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club training or course?

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Beginner questions
Forum Discription: Advice for those who are new to sailing
Printed Date: 01 Jun 20 at 5:06am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: club training or course?
Posted By: pij27
Subject: club training or course?
Date Posted: 09 Jan 18 at 11:12am
What is the best way of learning to sail a dinghy? I have experience of sailing larger yachts, 32ft and larger, but no experience on a dinghy. Should I join a club and learn with them or just sign up for a sailing course and learn that way? As I am on the isle of wight I notice a lot of clubs around, any thoughts on them or how to pick a good club?

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 09 Jan 18 at 11:56am
Many clubs run the formal courses these days, so you can do both.

Posted By: Eisvogel
Date Posted: 09 Jan 18 at 2:04pm
If the club is an RYA Training Centre they will follow the standard syllabus & method; they're inspected annually, so you can be sure it's all fine.

Many clubs seem to require you to become a member (in return for lower course fees), so you should have opportunities to practice sailing outside the course as well.

Enterprise 20361 (Eisvogel), Laser 102727 (Halcyon), Laser 121986

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 09 Jan 18 at 2:29pm
I would say join a club. The extra benefits include boat storage, safety cover while you are finding your dinghy legs (sail at weekends when there is usually racing and therefore safety cover until you are confident) and like minded individuals who will give you informal help over and above the courses. 

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"

Posted By: Tynesider
Date Posted: 09 Jan 18 at 7:30pm
After sailing single handed offshore for over 20 years I got into dinghy sailing through my son and granddaughter over a year ago,your biggest mistake is thinking you will pick it up quickly, the only connection is wind and sail, I could plan to tack 5 minutes ahead before now I have seconds.

Yes agree with others I joined a small sailing club associated to the RYA and yes did various courses with them which gives you much more understanding, I also recommend you try various boats before deciding to buy as I found out what I wanted did not suit when you have to take your weight, size and maybe age into account

      Archivist for the
Colvic Watson Owners Group    

Posted By: pij27
Date Posted: 10 Jan 18 at 8:53am
So the sailing/handling of a larger yacht is completely different from dinghy sailing? So should approach it as complete novice and ignore previous experience? Or should I look for a small keelboat? Drascombe etc?

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 10 Jan 18 at 10:07am
The principles are the same. You won't need to start at the bottom, especially as you are thinking of sailing something stable. Sailing a boat like a Topper would be a big step in terms of space and stability. Jumping in a Wayfarer to learn would be no trouble at all. Yes, you have to remember there is no keel, and you have to balance things, and you may have to learn to use a tiller extension if you haven't before, but these are small things in the great scheme of sailing. The feel of things, the wind awareness, even the 5 essentials that the RYA bang on about, which are in fact just sailing common sense, are just as true for a dinghy as a yacht.

Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 10 Jan 18 at 10:48am
If it was me I'd just find a vaguely suitable boat on a non-challenging day and venue with some loose supervision on hand and have a go. You may find jumping into a Topper something that just comes naturally or you may struggle to keep it right side up but either way you'll have a better idea of where your abilities lie.

Suitable boats, say solo in a Topper or Laser Radial or accompanied on a GP/Wayfarer etc. F2/3 or less on an inland or very sheltered bit of water and either accompanied by a competent sailor (bigger two hander) or with a safety boat around the vicinity (sailing centre or club on a race day).

I suspect a centre for your first forays would be best and, while they are unlikely to hire out a Waybarge too you they will almost certainly send you out in a Topper for an afternoon and keep an eye on you.

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"

Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 10 Jan 18 at 11:00am
"Dinghy Sailing - How difficult can it be?"

My famous last words over ten years ago now..

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Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 10 Jan 18 at 5:53pm
You will certainly meet friendly helpful people, do the course then see what boat you want, if you join a club with handicap racing, members will almost certainly allow you to try their boats.

Posted By: ColPrice2002
Date Posted: 10 Jan 18 at 10:38pm
I was instructing a client who was transitioning from yacht to dinghy. Obviously, the sailing theory is unchanged, but the difference was in the activity load - dinghy helm is expected to plan a tack, keep a lookout for other boats, trim the mainsail, steer the dinghy and balance the boat.
On the yacht there were several crew to carry out these functions, plus a navigator for deciding course to steer...

The candidate achieved RYA level 2, but it was a learning experience for both of us. I'd recommend the RYA Level 2 course - in part because the certificate is useful if you want to hire a dinghy. Other parts of the course are good as well, eg capsize recovery, man overboard (different in a dinghy from a yacht), and so on

Posted By: pij27
Date Posted: 16 Feb 18 at 8:01am
Can anyone give a recommendation for a club on the isle of Wight? I know there are a number listed, but would like to know of people's experiences. Also do any clubs cover dinghy cruising as opposed to dinghy racing. As I feel I am more a potter or lazy days sail than a racer

Posted By: transient
Date Posted: 16 Feb 18 at 9:41am
Not sure about clubs on the IOW, however there is a dinghy cruising association, they have a forum that you might want to join." rel="nofollow -

Posted By: pij27
Date Posted: 20 Feb 18 at 5:26pm
Not a very good web site. Have to join club to get any information. I have seen a couple of dinghy's but they are not racing designs, but look like classic dinghies. If want to go down a classic, old looking, dinghy should I look at getting tuition to sail this, or do a sailing courses first then get boat?

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 20 Feb 18 at 6:16pm
The website seems to be down, there is a Facebook group (closed so you'll need to join the group but I guess that's just a matter of requesting they add you). The forum is live though but, while you can browse you can't post without becoming a member, and...... the website is down so you can't join.....

edit :- Regarding sailing trad boats, they will feel closer to a keelboat than a modern dinghy and be heavier to manhandle on shore. 

I assume you live or holiday regularly on the IoW, it's not a big island if it was me I'd plan a couple of weekends visiting all the likely looking clubs and talking to the sailors. That's the best way to get a feel for the club and it's members. And probably a very enjoyable way to spend a few days out.

Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"

Posted By: pij27
Date Posted: 21 Feb 18 at 8:28am
Thanks for the advice, will start going to look at the clubs and spending time talking to people and watching what they sail. 

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 21 Feb 18 at 11:16am
Gurnard has traditionally been a good dinghy club on the Island. Royal Vic too.

Posted By: pij27
Date Posted: 21 Feb 18 at 8:21pm
Thanks, will check those first

Posted By: pij27
Date Posted: 02 Mar 18 at 12:47pm
Do any one know of clubs which have a dinghy cruising section? Will ask the dinghy cruising association but having some difficulty with their website. But if anyone knows of local clubs on the isle of Wight with a cruising section or across the solent so could talk to them

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