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