Learn to sail on holiday in Gibraltar

09 October 2018

At Jolly Parrot Sailing we like to think we get the balance right between fun and learning. To have fun on the water you must first be and feel safe. That is why we only employ experienced and well qualified RYA Instructors with years of teaching and sailing experience under their belts.

After safety, we want you to learn - and the best way to learn is to be engaged. To enjoy the process. That is where the fun part comes in. All of our RYA courses, whether RYA Competent Crew or RYA Yachtmaster Prep Week, have room to include some fun. The days of tyrannical skippers barking orders are, thankfully, long gone.

All of this said, why then do we think that learning to sail in Gibraltar is the best option for an aspiring RYA student?

The list is pretty long, but here are just five reasons why learning to sail in Gibraltar is the best bet for the novice or more experienced sailor alike;

1: The sunshine! Yep. Nothing kills the desire to learn more effectively than good, old fashioned, cold, wet, soggy, trickling down the back of the neck... rain! Why do you think we moved here!  Gibraltar is just 12 miles North of the Northern tip of Africa on the Southernmost tip of Spain. We get over 300 days of sunshine every year - even at Christmas. What’s not to like?

2: The Sailing Area! Where else can your first skippered passage be transcontinental?  That’s right. On a typical Jolly Parrot sailing course you might spend a day in the sheltered Bay of Gibraltar followed by an overnight stop along the Spanish Coast before crossing the renowned Straits where you’ll be challenged by strong tides, current, and shipping whilst implementing your passage plan and managing your fledgling crew (all under the supervision of one of our experienced skippers). Then, it’s an enjoyable stay overnight on the African continent where you can choose to ‘chill by the pool’ in one of the areas most magnificent open air lidos or enjoy tapas and Moroccan delicacies in a hilltop fort amongst the chirping crickets before retiring to bed, ready for the day of sailing ahead.

3: The Night Sailing!  Most students find the nightsail one of the highlights of their course. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of sailing at night, especially in the higher latitudes around the UK, is the cold. Nothing says cold like a passage across the Solent on an evening in mid February.  In Gibraltar we regularly conduct night sails in shorts and T Shirts - just because we can (plus lifejackets and harness lines of course). What’s more, there is plenty to see, whether it’s the busy ports of Gibraltar and Algeciras, which never stop, or the TSS and the open water of the Straits themselves.

4: The ‘Parking Practice’!  Let’s face it, many of us learn to sail, at least initially, so that we can go and sail with friends ‘somewhere nice’ like Greece or Croatia. But in Greece and Croatia they berth stern-to, a technique rarely if ever taught to students in the UK. In Gibraltar we teach and practice both stern-to and alongside mooring techniques so you will know your ‘slime line’ from your ‘dutch spring’ before you even jump on the plane to Dubrovnik. And what’s more, Gibraltar is already ‘somewhere nice’ anyway - we call that a win-win.

5: We’re easy to get to!  Gibraltar is just a 3 hour flight South towards the Equator. Lying right next door to Spain, we are separated from the African continent by just 12 miles of shimmering blue, dolphin friendly waters. In addition, whilst we have our very own International Airport served by British Airways and Easy Jet, we’re also just a short hop from Malaga by bus or car.  And don’t worry about packing foulies and sleeping bags. We provide this for you - free of charge!

Fly into Gibraltar and you can be through customs and in a taxi in minutes and a few minutes more and you’ll be meeting your fellow crew over a cool beer on Queensway Quay’s historic waterfront. What better way to start your week than by watching the sun dip the horizon towards the distant Sierra Nevada mountain range. 

Perhaps it’s just because we love what we do - and it shows.

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