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Where can I learn in a singlehanded dinghy?

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Beginner questions
Forum Discription: Advice for those who are new to sailing
Printed Date: 18 Jan 21 at 2:24am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Where can I learn in a singlehanded dinghy?
Posted By: BoredatWork925
Subject: Where can I learn in a singlehanded dinghy?
Date Posted: 06 Feb 18 at 7:22pm
Can anyone recommend a UK sailing school, preferably in the South or the Midlands, where I can learn to sail from scratch in a singlehanded dinghy?

I tried learning in a bigger dinghy years ago and didn't enjoy it at all, so took up windsurfing instead and forgot about dinghy sailing entirely. I've now been offered a Laser secondhand and would like to have another go, but this time in something small. I've had a quick go in a Pico and much preferred it to the big dinghy I tried to learn in before, plus of course I'd like to learn in something similar to the boat I may own.

Any suggestions? Ideally I'd like a cost effective group course for RYA level 1 and 2.


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 06 Feb 18 at 8:01pm
RYA will provide a list of centres near you, just type in your postcode.
can't see you getting them both for less than a couple of hundred.

Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 06 Feb 18 at 8:21pm
If you can windsurf, then sailing these things is a doddle, they just have a thing at the back you wiggle to change direction and you have to pull on rope to make them go rather than do the sensible thing and pull the boom in.

They're crap at gybing, because the sail won't go round the front, so you have to duck and come to think of it they're pretty crap at tacking for the same reason.

Just buy yourself a cheap old munter Laser and fiddle about, it really isn't rocket science even though if you listen to them they'd have you believe it is.

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Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 06 Feb 18 at 8:38pm
Yup, just buy the L@ser and get on with it. Sure it's different to windsurfing (I have many years doing both) but it's not as different as kiting or keelboats.

If you want to be cautious spend your first few sessions at a sailing centre where they have safety cover while you're learning but, IMHO, the only real reason to go on a course is to get a qualification so you hire boats in the future.....

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

Posted By: BoredatWork925
Date Posted: 06 Feb 18 at 8:40pm
Thanks guys.

423: The RYA website is good, but it doesn't tell you which schools do singlehanded courses; I keep clicking through to the school and they all seem to teach in bigger boats.

iGRF: Thanks - I may do that in the end, but I'd rather have some supervised experience under my belt before I sail on my own. Also from experience in other sports I'd rather take proper lessons at the start; I find that I usually progress much quicker that way.

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 06 Feb 18 at 9:07pm
There are probably about three options, all valid.

The first is to do an intensive RYA course at a professional training centre, which would be a week or whatever, and there are a good number of those.

The second is a similarly formal course, but at a local sailing club which would be evenings and/or weekends over a longer period of time.

Both these would give you then same cert from similarly qualified people, its just a question of what suits you better.

The third option is that some clubs may do a less formal training routine, maybe evenings only, which doesn't involve certificates, but typically much the same syllabus.

I hold no certificates myself, and aren't a great enthusiast for them, but the trouble with going out and teaching yourself by trial and error is that there is no-one to tell you which is trial and which is error.

So its probably good to look out your local sailing clubs.

I wouldn't be concerned about whether a course is run in singlehanded or two handed boats. The differences aren't that significant, and there are things that are more difficult to cover in singlehanded boats. Two handers mean the instructor can get in a boat with you rather than have to shout from a motorboat if you have anything specific you need to work on, which is a lot more civilised and usually quicker. Even if you intend to sail a singlehanded boat from day one, initial training is best done in two handers. If its good enough for RAF fighter pilots... And many courses will include time in singlehanders anyway.

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 06 Feb 18 at 9:13pm
In that case just go to a centre and ask if you can book a one to one with an instructor and ask if you can do it on singlehanders. I suspect most are flexible enough to give you what you want (and if not find a different centre)......

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

Posted By: snowleopard
Date Posted: 12 Feb 18 at 3:34pm
I would say the best strategy is to learn in a two-hander so you have the instructor there with you. The transition to singlehanding is much less significant than learning to sail a dinghy from scratch. The main differences are: when singlehanding you have no one else to blame for screw-ups, no one to look out for other boats and no one to back the jib when you miss stays!

Over the years I have sailed windsurfers and all sorts of dinghies one and two handed. My lasers were the most fun though I'm hoping my new Finn will be the same without needing the same degree of flexibility.

One hull good, two hulls better.

Posted By: BoredatWork925
Date Posted: 16 Feb 18 at 4:11pm
Thanks for all the replies. I do appreciate that I could readily learn anywhere in a larger boat, as all schools and clubs offer that. The reason for my post was to find out where I could learn singlehanded, because I'd like to enjoy the course if possible, and I've never enjoyed larger boats.

For me, trying to learn in a 2-4 man boat was like learning to drive in a transit van; possible, but rather intimidating, more difficult to place than something smaller, and somewhat remote in terms of action/reaction. The Pico was a revelation for a complete beginner like me; just so much simpler and more immediate and better for learning. That's precisely what I liked about windsurfing, which is why I took that up instead. Bigger boats put me off, so I didn't want to just go straight back to that.

Posted By: Tynesider
Date Posted: 06 Mar 18 at 8:22pm
At Telford Sailing Club we do a lot of RYA courses but not sure if they are now all booked


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Posted By: BoredatWork925
Date Posted: 16 Oct 18 at 1:21pm
Thank you for all the replies. A quick update for you: I found a course in the end, at Calshot, and completed it last month. I'm really glad I went for singlehanded as I much preferred it to the bigger boats I tried in a multitude of ways. I still found a few elements of sailing confusing compared to windsurfing, but the smaller boats minimised all of that and the overall experience was far more positive than learning in a 2-3 man boat.

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