Our training takes place on Saturdays throughout the sailing season and is aimed at those with little or no sailing experience. In addition, children with sufficient experience to sail confidently on their own are free to join in with the Cadet group on Saturday mornings where they will learn more advanced techniques.

New Members Welcome

Anyone thinking about joining our sailing club and learning to sail with us will be welcome to call in to the club any weekend from April to October. We will show you around the club, talk about training and arrange a taster session where you will have the chance to try out sailing for about one hour. There is no charge for this.

There is usually an open day in early May where anyone can come to look around the club, meet existing members and have one or more taster sailing sessions. Because there may be a wait for your sailing session we provide canoes and surf boards, used under supervision, to have some water based fun. There is no charge for this.

Training Overview

If you have tried out sailing and decided that this is a sport that you do want to take part in then you will need to join our club and sign up for sail training. Membership fees are shown on the website and there is a Family membership. Members currently enjoy free training which includes the use of club boats during their first year of membership together with an RYA logbook and  coursebook.

It will take about one hundred hours for you to learn to sail to a standard where you will feel competent to join in our club racing or be able to use a sailing dinghy on holiday. At Bassenthwaite SC we aim to give new members this experience during their first summer, between May and September. This means that you will be spending between four and six hours each week sailing in a dinghy.

Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Training

Bassenthwaite Sailing Club is a registered RYA Training Centre so its instructors are RYA qualified, we follow the RYA syllabus and our boats and facilities are subject to annual inspection by the RYA.

There are slightly different programs for adults and youth. The basic youth programme has four stages whilst the adult one has three stages. They cover the same information and skill building. (After the basic sailing programme we then run a ‘Start Racing Course’which is the same for adults or youths.)

Bassenthwaite Sailing Club has a fleet of RS Tera sailing dinghies which are ideal for youths ages 9 to 15. We have two RS Vision dinghies for introductory sail training and six Laser (ILCA) dinghies for those 16 and over. We also have access to a variety of other boats for younger youths and more advanced courses. The RS Tera and Laser are recommended “pathway” boats where the RYA and the class associations provide regional and national quality coaching to help sailors get better quickly. You may be aware that the Laser is one of the boats raced in the Olympics.

We provide students with buoyancy aids (obligatory at all times when on the water) and helmets (obligatory for children, discretionary for adults).

Students will need to buy a close fitting wet suit, covering body arms and legs, neoprene boots, thermal shirt or fleece and a spray top.

Booking Courses and Making Payment

Please e-mail our Training Coordinator Anthony Woodyer ([email protected])

There is no charge for a taster session, the annual open day or the first day of your course.

If you decide that sailing is a sport that you wish to learn then you will have to pay a full summers fee.


  1. Attendance
    • Each session of the training will cover items from the RYA syllabus. Courses are built around attendance on every day of the course. If you miss sessions then you will miss subjects and your progress will be slower than those attending every session. There is some repetition of subjects in the later stages and you may be given chance to recover subjects at the end of the course. You will need to have covered most of the subjects to receive your awards, though your general sailing standard will be taken into account. Be aware that the overall aim is to make you into a competent dinghy sailor.
    • Please be punctual to avoid holding back others.
    • The main training day is Saturday but occasionally it may be on a Sunday and some race training takes place during evenings.
  2. Clothing
    • You will need to wear a close fitting wet suit(3 to 5mm thick)  neoprene wet boots, water resistant spray top and something to wear under your wet suit. Helly Hanson/Tog24 thermal underwear are ideal as they are synthetic so do not hold water. A synthetic fleece over your wet suit also keeps you warm.
    • You will need to rinse your clothes in tap water every week and soak in Dettol every month to reduce bacterial growth.
  3. Helmets
    • These are to prevent you banging your head too much whilst you learn to duck under the boom, which is hard metal. Once you have reached Stage 4 this is optional but a woollen or neoprene hat softens the occasional knock.
  4. Safety on the water
    • A sailing dinghy is reliant on the people in the boat moving around the boat to keep the mast vertical when the wind is trying to blow the boat over. Therefore having a capsize is a risk that we practice for.
    • To reduce risks please only go sailing when a rescue boat is on the water.
    • Do not go sailing if you know that it is so windy that you will capsize.
    • If you do capsize always stay with your boat but don’t pull the boat over on top of you so it turns upside down. This makes it more difficult to right. It is far easier for a rescue boat driver to see a capsized boat than a swimmers head above the water.
    • Use a masthead float to stop the boat turning turtle and the mast getting stuck in the mud at the bottom of our lake.
    • If you see someone in difficulty go over to them, pick them up and bring them back to the club. An experienced person can then go and fetch their boat.
    • Although you do not need to be able to swim to go sailing it is a big advantage.
  5. Food and drink
    • You are requested to bring a packed lunch for each training course.
    • Tea/Coffee/Cordial are provided free of charge and there is a microwave.
  6. Buying a Boat
    • Do not buy a boat until you are close to completing your first-year course.
    • Talk to the training staff about what type of boat to buy and what to watch out for when buying second hand boats.
    • You will be encouraged to buy your own boat for your second season as the new intake of beginners will be wanting to use the club boats. Most second-hand boats go down in value by about £100 each year.
    • The best choice and best prices of second-hand prices are in the autumn.
    • For youths the RYA has a recommended pathway from Optimist/RS Tera/ Topper to Laser 4.7/Radial to Full rig Laser. The Laser Pico (somehow not recommended by the RYA) fits in between the Topper and the Laser. The RYA also recommends the RS Feva and 420 as a pathway to double handed boats.
    • Lasers are an excellent choice of first boat for adults as they represent good value, they are robust and long lasting. There are two rig sizes for adults (Radial and Full rig) for different wind conditions and there is plenty of competition. With over 220,000 being built they are by far the most popular boat in the Uk.
    • Sixty years ago glass fibre started replacing wood as the best material to build boats. Nowadays it is rare to find wooden boats as they require regular painting and varnish to slow down rot.
    • Bassenthwaite Sailing Club believes that all members who sail should understand the rules of sailing races. These are changed and updated every four years so you have to read the most recent rules.
    • Each training course will cover the sailing rules at different levels so thar students build up a good understanding.
    • Youth who have completed one year’s training will become part of the Youth Squad. Experienced members and coaches will help youth to refine their sailing skills.
    • After the first year youths will be encouraged to travel to class specific regional or national training and youth race events. This gives experience at getting ready to travel to different vanues, gets you to race against better people and get more coaching.


