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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, Royal Yachting Association (RYA) instructors are on hand to help you every step of the way.

Join our free ‘Start Sailing’ lesson on your first morning. During this first session you should be sailing solo in your own dinghy, enjoying warm waters and a gentle breeze. It’s a very rewarding lesson, lots of fun and very sociable. Then you’ll be able to take part in our free programme of daily lessons. If you want some more focussed tuition then try our RYA Level 1 ‘Beginner Sailing’ course (only £69 for 10-12 hours tuition) and you’ll go home with a new Internationally recognised RYA certificate at the end of your stay.

The Essentials

  • Free daily Sailing lessons - beginner to Intermediate
  • Where: All Centres
  • RYA Level 1 Course: (10-12hrs tuition) £69
  • Ocean Elements ‘Fast Forward’ learning groups
  • Under 13’s: join our free Kids Clubs
  • 8-13’s: Try our RYA Youth Squad
  • The finest RYA teaching standards
  • Lots of great boats for you to sail


All our Sailing Courses

Our Sailing Dinghies

Dinghy Sailing for Improvers

Inclusive tuition

Dinghy Sailing lessons are included in our holidays. You will learn to sail on all points, enjoying the warm waters and gentle breezes, which is how a typical day in paradise starts. As a complete beginner then you’ll need to make use of our comprehensive ‘Start Dinghy Sailing’ lesson at the beginning of your week. It’s free and inclusive, and you can even join our ‘Start Windsurfing’ lesson if you’re really keen! These lessons will equip you with the necessary skills to free-sail our great boats, (and beginner boards), all week, in calm conditions.

We also provide a daily programme of free-and-inclusive lessons for Improvers which you’ll be able to join after you’ve completed your ‘Start Dinghy Sailing’ lesson. Lessons are delivered by our very own Royal Yachting Association (RYA) instructors and they run 5 days a week for 1 to 1.5 hours a session. They’ll teach lots of great tips to ensure you enjoy sailing to the full, doing your first tacks and even your first gybes. By the end of it you should be a competent light winds sailor.

As well as our free daily lessons - you can top-up with an RYA course (Levels 1-4) to get even more focussed tuition, and to work towards a level of the RYA syllabus. From only £69 for 10-12 hours of tuition we reckon they’re pretty good value at only £6.90 an hour!

More on Tuition >

RYA Level 1 'Start Sailing' course

  • RYA Level 1 course – £69
  • 10-12 hours tuition* over 2-4 days
  • That's equivalent to £6.90 per hr!
  • Available: at all centres
  • Ocean Elements ‘Fast Forward’ Learning groups
  • Small group sizes: (6 students max)
  • Book before you depart or on arrival
  • Ability after the course: Able to sail in light winds

If you would like some more focussed tuition during your week, (to add to our daily programme of free tuition), and work towards a level of the RYA syllabus, this course could be for you. These courses run in smaller group sizes and follow the Ocean Elements Fast Forward coaching technique. Afterwards, you’ll have earned a new RYA sailing qualification and made some great sailing friends along the way.

It’s a very practical course and almost all of it is enjoyed on-the-water with lots of sailing in fair conditions. By the end of it, you’ll have learned how to sail confidently to a chosen point and back, in light winds, and shared some great times on the water with fellow guests. We'll also cover rigging, launching and recovery and a little bit of theory to bring it all together. Courses are for ages 14+. Under 13's can join our free kid's club for sailing and windsurfing tasters.


What's the course like?

Level 1 Dinghy Sailing is an exciting course and it’s easy for all fitness levels (young and old) to join in. Our instructors make it fun and enjoyable and we use our ‘Fast Forward’ coaching techniques with small group sizes (6 students to 1 instructor) to help quicken the learning curve. You’ll progress at your own pace whilst making new sailing friends in our sociable learning groups.

We run the course in the mornings, in calm conditions, often after our free daily sessions have ended. Most of the course is out on the water and your instructor and a support boat is always close by. Our modern and up-to-date boats makes learning fun and easy.

After your course, you’ll be able to windsurf in light winds and have earned your RYA Level 1 ‘Dinghy Sailing’ certificate. If you’re staying for two weeks, then try your Level 2 as well.


The very best RYA Instructors

Over the last ten years, we’ve taught thousands of guests to learn to windsurf and sail. It’s our energetic, top-notch team of British RYA instructors that make it all so great! They run sociable learning groups using the Ocean Elements ‘Fast Forward’ learning principles. All our centres have the right conditions and kit to help you progress and we love teaching people to sail. Perhaps that’s why our instructors scored 98% ‘Excellent’ from our client surveys from 2018.

We pick our staff for their friendly and outgoing natures and they’re always on hand to help you rig up, get launched and teach you some tips - whether you’re in a lesson or not!

Where's best to learn?

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

Learning has never been easier with our modern and up-to-date boats, kept in tip-top shape to help make learning easier, and sailing more satisfying. Our Start Dinghy Sailing lessons take place in the mornings when the breeze is light and the sea is flat, allowing you to either free-sail our boats for the rest of your day or join one of our excellent RYA Level 1 courses to further your progression. All our resorts follow the same weather pattern.

The hotel Nautica Bay in Porto Heli. is our specialist dinghy sailing centre and has the greatest range of kit. But all our centres are ideal for beginners, especially Surf Hotel in Vassiliki which is similarly well-stocked and has lovely calm morning conditions.

What to wear and bring

  • Wear shorts you can get wet
  • Wear a quick dry T-shirt or Rash Vest (can buy these locally from us)
  • Do wear sunglasses (can buy an elasticated band, locally from us)
  • Do wear plenty of sun cream
  • Some sailors wear a sun hat or cap for extra protection
  • No need for wetsuits - the water is very warm - even in May!
  • We supply buoyancy aids and helmets for kids

Top tip:
We sell sailing gloves, rash vests, quick dry T-Shirts, sunglasses bands at all our centres

Fantastic Holiday!

“The hotel is right on the beach and has its own sunbeds. 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 intention was for my husband to attend the RYA Level 1 course and for me to sunbathe and read books. Once I saw the setup 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."

Jan Pope, travelled as a couple


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