Learn to Sail!

Do you want to learn to sail?

Think you'll enjoy the challenge?


Sailing can open up new doors and introduce you to amazing life experiences!

... Shut your eyes and imagine ...'You are at the helm the sea is shimmering and the yacht is cutting through the waves like a knife, a fresh breeze fills the sails  and the cares of the world are far behind you... there is nothing like the thrill and the freedom as you realize your dream. 

Exotic islands are in your sight. You are sailing!'

Learn to Sail - 1st step you should take:

Your local Yacht Club usually has different classes you can take so you can learn to sail and they can point you in the right direction of schools with qualified instructors where you can learn to sail and all the basics. Yacht clubs have weekly social sails and there are always skippers looking for crew.

Some times this is a ‘fun race’ other times it is to a destination, like a nearby island. 

Give your nearest yacht club a call tell them you would like to learn to sail and you will be on a yacht in no time.

You don’t need any knowledge, unless it’s a serious racing yacht and I would avoid these until more experienced. These sailing outings are really to see if you like it, and would like to pursue the sport further.

If you are really unsure if you will want to go further with sailing get a few girlfriends  together and hire a yacht ... with a skipper of course ... now that will show you how much fun it can be.

Decided to Get Serious:

When you learn to sail there are so many exciting alternatives, you can start off at a gentle pace learning at weekends from one of the sailing schools in your area.

I would highly recommend a proper sailing school as it is very limiting what you learn on a social sail. 

Most women approach how they learn to sail differently from men, we find guys will teach each other, women often need to overcome common fears or self limiting attitudes.

I learnt to sail off a male sailor, Alan Wright, a very qualified and patient man. He used to say ... “If it’s not fun don’t do it!”

I recently came in contact with Captain Joe Lacey from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with much the same philosophy, and this is what he told me.


“This is my previous experience in training women to sail and operate yachts.

My training style is based upon my belief: "Let's focus on the fun first, the knowledge, skills and desire for sailing will develop from that foundation."

Once I see my students smiling, I know they are developing sailing skills. 

I seem to have a demeanour that keeps women at ease and comfortable. Their sailing skills quickly take root in this atmosphere.

Patience is a big part of it, but I think my greatest strength is my desire to impart my love for sailing to everyone, be they man, women or child.

My special niche that I have developed, if only by reputation, is that many husbands have asked me to train their wives in yacht handling skills.

Obviously, the husbands appreciate the support of having a qualified operator aboard. But secondly, it's important to these husbands that their spouses enjoy yachting.”


It is very important to have the right teacher where you can feel confident and comfortable.

And to top it off you’ve got a whole new nautical lingo to understand, sailing terminology, as I was told ‘sheets aren’t just what you sleep between.’

Few women can successfully learn to sail from their mates, it is far better to take a course. It is also important to learn in an environment of support and empowerment so you can feel safe and confident at sea.

Are sailing schools just for beginners?

Not at all! Some of the most amazing schools available are for seasoned sailors who want to refresh their skills and improve their techniques or under take advanced qualifications.

If you want to develop a career in the marine industry there is no better way than taking a course in the (RYA) Royal Yacht Association courses. For beginners the Competent Crew course and Day Skipper course, progressing onto the Coastal Skipper course.

When you have successfully completed a course you receive a certificate recognized by the international sailing community. Why not look at the schools provided by Sunsail, they are in 29 countries and have been awarded official RYA Training Establishment status providing the highest quality training.

School is not a dirty word when you can go to one of the many amazing sailing grounds in the world for a few days’ maybe weeks and learn to sail while taking in the sites.

Combine Learning & Holidaying:

You can holiday and live aboard totally immersed in the experience while avoiding the trappings of hotel bills and transport. Get a group together and look at the Caribbean or Thailand or the Greek Islands.

In my part of the world there is the Whitsunday Marine Academy. You not only learn how to handle a yacht but you live aboard and enjoy sailing the Whitsunday Islands and see the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. 

If you are already a sailor and wish to know more or maybe acquiring the sea miles needed to qualify for yacht cruising certificates like the Yacht Master; extended coastal passages are great. You can hop aboard a modern cruising yacht or a tall ship such as the Endeavour and travel up the coast of Australia.

There are also some excellent courses in navigation, coastal cruising, seamanship and ocean passages available; some of these run by women for women.

For those passionate about travel and seeing the world many opportunities exist in the super yacht industry. Employment in many different roles can be found from deck hand, cook and other more qualified positions, on a wide variety of luxury craft sailing in some of the most beautiful places on the planet.

But what if you are a beginner, and you have never been aboard a yacht what should you expect?  Why not do your homework so you are not taken by surprize.

"If it’s hard to do… you’re doing it wrong!”

This is New Zealand sailing teacher, Penny Whiting’s golden rule. And I would add …

‘If it ain’t fun don’t do it!’


Sailing School           Yacht Ownership        Aboard a Yacht            Seasickness 





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