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Where to start with Dinghy sailing?

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jonnygl View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 Dec 14 at 12:22pm

I'm looking for advice on the best way to get into dinghy sailing.  What's the best way to learn? 

I've been sailing yachts for a few years now, I've taken day skipper and I'm taking coastal skipper this year, and I've been in a few races too. Now I'm looking to buy a dinghy to play about with at weekends. The problem is that I haven't sailed a dinghy since I was 8 (I did RYA courses at this age, but don't remember anything from them).  I'm planning on getting an enterprise as the local sailing club mostly uses these and organise races and events for them fairly frequently.

One option is the RYA Dinghy courses, but I'm worried they will be a bit slow moving for someone who already understands sailing boats fairly well. Is this fair or am I being arrogant? 

Another option is private tuition. Five - eight hours of private tuition would be affordable.  Would this be enough time to learn my way around a dinghy enough to be able to take it out on a tidal river?

Finally, there's always the 'school of hard knocks' approach!  Maybe just take a dinghy taster course (a bargain 20 for a couple of hours), absorb what I can and then give it a go. I don't really fancy this option unless dinghy sailing is a lot easier than I think it is!  
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Dec 14 at 12:39pm
Where are you? All sorts of clubs offer all sorts of options. Probably possible to find something local that suits you.

Edited by JimC - 30 Dec 14 at 12:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jonnygl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Dec 14 at 12:53pm
I'm in London, I'll be sailing on the upper stretches of the London Thames (Putney to Teddington kind of area).
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Dec 14 at 1:23pm
Well the Thames is kinda a specialist area in itself.

Thames SC at Surbiton have a pretty strong training programme and are well worth looking into. http://www.thamessailingclub.co.uk/training/overview Everything they do is based on the river with all its idiosyncracies.

For a more general venue there are any number of possibilities.

For example my own club, Island Barn SC on a reservoir at East Molesey run, as well as more formal courses, a less formal training session on Tuesday evenings. http://www.islandbarn.org.uk/index.php/learn-to-sail/trysail. Because this is a bit less structured around a syllabus its paradoxically easier to advance if needed, and I imagine you'd probably be able to jump in a club Laser and have light coaching rather than dot all the is and cross ts if desired.
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