Getting into sailing is not only great fun, but this exciting hobby also acts as good exercise, depending on what boat you’re in
It’s never too late to get into sailing, from competitive racing to a leisurely cruise on your local river boating has something to offer those in every age group and there are plenty of ways to get involved.
Sailing for sport
If you’ve never sailed before, there are a few ways to get into the sport. The first obvious choice being to join your local sailing club and complete some RYA courses.
From the Start Yachting qualification to adult beginner’s courses, there is a range of options and you’ll be looking to pay upto £500 for one of these courses. Once you’re comfortable with the basics you can take on more challenging courses such as Performance Sailing and Sailing with Spinnakers.
Training aside, getting onto the water is the most exciting part. If you’re a member of a sailing club you can often borrow a boat, or, if you’re taking part in a training course, it’ll be included.
Sailing for pleasure
Another option is boat hire, which again, you can do at the majority of sailing clubs or sailing
centres across the country. Many beachside towns, particularly on the south coast, will also host a number of venues where you can hire a a small dinghy for the day or afternoon for a one-off fee.
Hiring a boat for an hour will set you back around £30, while hiring a boat for a whole day could cost up to £100. You will most likely need to have basic sailing qualifications such as RYA level 1 to go out unaccompanied but some companies may be happy to provide assistance for more novice sailors.
Calmer rivers, lakes, creeks or reservoirs are always good starting grounds for novice sailors, heading out into busy estuaries and off the coast once you’ve built up some confidence.
Alternatively, if you’re completely new to the sport and you know someone who owns their own boat, they may be willing to show you the ropes in exchange for a few pints down a great waterside pub. Once you’ve gained some basic skills, they might be happy for you to take the boat out on your own on a more regular basis.
Become a boat owner
Buying your own boat is a great way to get more involved with the sport. Not only does it provide the opportunity to go out sailing whenever you want, weather dependent, but allows for a more
hands-on approach to boating.
You can pick up second-hand sailing dinghies such as a Topper for less than £1,000. However larger boats can set you back up to several hundred thousand pounds depending on the age, make and model you go for. Find the right boat for you using our Boats for Sale website, there are thousands listed.
If you’re a practical person with a taste for DIY projects it’s possible to buy a used boat and restore it yourself. Practical Boat Owner have recently completed a budget restoration of a Snapdragon 23 and have step-by-step guides for most boating improvements.
Charter a yacht
Exploring new waters aboard a charter yacht is another great way to get out sailing. Charter holidays can vary in terms of offering, from beginners who’ll be accompanied by a qualified skipper and crew to those who are comfortable going it alone. Charters are available across the globe from British shores to exotic locations further afield.
Sunsail, Late Sail, Fraser Yachts and Charter World are just some of the big names to look out for when searching for your perfect charter holiday.
Joining a sailing club
If you’re serious about getting into sailing then joining your local club is a great thing to do. Not only does it give you somewhere to sail, but also introduces you to a whole community of people who enjoy the sport. As well as all the sailing, there are plenty of social elements to joining a club, as many host numerous events throughout the year, from races to club dinners.
Most sailing clubs will require a one-off fee each year, averaging between £150 – £400; with some offering discounts to families or members over or under a certain age. If you do end up buying your own boat and intend to keep it at a club, then there will be some additional costs on top of the membership fee, but these will vary between clubs.
Now all that’s left to do is find your nearest club, which you can do using the RYA’s online directory. So what are you waiting for? On your marks, get set, sail!