Thinking About Taking Up Sailing?

There’s never been a better time to get on the water!

There was a time when the idea of ‘going sailing’ was deemed to be an activity strictly reserved for the upper classes. The sheer investment that required to buy a boat, keep it maintained and moored often priced out those on lower incomes. It wasn’t just the financial brick wall that the lower classes faced though. Even if a low-income family somehow made the step up to earning more money, enough to buy a boat and mooring, they would still need to learn how to sail.

Before Ian Proctor’s innovative small dinghy designs, there was no simple or affordable way to teach adults or children the principles of sailing. The ‘art’ of sailing was kept at arms distance away from those who simply could not afford it, or weren’t in the right social circles.

However, today things have changed. The Information Age has brought with it accessibility to all manners of instruction on every hobby imaginable. Where before a man might have to hunt out a copy of one of Ian’s books, like his seminal Sailing: wind and current, now there are completely free videos online for anyone to watch and learn from.

So before you brush aside your dreams of spending lazy days on a boat, or racing a little gull dinghy of your own, consider how easy it can be to get afloat:

Sailing can be cheap

Don’t believe cliches, sailing can be an affordable hobby for people of every walk of life and income. You might have to wait a little longer to fulfill your lifelong dream of buying a yacht, but Gull Dinghies are always an affordable avenue into the sport. Thanks to Ian Proctor’s award-winning Wanderer and Wayfarer designs, sailing became significantly more accessible during the 50s and 60s, with thousands of these sturdy vessels being produced.

You can get a great deal on one of these second-hand boats in addition to other extraneous gear. Like many niche hobbies, online marketplaces such as Ebay or Gumtree offer some of the cheaper prices. However it’s always worth taking a look at specialised sailing sites, as well as enquiring at your local sailing club.

Sailing is now for everyone

Before you balk at the notion of simply strolling right into your local club, remember that a lot has changed in the last couple of decades. Set aside your preconceptions of men in boating shoes with condescending attitudes and prepare to meet the new generation of sailing enthusiasts. In the 21st century there are countless past times to pursue, but we only have a small amount of time to spend. When you ask someone to show you the ropes and bring you into the fold, you’ll be surprised at how welcoming they’ll be.There is a massive social aspect to the modern sailing club.

There are over 700 dinghy racing clubs dotted around the UK, that’s not including the various other forms of the sport that you can take part in such as power-boating, yachting and dinghy cruising. Each one of these clubs will charge a monthly or annual fee, there’s one for every budget. Of course, the old traditional clubs such as the Royal Yacht Squadron, still remain off limits to the man-on-the street, but places like these belong more to the older heyday of sailing than the current generation.

So give it a go!

If you’ve been sitting on the fence up until now, unsure whether to dip your toe into the sport or not, you’ll have the chance to give it a go absolutely free of charge in May.

The Royal Yachting Association is running it’s annual Push the Boat Out program again this year, with nearly 400 venues across the UK participating. This is the perfect opportunity for any beginners who are curious about sailing to get involved at absolutely no cost to themselves.

Sailing clubs will be opening their doors from the 13th-21st May, you can check out the participating venues at RYA.org.uk

Discrimination, Pool Covers and Musto’s Return

In Sailing News this week…

The question of discrimination has arisen over in Australia’s Sailing community, as a Daughter-Father team have been disqualified from the Men’s Skiff class at the Sailing World Cup. There wasn’t a typo back there and we’re not making this up. We have this interesting piece of odd news in, thanks to sailingscuttlebutt.com.

Mr. Paul Coady has been banned from the sport for a year after committing ‘gross misconduct, gross breach of the rules, exhibiting bad manners, poor sportsmanship and bringing the sport into disrepute’. Quite the litany of felonies, in a sport which values good sportsmanship so highly. So, just how did Mr. Coady incite the wrath of the ISAF to such an extent and is there a question of discrimination that needs to be answered here?

When Mr. Coady signed himself and his daughter up for the ‘men’s 49ers class’, he did so with the knowledge that the points gained from this competition would count towards Olympic selection. Although Olympic selection was probably not his ambition, it does impose the Olympic rules upon the competition as a whole. Olympic sailing, unlike many other ISAF sanctioned events, does not include mixed teams, therefore all teams in this competition would need to be of a single gender.

Both Mr. and Ms. Coady took offence to being told that they ‘were in violation of the Olympic gender requirements’ and were even more mollified by their subsequent disqualification from the competition. The matter has been taken to court, it remains to be seen what the outcome will be…

In other news…

The largest swimming pool in the world opened to the public a couple of years ago and now people are sailing on it. The swimming pool, if it can even be called that, can hold a whopping 66 million gallons of water. However, it’s more akin to a man-made lake than anything else.

Investment for the 1000-ft plus pool exceeded $2 million and now the giant tank is home to all manner of water sports, including sailing. If you’re thinking of checking out this mammoth construction then you’ll have to hop on a flight over to Chile; the pool spans the length of the San Alfonso del Mar resort, just south of Valparaiso.

Construction workers were no doubt rubbing their hands together at the potential cost of covering the 20-acre with Paramount Pools Swimming Pool Covers, however their services weren’t needed here. The water remains open to the elements 24-hours a day, thanks to a cunning filtration system that takes a calculated amount of water from the sea, keeping the pool constantly clean and supplied with fresh seawater all year round.

And finally…

How old is too old to compete in this Olympic Games?

Is there a point when we have to throw the matter of age discrimination out of the window and consider the reality that there are some activities that the younger person will simply be better at? Well, Keith Musto, Silver Medal winner from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, apparently doesn’t think so. The business man of 81 years old is making his return to Olympic racing and taking the battle to his fellow British Athletes.

Now, it’s probably not wise to consider how entrenched a man like Musto is in Great Britain’s sporting establishments. His own brand, an international outdoor clothing company, is well established and has served as the sponsor for Team GB teams over the years, he even received the OBE in 2014 for his contributions to the British economy. Is it possible then, that this is simply a PR gig for him?

The promo video over at yachtsandyachting.com begs to differ…

Although it definitely feels like the boys from Team GB are trying to contain smiles, the fact that they took the time to film this short promo surely means something. At the very least, it looks like we’ll be seeing Keith Musto back on the water competing with the best of them very soon…