Ocean Elements logo

Do you need help arranging your holiday?

Phone icon
Call one of our experts on 02039498363
Phone icon
Make An Enquiry
Complete our online form
How long are you going for?
Choose Your Departure Date
Where are you going?

Over 12 years old


2 to 12 years old


0 to 23 months old

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 will be sailing solo in your own dinghy, enjoying warm waters and a gentle breeze. It’s a very rewarding lesson, lots of fun and sociable too. Afterwards, you’ll be able to take part in our free programme of daily lessons to improve your skills. If you want some more focussed tuition then try our RYA Level 1 ‘Beginner Sailing’ course. It’s only £69 for 10-12 hours tuition and you’ll go home with an internationally recognised RYA certificate at the end of your stay.

All our Sailing Courses

Our Sailing Dinghies

Dinghy Sailing for Improvers

The essentials

  • Free daily Sailing lessons (all levels)
  • Where: All Centres RYA Level 1 Course: (10-12hrs tuition) £69
  • Ocean Elements ‘Fast Forward’ learning groups
  • Dinghy races and regattas
  • 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

Inclusive tuition

Dinghy Sailing lessons are included in our holidays. If you’re a complete beginner then you’ll need to join our ‘Start Dinghy Sailing’ lesson at the beginning of your week. It’s free to join and you will learn to sail your own boat in your first session, enjoying the warm waters and gentle breezes. You can also join our free ‘Start Windsurfing’ lesson if you’re really keen! These lessons will equip you with the necessary skills to free-sail our great boats and windsurf boards all week, in calm conditions. 

We also include a daily programme of free-and-inclusive lessons for Improving sailors for five days a week. Lessons are delivered by our very own Royal Yachting Association (RYA) instructors and they run for 1 to 1.5 hours a session. They’ll teach lots of great tips to ensure you improve your sailing and enjoy your week to the full; so that by the end of the week you should be a competent light winds sailor.

As well as our free daily lessons, you can also take an RYA course if you’re keen. It will give you more focussed tuition and you can work towards a level of the RYA syllabus and attain your RYA Level 1 qualification. From only £69 for 10-12 hours of tuition they’re great value!

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: 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.

More on Sailing for Beginners

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 daily programme of (free) dinghy sailing lessons will run for five days a week. Beginner lessons run in the mornings when the breeze is light and the sea is flat, allowing you to free-sail our boats for the rest of your day; or join one of our excellent RYA Level 1 courses to further your progression. 

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.

view our beach clubs

Dinghy Cruising

Discover the adventurous world of dinghy cruising whilst on holiday with us. We will offer you the opportunity to take part in our dinghy cruises and enjoy the feeling of longer-distance sailing as you cruise in company to a nearby island or ‘secret-beach’ stopover with instructors and RIB support boats to guide the flotilla.

DInghy cruises generally take place at the middle of the week and they involve all craft from single and double handed boats to family boats with a few crew. 

You will learn about cruise planning, safety and basic navigation along with long distance sailing skills to give you a taste for this truly inspirational past-time. The flotilla will often cruise to another island for a mid-morning stop over, to enjoy a swim or a coffee and ice cream. 

Available in all our centres: Half to 3/4 day.

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

The Best Holiday Ever!

“We came here on our summer holiday for a week. The holiday was one of the (if not the) best holidays I’ve ever been on. All of the staff are so kind and helpful. Always smiling and happy. We learnt to dingy sail over the course of the week where with thanks to Harry our teacher I was able to gain my Level 1 Sailing certificate. Also the ability to use the equipment was a huge bonus as I was able to take out kayaks, paddle boards…”

Trip Advisor Reviewed 5 August 2018

Need help arranging your holiday?

Request a Brochure

Ocean Elements Brochure

View our brochures online or have them delivered to your door.

View Brochures

Groups of 6+ SAVE £££'s

Booking for a group of more than 6 people, get a quote and SAVE.

Recent Blog News

Vassiliki, Your “Must Visit” Summer Destination

Lefkada is the fourth largest island in the Ionian Sea of the Mediterranean. The island is located on the west coast of Greece and connected to the mainland by a large causeway and floating bridge.

Read More

Simon Winkley - Windsurf Coaching Weeks

Simon Winkley is a top windsurfing coach who is a regular out in our Beach Club in Vassiliki. In order to help you to get to know Simon a bit more we met up with him to throw a few questions his way.

Read More