We had sunny skies, hot temperatures, and little wind. Even so, we got out on the water and went tacking down the Washington Channel. I learned the points of sail and got a much clearer idea of what they mean and how they work.
Basically, the "points of sail" are the different directions your boat can be headed, in relation to the wind. If the wind is directly behind you, you are "running." If the wind is blowing directly across the boat from the side, you are on a "beam reach." If you are heading upwind, that's called "close-hauled." Each point of sail requires you to change the position of the sail in order to harness the power of the wind. Of course, the wind can change at any time; and when it does, the current point of sail may change, requiring either a change in the angle of the sail or of one's direction.
It's a rather tough framework to grasp at first, but in concept it is pretty logical. Sometime outside of class, I hope to get out on the water on my own where I can test all the different points of sail and experiment with the sails. I think this is the only way that I'm going to get the hang of it. We do some of this in class, but there are a couple people in the boat and we all have a lot to learn!
Now, I had better get to bed so I can wake up ready to go back out there tomorrow morning.