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Dinghy Sailing with JoJaffa

Go for the adrenalin rush and crash you way through the water


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Why....Dinghy Sailing?
Getting started
How do I get started?
Kit and caboodle
Recommended reading
Spoil yourself
Holidays and Vacations
Getting more out of....Dinghy Sailing
I've got the basics, what next?



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Why....Dinghy Sailing?

Dinghy Sailing? Do it for the adrenalin rush!

There is nothing like a sunny late Autumnal day on the south coast of England for exhilarating and memorable sailing.

The wind heaves at a force 5 to 6, the sun leaves the field in the west and leaves behind a blood-soaked like battle field of reds and oranges. The shift down in temperature irritates the wind. It squeals and squawks its way across the estuary banks cutting through lines of stationery boats stopping only to rattle any loose fabric or rope.

The familiar tingling sound of halyards scratching against metal masts conjure a cacophony of sound that wraiths might create.

Aboard your boat, you seek to harness rather than fight this pagan force of the wind.

Place the boat and set the sails across the wind so that you can cross the estuary from side to side slipping between the boats swinging on their moorings.

Rather than slip, you'll scream with speed! The force generated by the wind in such a mood has to be felt to be understood. The sails become rigid and the ropes used to hold them became the restraining ropes of a rampant bull. The two of you aboard will have to lean out as far from the security of the boat as possible - just to keep the thing upright. Attached yourself to the wire and push out so your feet rest on the edge to boat and you lie horizontal to the water. You are held only by the strength in your back and a thin metal wire suspended from the top of the mast.

The boat starts to skid across the water surface. It no longer cuts through the water in the tradition fashion, but rather like a hydrofoil does, its nose lifts above the water and it starts to skim the water.

The speed is immense and incomparable. Remember, if you hit the water at great speed it becomes as hard as any solid object. And as the boat moves above the water and starts to skid, it becomes naturally unstable. It tends to bounce and the control of direction is as much due to luck as judgement

Imagine now, you are sailing between large sailing boats swinging in the on their moorings. You are skidding between them on the very edge of control. You fight to balancing and control the boat and attempt to placate the angry outbursts and gusts from the wind.

Sailing like this makes you numb with an adrenalin overdose.

There are more pictures of dinghy sailing in JoJaffa's Dinghy sailing gallery

Tell us what got you interested in Dinghy Sailing.



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Getting started

Dinghy Sailing is very popular across the world - with perhaps the exception of North America where it gives way to Yachting and other sports.

You've really got 3 choices on where and how to get started.

Either learn dinghy sailing

  • On inshore lakes
  • In coastal waters
  • On holiday

Essential all three have benefits and drawbacks:

Advantage of Inshore Lakes

  • Much safer - unless your dinghy is car portable, you'll be sailing under the eyes of a dinghy club. That means you can expect rescue boat cover at all main sailing times. This makes it much more popular with families.
  • Easier to learn - without the distractions of tide and the problems of avoiding larger craft, you can practice your sport in a relatively safe environment

Advantage of Coastal Sailing

  • Test yourself against the elements - once you've got the hang of sailing, you may want to test yourself on the tide and surf. Also, coastal waters tend to experience stronger winds and greater variations. You get to experience the real excitement of the sea

Advantage of Holiday Sailing

For more information on basic fitness and health, see JoJaffa's main Sailing page.



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Getting more out of....Dinghy Sailing

Test drive a dinghy - before you buy

If you are considering buying a dinghy (new or second hand) you'll need to choose a class of dinghy. This decision will be dependent on the type of dinghy that you are looking for.

There are many types of dinghy such as:

  • Car portable - such as Toppers
  • One person dinghies - such as One man Lasers
  • 2 person dinghies - such as Fireballs or Laser II or 505s
  • Family dinghies - such as Wayfarers
  • Fixed keel dinghies
  • Asymmetrical/ performance dinghies - Such as Catamarans or the new ISO and Laser 5000

Things to decide before you purchase a dinghy:

  • Does it need to be car portable or will it be based at one location (ie. a club)
  • Will you sail alone or can you regularly get a crew?
  • Do you want a safe boat for children
  • Do you want a fast performance boat?

Bear in mind that your requirements will change as you develop in the sport. To begin with you will want a relatively simple boat. Perhaps, just a Laser. Then, as you skill develops you will want to move up to the 2 man boats with spinnakers and trapeze (for the crew).

If you are at all unsure about which boat is right for you, then contact the manufacturer of the boat and ask for a test sail. Most manufacturers have test sailings - especially during the spring.



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Kit and caboodle

Need a good book, video or more advice? JoJaffa has picked out the best for you. For each book/ video just click on the amazon link find out the price and get more information.

If you can suggest any good books about Dinghy Sailing, let us know.

Recommended Reading

Book : Dinghy Sailing
by Rob Andrews
A highly regarded introduction to sailing Dinghies. Remember, that much of this is also extremely valuable in mastering a larger craft too. Often regarded as the standard text of dinghy sailing.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Book : Sailing for Dummies
by JJ Isler. Peter Isler
Another execellent book for people starting out. Covers many topics including how to select a boat, family sailing, capsizing, charts and big boat sailing. Lots of fun and a great read too.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Learn to sail from your PC with a leading instructor. Check on the sailcoach banner to find out how:

SailCoach  - catalyst for your success

It's certainly a lot cheaper than doing it for real and you can book yourself in right now.

If you want to go straight for the real thing then a sailing course in the UK would cost anything from 60 for 2 days for a local dinghy course to 200 for 2 days with accommodation at a centre of excellence.

If you start as a crew you might want to spend 20 to 100 on boots and very likely, a decent wetsuit.

Make a few phone calls or e-mails to pair up with a boat owner - and you'll be ready to go. Although you might want to buy the skipper a few drinks once back on dry land.

For great jackets go for the Helly Hansen - or just check out Fogdogs enormous range:

Fogdog carry loads of reviews and offer great prices and worldwide delivery. Alow extra time for your goods to arrive if you're based outside the USA.



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Spoil yourself

Take a dinghy holiday

Imagine yourself exploring a Greek island in a small flotilla. Picture the warm blue seas and the hot sun above. Ah, yes.... that's the life!

Or perhaps, you'd rather imagine hot day with strong winds picking up after lunch. If you like adrenaline and excitement, then planning a dinghy in the hot Mediterranean waters is a tough to beat.

Here is JoJaffa's list of holiday operators

  • Minorca Holidays
  • Sunsail
  • Neilson



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Open Outcry

Got a question? Get an answer!

Post a message to the sailing_dinghy discussion board.

You might just

  • have a general question about Dinghy Sailing?
  • want to make a comment
  • want to share tips and advice with fellow JoJaffa-ers?

... Then why not use our Dinghy Sailing chat board

Maybe someone has already asked that burning question you're longing to find the answer to ...



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