How to sail the Regina Maris

Date: 14.12.2023
Geographical Position: 13*35.9’N 037*26.7’W
Etmal: 167 nm
Total: 3569 nm
Ship: Regina Maris 

Now that we have been on the Atlantic crossing for six days and the wind allows us to sail, we had to learn how to sail a big ship like our Reggie for more than one day. To understand how to sail we first had to learn that there are two different ways to use the wind. 

Sailing like an airplane

The first way to sail is like an airplane uses the wind to fly. Every wing is a bit curved so the air that goes on the top of the wing has to go a longer way than the air that goes beneath it. Because of this the air on the top has to go faster to reach the end of the wing at the same time as the air that goes under the wing.

Also, the air that goes beneath it has to go slower to „wait“ for the air on the top. On the top of the wing Unterdruck develops and on the other side a Überdruck. The Überdruck pushes the wing forwards and the Unterdruck pulls the wing forwards. When we have our sails in the right positions, we can use this technique to sail.


The other way of sailing is to get pushed by the wind. This technique is very simple, the wind is just blowing from behind in the sails are pushing us forwards. We are using this technique mostly on running courses or brought reach.


Very important to understand how to sail is to understand how to trim the sails to the wind. For this we have different courses. You can imagine them like hours on a clock:

12:00 In the wind: No sailing possible

13:00 Close Hauled: Sheets are very tight, sails are very near to the ship

14:00 Close Reach: Sheets are tight, sails are near to the ship

15:00 Beam reach: Sheets are a bit loose, sails are a bit out

16:00 Brought reach: Sheets are very loose, sails are almost all the way out

17:00/18:00 Running: Sheets are loose, sails are all the way out

On the courses from close hauled to beam reach can we sail with the technique like an airplane and the courses brought reach and running are just working with getting pushed by the wind. Anyways, brought reach is the fastest course to sail on. On this course the wind comes from half behind and pushes in every sail. Because of the wind coming from half behind no sail covers an other.


When the wind comes directly from behind (running course) it’s mostly faster to sail on brought reach. For that you have to do jibes. A jibe is when you’re putting all your sails from one side of the sail to the other and turning with the stern trough the wind. When your turning with the bow through the wind to go upwind it’s called tacking. 

Sit down and shut up

We did today two of these jibes and it was quite funny. Every gaff sail (the big ones schooner, main, mizzen) has two ropes to secure the boom (the big steel tube at the bottom of the sail) which are called sheet and preventer.

The sheets are for pulling the sail more in or let them more out to put them in right position to the course and the preventers are for securing the boom from swinging over the deck. So, the preventer is very important.

ropes on board of the Regina Maris

That’s why just the crew handles it. We first pulled all the sails by the sheets as tight as possible so that they almost can’t move even without the preventer. Then, we had to sit down and shut up because the crew secured the preventer on the other side of the ship. Our helmsman had to turn the ship with the stern fast trough the wind.

After that the crew let the sails with the sheets on the new side more out. Now, we can sail with a good speed and some more knowledge across the Atlantic.

P.S.: Adrian: Viele Grüße an meine Familie 

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