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5: Other routes in

In the past sailing with friends was the route through which most people were introduced to sailing. It has a number of obvious advantages: itís sociable, you get free instruction, donít need to buy a boat and may well find youíre helping out someone who finds it hard to attract the crew they need to race their boat. However, if you donít have friends who do the kind of sailing youíd like to try, then clearly this route is not available. In any case, you will almost certainly want to take some basic tuition so that you can be a useful crewmember from the outset.

Joining a club is a very good way to get experience and if youíre plan is to race dinghies, then it will be essential to do so. Many clubs also run RYA courses, and are often able to offer them at a lower price than commercial establishments. Itís important to realise that sailing clubs arenít generic institutions ó they all offer very different experiences. Itís therefore important to choose your club carefully ó visit as many as you can in your area and assess what they offer to newcomers to the sport.

One aspect thatís common to most clubs is that they have helms who are regularly short of crew, so if you have the basic sailing skills under your belt thereís no need to buy a boat before you, or your children, start racing. This is a good reason why learning to sail a dinghy at a club maximises the likelihood that youíll continue to sail after completing the course ó thereís normally a clear and easy progression to club racing.

Learning to sail in the sun is now one of the most popular ways into sailing, and itís easy to see the appeal. But be aware that relatively few people who are introduced to sailing in this way continue with the sport when they return home, so make sure you donít neglect to check out the opportunities near home for racing and further tuition after your holiday.

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There is a very comprehensive training scheme for cruising under sail

Next page:6 Route to the top

Give yourself as broad and diverse experience as possible

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