The last few years have been tough for all of us, but with temperatures soaring all across the continent many holidaymakers are making up for lost time.
Intrepid British travellers are ditching the long queues at airport security and the bumpy rides of budget airlines in favour of an altogether more glamorous form of travel – boating.
It’s not just the super-rich and celebrities who are choosing to spend their holidays on the high seas, its people from all spectrums of society.
That’s thanks to the emergence of companies like BorrowaBoat who have made boat hire readily available and eminently affordable.
One way to make an even bigger saving on a sailing holiday is to forego the need for a captain altogether by learning how to take charge of your own seafaring or river going vessel. Interested in learning how to sail? Read on to find out how to do just that.
Why get into sailing?
Exploration. It’s the one thing that sailing gives you over all other modes of transport, the ability to take control of your own destiny and explore wherever you want without being restricted to roads and highways.
In addition to that, sailing has a number of psychological and physiological benefits ranging from a general reduction in stress to a greater level of cardiovascular fitness and heart health.
Who is sailing for?
There is a preconception that sailing is for the upper classes, something which is not particularly helped by the fact that most sailors in the public eye have plummy, Oxbridge accents.
Fortunately though that’s not representative of the sailing community at large. According to recent estimates there are approximately 3.9 million adults in the UK who regularly participate in boating in one shape or form.
Like society in general, that number is made up of people from all backgrounds and walks of life, so if you’re worried that you’re not posh enough to start sailing, think again
How to start sailing
There will be many of you reading this article who are already itching to get out on a boat and start their first sailing adventure. We’d recommend exercising caution in that regard and booking yourself onto a training course beforehand.
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and Irish Sailing Association (ISA) offer courses throughout the UK and Ireland. Basic courses start from around £50 and you don’t have to drive to the coast if you live inland as there are plenty of course venues on rivers and lakes.
If you’re a little unsure and want to get a taste of sailing before you commit to a training course, the RYA offers ‘Have a Go’ days and the ISA has a free Try Sailing scheme.
What are my sailing options?
Sailing isn’t exclusively limited to yachts, there are plenty of other ways that you can get out on the water and feel the exhilaration of controlling your own vessel. You can of course just dedicate yourself solely to yachting, and there are plenty of clubs out there to help you with that.
Or you could turn your hand to windsurfing to try something that is a little bit more physically demanding and will get the blood pumping. Dinghies and small boats offer an easier route into getting out on the water for those who are still a little bit tentative or have relatively little experience.
It’s not just able bodied people that enjoy sailing either. Sailability is a scheme run by the RYA to encourage people with disabilities to take up sailing. The scheme offers specialist support and vessels that allow anyone to go out on the water.
There are also numerous youth clubs throughout the UK and Ireland if you’re looking to get your children or grandchildren in on the high seas action.
I’ve learned how to sail, what next?
Once you have the confidence and ability to go out on your own and navigate the open water, it’s time to decide what you want to do with your newfound skill. Fortunately there are plenty of options out there.
You can keep your sailing recreational and head out every couple of weeks or whenever the sun is high in the sky. Or you can take things to the next level and start competing in racing tournaments.
If you choose the second option, it would be wise to invest in a performance-based training course like Sailing with Spinnakers, which will cost you around £500, but may end up being a wise investment if you go on to win your fair share of races.
The money spent on your hobby can then be balanced out on the money you can save with your family holidays. Comparison sites like borrowaboat.com offer vessels of all shapes and sizes to cater or all budgets in 65 countries across the globe.
Simply find yourself a boat you’re comfortable sailing and you can be the captain of your family’s adventures around Caribbean islands or Mediterranean coasts and inlets.
Now you know everything you need to know about getting sailing, what are you waiting for? It’s time to jump right in at the deep end…