I often get asked by people, “how do I get into sailing”?
There are many ways for getting out on the water, here are a few below.
Learn to dinghy Sail If you are learning the best place to start is a RYA Level 1 Dinghy Sailing Course, Details are HERE, this is only a weekend and you will learn the principles of sailing, wind awareness and by the end of the weekend you will be sailing your dinghy in triangular courses without an instructor. These skill is invaluable and is directly transferable to yacht sailing as your yacht is a glorified dinghy where you can make a cup of tea. Our local Sailing Centre is near Canary Wharf on the safe Millwall Dock. Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre. Attend a RYA Theory Course Especially in the winter it is a good thing to get the theory done so you can spend your time sailing and not learning at the chart table. We would recommend to start with: RYA Day Skipper Theory This is a beginners class that will teach you all you need to know before to go on a yacht.
RYA Sea Survival Course This is a course that will prepare you if it all goes wrong, it involves a practical session in the pool as well as a seeing a lifejacket inflate. There are other theory courses which will further help you with your sailing, many of them are entry level and will broaden your knowledge base.
City Sailing Club Meet Up This is an on line sailing club where members can organise sailing trips, socials and where special deals are posted, it is a great way to meet people who are interested in sailing and also a most cost effective way to get on the water. It is growing all the time and has over 700 members, please join us.
Join a race crew with the RORC register (Royal Ocean Racing Club). Surprisingly as long as you can commit to a whole season or race program then people will take you on as a race crew even if you have little experience. You are not expected to pay a fee and your only expense maybe a share of the food. It is a great way to meet a team and to get lots of miles of fun, but you HAVE to be committed to the season and put in work hard.
Yacht Deliveries I started with deliveries and did a couple of Ocean Crossings with Nick Irvine at Reliance , this took me to the USA, St Martin, Bermuda and from Corsica to the BVI. It gave me over 10,000 miles and memories I will never forget, if you have a chunk of time it is well worth doing and will only cost you a small joining fee and your expenses.
Sailing Clubs There are many cracking sailing clubs in the UK, I belong to the Holy Loch Sailing Club and sponsor the HLSC Regatta. The club is a great way to socialise and keep your sailing skills, if you have children they will love the sailing club.
Charter in the UK Chartering is a great way to sail, you do not have to invest a lump sum, you do not have all the headache and bills of your own boat and you can change your venue at will.. Chartering has come a long way, the boats are more user friendly, you can also get great deals in the winter. Charter Abroad With the Euro getting cheaper and guaranteed sun then the med is getting very popular especially Croatia and Greece. If you book outside the school holidays you get a lot more for your Euro. SeaMaster offer a cracking service where they give you a great vessel, location choice and even integrate their searches to get you the best flights including Easy Jet and Ryan Air. Have a look at the link, if you charter through the link you will get a £50 discount off your charter
Paul Bew Paul is a RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and Examiner and has owned sailing schools for 15 years, he also has been a Sail Training Skipper and has worked on Square riggers. His is the principal of City Sailing London.