You have seen all sorts of sailing pictures and videos. You have seen people sailing every summer on your vacation trip to the coast. You are thinking maybe you want to learn to sail before eventually buying your own boat. But you’re a bit unsure. Is sailing really right for you? You would hate to invest a lot of time and money in sailing school only to find out that you are not cut out for life on the water.
Well, no worries. There are lots of different ways you can introduce yourself to sailing without having to commit. You can learn some of the basic principles of sailing through formal training or self-education. You can go spend some time on the water with experienced sailors to see what it’s like. In short, you can test the waters before deciding whether to jump in or not. Below are a few suggestions for doing so.
Take a Free Introductory Course
All over the country there are sailing schools, nonprofits, and yacht clubs that offer free introductory courses to new sailors. The intent of said courses is to introduce more people to the concept of sailing in the hopes that at least some of them will take it up. They focus a lot on kids, given that young people make up the next generation of sailors who will carry on the sport. But free introductory courses are open to adults too.
Check Out an Online Sailing School
Online sailing schools, like the one operated by NauticEd for example, give new sailors the opportunity to learn sailing theory from the comfort of their own homes and on their own time. A couple of online courses can introduce you to the basic principles of sailing. If you find the courses too difficult to complete, sailing may not be right for you. If, on the other hand, you sail through the courses – no pun intended – you probably have the mental aptitude to be a good sailor.
Spend Some Time on the Water
For some people, it is not the classroom work that proves challenging. Rather, it is actually being on the water. If you have never spent significant time on the water in an actual sailing vessel, you may not know how your body will react to the experience. It can be quite unsettling.
Yacht clubs and boat shows are great venues for on-water sailing clinics. You can take a free or reduced-cost course that involves a few hours on the water with your fellow students and an instructor. You should know by the time you return to shore whether you can physically handle sailing for hours on end.
Visit Some Boat Shows
Learning to sail is one thing, buying your own boat is something else entirely. Visiting a couple of boat shows should give you a better understanding of whether you can realistically afford a new boat. Understand that not being able to buy your own boat does not prevent you from learning how to sail. You can still take online and on-water sailing courses to learn how it’s done. Then you can rent or borrow a boat on those days you hear the sea calling.
NauticEd makes it clear that sailing is not for everyone. Among all the students who attend on-water and online sailing schools, only a certain percentage actually go on to become accomplished sailors. It may or may not be right for you. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for you to find out before you commit to sailing school.