LEARNING TO SAIL

Starting a new sport is never easy! Should I join a club? Will I need special equipment? Here are a few tips to get you started.

1- The therapeutic benefits of sailing

Who should I start sailing with?

As with any sporting activity, the priority above all else is to have fun! If you have friends who sail and they can take you along, this is the best way to get acquainted with the world of sailing. You can also find out more by reading specialised magazines and books. You will pick up the vocabulary of sailors and find very good theoretical information on the basics of sailing: all the vocabulary, the type of boats, and the various winds, etc.

We recommend that you to go to the yacht club or sailing association closest to you, where an authorised instructor can help you get started. The coast and lakes are chock full of clubs. In the last paragraphs we provide you with a few questions to ask before signing up.

Start sailing with friends, family, or with a club
The benefits of sailing: it’s a complete sport!

When is the best time to start sailing?

In summer as in winter, sailing can be enjoyed all year round! For beginners, calm weather is best with a light wind of 6 to 12 knots, and a sea without too much swell. The first option is to check out the clubs and associations that organise summer lessons for all ages and all levels. For kids, holiday camps and even some municipalities, offer sailing courses: it’s a good way to get started while having fun with friends. For these two options, remember to book well in advance during the winter, because places may be limited.

The second option is to begin in the spring or at the start of the school year in September. If you are lucky enough to live near the ocean, the sea, or a lake, you can sail all year round. It will be up to you to decide how often you wish to practise. You will need to ask the instructors about all the various courses they may offer!

When is the best time to start sailing
The benefits of sailing: set off on an adventure!

What will you learn during your first lessons?

We often throw ourselves headlong into a new sport, but to be able to truly enjoy yourself and get a good hang of it, you should first learn a few of the basics.

It's time to familiarise yourself with a whole new language: Sailors use a mixture of French and very specific sailing vocabulary. You will surely hear the best rejoinder of any good monitor: "There are no "ropes" on a boat!" But in just a few lessons you will surely have enough vocabulary to understand what you are being told. And if you want to show off, know that the "ropes" are: "Halyards" to hoist the sails, "sheets" to set the sails, and finally "moorings" to tie up the boat!

Then you will have to understand the winds and learn the "point of sail", that is to say, the position of your boat in relation to the wind! With this you will be able to figure out how to move forward by properly adjusting and filling your sails with wind enabling you to go where you want.

As with driving a car, you have to control and navigate your boat. You will soon have the opportunity to learn some basic manoeuvres. Whether you are at the helm or adjusting the sails, you will need to know the steps so you can tack and gybe. Take it easy all the same because you will be accompanied and slip-ups are allowed!

What you’ll learn during your first lessons
It’s a great school of life

Have questions?

Whether you or your child join a club or association, here are several useful questions you may want to ask:

 

Organisational matters:

- What are the various price packages offered?  Depending on the club, you can take several lessons "à la carte", join a training period over a few days/weeks, or sign up for a month or a year.

- How are groups formed? Are they divided up by age or level?

- What is the schedule? How long do the lessons last? Try to arrange the days and times that suit you best!

- If you miss a lesson or it is cancelled due to poor weather, can it be made up? Be careful, not all clubs have the same terms and conditions and some do not reimburse missed lessons, by they may allow you to make them up!

 

Practical questions:

- On what kind of boat will you start on? But also, what would you like to do? A lightweight sailing boat or a regular cruising sailing boat, it is up to you! Note, however, that all clubs do not provide lessons for cruising sailing boats.

- Do you need to obtain special equipment? Often the sailing equipment is loaned to you, but if you intend to pursue further, you will surely need to invest in your own equipment.

- How does the sailing monitor follow you? If you start with a light sailing boat, the instructor will follow you in a motor boat, but on a cruise sailing boat he will surely be on-board with you!

You hold all the cards for setting sail now, no more excuses for getting started. Find the club closest to you, have fun, and let me know how it goes!

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