Your First Sailing Handbook teaches you how to sail on modern cruising boats. It is intended for complete beginners, recreational sailors and those who want to learn how boat and sails actually work. It can also serve as a valuable tool and reminder for sailing instructors or any sailor wanting to teach his friends or family. The handbook provides all the important practical information and theoretical background in a concise form. Language is simple, explanations are clear and largely accompanied by illustrations, which makes the content easy to read and understandable to anybody.

Learn to sail – this is the only literature you need to start!

Why to buy

We believe that Your First Sailing Handbook is the first book you should read if you want to learn how to sail and that it will always remain No. 1 literature in your sailing library. See the book highlights listed below.

Easy-to-follow structure

The handbook was originally written as a supporting literature for the basic sailing course, so the content is divided into days which allows new topics to be introduced gradually. Handbook also contains two appendices: one practical and one theoretical.

Less text, more illustrations

The handbook is not cluttered with unnecessary text. On the other hand, almost every explanation is accompanied by a simple, yet informative illustration.

Popular misconceptions undeceived

You might be surprised that majority of popular sailing literature contains faulty explanations of how sails work. Your First Sailing Handbook discusses these misconceptions, sheds some light on them and provides correct, scientifically proven explanations.

Step-by-step explanations

All the procedures and maneuvers, together with assignments of the crew members, are explained in a straightforward, step-by-step manner.

Many practical tips

You will find many practical tips throughout the handbook.

Comprehensive glossary

The glossary facilitates reading and adoption of the common sailing terminology, especially for novices.

Competent author

The handbook was written by the sailing instructor who is also an electrical engineer with a PhD degree and has a lot of teaching experience in various fields.

Reviewed by experts

The content has been revised by the senior sailing instructors and by the experts from the fields of naval architecture and meteorology.

Easy navigation within the handbook

E-book version (PDF) uses hyperlinks to help you navigate back and forth through the content. Hyperlinks take you to a certain section, figure, reference or glossary entry.

List of references

All the literature used in preparing the handbook is listed and referred to through the text, so interested reader may use this list as a starting point for further reading.

What about other literature?

There are many excellent books about sailing, however some of them are overly comprehensive for novices, while some others inappropriately address certain topics (in our opinion). We encourage you to keep reading and learning, but we firmly believe that Your First Sailing Handbook is best suited to be a fundamental literature in your sailing library.

Go sailing

Remember that sailing is learned at sea, while good literature is merely an aid in the process. So set your sails and take Your First Sailing Handbook with you!


Vedran Bobanac was born in 1983 in Zagreb, Croatia. At the age of 10 he started sailing on the Optimists. When he was 13, his father completed the construction of their family boat – a 25-foot racing sloop. In the following years Vedran acquired knowledge and experience by sailing this boat with his father along the Croatian Adriatic coast.

In 2002, he completed a Skipper course at Academia Navalis Adriatica (ANA), the school of sailing and nautical skills. Soon he joined ANA as a part-time instructor (in 2004). Ever since, he has regularly worked as a sailing instructor and as a skipper in his free time. He also participates in various sailing regattas.

Studying at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, he received MSc and PhD degrees, in 2007 and 2015 respectively. He is also an internationally certified skiing instructor. He lives and works in Zagreb.


Here you can read how Your First Sailing Handbook came to be…

0. Manuscript

The very first version of the handbook was actually the handwritten manuscript which the author wrote while he was preparing to start working as a sailing instructor with Academia Navalis Adriatica (ANA), the school of sailing and nautical skills. He used this manuscript as a personal reminder for conducting basic sailing courses.

1. First edition

First edition of the handbook was published in 2009. This edition was extended and digitized version of the handwritten manuscript. The handbook followed the structure of the ANA’s basic sailing course and it was intended for the course participants, as well as the novice sailing instructors. This edition used to be available as a paperback.

2. Second (current) edition

The second edition, significantly extended and improved, has been published as an e-book (PDF) in 2019 and as a paperback in 2020. See the handbook features by following the link: Why to buy.

Your First Sailing Handbook

The simplest entrance to the world of sailing