Frequently Asked Questions

Why all the funny words, can't you just use ordinary English words?

Well, some of the time we can and we do.

But some of the time there are good reasons to have specific funny words, often because they are specific to the arrangement of the boat, not the person talking or listening, sometime just because they're easier to hear when it's windy.

See "Words, words, words" for a fuller discussion with some of the important words, and links to the less common or important words.

Won't I be Seasick?

Seasickness is always a risk, but we can usually reduce the risk or avoid it.

Take a look at "Won't I Be Seasick?" for more information.

Do I have to learn knots and things?

Yes, a few. Some you may well already know and they very likely will all be useful to you at some time.

The RYA recommend some and include them in their courses. I have a slightly modified list in "Tying Ourselves In Knots".

Can I try sailing before I spend any money?

Almost certainly, or at least for only a few pounds/dollars.

In the UK, the RYA organises a number of try-a-boat events each year, some boat shows do the same, many sailing clubs will find you a sail if you simply ask nicely.

A sail in a dinghy at a small club will likely be free or "buy me a sandwich and pint when we get back in". In a yacht, the sail will likely be longer and you may have to contribute a bit.

What does it cost?

As little or as much as you're prepared to pay.

Volunteer to crew for someone and you may well pay nothing, or nothing more than your food and perhaps a bottle of something.

Sail with a school or a charter company will probably probably cost a hundred or two pounds a day, but it will likely be full board and educational. You may be asked to help with chores.

Buy a cheap old-ish boat for a small number of hundreds (dinghy) or thousands (yacht) and keep it at a sailing club. Classic Sailor magazine had an article in issue 16 (June/July 2017) of yachts for under £4000 and keep and maintain under £1000 a year.

A few years back I joined a sailing club to keep an 18ft open boat. I didn't have a 'tender', that is a small dinghy to get out to my not very big boat. "OK", they said, "That one over there is spare but it has a hole in it that you'll need to fix, then use it as long as you want". I fixed it, used it for several years, and when we moved on, I gave it back to the club.

Up to how much? Well, £millions if you like, but in that case, this is probably not the website that you want.

Is it dangerous?

Not really, except perhaps at the very competitive end.

There is an odd statistic that distorts things a bit but is quite an entertaining observation, if sad.

You are more likely to drown in your car than in a boating accident.

Bizarre, but true.

Do, though take safety very seriously. We'd like to keep the risks low, please.