Frequently Asked Questions

If the answers below don’t provide the information you are looking for and you still have questions please feel free to ask us directly.

What is the best way to Learn?

The best way to learn to sail is to book yourself on one of the club training courses.  See below for details.

Would I like sailing?

If you want to try sailing, to see if you like it, we can arrange a Taster session for you. There is a small charge. This a good way to give it a go, especially  if you are thinking of sailing as a family activity.

Can anyone sail?

You do not need to be fit or able-bodied to sail, There is a whole range of boats, and you should be able to find one to suit your sailing needs. If you cannot swim, do not sail alone – just make sure your instructor or companion is aware. It is helpful if you are “water confident” . The club can accommodate sailors with  disabilities within the terms of our Sailability Foundation statement.

What about children?

 Children as young as 7+ can sail small boats. Club volunteers run “Ops’n’Tops”, a junior group to get member’s children sailing, on Saturday mornings from May to September.  Junior windsurfing runs in the afternoons, and many do both.  Parents need to be on site to help with these activities.

What organisations will help me?

Locally, Rossendale Valley Sailing Club is your best source of advice. Sailing’s national governing body is the Royal Yachting Association, who can provide a wealth of information.

Is sailing expensive?


Sailing is not an expensive activity, unless you choose to race at the highest level! Second-hand boats can be bought very cheaply , but check the advice on choosing a boat, below. You do not have to have your own craft to start sailing at RVSC.  Many boats need two or more people to sail them, so finding opportunities to sail on someone else’s boat is a possibility.


Specialist sailing clothing can seem a little expensive, but again you do not have to own any, or buy brand new to start. After a little experience, you’ll get to know what gear suits your sailing.


Typically, in your first year, a family of Mum, Dad and two kids will spend about £500 on membership, courses,  and clothing.  Another £500 or so buys a suitable, sound older boat. Well-maintained boats can last for many years. After that, the costs of club membership, boat insurance and sundry maintenance items come out around £200 a year.

Try a few different boats, and when you think you’re ready for a boat of your own, our members can help you choose, and to avoid the common pitfalls.

Do I need to join a sailing club?

 If you wish to sail frequently, you will probably find it easiest to join your local club. Additionally, being part of a club like RVSC puts you in contact with some very experienced sailors who can offer advice as your sailing interests develop. The club runs a number of courses through the winter that all sailors would find useful

Will I get cold and wet?

You’ll probably get splashed a bit unless the weather is calm. The proper clothing  will keep you warm and dry so there is no need to shiver. Initially, you’ll just need the sort of clothing that you’ve probably already got for walking and other outdoor pursuits. In strong winds, small dinghies may tip over,(capsize) quite safely, and dunk you in the water, but you’ll be taught to deal with that as part of a sailing course, and we don’t run courses for beginners when there is a chance this might happen.  All boats will lean over with the wind, but keelboats (see below) do not tip right over.

Is sailing dangerous?

Sailing has a very good safety record, and even racing the fastest boats, injuries are incredibly rare. Checking the weather forecast and before launching makes it easy to stay as safe as you want to.

Will I feel sick?

Some people may feel sea-sick if sailing a larger boat on the sea in waves, but in smaller boats and on Clowbridge Reservoir, it is very unlikely anyone will feel sick

Will it take a long time to learn?

Like any new sport, sailing has strange new skills and terminology to learn. You can certainly spend a lifetime progressing to the highest levels, but after an hour or so most beginners can sail along happily, building up to sailing a dinghy alone after a day or two.

What about racing?

Sailing around just for fun is called cruising, but many people like to try racing too. The sense of competition is exciting, but beginners may not enjoy the shouting that sometimes accompanies it . There is no referee in a dinghy race.  If you get shouted at, it normally just indicates urgency and is to point out something important to other competitors.  Don’t get upset, you’ll soon learn enough about the basic rules to shout back!

Why do people like sailing?

It’s fun! Sailing can be as fast and exciting as you like – or as gentle and relaxing as you like. Racing against others gives great competition, or you can use a boat to explore an area of water. You’ll also meet new friends, and maybe get fitter.


What else do I need to know?

It is helpful to know the basic difference between a dinghy and a yacht: Dinghies are light boats between 2 to 5 metres long, for one to three people to fit in. They are meant to be taken out of the water after a day’s sailing. They can be fast and exciting, or gentler for beginners and families. Yachts (also called keelboats) are bigger than this, and heavier, which makes them more stable. They may need several people on board, and are suitable for a short day sail, or a trip around the world, depending on their size and design.