AWYC provide a full range of Discover Sailing courses for beginner to advanced sailors.
Sailing is a fun, safe, accessible, and affordable sport that welcomes participation from people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities. There are many different ways to get started in sailing through Discover Sailing and a range of opportunities for you to continue sailing in clubs as you develop your skills, experience and confidence.
You don't need to own a boat to enjoy sailing. There are clubs that provide boats and boat owners looking for crew. You don't need to be a member to get started in sailing because all the Discover Sailing Programs are accessible for people who are not members of clubs.
Different types of sailing
There are many different types of sailing to choose from;
Social sailing - Non-competitive participation that involves just going for a sail
Cruising - A form of social sailing where a destination to sail to is selected
Racing - A number of boats going round a course in a competitive structure. There are different levels of competition from more social or introductory racing through to serious national and international regattas.
Ocean racing - A form of competitive sailing that takes place off-shore. One of the most famous ocean racing events in the world is the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Your First Time
What to wear?
For your first time out sailing it's not necessary to buy any specialist sailing clothing. Dress in comfortable casual clothes and wear non-slip, non-marking, closed toe shoes (old runners are ideal). Shorts and a t-shirt are fine depending on the weather. Bring a rain jacket to protect you from the spray and wind. It can be cooler out on the water so wearing layers is recommended in cooler weather. If you are dinghy sailing and have a wet suit you can wear that. Your clothes and shoes may get wet especially if you are dinghy sailing. The club will have changing facilities. If you require accessible changing facilities you should contact your local club to find out about their facilities. Long hair should be tied back and don't wear excessive jewellery that could get tangled up whilst you are sailing. If you are on a keelboat you can bring one small bag. It's important to have your hands free to get on and off the boat and to be able to sail. It's best not to bring mobile phones or other valuables onto the boat as they may get damaged or lost. Life jackets or personal floatation devices are provided by the club, Discover Sailing Centre or boat owner you are crewing for. On a dinghy they must be worn at all times and on a keelboat whenever the conditions are appropriate. If you do want to investigate buying sailing clothing, online shopping is an option which provides you with more information about sailing shops and equipment.
What do I need to know?
Most people who sail for the first time don't know the bow (front) from the stern (back). Don't worry if all the terminology seems daunting because if you are taking part in a Discover Sailing Experience or Discover Sailing Course there will be a qualified Instructor that can help you learn new skills at your own pace. If you are interested in developing your knowledge by reading about sailing everything you will initially need to know can be found on this website. There are also a range of books you can buy through online.
Tips for your first time sailing
■ Dress warmly and appropriately. Make sure you have your own hat, sunscreen, waterproof jacket, and non-slip, non-marking, closed-toe shoes.
■ Use the toilet facilities at the club before you get on the boat.
■ Safety is important - the club will provide you with a life jacket. Life jackets are essential on a dinghy and recommended on a trailable yacht in certain weather conditions.
■ Be careful not to stand on ropes or sheets and don't wrap them around your hands.
■ Keep your hands and fingers clear of blocks and winches where ropes or sheets are.
■ Hold onto something on the boat. One hand for you and one hand for the boat is a common saying.
■ Don't leave a mobile phone (or even a wallet) in your pocket as they may be lost overboard.
■ Follow the skipper's instructions and ask questions if you don't understand.
■ Don't drop or throw anything overboard.
■ Let the club, skipper or Instructor know if you have a disability, illness or injury that might influence your ability to participate. Contact the club beforehand if you would like to discuss exactly what the activity involves and what your limitations might be.
■ Skippers will give you a safety briefing before you head out, but if they forget, don't hesitate to ask for one.