The basics can be learned easily in a week or over a number of sessions, it doesn’t take long for you to be able to sail around a triangular course on your own. To begin with it’s about getting to grips with sitting in the right place, steering, changing direction and trimming the sails. As you progress you will learn to do these more quickly and efficiently to get the most out of the boat. From there, however, there is a lifetime of learning and progression, which will always provide you with new challenges if you choose to take them.
Having learned the basics, most people progress into racing. Organized by clubs and classes across your country, racing round a course is a great way to improve your skills and have a lot of fun along the way. For most people racing is not about going to the Olympics, although there are plenty of opportunities for talented youngsters to progress through to top-level competition. Racing at a local sailing club usually involves a variety of classes of boat and a huge range of abilities and experience across a wide age range. As you gain confidence you may choose to travel to open meetings at other clubs, or to regional or national championships. There are also many regattas during the summer which welcome families to some lovely holiday destinations where a week on a sandy beach can be combined with sailing during the day, and barbeques, parties and even firework displays in the evenings.
-From 2006 Gael Pawson, Editor Yachts and Yachting Magazine - www.yachtsandyachting.com
While there is some merit to learning to sail in the more easily managed but more physically demanding dinghy, some people prefer to do their learning in keelboats, largely because that is the type of boat the mean to use and purchase. For those with this perspective we recommend the Sindbad School of Sailing which also offers a learn to sail program at the Edmonton Yacht Club.