Sailing Basics – Points of Sail

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Note: Most of the content of this post is from the “School of Sailing” website. You can use the link to pursue building your sailing knowledge at that site.

 Points of Sail

You will find the definitions of each of the points of sail following the diagram.












close hauled. A point of sail, sailing as close to the wind as possible, also known as beating; as in: Sailing close hauled can be challenging.

close reach. A point sail between close hauled and a beam reach; as in: Returning to the crew overboard, she sailed the boat on a close reach.

beam reach. Point of sail with wind coming over the beam; as in: Fall off to abeam reach from a close reach.

broad reach. Point of sail with the wind coming over the boat’s quarter; as in: Falloff from a beam reach to a broad reach.

running. A point of sail; as in: Falling off from a broad reach we will be running.

port. 1, left side when looking forward.
port tack. A sailboat is on port tack when the mainsail is on the starboard side (the wind will usually, but not always, be on her port side); as in: When we’re on a port tack we must give way to starboard tack vessels.

points of sail. Close hauled (beating), close reach, beam reach, broad reach, and run; as in: Sailing a full circle we will cover all the points of sail. See illustration below:






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