If you want to get into sailing, you may wonder where and how to start, and whether it is even possible for you if you are on a budget.
While the world of sailing may appear daunting to you as a newcomer, it is actually easier and more affordable than you might think to start sailing.
Below, you can read 10 different options for learning how to sail, many of which are low in cost or even free.
1. Start by learning what you can online.
Before you ever go out on the water, you should pick up as much knowledge as you can about sailing.
This has never been easier to do from the comfort of your home than it is now. There are numerous resources available to you online, including articles and videos which teach you about sailing.
2. Consider learning on a dinghy first.
In general, rather than learning how to sail on a large sailboat, you should think about learning what you can on a dinghy.
Not only is this a more affordable option in many cases, but it is arguably a superior way to learn.
It is pretty easy to tip over a dinghy. Despite this fact, it is easier to recover from capsizing a dinghy than capsizing a full-size sailboat.
Not only that, but because dinghies are easy to capsize, you will probably build faster and better reflexes practicing on one.
3. Offer to help crew boats for races.
Another cheap, easy trick for getting into sailing is to head to the docks on a race night at a local yacht club and stand in the crew pool.
The crew pool exists in case extra crewmembers are needed onboard the boats. By showing up in standing in the crew pool, you are stating that you are available to help out.
You might think that you would need to be an experienced sailor to do this, but that is far from the truth.
In fact, newbies frequently join crew pools, and skippers expect to find them there.
In fact, many skippers are in the habit of deliberately picking novices to ride with them. If you are enthusiastic, eager to learn, and ready to help out in whatever ways possible, there’s a good chance that somebody will bring you onboard.
4. Attend a meet-up.
Check online to see if there are any sailing meet-up groups in your region. If there are, you may be able to attend by paying a donation. This is a good way to meet others who are more experienced sailing and have more resources. Someone may be able to point you in the right direction or even take you out of the water.
5. Go to a boat show.
Sometimes the American Sailing Association (ASA) offers on-water clinics at boat shows. There is a great opportunity to learn from a certified instructor.
6. Join a co-op.
One of the most affordable ways to gain ongoing access to one or more vessels is to purchase membership in a sailing co-op.
In some cases, your cost could be as low as around $30 a month. Through the co-op, you may also find people willing to help you learn.
7. Volunteer at a yacht club.
Along with joining crew pools for races, you may find some other volunteering opportunities at a yacht club. Volunteering can help you get experience, and you may also get a discount on membership if you decide to join.
8. Rent a boat peer-to-peer.
There are now opportunities to rent a boat from another individual if you wish. You may find that this is cheaper than renting a boat from a marina in some cases. It also may open up a lot more options in terms of the type of boat you sail.
9. Take classes.
The cost for attending sailing classes can range significantly. But classes are well worth checking into, and may be more affordable than you are picturing. After a few weeks or months of training, you may be ready to start setting out on your own.
10. Join a migration expedition.
Sometimes, groups of boat owners that all need to make an expedition across open water will do so together as a flotilla for reasons of safety and support. There are times when these flotillas need extra crewmembers, and may be willing to take a beginner onboard.
There Are Many Ways to Get Into Sailing
You can see that there are quite a few different options for learning how to sail and getting access to a boat.
You do not need to be wealthy to get into sailing. Even if you have few or no funds available, options like volunteering or joining crew pools can help you learn the ropes and start building the expertise to sail with confidence.