What Is The Perfect Sail?

Did you know that there’s a massive percentage of new sailors that head out for the perfect sail only to return and never go sailing again? A perfect sail isn’t too perfect when things break, the weather turns unexpectedly for the worse or you feel out of your comfort zone.

So what is the perfect sail? What does it look, feel, sound, and taste like?

Well…the night before you plan on sailing to a new destination you drink a little less alcohol. You also eat a light meal and get a great night’s sleep. You wake and enjoy the sights and smells of sea life as you enjoy a healthy breakfast of fresh local fruits, toast, and coffee. You’ll save the bacon and eggs for the following day.

After a delicious breakfast and becoming mesmerized by the glimmering sun radiating off the blue waters you snap out of your trance and start thinking about getting into the sailing mode.

Because you’ve studied the weather for the past several days you’re confident that today’s sail will be enjoyable.

You’ve waited for the right wind direction and speed. The weather looks bright and clear. And your passage is already plotted on your plotter and backup devices.

Of course, you make one more check over the weather. You need to see if anything has changed and you reconfirm your waypoints and passage plan.

Then you set off to do the engine checks following your engine checklist.  Your partner does the below-decks pre-passage tasks – stowing everything, filling bottles of water, getting the suncream on deck, preparing lunch, washing up the dishes, and ensuring everything is put away and tidy.


Next, you head up on deck checking the safety lines thinking of the perfect sail.

You look over the rigging, ensuring all the safety systems are in place, and working correctly and clear up the cockpit so that only the essentials are on hand. Since you have a set checklist you easily spot an issue and fix it immediately before leaving.

In this case, you discovered that your main halyard was wrapped around a spreader. Being able to free the halyard allowed for seamless hoisting of the sails no less than an hour later.

You also discovered that one of your rigs split pins was looking suspect. It was rusted and didn’t look secure. You quickly swapped out the pin knowing that you’d feel more secure putting your rig under load now that the pin was replaced.

The time comes to leave your mooring and you’re cool as a cucumber.

Your partner has been briefed on your plans to leave – who’s doing what, how, and when. You carry on through your passage checklist and start the engine. You look over the side and note that the exhaust is coming out and is of good color.

Your partner and you effortlessly leave the mooring. Then the sail is hoisted and the engine is turned off so to hear the sweet music of wind hitting the sails and the sea lapping upon the hull. All your efforts have paid off. The sail is a relaxing, peaceful, beautiful journey from one amazingly beautiful anchorage to another. The perfect sail!

During your sail you enjoy the birds swooping down to say ‘hi’ and the flying fish raising up to make an appearance. You feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and smell the sweet-salty sea air. Looking around, you gaze upon the light blue sky, big fluffy white clouds, and the turquoise blue waters and think to yourself:

‘I couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything else but this. I am free. And I am happy. I am content.’

You then enjoy a nice light lunch of fresh salad with seasonable vegetables and smoked meat. Soon after, while your partner takes the helm, you enjoy a brief blissful nap. You wake to read a bit of your book that you thought you would have finished ages ago. You never realized that sailing would be so fulfilling – who needs a book?

And then the time comes to enter the next breathtakingly beautiful anchorage. Going through your anchoring procedure with your partner you know exactly what he/she is going to do and they know what you’re going to do. Because you’ve practiced so many times perfecting the steps you almost always nail the procedure.

Knowing that you can’t fully relax until your after-passage checklist is complete, you and your partner get to work tidying the sails, putting covers on, washing off the salt from the windows, cleaning up the cockpit, doing any dishes and fixing any breakages.

And then your next moment of zen hits.

You crack open your ice-cold beer, look out at the blazing orange sunset, take a swig of the thirst-quenching drink and say ‘Thank you Universe. That was the perfect sail. This never gets old!’

And then it dawns on you that tomorrow you can get up and do it all over again.

There you have it. The perfect sail.

But what makes a perfect sail? It’s all the hard work, proactive maintenance, and safety checks. Additionally, there is the completion of routine tasks to ensure a perfect sail. It’s taking the time to make sure you have systems in place to enable things to run smoothly.

On Britican, we’re huge advocates of checklists! Checklists will help you to become more organized, motivated to get things done, get things done quicker and more efficiently, have more clarity, delegate, save lives, and continually improve.

Checklists On a Boat – Resources

  • Discover 7 Reasons on how checklists help sailors. If you’d like a fuller explanation of the importance of checklists on a boat, make sure to read our article or watch our video: How To Prevent Boat Fails
  • If you’d like to see how we used a few of our checklists to save two Man Overboard casualties, check out our video Rescue At Sea.
  • Learn how to make checklists for sailing by heading over to our article/video: How You Can Easily Create Sailing Checklists.
  • Consider buying our Checklists For Sailors guide to get all the checklists we use on Britican. Hit the ground running, save time, and avoid having the reinvest the wheel!

If you’re unsure of what checklists you may or may not need on your boat, download our free checklist, Suggested Checklists For Sailors. Getting the checklist will enable you to consider which checklists will help you to make cruising life more enjoyable!

Kim Brown:
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