28 December 2022
Sailing can be a wonderful hobby for all of the family and is a good way of instilling responsibility and good decision making into children. Sailing can be a good opportunity to learn new skills and make new friends but it does suffer from having a reputation for being something that only the wealthy can afford.
Sailing lessons and equipment can be expensive but a lot depends on whether the child decides to stick at it or not. Like so many children’s activities, sailing can also fall by the wayside as they start to become teenagers and begin to find other young people more interesting than their erstwhile hobbies.
It can definitely feel like a large outlay if it is abandoned once the lessons have been paid for and the relevant equipment has been purchased. On the other hand, if they go on to have a lifelong interest, it is easier to see it as an investment in their future.
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) runs accredited courses and qualifications that are recognised around the world, in the same way that a PADI qualification is for those who are divers.
A RYA Youth Stage 1 two-day course intended as an introduction to sailing costs from £150-£200 per person. This is designed as a taster course or to enable a family member to assist the skipper if they have their own family boat. It is quite intensive and is a great way to determine whether this is an interest to pursue and develop or one to allow to lapse.
Most of the lessons will begin on land with the children being shown how they should sit and how they need to move to turn the boat in the direction they are trying to go, so they will have more confidence when allowed out on the water. They are also taught theory and given practical “on the water” tasks such as tacking against the wind between two set points and learning the ways to communicate with crew mates.
The cost of buying a boat can be anywhere from £1,000 for a small dinghy to tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds for a super yacht. Sailing is a hobby that can scale with the financial means of the families involved.
It can be expensive to buy a boat, even a smaller training one but you also have to weigh the opportunities that a sailing qualification can bring. Accredited sailors have opportunities all around the world to crew yachts and visit exotic places.
It is also worth bearing in mind that sailing is not the only relatively expensive hobby. Even supporting a football team is not without costs, in terms of replica strips, match tickets, even season tickets if you can afford them. The easiest way to explain it is that the costs of supporting a football team scale according to your budget and the same can be said of sailing.