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Carl Deane

Learn the Basics of Sailing

Sailing is nothing short of an adventure. It’s peaceful, it’s invigorating, and it’s sometimes a bit of a challenge.

But with sailing, Carl Deane says that the rewards far outweigh anything else. Start the adventure by effectively preparing to get on the open water as soon as possible. Ahoy, mateys!

Master the Language

Learning to sail is likely less difficult than the average person would expect. A good place to start is reviewing and mastering the lingo. Sailing vocabulary uses words likely heard before — port, velocity, starboard — and a few that may sound like a foreign language.

Start with the boat’s anatomy, such as the mast (the tall pole that carries a sail high above), the boom (the horizontal pole that connects to the mast that controls its shape and angle), then the keel (the fin under the water that guides the boat).

The sails and the keel are two of the four main parts of a sailboat, along with the hull (the boat body) and the rudder (a part connected to the steering wheel that also helps direct the boat).

Understand the Wind Direction

Add these four to your vocabulary list as well since they are needed to navigate communication while on a sailboat. The port tack is when the wind is coming from the boat’s left or port side. Starboard tack is when the wind is coming from the ride side, or starboard.

Face the front (or bow) of the boat when determining and referring to left and right. Downwind, or leeward means the sailboat is moving away from the wind, while windward refers to the way the wind is blowing at any given time.

Carl Deane

Get As Much Help as You Can

Never start out sailing alone. Instead, learn the basics quickly and step up the experience level over time through a few different avenues. There’s a plethora of instructional sailing videos available and many good ones are online for free.

Sailing schools and online classes are extremely helpful, though lessons aren’t required to learn how to sail.

Get Gear

Sailing gear can get extensive, but there are really just a few essential items to pick up before getting on the water. For clothes, don’t forget a good all-weather jacket, shirts and pants that dry quickly, and sturdy boots or shoes.

Other must-haves: hats, sunglasses, and waterproof bags to protect the gear. Many find a good sailing watch and heavy gloves — and sunscreen, of course — also helpful.

Safety First

Safety is key to sailing — and learning about them should be a big part of any classes or sailing schools. Safety equipment to secure would be lifejackets (never go sailing without them), a safety tether (if one falls overboard, the tether is what holds people on to the boat), sea sickness medicine, a proper first aid kit (that also includes personal medication).

Another good item is some type of personal location beacon (PLB) that is clipped onto a life jacket and alerts others on the boat that someone has slipped overboard.

So, get out on the water and enjoy bouncing through the waves and viewing the world from a different angle – seaward.

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Carl Deane

Intro to Rock Climbing

Those who are interested in learning how to rock climb only need to master a few key concepts before attempting their first official climb.

There are many efficient ways to begin rock climbing such as joining a rock-climbing club, finding an experienced friend for instruction or even a qualified instructor. The gear necessary to start rock climbing includes shoes, a harness, belay device, locking carabiner, chalk bag, rope, a tarp/rope bag, and chalk.

Below, Carl Deane briefly explores the basics of beginning to learn how to rock climb, including how to get started and what specific gear will be needed.

How To Get Started Rock Climbing

As mentioned earlier, the best way to begin getting familiar with rock climbing is by joining a rock climbing club, getting instruction from an experienced friend or certified instructor, and starting regularly visiting a local rock climbing wall. All of these activities will help beginning rock climbers get an understanding of the basic fundamentals of climbing.

It is recommended that most beginning climbers spend as much time as they can observing more seasoned climbers in the way that they move and handle their gear. Bouldering (a practice where climbers only climb a short distance off the ground then land on padded ground once they fall) is also recommended as a great way to get comfortable with climbing.

Many rock-climbing gyms offer rock climbing clinics to help beginning rock climbers get some instructed practice. Making a point to establish friendships that center around rock climbing will ensure that new climbers continuously learn about rock climbing while simultaneously allowing them to practice in an observed and safer environment.

