Sailing Experience Days
Fancy yourself as bit of an explorer and adventurer like Christopher Columbus? Try your hand at sailing and find out for yourself if life at sea really suits you better than life as we know it on land. It’s probably best to try out our wonderful sailing experience first before splashing out on a swanky yacht, eh?
Know your vessels
You’ll spend your day sailing in either a yacht or a dingy, so it’s probably wise to learn a bit about both of these beforehand. The main difference between a yacht and a dingy is that the latter tends to be smaller and lighter. These are usually no more than four meters long and can fit one to two people at a time. Although such boats are small, dinghies can travel fast in the water and are suitable for beginners.
Yachts, on the other hand, are bigger (although are still classed as small vessels) and heavier. Several people are needed on board at a time to ensure a smooth sailing trip.
What happens on the day?
The day’s experience will start around 10:00 at your designated location, where your crew will be waiting to conduct a team meeting. Your instructor will go through the safety points with you before you board the vessel – bring on the fun part!
Depending on the experience you choose, you’ll be learning the ropes of survival at sea in either a yacht or a dinghy. A Royal Yachting Association (RYA) instructor will be on the vessel with you throughout the experience to teach you the basics of sailing. The amount of time you are at sea also depends on whether you opt for a half or full-day experience. Either way, you’ll be fascinated by life at sea and may want to learn more about it.
Stuck on which experience to choose? The half-day experience is a great taster for beginners who want to learn the basics of sailing and to get a feel for life at sea. However, those who wish to learn more should opt for the full-day package.
Full day experience
As well as learning the basics, instructors will teach participants on how to successfully gybe a sailboat. The term ‘gybing’ means to manoeuvre the sailboat and travel downwind - it can be a tricky task so pay special attention to your instructor!
Learn how to control and manage the mainsail and boom against the wind to avoid injuring your crew. We’re not joking - sailing is serious business and as the boom and the mainsail are heavy and fast-moving (when swinging across the vessel), make sure your crew don’t get knocked overboard in the process of gybing.
It’s wise to notify the rest of the crew before you manoeuvre the boat by shouting out, ‘ready to gybe’. Of course, our fully trained instructor will be on board to give you tips on how to successfully master this part of sailing.
As well as gybing, participants will also learn the rules of the waves and how to steer a craft across the ocean without too much drama. If you ignore the effects of the waves, you might find yourself in no man’s land before you know it!
Your instructor will explain the importance of how waves affect sailing conditions and what actions to take to stabilise your vessel. Who said learning the art of sailing was going to be a piece of cake?
Round the world experience
This activity will enable you to get more involved in every aspect of working in a team on the vessel. Lunch will be included on board with this activity as you master the theory of sailing and learn to steer and trim sails like a pro.
Participants get to choose to whether to sail aboard the Whitbread 60 Blueprint or the Clipper 60 Taeping for the day. You really are spoilt for choice here. The Whitbread 60 Blueprint is a racing yacht and was built in 1992. It’s a former speed record holder and is considered one of the fastest yachts in the UK.
Just as impressive is the Clipper 60 Taeping, a 60ft Ocean Race Yacht established in 1995. This renowned yacht has sailed around the world an impressive four times by amateur crew members!
The experience finishes around 16:00, so if you find yourself getting a bit tired or you just want to relax, then do it; sit back and enjoy the ride. Real life at sea won’t be this easy, mind you!
As you might have guessed, you’ll have to venture out of London to experience one of these sailing days at one of the following locations: Falmouth, Cornwall (Sheltered Water Dinghy Sailing), Brighton, Sussex (Open Water Yacht Sailing), Gower, Wales or Hampshire.
Half day experiences start from under £100, whilst the full day packages range from around £150 to £170.
Who’s it for?
The sailing experience is for adventurous individuals or groups who are looking for something different and the chance to explore the open waters. Instructors will help beginners find their feet on the vessel, while those who already have sailing experience can help the rest of the crew on the yacht.
Competitive friends and family members are also encouraged to join in the experience as you’ll get a chance to race each other before the end of the day. May the best yachtsman or yachtswoman win!
Good to know
Check the ‘Notes and Restrictions’ section of each experience before you book. Here is a list of examples to look out for:
- Maximum weight restrictions may apply
- Minimum age restrictions may apply
- Not suitable for those who suffer from seasickness
- You must be in reasonable health and be able to climb around the vessel
- Experiences may be cancelled due to bad weather - check on the day of your booking
- Certain yachts may only be available on specific days
- Spectators are only welcome to watch from the shore
If you’ve always wanted to know what sailing freely into the ocean feels like, here’s your chance to find out. It’ll also be a perfect gift for friends and family members who you know have a fascination with yachts and sailing. Bon voyage!