Why should you learn to sail over doing something else?

by Chris Kameen on March 28, 2013

I have been involved in sailing most of my life and it never ceases to amaze me the opportunities that sailing has given me, and yet when I searched the internet for an article on why people should take up sailing I was surprised that I was unable to find something. There seemed to be many articles telling you how to get involved but not why! so I thought I’d try and write one!

The three F’s lead to one! Freedom, Friends and Family lead to Fun:

Freedom: You may remember the freedom that you gained when you learnt to drive and got your first car – the opportunities were endless and so it is with sailing. Learning to sail allows you to go and discover fantastic new places – some of which may only be half an hour from your home but inaccessible by car, some may be remote islands in the middle of the ocean. In the same way that learning to drive opened up opportunities for careers that may not have been accessible, where driving is a necessity, so sailing opens up a plethora of opportunities – there are 29,000 people employed in the Marine Industry in Australia alone, and this doesn’t include the many Australians that work or race on foreign registered boats around the world. Recent changes in the Marine Industry have meant that sailing experience and qualifications gained in the recreational sector, can lead to Commercial Qualifications.

Friends: Sailing is a giant network of people with a shared passion which has historically attracted high achievers. You won’t meet many sailors who aren’t self motivated and have a passion for life. Meeting these people is easy once you have learnt to sail. Just the other week we had decided to go for a cruise up the coast, but a strong wind forecast kept us in the harbour. We ended up meeting some like-minded people with whom we rafted up sharing wine, food and stories. This was not an unusual occurrence. Sailing clubs are full of like minded people – that is the purpose of a club, and there are many excellent clubs around the country. However you shouldn’t expect every club to be the same – the trick is to find the people that you want to hang out with. The friends that I have made over the last 25 years are friends for life, these are friends that I have made racing as a youngster, through to University and then cruising and racing as I’ve got older. We don’t necessarily stay in touch regularly but I know that if one of these people were to be in the area for a few days we would do our best to catch up and have a great time.

Family: Sailing is nearly unique in that you can take up the sport at any age and that it can offer equal opportunity to boy, girl, mum, dad, grandma or grandpa. The sport is diverse enough to allow the excitement and thrills and spills of dinghy racing and sailing for the youngsters and those with a more athletic capability through to gentle relaxation and cruising on the harbour. Disability is not an inhibitor for sailing and with modifications available most disabilities can be catered for on a sailing boat. It is a multi generational sport and it is not uncommon for boats that are racing to have 18 year olds racing with 65 year olds and everything in between. In terms of life experience could you want anything better than this for a rounded life experience?

Fun: All of this hopefully looks and sounds like fun – it is. For so many people sailing is their way of winding down – it can be both relaxing and challenging – you set the boundaries. Above all it’ll make you smile and that is what it is about.

Isn’t it expensive?

Let’s dispel this myth right away – sailing is as expensive or as inexpensive as you want to make it… you can do it for free or you can spend millions, it all depends upon how motivated you are! The cheapest way of getting into the sport is to crew for somebody else.. most yacht clubs and sailing clubs are crying out for new members and sailors to fill the boats that are already sailing. This method can be a bit hit and miss as you may not necessarily learn the best techniques and may require some perseverance. A more guaranteed fun way to approach sailing is to do an accredited sailing course with a sailing school such as Sydney Sailing School.

The professional instructor will teach the correct methodology and ensure that you have an enjoyable experience and can then point you in the right direction with regards joining clubs or getting on to race boats if that is your thing. Depending upon the type of boat that you are going to learn on – 16 hour courses will start at around $400 for kids and rise to $800 or so for adults learning on bigger yachts. Most sailing schools will also offer short taster sessions for considerably less.

1 http://www.austrade.gov.au/Marine-overview/default.aspx

Previous post:

Next post: