Some help on sailing your sailling ship the first time

Using the main navigation page of the HUD.
Instructions on how to control your boat.
Configuring your ship.
If your sailing ship has cannon.

The ship is controlled with the arrow keys on your keyboard. (Also the wasd keys if you are used to that).
The left and right arrows are pretty intuitive, click on them and the boat turns in the direction of the arrow.
But many people are confused by the forward and back arrows. A sailboat will not move unless the wind and the sail are in the right configureation with each other.
I don't care what you may have seen in SL: Pushing on the FWD_ARROW key does not make a sailboat go. (Unless it was already going that way, and pressing FWD may make the boat go faster or it may cause the sail to loose the wind and you will slow down). Pushing the FWD key makes a MOTORBOAT go, and these are not motorboats, they are sailboats with a reasonably realistic simulation. I beleive that playing with this boat will teach you skills that might make you a better sailor in RL!

I give free sailing lessons on my boats. If you would like to get a leg up, IM Kayaker Magic and tell me when would be good times for you. My boats allow several people to wear the HUD at the same time, and I can show you the ropes, and then watch over you as you take control.

Your first time sailing

If the sails on the boat are already up, you can just sit on the pilot seat and take off. Sitting on the hull or the sails usually lands you in the pilot seat, sitting other places may sit you in a passenger pose.

If the sails are not up, you will need a HUD to raise them. My demo boats will give you a copy of the HUD if you right-click then "touch" or "setup" on the "pie menu". Wear the HUD, it should go to the upper left corner of your screen. It looks for the nearest boat and tells you when it has connected.

If the HUD does not connect to a boat, get closer to the boat, bring up the settings page of the hudand click on the synchronize button.
Press this compass rose button to get back to the main navigation page of the HUD.
The HUD has a bewilering array of buttons, and these are just the ones you need for sailing! Wait until you see the settings page of the HUD!

On the Navigation page of the HUD there will be little icons that are supposed to look like sails furled (down all the way) reefed (up half way) and full (up all the way). There are several different types of sail on every boat, for starters you want the main sail, which has an icon that looks like a right triangle.
Click on that, it pops up three options, choose the option with the most sail on it.

If the wind is blowing in a good direction, the boat may take off!
For starters I recommend holding down the BACK-ARROW key until the sail is as far back as it will go.
The white slider in the HUD will let you do this very fast, just click on the bottom of the slider.
In this configuration, with the sail pulled as far back as possible, a sailboat will go in almost any direction (except straight into the wind). This is not very efficient, but it is a good way to get started.

Look at the blue arrow on the compass, it shows where the wind is coming from. You will be able to sail fastest if you turn sideways to the wind and start letting out the sail. (Tapping on the FWD-ARROW key).

If the sails flap loosely and make noise, this means the wind is blowing at the wrong angle for your current heading and sheet setting. Turn the boat until the wind catches the sail again, furl the square sails if they are up and sail on the fore-and-aft sails. If a fore-and-aft sail is flapping, try pulling in the sheet (down arrow) until the sail catches the wind again. Of course a sailboat can never sail directly into the wind. In that case no sheet setting will work. You must tack across the wind to make headway in that direction. Only turning the boat will allow the sail to catch the wind again. If you can't make progress in the direction you want to go, try zig-zagging back and forth in the general direction. This is called "tacking" and now you are a sailor!

The sailing calculations in my sailboats are simplified to make virtual sailing easier. You can sail much closer to the wind than real sailboats can! Except for a little drifting down wind, the the keel is almost mathematically perfect. This means the boat will not slip sideways in the water much, it always moves in the direction of the keel and rudder. It is not possible to get stuck in irons, the boat will turn even when dead in the water. To make the boat easier to handle, the Jib sails will auto-gybe and move from one side of the boat to the other on a tack or a gybe. By default the keyboard controls change the sheets on the jibs and the fore-and-aft sails together, although the HUd has an option to separate them.