Sailing & Cruising
Boats “under sail” are powered through using the force of the wind. Sailboats occur in many sizes, shapes and configurations of masts, sails and rigging. They are also referred to as yachts or sailing dinghies depending on their size. The smallest of lightweight dinghies like the Optimist dinghy would be as small as under 8 feet, at the other extreme the “superyachts” can be in excess of 100 feet long. The length is often abbreviated as LOA (length overall), which differentiates that dimension from LWL (length on the waterline). Especially on older style boats, these two lengths can be quite different.
There are many different types of boats for sailing, they can be differentiated by certain characteristics based on :
Hull Type which could be monohull, catamaran or trimaran
Keel Type which could be fin keel, wing keel, bilge keel, daggerboard, or centerboard
Mast configuration and Sail Type which could be sloop, fractional rig sloop, ketch, schooner, yawl, cutter, cat et al
In our modern day sailboats are almost exclusively used for recreation. Both cruising and racing have been popular pastimes with a long history in our area. The activities associated with sailing are largely seasonal This relates to the weather and sea states which are generally more amenable through the Spring until early Autumn. As a general practice the cruising and racing yachts are put out on moorings or held safe in Marinas during this period. Dinghy sailing is much more flexible regarding ease of access and exit to and from the sea and would also have a longer season of activity with some being actively used throughout the year.
The main areas for sailing are associated with the more sheltered sea loughs especially in Strangford Lough. The outer coastal area is important sail-cruising territory and hosts both dinghy and yacht sailing out of harbours such as Bangor, and Newcastle.
There are many sailing clubs within our area and they are listed under opportunities.