Learning to sail in the UK

Post by: TheYachtMarket News
05 June 2008

Sailing Is For Everybody

The great thing about learning to sail, especially in the UK, is that the coast is so close to us. We are never too far from a sailing adventure! Leaving the land behind us and disappearing into the ocean on a yacht is less of a dream than you may think.

People of all ages are learning to sail. There is no age limit and children as young as 5 can help crew a yacht. Most sailing only requires a small amount of physical strength, meaning it can easily become a passion enjoyed by everybody.

Leaning to sail doesn't have to be expensive. Don't rush out and buy the most expensive clothing and equipment. For your first few times on the water you can borrow or rent anything you may need. Invest in the sport once you've started to sail regularly.

People with disabilities, such as vision impairment, can sail without restriction. Wheelchair users can still participate in the sport but should be more careful in their selection of sailing vessel.

Learning to sail is a wonderful experience and a hobby which will bring you hours of enjoyment. It's not a hard sport to conquer but the potential hazards you'll encounter mean safety is key. We've put together this guide to help you when learning to sail.

Where To Begin?

  • Contact your local sailing club and offer your services as a novice crew.
  • Or teach yourself the basics with books or on the internet, and then contact a sailing club.
  • Book yourself onto a sailing course – these normally last a weekend, although holiday sailing courses can be up to 2 weeks.
  • You'll find sailing centres anywhere on the coast of the UK, but the heart of sailing has to be the Southampton coast. With its many harbours and exciting sailing around the Isle of Wight, it's an excellent place to learn to sail.

Sailing on the UK coast starts around April and usually finishes in September. Mediterranean sailing lasts a little longer. Look to the Canaries or the Caribbean for winter sailing. You can sail a dinghy in the UK all year round.

Be Safe

Safety on the water is the most important factor to consider when learning to sail.

  • Avoid crowded harbours and peak hours. Having to keep a safe distance from other vessels will only distract you.
  • To begin with, go out in low winds. There is no point in sailing for speed straight away. Ensure you can walk before you can run!
  • Always run through a safety drill before you leave dock.
  • The chances are you'll learn to sail in a small boat or one with a light boom. Learning to control the boom is essential for smooth sailing and safety.

Swimming

It may sound like simple advice, but if you're going on the water you need to be able to swim. Even the most experienced sailor will find themselves in the water at some point. Being a competent swimmer will ensure you stay calm in a potentially harmful situation.

Vital Equipment

You'll need the following items when learning to sail:

  • A good set of boat shoes
  • A life jacket or buoyancy aid
  • Signal equipment
  • Brightly coloured clothing suitable for current weather conditions
  • A high factor sun cream

Whatever adventure you're looking for, sailing can offer it. Now you know where to start, just go ahead and do it! We can assure you, you'll never look back.