Discover the thrill of open water sailing

Posted on: 09 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Nothing beats the feeling of open water sailing and navigating the waves.

Sailing offers so many benefits to young novices or older newcomers to the sport; here we show you what makes sailing a cut above the rest.

Sailing is like any essential life skill, whether it be riding a bicycle or swimming. You can pick up the basics of sailing in an hour or two and hone your skills to the highest level, if you choose.

For children, sailing provides a number of distinctive challenges, hours of enjoyment and the virtues of responsibility and self-discipline.

That said, sailing’s not just for younger beginners. Older newcomers to sailing can also enjoy the same visceral thrills and enjoyment the sport provides.

It’s not just about the physical aspects of sailing either; the tactical and strategic thinking required for competitive racing ensures the development of a sharp and agile mind.

Small, safe, unsinkable boats propelling you across the sea or lake is a fun way to enjoy the open water, fresh air and natural surroundings we so often take for granted.

Sailing does not need to be expensive – local sailing clubs offer highly competitive classes and courses.   And you do not need to go out and buy the latest gear or invest in your own boat, it’s all there for you to hire as part of a registered course, like those offered by the Royal Yacht Association (RYA).

Simple Sailing

Topper Sailboats are one of the most popular range of sailboats, with a collection of 12 different boats for all ages and abilities across a variety of categories and classes.

The Topper is an ideal introduction to sailing because it is easy to control thanks to their impeccable handling ability, and is the top youth racing class and a proven sail trainer for schools and sailing clubs.

The TAZ is another entry point for new sailors; incredibly tough, the TAZ is a beach hire favourite and has enough room for both parent and child to sail together.

Toppper sailingFamily-oriented, multi-role Magno and Omega sailboats are extremely versatile, suitable for cruising, family sailing or performance racing.

Both boats are highly robust with easily manageable handling and plenty of space for both parents and children alike.

The multi-rig Topaz is the most versatile sailboat available in the market: an array of add-ons including spinnakers and trapezes, mixed with enough room for parents and children makes this boat an essential choice for the active family.

For sailboats that are designed to be sailed hard and fast, the Vibe and Xenon set the benchmark. The VIBE is a robust boat suitable for novices or experienced racers, while the XENON provides the best value 2-crew racing.

Sailing Schools

If you want to learn to sail but are not sure how or where to get started then the following information should help get you on your way. There is plenty of help available aimed at getting you on the water as quickly as possible.

We would recommend that you sign up to an RYA recognised course. By taking a course at an RYA recognised training centre you can be assured of being taught by trained instructors using suitable boats, supervision ratios and following the RYA's syllabus.

Level 1 Start Sailing

An introduction to the sport, covering the minimum knowledge required to get afloat under supervision. It will give you a basic understanding of boat handling techniques and background knowledge.

Level 2 Basic Skills

Becoming a competent sailor in light winds with an introduction to sailing techniques and maneuvers, rigging, launching, safety, capsize recovery and basic rules of the road.

There is a network of sailing schools throughout the UK. Each offers tuition and an introduction to sailing.

Check out Sailing Schools in the UK to find your nearest school or club. Each recommended school or club will provide tuition from an experienced skipper aboard a suitable dinghy. Most good schools across the UK will feature the Topper International fleet very heavily.

Alternatively you could combine your first course with a holiday. There are a number of holiday companies offering sailing holidays. The majority of these will be RYA accredited and can offer RYA courses and award RYA certificates.

Sunsail is the leading holiday company in terms of equipment. At each of the Sunsail Clubs you will find a beautiful location where you can enjoy excellent watersports and on shore activities, combined with fantastic people and a holiday atmosphere to rival no other.

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