New to sailing



I've always enjoyed the water, whatever I've been doing; swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, scuba diving etc. Now I have a family, three young boys, I would like to get into sailing.

Bearing in mind the nearest I have been to a sail boat is the quay side - although I have been on a few motor/speed boats for the water skiing - can anyone give me some advice on the best way to tackle the situation.

Although I know I could go out and buy a boat tomorrow, I don't expect to be able to sail it, or wouldn't want to sail it without gaining some experience and or some sort of formal training.

I would be grateful for any advice.



Find out where you can take an RYA dinghy course. They are normally six Saturday afternoons and are more cost effective if run by local councils etc. Do NOT be put off if everybody is much younger than you. If you can sail a boat without an engine it will stand you in good stead for the future. I may be off base with the rest but do NOT join a club yet. This can come later if you want it. You will learn much better and quicker going you're own way for a year or two. While taking the RYA course suss out the sailing areas close to you concerning moorings etc and the cost of boats. Only you know how much you can afford but just getting a boat that SAILS well is the most important thing no matter what the keel type is.

Sailing is the best thing you can do for you're childrens ability to cope with future life situations. All kids that sail learn how to cope with panic and fear. Sailing kids are the best adjusted children you can find !

p.s I forgive you for ever riding on a waterbike !


I'd echo what lee said - get some introductory training, buy a boat and go off somewhere quiet and learn to sail it. Somewhere where the conditions are easy (not too much current, little other traffic), where the consequences of making a mistake aren't too great (hitting someone's yacht or holing the boat on rocks) and where you won't make your mistakes where there is an audience. Top end of an estuary or a reservoir are good.

The boat should be large enough for your family but small enough to handle easily and it should be stable enough to not scare the family every time they get aboard or the wind picks up (I made this mistake by buying a performance small yacht and scared my wife off sailing for ten years, I'm only just getting her back on the water!)

You might consider one of the heavier dinghies - 16 to 20 foot, perhaps. They are trailable - you can try lotsof different places to sail, shallow draft - you can run them up the beach for a picnic or for the kids to play (they usually hate been cooped up in a boat for hours) and are very popular - easy to sell once you have made your mind up about the type of sailing you want to do. Drascomes are the standard but more modern ones might perform better.
They are great fun and some of my best memories are of messing about in dinghies.

Good luck


Well-known member
31 May 2001
'ang on a mo, I'll just take some bearings
Stay ashore

If money isn't a problem, there are few better ways of learning to sail than on a mediterranean club-type holiday. Accomodation, food, fun for all the family, warm water, a selection of boats to graduate through from wayfarers to hi-performance dinghies, to day yachts. A fun-first attitude to learning. Some diving or skiing as respite. Sunsail and Mark Warner are names I know, but there are sure to be others.