How do I get into sailing?

Amongst some sections of society, sailing has an historic and, nowadays, wholly unjustified reputation for being expensive and elitist. This was unquestionably the case a century ago when the majestic 130’ J Class yachts of King George and Henry Lipton were battling for the America’s Cup off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island, but nowadays sailing is far more accessible to all.

The simplest and cheapest way to start sailing is to visit your local lake and get a few lessons on a dinghy. This has the advantage of reducing travel time and cost for those that live away from the coast and sailing a dinghy is less intimidating than jumping on a 36ft yacht for the first time you touch the wheel.

For those interested in yachts, the best way to start is to take an RYA sailing course. There are a variety to choose from and the syllabi are designed to overlap, taking the candidate from complete novice and landlubber right the way through to professional ocean skipper. How far you take it is up to you.

A weekend on the water is a great way to unwind and relax and learning something new is the ultimate ice breaker. You might meet a new friend for life. I certainly know of a couple of marriages that are based around RYA Competent Crew courses!

The RYA Introduction to Yachting is a two day weekend course aimed at introducing the novice to sailing. The course effectively forms part of the five day RYA Competent Crew Course which, as the name suggests, takes the complete rookie to a basic level of competence. The idea is that you are a safe and able member of crew, thus making you a much more valuable commodity when you are looking to jump on board someone’s yacht for the weekend. Once you are ‘in the game’ it’s amazing just how many boat owners are looking for people to come sailing with them. There’s a reason the marinas always seem to be full!

The RYA Competent Crew Course is aimed at the complete novice and involves 5 days sailing on board a modern training yacht, normally about 36 - 40ft in length. You will be accompanied by a maximum of 4 more training crew and a professional RYA Sailing Instructor. The course is focused on sailing, with theory left for other courses later in the RYA training syllabus, so you’ll be on the water doing what we all love - sailing.

In Gibraltar, we are lucky enough to enjoy 300 days of sunshine per year and with the coasts of Spain and North Africa all within an easy day’s cruising, you can expect to experience your first transborder / transcontinental voyage early in your sailing career. By the end of the week you should be competent in all aspects of crewing and sailing a small yacht and hopefully you’ll have a better tan than a grey and soggy Solent has to offer! What’s more, this is hopefully the start of your sailing experience and our instructors and office staff all aim to make the week productive and fun. After all, isn’t that why we all do it?

Contact Jolly Parrot Sailing on 07925 784407 for a first chat and we’ll tell you all you want to know.

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