|The wonderful thing about sailing is that the coast - or even inland lakes and rivers are so close to us. No matter where we live we have within easy reach a world of adventure and exploration.|| |
People of all ages take up sailing, enjoy sailing or return to sailing. There is no age limit. Children as young as 5 or 6 can help crew a yacht or even solo sail in an optimist dinghy. Equally, you'll find many people well past retirement still enjoying life on the water. Look at our brief recommendations of safer craft for young and older sailors.
Most sailing requires only moderate physical strength. In many cases female sailors are as good as male sailors It is common to find a number of dinghy craft design for a female helm and a male crew!. A willingness to give it a go is more important.
Many people with minor disabilities such as short sightedness sail without restriction. People who are less able, wheelchair bound or blind can still participate on a wide range of craft but need to be more careful in their selection. Check out our less able recommendations.
Lastly, whilst some people want to spend lots of money on this sport, it isn't necessary to bankrupt yourself to enjoy this sport. Always remember, the wind and the water come free!
Beyond that, most of the reasons for not being able to sail are just myths. For instance don't worry about not knowing all the knots and nautical terms most sailors don't know these either and within a few days you'll master all the basic sailing terms.
So what do I need to be able to do? Well, you need:
To start sailing all you really need to get going is a good and appropriate pair of shoes or boots. These will cost from £20. After that you might want to consider a jacket or wetsuit - but most boat owners will be able to equip you for the first few times out on the water.
- A bit of courage
- The ability to swim 50m
- That's it
You can buy these basic items in our Kit & Caboodle section. There are also many things you may want to get as you start to go sailing regularly, and we can help you find the best of these as well.
You can of course invest in a good 'how to sail' course book first.
Now you have the basic things you need there are only four things to do: learn to sail, decide when to start, who to go with, and where to go.
|Learning to sail||You can either offer your self as a novice crew (cheapest option) or you can get some training first. You've really got four options here|
- Teach yourself at home with books or a PC then offer yourself as a crew
- Go straight down to your local sailing club and offer yourself as a novice crew for evenings and weekend sailing. Look here for an excellent locator map of sailing clubs by UK region.
- UK based sailing course (usually a long weekend). Check out The Sailing Academy for a range of excellent short courses (yacht, dinghy, motorised and windsurfing)
- Holiday sailing (usually 1 or 2 weeks)
|Deciding when you want to start||Sailing on the coast of the UK starts around April and finishes around September. The Mediterranean sailing starts a little earlier and finishes later. For winter sailing best head off to the canaries or Caribbean - both are warm and sunny through the winter. Check here for a list of international schools in Turkey, Canaries Islands etc|
Dinghy sailing on UK inland lakes continues all year round - you just wear a hat and a thicker wetsuit. Sailing on a lake with the surrounding area covered in snow is a wonderful experience and not to be missed. Alternatively you might with to wait until April or May for the weather to improve. But remember, on a rainy day, there is nothing better than zipping around a lake on a dinghy. It's refreshing and sure beats staying at home watching television. Check out the BBC Weather Site includes local and shipping forecast.
|Deciding who to go with||You can pair up with like minded souls on our sailing companions notice board. Here you'll find people looking to take a course and looking for a companion as well as boat owners looking for a crew.|
|Deciding where you want to go||Any where on the coast of Britain you will find boats and sailing centres. The centre for the sport in UK has to be around the Southampton coast or the Solent. This provides a variety of large harbours for dinghy sailing and protected by exciting sailing around the Isle of Wight. It also has the advantage of being very beautiful. This is an excellent place to start as it tends to be warmer and have better sunshine.|
You can also sail on estuaries - again offering a little more protection than sea sailing. In Scotland you can sail on the lochs. Also you can start dinghy sailing on many of the inland lakes across the UK. Or for a top local club take a look at Oxford Sailing Club.has a centrally located lake with superb dinghy sailing courses and a great place to begin or refresh your sailing technique.