Once everyone is on board, the skipper must assert command. To quote a wise captain and safety instructor, Karen Prioleau: “When leadership is obscure, tight situations get even tighter.” Assignments are made, gear is stowed, the bilge is pumped, an inspection is conducted to see that all is in order, sails are prepared to hoist, and plans are made to get underway.
If the boat has a motor, it can be used to get away from the mooring or dock into open water before setting sail. But for now, let’s concentrate on getting underway on an engineless boat. Start by setting the mainsail, the big sail. The line to the boom (called the mainsheet) must be well eased so the sail, once set, spills wind (luffs) and doesn’t fill prematurely. The boom will flop around, so keep your head low and consider controlling it with a line called a preventer.