For an exciting sailing experience which is easy to start and packed with fun, there is no better way to begin the sport than with dinghy sailing. The best advice to be given to anyone wishing to start dinghy sailing is to take your time, don’t rush into anything and don’t try running before you can walk. First thing to do is to read around the subject and at least gain a basic understanding of what is involved in owning and buying a sailing dinghy. The Internet is an ideal place to do such research and this will be of great help when you start learning to sail.
Learning to sail at training centre means that you can book lessons to suit yourself and you should receive professional instruction. The downside is that it can be expensive. In our opinion joining a sailing club is the best way to learn. You will meet a variety of boat owners, get advice on the different types of dinghies available etc. You will almost certainly have the opportunity to crew for members which is an excellent way of gaining experience. Many dinghy sailing clubs are focussed on racing. Dont let this put you off. Although it may not seem appealing to a beginner, dinghy racing is an excellent way of improving your sailing techniques.
If you are lucky enough to have a choice of sailing clubs in your area go visit each one .Ask yourself: What are the members like? Were you given advice? Were you made to feel welcome ?Do they offer any sort of training ?What sort of boats do they sail and at what times ?
Unfortunately many clubs forget about attracting new members and concentrate solely on racing without realising everyone has to start somewhere. Gone are the days when all sailing clubs had waiting lists of people to join. Many clubs are now beginning to realise they must actively seek new members to maintain numbers and in some cases survive. See our sailing clubs list to find a sailing club in your area.
Don’t rush into buying a boat. Most clubs usually have a few boats which members can use. Take advantage of this fact until you have more knowledge about dinghies and have decided if sailing is for you. Also offer your services as a crew for members with double handed boats.
Before you buy a dinghy you must bear in mind that your requirements will change as your sailing develops. You should also consider whether you want to sail alone or with a crew, if it needs to be portable and if you need a faster performance boat more or one more suitable for cruising. Your local club is an excellent place to buy a boat as people constantly trade up. The best thing about buying a boat from your own club is that often people will know its history, its faults etc.