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Learn In The Sun

3: Holiday companies

Crystal Active Beach

Introduced in 2006, Crystal Active Beach offers an all-inclusive range of sporting activities including sailing and windsurfing, both with RYA tuition, water skiing, wakeboarding, sea kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, mountain biking, tennis, yoga and fitness at its resort near Bodrum in Turkey.

Mark Warner

Most of the company’s seven Mediterranean and Egyptian beach resorts are RYA-recognised sail training centres, offering a full range of RYA courses, as well as a wide range of other activities both onshore and afloat, including windsurfing, water skiing, scuba diving, tennis, soccer training and aerobics.

Minorca Sailing

This well-established operation has carved a reputation for its amazing selection of 250 boats, from Optimists to a Laser SB3, and just about everything in between, along with knowledgeable and enthusiastic instructors. All levels of RYA courses are offered, as well as additional race training opportunities and inclusive daily individual tuition. There are more than 70 Lasers and over 100 asymmetric boats allowing you to race daily in the craft of your choice. As with other club-type operations, visitors can choose their own pace and activities, but the scale of the operation is such that there is always a good-size fleet for the end of day race and race training and coaching is on offer daily. This includes theory sessions on the land and practice on the water, along with video analysis, aimed at improving your race tactics, starts and boat handling skills. For keen racers there’s a five-day race series, in addition to the end of week regatta. Enthusiasm for introducing even the very youngest children to sailing and helping them improve their skills.

Neilson

This company operates nine centres — seven in Greece, one each in Turkey and Egypt, the latter offering year-round holidays. All include RYA tuition and courses in the cost of the holiday, whether you are a first-timer aiming for an RYA Level 1 certificate, or an expert working on your performance sailing. Different centres have a differing emphasis, with Porto Heli and Finikounda in Greece geared more towards performance sailing. Neilson also offers other activities including windsurfing and mountain biking; yacht sailing and scuba diving is also available, depending on the location.

Rockley Watersports

Rockley Watersports offers RYA tuition, plus use of dinghies and windsurfers, on freshwater lakes close to the Atlantic coast of France, one near La Rochelle, the other to the south of Bordeaux. It’s a rather different product from the others here, but provides an interesting alternative, particularly for families looking for a high-season watersports holiday without the searing heat of the Med in July or August. Prices include a five-day sailing or windsurfing course, as well as use of equipment on other days. Accommodation is in modern chalet-style tents on four-star campsites, with full facilities including a choice of bars, cafes and restaurants, swimming pools and a supermarket.

Sunsail

Over the past five years or so Sunsail has rationalised its number of clubs, in favour of opening larger ones with improved facilities, accommodation and standards of service. Each now has a particular specialism. For instance, Vounaki in Greece is ideal for beginners thanks to the predominantly calm waters and light to moderate winds experienced here. By contrast, Javelin in Turkey enjoys stronger winds, particularly in the afternoon, and is ideal for more intrepid beginners, or those with more experience. All have a high standard of watersports equipment to cater for all levels from beginner to expert, while other activities, depending on the particular club, include water skiing and scuba diving; and all apart from Colonna in the Caribbean have day yachts. Ashore, all have tennis courts, swimming pools, health and beauty spas, and mountain bikes. For the 2008 season all the company’s clubs are offering a much expanded range of RYA courses, including race training and sailing with spinnakers. These are either included in the price, or offered as a relatively low-cost extra. Also new for this year is a small selection of specialist weeks, including a Laser Regatta Week and an RS Summer Shakedown.

Wildwind

Wildwind has been established for 20 years at Vassiliki on the Greek island of Levkas. It’s one of the few independent companies left in this market and has developed a distinctive identity and many loyal fans. Although an Ionian destination, where winds are typically light to moderate, this site was chosen with considerable care — the local geography funnels the wind, so there’s more breeze than you might expect — it’s light in the mornings (ideal for novices), but frequently Force 5-6 in the afternoons — Wildwind claims a Force 5 for more on two out of every three afternoons. The centre is aimed at those who are serious about their sailing, whether experienced racers or beginners who want to learn fast. It has an impressive line up of boats, including high performance dinghies and a large catamaran fleet for experienced sailors, as well as a good selection of less demanding craft for beginners and youngsters. Tuition for all RYA courses is available at no extra cost.


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