If you are someone wanting to learn sailing, the best option you could have is to enroll in a sailing academy. Sailing academies offer structured courses that are designed for different levels, depending on the level of skill of the learner. Different people pursue sailing for different reasons. There are those who simply love the water and find joy in sailing as a leisure activity, and there are some who want training in sailing that will take them to the next level in the sport. Whatever your reason, with a little research, you will definitely find the right course for you.
Sailing is attractive to a lot of people because it does not discriminate age or gender. Anybody who loves the water and is willing to learn sailing can have a go. And those who want a systematic way of learning can definitely find it in a sailing school.
So… what actually happens at a sailing academy?
Here are some of the normal courses you can expect to see in a sailing school:
Introduction to sailing – this course is for those who know nothing about sailing or have no previous experience in sailing. In this course, students will learn sailing fundamentals, the proper clothing to wear while sailing, the basic controls in a simple sailboat, and stopping and tacking techniques.
- Foundations in sailing – this is a course where the student learns basic solid sailing skills such as handling ropes, knots, the concepts of tide and weather, downwind and upwind sailing principles, and more advanced tacking and gybing techniques. This course is also open to those who have no earlier sailing experience.
- Learning the basic skills – is a more advance course and would require that students have previous sailing experience or has an understanding of the fundamental principles. This is important as during this stage, students will be exposed to complex principles that need a more in depth understanding as well as basic sailing. You can expect to be taught along these lines at this stage: function of a sail and how it works, sailing in groups, and essential points of sailing amongst others.
- Once you have learned the basics you are now ready to improve your sailing capabilities. Your next course in the sailing academy will focus more on improving the skills that you have learned in the previous course so that you are able to handle the boat with more confidence. At this stage you may also learn sailing without a rudder or sailing backwards. Cool!
- Higher boat manipulation skills – this is the stage where your instructor will teach you how to sail out in strong winds. During this time your will actually experience more challenging situations and you will be taught more techniques and strategies in dealing with waves, and maximizing the capacity of your sailboat.
When you have passed all these courses, you next step in the sailing academy curriculum is to develop expertise necessary for extended hours in the water. Later, you will also be trained to become a good sailor capable of sailing alone and able to make intelligent decisions when circumstances are critical or out of the ordinary. In other words, you will be more confident handling your sailboat independently.
So which sailing academy is for you?
Of course, there are many different sailing academies around, with different course names and content. The above outlines only a general overview of what you can expect. Do your own research and ask around for advice on what are the best courses, instructors and academies on offer near to you.
Sailing is a very challenging and engaging sport because you do not have total control over these forces of nature. But good training from a sailing school will equip you with the appropriate skills to harness both wind and water to your advantage. Becoming a good sailor means hard work and countless hours of training. But, the effort is all worth it.
If you have you ever been to a sailing academy, please share your experiences below; what did you do, what did you learn sailing, and are they worth it?