Gear Needed

Many people that are new to rock climbing do not start out with all the necessary gear. Rather, it is accumulated throughout the hobby as they continue to gain more climbing experience. First purchases of any new rock climber should, however, include chalk, a chalk bag, a harness, rock climbing shoes and a belay device.

It is important that new climbers get familiar with their gear at a gym or with experienced friends before going out solo and attempting to climb. This will ensure that the gear is being worn and used properly and the climber stays safe in case of any unfortunate accidents or struggle.

Carl Deane

Begin Climbing Outside

Once climbers have become familiar enough with the process of rock climbing to go outside and use their own equipment, they should do so to get some quality practice. At first, climbers should still stick with a group to ensure their first experience climbing isn’t an unsafe one. No matter how experienced a climber gets, it’s never recommended to climb outside alone.

Summary

Although rock climbing can seem like an extreme hobby, it is surely rewarding with the proper setup and practice. With gear such as chalk bags, belay devices, harnesses and rope, the hobby comes with its fair share of investment in the beginning.

However, once climbers have practiced (studies say an average of four years) they can become truly comfortable rock climbing and graduate from a beginner to an experienced climber. With patience, the proper gear, good instruction, observation and perseverance, anyone can become a good rock climber.

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Carl Deane

Must-See Destinations While Backpacking in Eastern Europe

Backpacking through Europe has long been a treasured tradition for those looking to get the most out of a European trip while sticking to a low budget.

There’s something about the freedom of backpacking in Eastern Europe that makes the whole experience even more memorable. There’s a freedom to wander, to go off the beaten path and explore areas that rarely get the attention they deserve.

But with so many possible routes and destinations, planning a backpacking itinerary can be daunting. It’s difficult to see everything, but Carl Deane says to consider these amazing backpacking destinations discussed below for an unforgettable journey.

The Baltics

Often overshadowed by some of its larger neighbors, the Baltic region is an underrated backpacking experience. Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania all offer gorgeous, old city centers, super-affordable hostels, and unique sights.

In Estonia, there is horseback riding on the island of Saaremaa, then head to Latvia for bungee jumping in Sigulda National Park and Lithuania to marvel at the downright strange statues in Klaipeda.

Prague

Almost everyone who visits Prague comes back raving about their experience. Listen to them. The city is downright magical.

Yes, it gets even more bombarded with tourists year after year, but there is still room in the Czech Republic for fantastic backpacking adventures along its cobblestone streets. The city is dotted with islands and green parks, as well as the iconic Charles Bridge and Hradčany castle.

Česky Krumlov

While in the Czech Republic you won’t want to miss backpacking through this enchanting city and its landmark castles.

The Middle Ages-era town center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is remarkably well-preserved and home to the annual Five-Petalled Rose Festival, when the entire town becomes a medieval village once more, complete with jousting, artisans, and costumed musicians.

Carl Deane

Croatia

Rising as one of the most popular spots to visit in the entire continent, Croatia offers everything from 3,600 coastline miles along the Mediterranean, fantastic nightlife, and surprisingly affordable accommodations and restaurants.

Don’t forget to explore the island of Vis, hike through the Dinaric Alps, and check out the charming villages tucked away from the main tourist stops.

Sofia

Bulgaria isn’t visited nearly as much by tourists as some of its fellow Eastern Europe locales, but it’s a remarkable place that’s a vibrant mix of traditional cultures, including Russia and Turkey.

On the other hand, it’s also a young and modern city, with numerous art galleries, nightclubs, and more, making it an exotic yet accessible backpacking destination.

Belgrade

Backpapers with a taste for distinctive nightlife offerings head to Serbia’s capital.

For a bohemian night owl feel, check out the Skadarlija quarter and the street art scene throughout the city or explore the hidden gem of Zemun, a district dripping in ancient history minutes outside of Belgrade’s center that’s also home to exquisite showcases of modern art.

For an additional unique experience, walk through the underground tunnels of ancient Kalemegdan with a tour guide and a glass of wine (or two).