What type of sailing course is right for you?

Thursday, 17 November 2011 9:25 AM

If you're thinking about taking sailing courses, why not consider doing so as part of a short break? After all, these kinds of programmes can be plenty of fun and will allow you to do something out of the ordinary - but how can you decide which type of course is right for you?

You will find an array of options catering to people of all skill levels - something that makes it much simpler for virtually anyone to try their hand at taming the waves. What's more, as there are sailing schools all over the world, you can choose to learn in destinations like Greece, Lanzarote and Croatia.

However, if it's a short break you're planning, why not opt for learn to sail holidays in UK? While this may not sound quite as glamorous as heading off to foreign climes, you will find that the south coast is actually home to world-class sailing grounds in the form of the Solent.

The sailing school here boasts Royal Yachting Association (RYA) qualified instructors, as well as the advantage of the varied conditions of the water, which will give you a variety of experiences.

Plus, there are a huge range of courses on offer, from those designed to introduce beginners to the absolute basics to internationally recognised qualifications for experienced sailors. These courses span practical lessons, theory classes and shore-based learning, offering you a comprehensive choice of sailing options.

So, with so much available, just how do you choose which is for you?

The first step is to consider exactly what you want to get out of your course. Are you looking for a firm grounding in the basics? Specialist knowledge? A professional qualification?

While thinking this over, you will of course need to bear in mind your current level of experience. For example, complete novices may have their eye on eventually gaining a professional qualification, but if you have no experience whatsoever you will need to start with the most basic of courses.

Those who have never sailed and would like to see how they find it before embarking on a more serious course might want to book a one-day taster session. This gentle introduction to the sport is perfectly suited to complete beginners, who will be able to get to grips with the absolute basics, ask questions and see if they are interested in learning more.

Running over two days, the RYA Start Yachting Course is another excellent introduction - and one that does not require any previous experience, making it ideal for new starters.

If you have already spent some time on the water and want to learn all about yacht safety, the RYA Day Skipper Theory Course could be perfect for you. Shore-based, this five-day option will teach you how to apply safety theories you have learned to practical situations, give you the abilities you need to make sound decisions at sea and leave you with a recognised qualification.

Plus, it is a good programme to take before beginning the Day Skipper Course, as it will give you the theoretical grounding you need to be successful in practice.

Sailors with extensive experience might want to go for a professional qualification during their short getaway on the south coast. Programmes such as the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Prep and Exam Course will - should you pass - give you an internationally recognised qualification.

Furthermore, as some five days of this seven-day course will involve preparation for your final exam, you can rest assured you will be tutored thoroughly, with time to work on any weak spots you may have.

For something a little bit different on your short break, you may also want to consider specialist courses. With a variety on offer, you will find options such as the Ladies Only Week Course and programmes designed specifically for families.

The latter could be the perfect preparation if you intend to take a longer sailing break abroad in the future, while it will also allow you to spend some quality time together while learning a new skill.

However, you don't need to be taking a purely leisurely short break to enjoy a sailing course. For example, corporate sailing days are available for businesses looking for good team-building exercises - or simply a novel way to say thank you to their best clients.

So, the next time you are searching for a fun short break or a way to improve your skills on the water, why not consider going to a sailing school in the UK?

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