16-37. Rafts do not have keels, therefore, you can't sail them into the wind. However, anyone can sail a raft downwind. You can successfully sail the seven-man raft 10 degrees off from the direction of the wind. Do not try to sail the raft unless land is near. If you decide to sail and the wind is blowing toward a desired destination, fully inflate the raft, sit high, take in the sea anchor, rig a sail, and use an oar as a rudder.
16-38. In the seven-man raft, erect a square sail in the bow using the oars and their extensions as the mast and crossbar (Figure 16-17). You may use a waterproof tarpaulin or parachute material for the sail. If the raft has no regular mast socket and step, erect the mast by tying it securely to the front cross seat using braces. Pad the bottom of the mast to prevent it from chafing or punching a hole through the floor, whether or not there is a socket. The heel of a shoe, with the toe wedged under the seat, makes a good improvised mast step. Do not secure the corners of the lower edge of the sail. Hold the lines attached to the corners with your hands so that a gust of wind will not rip the sail, break the mast, or capsize the raft.
Figure 16-17. Sail Construction
16-39. Take every precaution to prevent the raft from turning over. In rough weather, keep the sea anchor away from the bow. Have the passengers sit low in the raft, with their weight distributed to hold the upwind side down. To prevent falling out, they should also avoid sitting on the sides of the raft or standing up. Avoid sudden movements without warning the other passengers. When the sea anchor is not in use, tie it to the raft and stow it in such a manner that it will hold immediately if the raft capsizes.