By the end of this introductory course you will have a basic understanding of how a boat sails. You will gain some experience of steering and basic boat handling.
At PDSSA we take this course in a variety of small dinghies. You may be sailing single handed, in a two man boat with another beginner or in a crewed boat with an instructor on board. We will decide which boats to use based on the forecast and your level for adventure. Whichever boat you’re in one of our qualified and experienced dinghy Instructors will be close by watching and helping you through the course activities.
Pre – requisites
- Experience – None
- Knowledge – None
- Specialist Equipment & Clothing – None
- Age – Generally 8+. We will assess younger individuals based on confidence, attention and accepting instruction, ability on/around water and previous experience prior to accepting them onto a course.
- Parental/Guardian Permission for under 18 year olds
- Confidence In and Around Open Water
- Can assist with rigging a boat
- Can launch a dinghy and get underway with instruction
- Can secure a boat to a trolley
- Can assist with recovery and stowage of dinghy and gear
- Can tie a figure of eight knot and cleat a halyard
- Can be a responsive crew under instruction *
- Can steer when sailing and being towed
- Can steer on a reach and go about (reach to reach)
- Understands the effect of basic boat controls
- Understands the basic principles of stopping, controlling speed and getting out of irons
- Can paddle or row ( with sprit, paddle or oars)
- Can call for assistance
- Can put on personal buoyancy correctly
- Is confident in the water wearing personal buoyancy
- Understands personal safety and knows what to wear for sailing
- Understands the importance of staying with the boat
- Can name basic parts of a boat
- Understands what action to take to help others in distress
- Understands local hazards
- Understands how to prepare for a tow
- Has knowledge of wind direction
We can provide you with a wetsuit, spray top and buoyancy aid. Our sizes range from Junior Extra Small to Adult Extra Large.
We will expect you to bring the following items:
- Swimsuit to wear under a wetsuit
- Rash vest or thin T-shirt to wear under a wetsuit if your swimsuit doesn’t cover the top half
- Wet shoes such as wet suit boots, dinghy boots, old trainers which give rugged foot protection. We have found that open toe footwear and crocs are not suitable as they either fall off too easily, have no grip when wet or could lead to serious foot injury. Garden wellies are not suitable for sailing courses either
- Towel and wash gear to shower and dry afterward if required.
- Food and drink. Most of our courses run over two full days so bring enough to eat and drink each day. It’s a good idea to take a drink bottle afloat. These can be carried in an accompanying safety boat for you.
- Sun glasses if it’s bright…make sure you have a retaining strap too.
- Hat, beanie or cap especially on very sunny or cooler days.
- Sun protection lotion. We recommend a water resistant lotion with a SPF50 rating.
- Enthusiasm to learn!!
Optionally a pair of sailing gloves to protect your hands and fingers would be useful and helps protect your hand and fingers from blistering when wet and working with dinghy sheets, lines and other ropework. These are relatively cheap and can be purchased on-line or locally at one of the boat chandleries.
If you’re getting in it to win it the fitter you are the better. You’ll be able to sail some very extreme sailing boats with adequate training and experience.
However if you’d prefer a more sedentary pace your fitness level will be fine as long as you can safely move from one side of a small, moving boat to the other.
Of course if your ability means you are able to move around and you can get from one side of the boat to the other safely then our larger regular boats are there for any of our standard sailing courses.
We’d obviously love to have a chat with you first to gauge the best options but are sure we can get you afloat.
Payment by Paypal is also possible by special arrangement with the centre manager. An additional fee is payable to cover the additional transaction costs we incur from Paypal.
Plymouth & Devon Schools Sailing Association
WARNING: Don’t use the postcode on a sat nav to find us….you won’t !!
You’ll find us at the southern end of the Barbican Wharves between the Barbican Landing stage, The Old White House on the end of Pheonix Wharf and Elphinstone car park. All of this below the south eastern quarter of the Royal Citadel. Check us out on the map here and on our contact page.