New to sailing?
If you’ve never sailed before, you probably have lots of questions – and we’ve probably heard a lot of them before!
Whether it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, or whether you have recently been inspired, we’ve tried to answer some of the most common ones here.
If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for below, just drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help.
Will I like sailing?
Is sailing safe?
Will I get seasick?
Do you like the idea of spending time on the water with the wind in your hair? Of exploring bays you can only reach by boat? Would you like to gain a greater appreciation of the feats of history’s great explorers, who discovered the far corners of the globe under sail?
If so, there’s a good chance you will like sailing. For us, the moment the engine is switched off and we find ourselves moving along in silence by wind power alone is a moment of magic that just never gets old.
On the whole sailing is a very safe sport. Our yacht Cloud Nine is equipped with safety equipment far in excess of that required by her commercial coding. Dinghy sailing activities always have a safety boat on the water at the same time. All instructors who have qualified through the UK’s Royal Yachting Association (RYA) have been trained to regard safety as the number 1 priority, followed by making sure you have fun and finally to make every attempt to ensure you learn. No boats will go to sea if the conditions are unsafe (and this is a legal requirement for charter yachts in Greece) and your safety is our paramount concern – even if it risks your disappointment!
In all honesty nobody can know in advance. What we can say is that most people don’t. Even if you should suffer a little, it usually goes away after 24 hours and after you have slept on board for a night, once your inner ear has had a chance to adjust to the motion. In any case, we always keep seasickness tablets to hand just in case and the ship’s dog is likely to comfort you too. If you should be unfortunate enough to be one of those rare people who suffers from debilitating seasickness that doesn’t go away after a day or two, you have our sympathy. But don’t worry – you won’t be trapped on board for the rest of the week as we have good contacts with hotels and villas if you feel you have to leave the boat.
Your website refers to "yachts" and "dinghies". What is the difference?
Will I get wet? Will the boat capsize?
Do we sleep on the boat?
Any sailing vessel has a keel extending deep into the water underneath it to counterbalance the forces on the sails. In broad terms, a yacht is a larger and much more stable boat with a fixed keel, with cabins for sleeping, and cooking and toilet facilities on board. A dinghy, on the other hand, is a small, open boat with a lifting keel (called a centreboard) with nothing on board except the mechanics of sailing.
On a yacht, you will normally only get wet from spray and rain. Yachts are designed to tilt over to at least 120° from the vertical and still come upright again by themselves. There’s a saying that the boat will take a lot more punishment than the crew can tolerate.
On a dinghy, like the one in the picture above, you must expect to get wet – but that’s also at least half of the fun! Don’t worry though. You learn very early on how to recover properly from a capsize and there is always a safety boat on the water for assistance.
Absolutely! It’s all part of the experience. And the sunrises and sunsets are just stunning.
What happens if I find I really don't like sailing or living on the yacht?
Can my children come? What age can they start?
I love it! Which type of boat should I learn on?
This is extremely rare, but we have contacts with hotels and villas and you can decamp to dry land if sailing just isn’t for you. And because it’s the Med, you can still have a fantastic time, swimming in the sea, eating and drinking in tavernas, exploring the island – so either way, it’s a no-risk holiday.
Children are very welcome – if they like it, sailing is a healthy activity that they will be able to do all their lives and you will be giving them a great gift. Our youngest ever guest was just 3 years old. Children typically develop the co-ordination and attention to become useful crew members on a yacht from the age of about 7 or 8 (obviously all children are different and you know your children best); the recommended minimum age for the Competent Crew qualification is 12, but again it depends on the child. The RYA has a separate dinghy scheme specifically for children, which they can take from a very young age.
The choice is yours – the physics of sailing doesn’t change, only the scale and the forces. Some people will say you learn to sail better on a dinghy because there is no way to cheat; others will say if your ambition is to sail yachts, you should learn on yachts. The ideal, of course, is to do both! A holiday with us on our yacht is the ideal way to find out whether sailing is for you with no pressure; that way you can decide whether you want to take it further and we can advise you which route to take.
How many hours do I need to learn to sail?
Can I learn to sail on the Swiss lakes?
Anything from a few days to a lifetime! You never stop learning, after all. However, as a rule of thumb, we would expect adults to be able to sail a dinghy independently once they have RYA level 2 after 32 hours/4 days of instruction. This means you are able to launch and recover the boat, sail in the direction you want to go in and recover a capsize. The equivalent level for children is Stage 3.
On yachts the progression is Competent Crew (5 days), Day Skipper theory (4-5 days) then Day Skipper practical (5 days) so technically it is possible to gain the qualification you need to sail independently in a couple of weeks – but this really is the absolute bare minimum and we would always advise you to build up as much experience as you can.
Of course you can, and we can refer you to a reliable partner on Lake Zurich if you like.