It doesn’t have to cost the earth to learn to sail – we’ve worked out three plans for different budgets

It’s no secret that sailing is one of the more expensive sports you can enter into, with some of the most basic of yachts setting you back a few thousand pounds. However, learning to sail doesn’t have to break the bank.

Equally, those looking to enjoy the more luxurious side of this fantastic hobby also have plenty of options to explore.

Follow our tips below to make the most, or as little of learning to sail as you wish.

Learn to sail on a budget – £0 to £500

If you’re really strapped for cash or simply don’t want to invest that much in sailing until you’ve got more experience, the first thing to do is get yourself out on the water for free.

There are a number of ways you can do this, such as sailing with someone who owns their own boat or attending a taster session at a local sailing club. Many clubs across the UK offer this
opportunity, and if they don’t, get in touch anyway and see if a member would be willing to take you out to show you the ropes.

If you’re heading to one of the UK’s many boat shows or yachting events, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to try sailing for a small fee such as £5. Sailing charity UKSA ran a similar initiative at Cowes Week 2014, which went down a storm.

Once you’ve got those plans in place, the next thing you need to concern yourself with is equipment. You may well already have some good waterproofs lying around, if so; take these with you to protect you from the wind and water. Even on a warm summer’s day, depending on where
you’re sailing, it can get quite blustery onboard a boat.

Next on the list is a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. You can often borrow these from sailing clubs if you’re heading out with them or ask friends may have gear you can borrow.

Alternatively, the internet is a great resource for buying cheap equipment with many discounts available online with sites such as Sailing clothing store or surfdome. eBay is also another good place to pick up second-hand equipment for next to nothing. On average you can expect to pay between £5 and £20 for a basic, second-hand lifejacket.

Learn to sail courses – £500 to £1,000

For those of you who are looking to get more involved in sailing, there are a number of options to consider. First off, complete an RYA sailing course to learn the basics of the sport. These will tend to set you back a couple of hundred pounds, depending on which one you do and where, as prices can vary slightly between training centres.

Once you’ve done that, join a local sailing club and start putting your skills into practice. Membership to a sailing club will cost you a between £50-£300 a year, depending on which club you go to.

When it comes to getting out on the water, many sailing clubs often have a small collection of boats that members can use for free. Alternatively, you could consider buying your own boat. Depending on how much money you have to spend you can buy a basic yacht or dinghy from as
little as a few thousand pounds.

And if you need some inspiration for a restoration project, Practical Boat Owner have recently finished doing up a Snapdragon 23 which they bought for £510 from eBay.

When it comes to gear, all of the main marine clothing brands such as Henri Lloyd and Musto have a wide range to choose from, whether you’re looking for a buoyancy aid to a dry suit. A decent buoyancy aid bought brand new will set you back between £30-£60, while other necessary clothing such as jackets and sailing gloves could total a few hundred.

Learn to sail one-on-one – £1,000+

If money is no object, then we’ve got some exciting ways to enjoy the sport at it’s most luxurious.

For learning the basics, a one-to-one tuition might be ideal for you. Whether you want to stay within the UK to learn or head to sunnier climbs, a number of companies offer this bespoke kind of sail training experience.

While on the pricier side, this type of learning allows you to personalise the training around what you’re interested in and is tailor-made to your requirements. And because you’ll have the whole boat to yourself, it’s ideal for taking family along to pick up some skills as well. A number of companies offer these courses such as Learn2Sail and Sunsail.

Once you’ve gotten to grips with the sport, you may want to consider buying your own boat on which you can practice your newfound skills.

If you’re serious about sailing, then investing in the right kit is key. A good sailing jacket from the likes of Musto or Gill will set you a back around £100 while a good buoyancy aid could cost as much as £60.

Sailing equipment

  • Lifejacket/Buoyancy aid
  • Waterproofs/Sailing jacket and trousers
  • Sailing gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Dry bag for your belongings
  • Dry suit