Learn To Sail in Airlie Beach

Learning to sail opens a door to a pastime that can last a lifetime. Sailing can be a physically and mentally demanding sport, a means to relax, or a enchanting way of getting from one place to another – even across an ocean. It’s an activity that can be enjoyed from childhood through into retirement.

Whitsunday Sailing Club conduct Learn to Sail courses for both children and adults, utilising Australian Sailing’s Discover Sailing programs. These cover both Dinghies (Tackers 1, 2 and 3, Start Sailing 1 & 2, Better Sailing, Start Racing, Better Racing) and Keelboats (Start Crewing, Start Helming, Start Skippering).

Dinghy courses are generally conducted on Sunday mornings from 8:30 – 11:30.  Additional courses can be conducted should their be sufficient demand.

Keelboat courses are generally conducted on Saturdays from 11:00 – 17:00, and are subject to sufficient number of applicants.

Learn to Sail in a Dinghy

The best way to learn to sail (for both children and adults) is in a dinghy. Dinghies are lightweight and very responsive. Unlike larger yachts, they rely entirely on sailors’ own body weight to balance the boat, giving those learning to sail an excellent feel for how the boat reacts to changes in the wind. Dinghies also respond instantly to any movement of the steering or sail controls.

Best of all, sailing a 60 foot maxi yacht isn’t all that different to sailing a dinghy. Sure, sailing a big boat involves coordinating more people – and the boat might react a little slower – but the principles are exactly the same!

 Get into Keelboat Sailing

Unlike a dinghy, a keelboat (or what you might know as a “yacht”) is balanced by a heavy “keel” attached to the bottom of the boat. The keel acts against the force of the wind to hold the boat upright, with the balance of these forces accounting for the characteristic “lean” that you often see when yachts sail into the wind.

Keelboats are typically sailed by three or more people – sometimes over twenty on large racing yachts.  

Sailing keelboats can be a very social activity, and clubs around Australia usually have boats that would welcome a new crew member willing to learn about sailing.

You do not have to own a boat to go sailing – most boats are looking for additional crew and most owners are happy to assist with training those new to the sport.

Gain Experience Through Racing

The Whitsunday Sailing Club also hosts major off beach and offshore sailing regattas and students can participate as crew in the racing to complement the practical component of courses.