Learn to Sail During OB sessions you might practise skills from any of the 4 Stages of the Youth Scheme. It all depends on how much sailing experience you have, what level of sailor you are and who’s there to teach you. You’ll be able to tick off sailing skills within Stages 1 to 4 of the RYA Youth Scheme at OB club sessions. If you need a logbook, go to the RYA online shop at the top right hand corner of this page and search for RYA Youth Sailing Scheme - Dinghy Sailing (G11) or RYA Youth Windsurfing Scheme Syllabus & Logbook (W1), depending on which you’re learning to do.
Most OB clubs meet on a weekly basis. At West Lancs we meet almost every Saturday between March and October - check with the website or instructors for more information.
Normally you’ll sail a small boat by yourself or with a friend, with an instructor nearby. You get in the boat and they show you what to do. In a nutshell, they show you the ropes and tell you all you need to know to get going. They make everything easy to understand and get you ready to have a go.
As you can imagine, there are all sorts and sizes of boat to sail. Some that are just for one and others you can sail with your mates. We always go out as a group – even if you’re in a boat by yourself.
If the wind is light or you’re in a more stable steady boat then you’ll only get a few splashes. However, if it’s windy, or in a boat that’s closer to the water, you’ll probably get quite wet. This is when a wetsuit is a good choice – because it helps to keep you warm even when you’re soaking wet.
If you’re sailing you’ll need some warm clothes, a pair of old trainers and a waterproof coat, as it’s nearly always cooler on the water than on the shore. Whenever you’re on or near the water, it’s essential to wear a buoyancy aid. We will lend you one of these if you need one. A full summer suit (long legs) is better than a shortie (short legs) if you are a newcomer, since this will keep you much warmer and protect your knees when climbing onto the board. We would recommend that you also wear wetsuit boots or old trainers to protect your feet in the shallows. If you are sailing in autumn and beyond, make sure you wear a winter wetsuit and wetsuit boots, along with your buoyancy aid. A hat, spray top and wetsuit gloves are also a good idea to keep you extra warm.
Everyone who goes sailing or windsurfing has to wear a buoyancy aid – even if they’re a cross channel swimmer! A buoyancy aid makes you float, keeping you safe if you fall in. Yes, it’s helpful if you can swim, but most importantly you need to be confident about being in the water.
Usually we start in March and continue till October, but check with the instructors or our website for details. Winter and early Spring are normally too cold for novice sailors to get on the water. As you get more experienced you may wish to sail over the Winter and take advantage of the generally stronger winds.
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