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Learn In The Sun

2: What happens?

Going afloat is simplicity itself — the boats are at the water’s edge, rigged and waiting for you to take them out. The format works for many different types of people — keen dinghy racers, beginners, large families, singles and so on.

One thing to be aware of is that those who start sailing overseas are often less likely to get round to joining a club when they return home, thus severely limiting their sailing opportunities and progression within the sport. ‘The challenge then is for us in the UK as an organisation,’ says Thorn, ‘…is to convert those initial [overseas] sailing experiences into regular participation. It’s a classic case that if people don’t join a club they may not sail in between doing courses on a summer holiday.

We’re always trying to say to people that the best way to get better is to buy a boat and join a club, or even to join a club that has boats you can use.’ The various companies in the market each tend to offer a different emphasis and experience, which will appeal to different needs. Most are predominantly watersports focussed, with an abundance of the latest gear and boats. Others sell on offering multiple activities, where sailing and windsurfing are one of perhaps half a dozen activities that are given equal weight. This can be ideal perhaps for families where only one or two members want to try sailing.

Club holidays also provide the opportunity to try a variety of different boats –cats, singlehanders and twin trapeze asymmetrics are all possible, or perhaps trying windsurfing, diving or water skiing. It’s also a good way to assess moving to a different class before committing yourself to spending several thousand pounds on a new boat.

Before booking, check out what winds to expect at your short-listed resorts. Some are in locations with predominately light to moderate winds, which is ideal for beginners and younger children. Other sites are specifically chosen for their prevalence of stronger afternoon winds, which will be appealing for experienced sailors or more intrepid beginners.

Most operations offer some racing as part of the experience, including an end-of-week regatta, and some run the RYA Start Racing course. However, there are fewer opportunities for race training in the sun, so if racing is your key aim, this will restrict your choice of holiday.

Over the past few years the major operators have increased the range of RYA courses offered, but check carefully before booking to be certain that the range of courses your party wants are actually available at your chosen resort, and whether or not it’s included in the price. As with other holiday packages it’s important to make price comparisons using the total amount you’ll pay — headline figures are rarely directly comparable.


Previous page:1 Facilities

Some degree of dinghy sailing and windsurfing tuition is usually included in the price of the holiday

Next page:3 Holiday companies

Here’s a sample of what some of the operators are offering for the coming season

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