You don’t have any plans for the next summer vacation and you live by or near a lake? Then sailing can be just right for you. Summer, water and wind – cool people on top of that. That’s exactly your thing? Then the next vacation will be a highlight that you will remember for a long time! Would you like to put your plan into practice and don’t know how – here are some tips.
What you need to know to become a sailor
Around every lake there are a number of sailing clubs or sailing schools that offer sailing courses or even camps for kids and teenagers, especially during the summer holidays. Here it is important that you find out which club or school is suitable for you and which offering best suits your needs. Do you want to start with theory first or do you want to gain practical sailing experience right away? First, ask around in your circle of acquaintances, maybe you already know friends who can already sail or who want to learn or try it out like you do.
Is it difficult to learn to sail?
You have to learn a few important details in any case – here it is a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience that will make you a good sailor. The first thing on the plan is “Safety first” before you can set sail. The most important requirement for sailing is: You definitely have to be able to swim well. You will learn what is important for you, your ship and your fellow sailors. Then sailing becomes a unique experience and is not particularly dangerous. The ideal entry-level ship for children and young people between the ages of 6 and 15 is the Optimist (“Opti” for short) – with a sail area of 3.5 m², a length of 2.30 meters, and a weight of approx. 35 kilograms . The Opti is operated by just one sailor – this is called “one-handed” and helps you to quickly learn the most important hand movements.
How fit do you have to be when sailing?
Like any other sport, sailing requires a good basic level of fitness. In addition, a lot of mental strength and emotional intelligence is required. You’ll be exposed to situations on the water where you’d better stay cool and know what to do rather than panic. This is important, for example, when your ship gets into stormy seas for the first time or when you might capsize.
How much time do I have to invest before I am a sailor?
That depends entirely on your personal goals. Do you just want to sail a small dinghy safely from A to B, do you have regatta ambitions or maybe you even want to sail a large yacht? Let’s start with the opit – that’s cool and here you can lay an important foundation for your sailing life. Being able to sail an Opit is possible within a few weeks – of course it depends on you and your previous knowledge. Above all, one thing is important: You should really enjoy sailing. Of course it gets exhausting and there is a lot to learn. At the end of the day it is always important to look back really happy and fulfilled on your sailing day – so you always have something positive and of course interesting to tell at home and with your friends.
Is sailing actually a sport that costs a lot of money?
Of course, all limits are open upwards – a simple beginners’ sailing course is neither time-consuming nor overly costly. If you really want to get into the regatta scene, you of course need a lot of time to train and money and/or sponsors for a ship, your personal equipment and the participation fees for the regattas. Some of the regattas are also not at “your” lake – then there are additional travel and accommodation costs.
How do I get into the regatta scene?
It depends on your ability and willingness. So it is 100% up to you how and if you ever take part in a regatta. There are plenty of national and international youth regattas for the Opti. But of course you need some practice, experience and of course ambition to take part in a regatta. You will be surprised how big the offering is. Here it is important that you look for sailing friends as early as possible who have similar ambitions as you. Then you can quickly put together a good team of sailors and potential regatta participants and you will have a lot of fun sailing together.
Which regattas are right for me?
Here, too, is only up to you – all options are open! Fun regattas organized by your sailing school or organized by your sailing club are of course suitable as a starting point. As a further step, you should check the regattas of neighboring clubs – there is great potential for competitice battles there. Building on this, there are regattas on other lakes or the regattas that are offered in your boat class association. If you are unsure about this, please ask your sailing school or your sailing club board. They should have a great overview of all the possibilities!
Are there opportunities to train for regattas?
Yes of course – no champion ever fell from heaven. Before you take part in a regatta, you should have taken part in a test run. What does that mean exactly? You should be familiar with the starting procedure, the regatta rules and the course that you and your crew have to sail. Here it is very important to study the regatta announcement carefully and to familiarize yourself with the special features. It is best to exchange ideas with other Opti sailors and benefit from chats with your sailing friends.