I love sailing. For me, there is nothing better than being out on the water, the wind in your hair and the waves lapping against the hull. I was fortunate enough to have grown up sailing. I was a Sea Cadet as a teenager, which gave me so many opportunities to get on the water, before going to University, where I joined the Sailing & Powerboating club. Working full time, I now try to sail whenever I can as my brother is a professional yacht skipper.
With yacht races such as the Vendee Globe and Americas Cup becoming more popular, I hear plenty of people my age saying that they would love to sail, but don’t have the opportunity to, or feel that they cannot afford it.
We in Southampton are fortunate to have such great access to the Solent, one of the most famous sailing locations in the UK and in fact, the world.
There are so many ways to get on the water in Southampton in 2017, and you don’t have to own your own boat or be a world class sailor to do it!
Through the RYA
Based in Hamble, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) are the governing body for dinghy, powerboat and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs, sports boats, windsurfing and personal watercraft. They run almost every course you could ever need to qualify you for getting out on the water, and they are all listed on their website.
They have training centres around the world, and a good number of these are in Southampton, all you need to do is head to their website. Whether you want to learn to sail a dinghy, powerboat or yacht there will be a course for you! They vary in price based on the level you want to achieve, and the dates you choose.
In the Southampton area there are also a lot of companies that offer sailing, and it’s also a good idea to check that they are approved on the RYA website!
The Sea Cadets
For young people (aged 10 to 18) the Sea Cadets is a wonderful way to get out on the water, and for a fraction of the cost. Not just water based, the SCC covers a lot of watersports including sailing, powerboating, windsurfing and kayaking. On top of that, the Sea Cadets have their own offshore fleet made up of power vessels and even a tall ship. Find your local unit here!
As a famous maritime city, Southampton has a number of sailing clubs, which are not only for experienced sailors. Many of them offer the opportunity to learn, but also improve on your skills if you can already sail, or even build up your confidence. In the City, we have Southampton Sailing Club and Weston Sailing Club among others, and both of these offer beginner courses in a historic maritime environment!
“But I can’t sail!” I hear you proclaim. Here’s the great news, you don’t need to be able to.
There are plenty of yacht crewing websites full of owners looking to take their yachts out for the day or weekend in and around the Solent, but lacking a pair of willing hands to accompany them. Many people are happy to take you out for free, or for a small donation towards mooring fees and give you an insight in to sailing, even a few lessons if you get a helpful skipper!
There are also a number of Meetup groups offering weekend sails. They will usually only ask for a contribution towards your food on board and mooring feed if you’re staying overnight.
Completed your RYA courses? Passed with flying colours?
Then why now look in to chartering a yacht yourself?
It’s a wonderful way to see the city and coastline from a unique perspective.
However you choose to get out on the water in 2017, there are so many opportunities available to you.
Why not make the most of what our wonderful seafaring city has to offer!