Fairly uniquely for an RYA accredited training centre, Jolly Parrot Sailing offers our students two continents and three countries within its sailing area. Morocco, Spain and our base in Gibraltar are all within just a few hours day sail, meaning that we are able to offer a wide variety of cultures and a never-ending change of scenery to our students.
With over 300 days of sunshine every year, Gibraltar is a great place to start your RYA yachting course and the many quayside bars and restaurants offer joining crew plenty of enjoyable venues in which to wind down and get to know each other. We are based at Queensway Quay, in the shadow of the famous Rock of Gibraltar and just a few minutes drive from the airport. Our base is perfect for the first day and the Bay of Gibraltar is well sheltered allowing us to introduce novices gently to boat handling and sailing.
Once confidence is built and some basic drills have been explained and practiced it's time to spread our wings! The rest of the week might include a passage into the Atlantic and along the southern coast of Spain with Tarifa an obvious choice to the West. The Straits of Gibraltar are well known for strong winds, tides and currents, making a transit challenging for the budding navigator but with the North African coast just 12 miles south of Europa Point we always try to include a visit to the African continent. The Spanish enclave of Ceuta is a short sail and the change in scenery and the obvious Moroccan influence and architecture is worth exploring once alongside.
Further South the Moroccan port of Smir is sailable although most courses tend to include Spanish ports on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts with La Duquesa, Sotogrande and Estepona all options for the aspiring skipper. Each port has its own character with the British influence more obvious in Duquesa and Estepona whilst Sotogrande has a more continental feel.
Back in the bay of Gibraltar itself, there are plenty of places to anchor, swim (well, sometimes we need to cool off after all) and practice our night sailing! The port of Gibraltar is busy and the night sail is usually a highlight for newbies. More experienced sailors will find the pilotage challenging and the tides and currents to be fairly unique as in addition to the usual tidal flows you might expect on the Atlantic coast, there is also a continual East-going surface current to contend with in the Straits.
Most ports in the area require visiting yachts to berth stern or bow to and there will be plenty of opportunity to practice this Mediterranean style of berthing. However, we also offer students more traditional ‘parking’ practice in La Linea, which has a huge marina with lots of berthing options including windward and leeward walls and hundreds of UK style pontoons.
The sailing area available to us is varied and this, coupled with an enviable Mediterranean climate, make choosing Jolly Parrot Sailing as your RYA sail training provider easier than ever.