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RYA Level 1 – Start Sailing (Keelboat)

September 4, 2021 September 5, 2021


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RYA Level 1 (Start Sailing) course is an ideal course for the novice with little to no sailing experience. The Colgate 26 keelboat we use to deliver our training is forgiving and stable with easy access from a pontoon mooring in Torquay Harbour.

By the end of the two-day course you will have a basic understanding of keelboat handling techniques and accompanying background knowledge. Once you have completed the course you can then go on to consolidate your knowledge with the RYA Level 2 (Basic Skills) and RYA Level 3 (Better Sailing) courses. We maintain a low student to instructor ratio of 3:1 to ensure as much time at the helm as possible.

Course Content

Practical Skills


Spars and rigging, parts of the sail, sail controls and foils

Wind awareness whilst ashore

Sailing techniques

Wind awareness whilst afloat
Reaching – sailing across the wind
Controlling speed
Getting out of irons
Tacking – turning the front of the boat through the wind
Sailing upwind
Sailing downwind
Gybing – turning the back of the boat through the wind
Communicating when manoeuvering

Sailing Theory

Clothing and Equipment

The importance of personal safety, clothing and bouyancy

Sailing Background

Awareness of other waters users
Basic rules of the road – collision avoidance, overtaking, power & sail
Visual methods of attracting attention


Awareness of onshore and offshore winds
Sources of weather information
The Beaufort Scale
Conditions appropriate to sailing ability and location

Keelboat Specifics

Clothing and Equipment

Use and correct fitting of lifejackets
Use of safety harnesses (where fitted)

Man Overboard Recovery

Use of mooring lines
Emergency equipment and precautions
Potential hazards of fuel and gas

Emergency Equipment

Stowage and use of fire extinguishers

We will provide the boat and all the course materials, we only ask you to bring the following:

  • Deck Shoes or non-slip white soled trainers
  • Waterproofs
  • Buoyancy Aid/Lifejacket (some are available to borrow)
  • Older set of warm clothes (no jeans or tracksuit bottoms)
  • Hat (either sun or woolly)
  • Sun Tan Lotion
  • Bottle of Water
  • Any medication you may require

Course Summary

Course AimsTo introduce you to sailing in order to get you afloat under supervision          
Assumed KnowledgeNone
Duration2 days
Minimum Age16
Course ContentLearn to sail in all directions, including an awareness of launch and recovery.
Abilty after courseSail in light winds under supervision.
Applicable CraftDinghies & Keelboats
Formally assessedNo
Course Materials ProvidedRYA National Sailing Scheme Syllabus and Logbook & RYA Start Sailing Beginners Handbook
Maximum Student : Instructor Ratio3:1

12 Beacon Terrace
Torquay, TQ1 2BH, United Kingdom
01803 292006
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