Approximately 600,000 people go sailing the the UK each year and this figure is on the increase following the success of the Olympics and the GB sailing team in 2012. Sailing is a super activity for the whole family, it is great fun, combining team work with exercise and ensuring that everyone sleeps well after all that fresh air.
If you are considering joining the 600,000 and buying a boat, the RYA website is a great starting point. The Royal Yachting Association is the governing body of the sport in the UK and they oversee racing, training and the accreditation of instructors. You may only want to take part in sailing on a purely recreational basis; however there is a plethora of information available on the internet. Once you have done your research the next place to visit is either the Southampton or Earls Court Boat Show, here you can talk to the experts, go aboard your dream boat, discover what your budget can actually afford and learn some of the more technical information required before you set sail. Alternatively, go on a boating holiday to get the hang of how things work, bearing in mind that the weather in the UK may be slightly more inclement that it was in Turkey! If there is a sailing club near to you then go along and talk to the members to get further information, and maybe even the invitation of a trip out. Finally, there are a number of sailing related magazines, most of which have boats for sale to give you an idea of prices.
The cost of the boat is the main outlay, however mooring / marina costs, maintenance costs, boat insurance and diesel costs should all be carefully considered. A boat, whether it be an ocean going top of the range yacht or a 20 foot weekend toy, much like a car, has on-going costs i.e. servicingYou should also consider the type of ‘sailor’ you intend to become, will you be out in all seasons and all weathers or will you become a fair weather sailor? This is again should be taken into account when considering the financial aspects of becoming a boat owner.
In terms of the initial outlay this can be likened to buying a Ford or a Ferrari. The sky really is the limit as Roman Abramovich’s $1.5 billion yacht demonstrates. The type of craft that you are interested in needs to be narrowed down by considering the type of use that you hope to have from your boat. Are you planning fishing trips with the boys or using the boat as a holiday option in which case you will need decide on how many berths you require.
The RYA publishes a book which focusses purely on buying a boat and the RNLI have written a check list of safety options. The RYA also run courses on various types of boats. Although there is not MOT for boats or driving license for their owners, understanding the basics of sailing is imperative and vitally important in terms of safety.
If this hasn’t put you off yet then there’s always the terminology and knots!!