Why oh why?
With wetsuits available from every local supermarket, initiatives like the RYA’s Push the Boat Out to introduce a new audience, YouTube videos to teach any and every skill you could possible want (or not!) and high street sporting stores even starting to offer inflatable sailing dinghies - there has never been a simpler route to accessing the UK’s waters, getting a taste of sailing and then allowing personal experience to progress your skills. So with all that on offer, plus plenty of club racing programmes for the more initiated, why would you want to take an RYA sailing course?
The real question is, why wouldn't you?
The simple answer is why not? It could potentially speed up your next steps, introduce a new skill and resultant possibilities or reinvigorate a waning passion. No matter what age you are or your existent experience level you can always take something from some external input and time to push yourself safe in the knowledge that there is someone at hand to encourage and pop you back upright if you fall over. Obviously if you are taking your first steps it’s a fairly simple argument to gain some more tuition but what about those who are already competent sailors?
For our junior sailing an RYA course offers the opportunity to widen the scope of their sailing experience. Most club activity focuses on and around the race course and a training course can often be the opportunity to cement skills away from a pressure to perform, where often technique is secondary and seamanship is rarely needed! It can also provide a platform and confidence when transitioning between classes – for example the RYA Stage 4 is all about moving single handed techniques to crewed dinghies, and the RYA Performance Sailing and RYA Sailing with Spinnakers courses are all about introducing boats and equipment that go faster and are more complex to get the best out of. A residential RYA training course is also a great opportunity to gain a D of E element or foster a greater sense of independence and problem solving.
The story for older sailors is very similar. Sailing is a very broad sport and an RYA sailing course or conversion can help transfer an existing dinghy knowledge into multihulls or keelboats, introduce the basics of racing via the RYA Start Racing course to demystify the various elements and enable a sailor to feel confident engaging with their local club fleet and getting more time on the water.
Finally for those who are aspirant RYA Instructors, though not a pre requisite, it is important that sailors have been through the RYA syllabus and understand how courses are structured and the flow of information is passed from coach to student.
The simplest question is to ask what is stopping you getting on the water even more, what would excite you to learn and you’ll no doubt find an RYA course that will help you achieve this goal. You'll enjoy the experience of being on the water alot more knowing that you have been properly armed with all the knowledge and skills thanks to your RYA tuition!