 

  • How a sailboat works based on the points of sail

  • Basic sailing maneuvers, including tacking, gybing, heaving-to, mooring, and anchoring

  • How to tie 5 of the most common sailing knots

  • Boat safety and risk management (including a bonus risk management checklist)

  • How to develop seamanship (with Andy Schell, from 59° North Sailing)

  • A description of the different kinds of sailboats to choose from

  • A breakdown of the cost of buying a boat, including hidden costs

  • What to think about when you commission a brand new boat

  • What to think about when you buy a used boat, including a survey sample

  • How to equip your sailboat for living, navigating, working, and staying safe (with a bonus downloadable gear list)

  • How to calculate your energy usage (including a downloadable excel sheet)

  • And much, much more…

Watch Some Samples

We've pulled out a few clips to give you a better idea of what to expect in the course

Course Breakdown

Chapter 1

Kickstarting Your Adventure

Welcome Aboard

Learning to sail is no small feat, and Ryan and Sophie have plenty they want to teach you! In this welcome lesson, Ryan and Sophie share what you can expect to learn from their course on sailing the world. This course will be broken into 3 parts; Part 1: Getting Started, Part 2: Destination Research & Passage Planning, and Part 3: The Sailing Lifestyle.


Six Pillars to Start Sailing the World

Ryan and Sophie have developed six pillars to building the sailing lifestyle: learning to sail and developing seamanship, choosing and equipping your boat, destination research and passage planning, crew readiness, budgeting and lifestyle, and enjoying the journey and lifestyle. In this lesson, Ryan and Sophie break these down and share why each is important. Part one of this course covers the first two pillars.

Chapter 2

Core Sailing Knowledge

Anatomy of a Sailboat

Learn your way around a sailboat, from bow to stern and mast to keel. Get familiar with the nautical terms you’ll need to know before leaving shore and understand how the sails actually work. This foundational sailing knowledge will be crucial to your entire sailing journey.


How a Sailboat Works

So how does a sailboat actually work? Ryan explains the physics behind the movement of a sailboat and demonstrates how different points of sail can be achieved based on the direction of the wind.


Basic Sailing Maneuvers

Learn the four key sailing maneuvers that you’ll need to master early on in your sailing journey: tacking, gybing, reefing, and heaving-to. Then, get Sophie’s top tips on docking, anchoring, and mooring.


Knots & Line Work

Grab a piece of rope and learn to tie five frequently used sailing knots; the bowline, cleat hitch, clove hitch (also known as a fender knot), rolling hitch, and the figure of eight.

Chapter 3

Safety & Seamanship

Safety on Board

Sailboat safety is essential to an enjoyable and successful sailing trip. In this lesson, Sophie shares how you and your crew can stay safe on board.


Practical Risk Management

Understand why risk management is important and learn how you can use the PAVE model (often employed by aircraft pilots) to help assess your level of risk on a particular day.


Developing Sailing Experience & Seamanship

Once you start sailing, the learning never stops. Understand why building up seamanship skills is such a crucial part of the sailing journey with expertise from Andy Schell of 59° North Sailing.

Chapter 4

Boat Design & Purchase

Choosing a Boat: Important Considerations

Ryan and Sophie share key decision makers you’ll want to think about when choosing and equipping a boat.


Size, Hulls, Keels, & Rigs

Get an overview of all of the exterior options you’ll need to consider when purchasing a boat.


Decks & Interior Layouts

Consider the various deck and interior layout options available on monohulls and catamarans to help determine which option is right for you.


How to Buy a Sailboat

Explore the pros and cons of buying or renting a sailboat.


Cost Breakdown

In this lesson, Sophie shares the hidden costs you need to be aware of when purchasing a sailboat and keeping up with maintenance.

Chapter 5

Equipment & Resource Management

Sailboat Equipment: What to Consider

Sophie shares the key concepts you need to think about when planning to equip a boat for your sailing lifestyle.


How to Choose a Dinghy

Dinghies may seem like a quick purchase but there are more decisions involved than you may initially realize. In this lesson, Ryan explains what to look for in a dinghy and shares an important safety feature recommended for all dinghies.


Power & Electricity

Explore the power and electrical needs of a sailboat with an overview of energy calculations, AC and DC systems, inverters, and more. Check out the course resources for a sample energy calculator to assist in figuring out your own calculation needs.


Water Resources

Understand why it’s important to plan for your water needs and how you can fulfill these needs when you’re at a marina or offshore.


Navigation and Communication Equipment

Consider the variety of navigation and communication equipment available for sailboats to assist with preparing your boat for a sailing trip.


Safety Equipment

Learn what sailboat safety equipment you’ll want to have with you onboard and understand how and when to use it, as well as what to look for in good quality safety gear.


Meet Your Instructors

Ryan and Sophie

Ryan and Sophie

Ryan & Sophie began their sailing adventure as a couple, early into their relationship. Since learning to sail in 2015, they have sailed the Stockholm archipelago, around the Mediterranean, and across the Atlantic several times. They sail full-time while balancing their non-sailing careers, and they even find time to share their sailing adventures, advice, and insight on their Youtube channel, Ryan and Sophie Sailing.

Ryan and Sophie

Sailing Part 1: Getting Started

with Ryan and Sophie