Discover Sailing

Spend Summer Out On The Water

2021 is marked as the year of the Staycation and now with outdoor sports officially back on, there’s never been a better time to find your local sailing venue to get out on the water and #DiscoverSailing. Wherever you live, sailing offers a fantastic opportunity to spend quality time outdoors with friends and family whilst taking advantage of both the physical and mental health benefits associated with being on the water. So if you love the idea of being afloat this summer, here are some top tips from our friends at The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) on how to get started.


Discover the club scene

Located around the coast and on inland waters, local sailing and boating clubs offer opportunities to get on the water for the first time with a range of sailing, cruising, racing, courses and events for all abilities. Many have boats to hire or borrow for free and are a great places to find people who may need crew. They also have youth and family weeks as well as opportunities to try other water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking. 


Rob Clark, RYA Director of Sport Development explains:


“Clubs are offering their customers and members a diversity of ways to get out on the water. And with activities ranging from stand up paddleboarding and opening water swimming to windsurfing and sailing, they are becoming attractive destinations for families and people of all ages, during the week as well as at weekends. 


It’s no surprise that in 2020 approximately 21,000 people joined their local sailing club. Every club is different, so ask and compare to find what best suits your lifestyle and social expectations”.


Mum of two Pippa Hales did just this, having seized the opportunity to get back into sailing at Hunts Sailing Club in St Ives through an open day a few years ago – her whole family have not looked back since.


“Since that day in May about four years ago, the boys have both completed stage 4, but my husband and I have got involved too. I have shifted my work days around so I can sail regularly with the Women on The Water group run by the club on a Tuesday – this has been great for building confidence, skills and friendships and also building family involvement too. 


“Having initially been a bit scared of sailing, I now sail more than the other members of the family. In the future, I would love to get my Assistant Instructor and Dinghy Instructor qualifications so I can give back to the Club what they have given to us as a family.”


You can find your nearest sailing club on the RYA website


This summer more than 100 venues are also running covid safe #DiscoverSailing sessions inviting you to come and ‘have a go’ for very little cost or for FREE. You don’t need any previous experience to enjoy a taster session and many venues will welcome all ages. It’s also a great opportunity to check out what venue has to offer including membership deals and offers on courses. 


You can look for a Discover Sailing taster session near you and find more information at: 


Discover courses

If you are new to boating, taking a course locally or on holiday is a great way to pick up some skills and get started. It can also be a cost-effective way of trying something new and enjoying time on the water, all with the support of an expert RYA instructor.


Whether your goal is to relax, improve your skills, explore new cruising grounds or go racing, the RYA has a training course to help you make the most of it. And with many courses available to everyone aged eight upwards (occasionally younger) there’s something for every age, ability and interest – with families often able to learn together. 


There are more than 2,400 RYA recognised training centres worldwide, and over half of them are in the UK. Options include training at your local club or centre or booking a course to coincide with your holiday. From learning how to helm a yacht or safely take charge of a high-speed powerboat, to acquiring the knowledge to handle a canal boat, or try dinghy sailing, windsurfing or wingsurfing for the first time – the choice is yours! 


Find the perfect course for you at:


Discover your sense of adventure

For those who can already sail, if you want to step into the slow lane or inspire your children with an adventure this summer, don’t miss the downloadable #DinghyTrails which provide lots of ideas for dinghy sailing day trips in sheltered waters across the UK. 


There are currently guides for Brownsea Island in Dorset, Great Cumbrae in Scotland, Rutland Water in the Midlands, Hickling Broad in the East, Milford Haven Waterway in Wales and Ullswater in the Lake District and more! Each trail comes with its own map and instructions including distance, safety, sailing times and launch sites. They are also packed with information, details of navigation or anchorage, who-knew-that facts, insider visits, wildlife spotting, and stellar views or best picnic spots and more! Some even link to the national curriculum. 


The #DinghyTrails can be downloaded here


Rob concludes:


“The trails are a fantastic low-cost way of using your dinghy with family and friends and whilst exploring our beautiful coastline and inland waters. Dinghies aren’t just about racing; it’s about discovering the great outdoors! So, whether it’s splashing around and having fun at your club, learning new skills or exploring the UK in a dinghy there are plenty of opportunities to spend Summer 2021 on the water”.


If you are interested in getting afloat locally this summer, get in touch with your nearest sailing venue and find out what they have to offer by visiting:


You can find more information about how to start boating including sailing, windsurfing and powerboating at:


And remember, RYA members receive a 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor both online and in-store.


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