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Dinghy Sailing for Beginners

If you’ve never set foot on a boat before then you’ve got a lot to get excited about! Dinghy sailing is a lot of fun and not as hard as you might think – especially when our very own, and rather brilliant, RYA (Royal Yachting Association) instructors are on hand to help you every step of the way. 

Join our free ‘Start Sailing’ lesson and as a complete beginner, you should be sailing solo in your own dinghy after your first morning, enjoying the warm waters and a gentle breeze, which is how a typical day in our Mediterranean paradise starts.

Sailing Tuition all Centres

Our Sailing Dinghies

Level 2 Dinghy Sailing

The essentials

  • Free ‘Start Sailing’ lesson (3hrs)
  • Where: All Centres 
  • RYA Level 1 Course: (10-12 hrs tuition) £69 
  • Ocean Elements ‘Fast Forward’ learning groups
  • Small groups: 6:1 instructor ratio
  • Under 13’s: join our free Kids Clubs 
  • 8-13’s: Try our RYA Youth Squad
  • The finest RYA teaching standards

Your free ‘Start Sailing’ lesson

  • A free 3 hr beginner sailing lesson
  • A free 3 hr beginner windsurfing lesson
  • Available at all centres
  • 3 hours tuition* 

What to expect

We’ll start with a short, shore-based introduction on how to use the boat controls and very soon after you’ll be on a boat, setting off in warm waters and a light morning breeze. It’s an exciting time and most of you will be sailing in all directions, in light winds and solo in your own boat after your first ‘Start Sailing’ lesson with us. 

You should then be equipped with the skills to ‘free-sail’ our great range of boats (on your own) for the rest of your week, in light conditions. Our beach team will still be on hand to help you rig and get launched throughout the week, and our safety-support boats will always be on hand when you sail. 

‘Start Sailing’ lessons are free, but please pre-book them before you travel, which is easy to do. They will run on day one or two of your holiday. If you’d like more tuition, then try our Level 1 RYA course for a special guest price from only £6.90 an hour!

RYA Level 1 ‘Start Sailing’ course

  • RYA Level 1 course – £69
  • 10-12 hours tuition over 2-4 days
  • Available at all centres
  • Ocean Elements ‘Fast Forward’ learning groups
  • Small group sizes: (6 students max)
  • Ability after the course: Able to sail in light winds
  • Book before you depart (recommended) or on arrival 

What you’ll learn

After taking part in our free ‘Start Sailing’ lesson, it’s a great time to move up a gear and get some focussed tuition from our team. The Level 1 RYA course is very practical and almost all of it is enjoyed on-the-water with lots of sailing in fair conditions. 

By the end of the course, you’ll have learned how to sail in all directions, in light winds and shared some great times on the water with other guests. We'll cover rigging of kit, launching and landing and a little bit of theory to bring it nicely together. You could also come away with your RYA Level 1 Start Sailing certificate. 

Level 1 is spread over 2 to 4 days (10-12 hours tuition) with lots of opportunities to free-sail and practice in between. The paid-for element of this course is 7-9 hours and will follow on from our (free) 3-hour ‘Start Sailing’ lesson which you’ll need to attend.

Courses are for ages 14+. Under 13’s can join our free kids club (5 days) with sailing and windsurf tasters; 8-12’s can join our Youth Squad for dedicated tuition.

More on Sailing Tuition

What’s the course like?

Level 1 dinghy sailing is an exciting course! It’s easy for all fitness levels (young and old) and our instructors always make it fun and enjoyable. We operate our ‘Fast Forward’ group sessions with 6 students (max) to 1 instructor which quickens the learning curve. You’ll progress at your own pace and enjoy making new sailing friends in our sociable learning groups.

We run this course during the mornings, in calm conditions. After a short session of shore-based training using a simulator to learn basic boat controls it’s out on the water where the excitement begins, with a support boat and instructor always close by. Sailing in warm water using our modern and up-to-date kit with lots of support from our team means you’ll progress very quickly and be sailing your own boat solo from the start. 

After your course, you’ll be able to sail a dinghy solo in light winds. You’ll also receive an RYA Level 1 ‘Start Sailing’ qualification. If you’re staying for two weeks, then why not take your Level 2 as well?

Top notch instructors

Over the last ten years, we’ve taught thousands of guests to learn to sail. It’s our energetic, top-notch team of British RYA instructors that make it all so great! They run sociable group learning sessions with a priority on fast progression and fun, using the Ocean Elements ‘Fast Forward’ learning principles. 

All our centres have the right conditions and the best dinghies to enable fast progression and we love teaching people to sail. After all, it’s what we do best; and perhaps why we scored 98% ‘Excellent’ from our client surveys from 2018.

So, whether you’re a budding young helm, (the next Ben Ainslee?), or a 70-year-old beginner (yes, we have those too) then we’ll return you home a fully-fledged RYA Dinghy Sailor.

View our Sailing Dinghies

Where’s best to learn?

All our resorts offer perfect conditions for beginner sailors, where reliable winds and warm, waist-deep waters (along with our free tuition!) help to quicken the learning curve.

Learning has never been easier with our up-to-date kit and expert RYA instructors. We run beginner courses in all our centres and they’re very good value, you’ll get lots out of them and meet many other like-minded guests to share the good times with.

All our beach clubs are ideal for beginners. Try Nautica Bay in Porto Heli (which is our Specialist Sailing Centre) and the Surf Hotel in Vassiliki for a great range of kit and tuition.

View our Beach Clubs

Private tuition

Our holidays include enough tuition to get started. However, you may prefer some extra, more focused tuition, either as a ‘1-on-1 or ‘1-on-2’ session to take alongside (or instead of) a full RYA course. ‘Privates’, as we call them, will help you focus on a specific technique or skill and is very valuable when coupled with lots of time on the water to practice what you’ve learnt. Privates are available as a paid-for extra in resort and they start at £34 per hour with support boat cover.

The very best Instructors

Our friendly team of British instructors are all fully qualified RYA (Royal Yachting Association) professionals. They are on hand to help you rig-up and launch, teach sailing groups, give advice, tips and guidance for all levels from beginner to advanced. They play an active role both on and off the water in all parts of your holiday, so outside of lessons they’re fun and approachable and love to be bought a beer in the bar after your epic sailing lesson!

What to wear or bring

  • Plenty of sun cream
  • Shorts you can get wet in and either a quick dry T-shirt or Rash Vest
  • Do wear sunglasses (preferably with an elasticated band) 
  • Some sailors wear a sun hat or cap for extra protection.
  • Some sailors bring sailing gloves, but they are not essential for learners
  • No need for wetsuits (the water is too warm)
  • Bring dinghy hikers if you have them
  • We supply buoyancy aids.
Top tip:

We do sell sailing gloves and rash vests or quick dry T-Shirts at our centres

Fantastic Holiday!

“The hotel is right on the beach and has its own sunbeds for guest use. The main reason for going was the sailing and we have nothing but praise for the Ocean Elements staff, right from airport pickup they were friendly and helpful. The watersports on offer were varied and whilst there was always someone there to assist you we never felt we were pushed into anything. The intention was for my husband to attend the RYA level 1 course and for me to sunbathe and read books. Once I saw the set up and felt the genuine enthusiasm of all the staff, I decided to have a go as well. I am a large lady with no previous experience but the staff never made me feel uncomfortable and were always encouraging and full of praise. Thanks in particular to Tom and Josh for getting me through my level one. We will definitely be back next year for level 2 !!”

Jan Pope, travelled as a couple

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