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Burghfield Sailing Club
Hangar Road
Berks RG7 4AP

01189 303 604

Is sailing for you?

Is sailing for you?

Is sailing for you?

Should you take up sailing as a pastime, hobby and sport?

Most of the people who are already members of Burghfield Sailing Club would say “YES”, but some of the things to consider before you make that first step are shown below:

Once you have decided that sailing is for you, you will need to:


Do you enjoy being outside?

You need to think very carefully about how much you like being out in the elements:
  • Sunshine
  • Showers
  • Wind
  • Rain
The weather conditions, especially in the UK, can change from marvellous to awful in an instant, and you might be quite a few minutes from the safety of the club shore when they do.

Also, if you hate water or being wet, you should seriously consider not sailing.

Are you up for a challenge?

You can learn the basics of how to sail in one long day or a weekend. You can go on a week-long course (or two or three weekends, or a series of evening classes), and get past the first stage - and even get an RYA certificate to say you can sail.

But, once that initial rush is over, you can then spend the rest of your life learning to sail well.

As a pastime, sailing will consistently challenge you like no other. Sailing has officially been recognised as “the most challenging sport in the world”. Does the thought of this put a grin on your face, or does it make you feel tired already?

Are you prepared to be humbled?

Sailing is a personal challenge and you'll have a lot to learn.

Other people might learn quicker than you - and the ability to learn and to sail well has nothing to do with how much you earn, or job status, or intelligence level, or fitness, or speed of reactions.

If you are the impatient type, this is one pursuit that can turn into an unpleasant chore. If you are patient and open to learning, it will be a joy and great experience - most of the time!

Can you take orders?

Chances are that you will take some lessons, or less formal instruction, from another person. That person may be an instructor, a friend or (worst-case scenario) your Significant Other!

It is crucial that you listen and obey!
Many people have a hard time with one or the other, let alone both. Are you one of those people?

What goals and expectations do you have?

Are you dreaming of circumnavigating the globe next month? Crewing in the America's Cup in two years time? Or sailing for Olympic Gold in four?

Perhaps a more modest goal, such as crewing at a local regatta or helming on your own around all the buoys on the lake, would save you from undue unhappiness and frustration.

But: Keep that dream alive - if you can sail around the lake, you might be able to sail around the UK: Maybe next year!

Have you got the time?

Unless you live right next to the club, you will be spending time getting to a boat, boating and then getting back home again.

If you fall in love with sailing, it can seriously eat into any free time you may currently have. Compare the state of the gardens of any serious sailor with someone who is at home at weekends!

What about money?

This really isn't an issue, at least not yet.
  • Sailing lessons can be had relatively inexpensively, or even for free if you have friends who sail.
  • Joining the club and keeping a boat there for the year is less than a packet of cigarettes a week.
  • Buying your first sailing / racing dinghy might cost anywhere from £200 to £1000, but if you look after the boat you are likely to get back about 75% of that two or three years later.
However, once you get the bug, you can spend a lot more!
A brand new, top-spec, racing dinghy might be between £5,000 and £10,000, but a large, family-sized, ocean cruiser could be 100 times that! Just remember: spending large amounts of money is certainly not needed and is unusual at Burghfield - every year we have winners of the club series whose annual budget is under £500.

Who else is in your life?

This is a big consideration, if you are married or with a partner. The best thing that can happen is that he or she shares your enthusiasm for sailing. The worst thing is that he or she loathes the thought of boats, water or (and don't discount this) not having your undivided attention. You're on your own here, but you'd better give this at least a passing thought.

If you had positive answers for even a few of these questions, get out there and give sailing a try! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Adapted for BSC from an article by Ward Esaak.

Created on 09/05/2007 06:54 PM by Chris Jordan
Updated on 03/05/2015 09:51 PM by Sharon Bullock
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