Once you have become competent at joining in club racing you will have the opportunity to help new members by becoming an Assistant Sailing Instructor. This is a qualification that is only valid at the club where you were given it.

The qualification allows you to teach students up to Level 2 under the supervision of a qualified instructor. You are taught by the training coordinator.

If you like being an Assistant Instructor then you could become a Sailing Instructor. This training takes place over 3 weekends. You have to be a competent sailor and be able to run classroom sessions too.

The person in charge of training at Bassenthwaite Sailing Club has to be a RYA senior Instructor. As we cannot expect Anthony Woodyer to do this task for ever we expect someone to qualify as Senior Instructor to take his place. The course to become a Senior Instructor is a one week course at a limited range of venues. The course covers the administrative requirements to run a training centre and teaches you to observe other instructors and give constructive feedback to them.


Bassenthwaite Sailing Club encourages its members to attend a First Aid Course on the basis that it is a skill for life. An outside instructor is brought in to run these courses.

This course teaches the treatment of minor injuries, helping someone who has fainted or someone whose heart has stopped beating. The course includes instruction on the use of a defibrillator which is used to re-start someone’s heart after it has stopped beating.

This course qualification is valid for 3 years.

There is no charge for this course though the purchase of a first aid book is recommended.

Contact Ant Woodyer ([email protected])


Bassenthwaite Sailing Club has one start boat and four rescue boats.
Members driving these boats should, where possible, by qualified to RYA powerboat Level 2 or RYA Safety Boat Driver standard.
This course is only open to members.

David Nicholson is the club’s RYA powerboat instructor. He runs courses each spring .
Contact David Nicholson ([email protected])


As you would expect, the Royal Yachting Association has many training centres that teach people to sail yachts. As well as sailing and seamanship these training centres teach navigation, diesel engine maintenance, use of marine radios and emergencies at sea.

If you wish to hire a yacht on holiday you will need to hold the Coastal Skipper qualification as a minimum. See the RYA web site for details.

Bassenthwaite Sailing Club has a wide range of sailing training videos. These are normally shown as evening training sessions running through the main subjects of boat tuning, sailing upwind, sailing downwind and racing tactics.

Please see the club Training Notice board for details of these courses.

Bassenthwaite Sailing Club believes that all members who sail should fully understand the rules of sailing races.

Each training course will cover the sailing rules at different levels so that students have a good understanding.

Members are recommended to purchase an up to date copy of the racing rules and become familiar with their contents.

At the start of each years sailing season the club will organise a refresher evening to remind club members of the rules.

Youths who have completed one years training will become members of the Youth Squad in their second year. The Training coordinator will circulate Youth Squad members with details of RYA or Topper coaching days taking place at clubs close to Bassenthwaite SC.

The Training Coordinator will organise at least one youth Topper coaching weekend provided by a top Coach each year and inform Youth Squad members of the time and date.

Class captains may organise class specific coaching for their type of boat, in conjunction with the class association. The class captain will circulate owners of that class directly.

Competent sailors are encouraged to help the club provide training to new club members.

This may take the form of acting as a Buddy to a new member, training as a Club Assistant Sailing Instructor, training as a RYA sailing instructor or coach or training as a Senior Instructor.

Members wishing to become RYA sailing instructors are recommended to gain experience as an Assistant Instructor before attending a RYA instructor Course.

Please talk to the Training coordinator, Ant Woodyer, to progress this.