Sailing for Beginners: Selecting the Right Boat & Learning How to Sail

Many people find sailing to be a pleasant leisure activity. In fact, in the proper environment and circumstances, almost anyone can effortlessly learn to sail a simple boat without much difficulty. However, it is always worth noting that the delight of sailing stems from the feeling of being in charge, and your confidence about being on the water. 

If you are thinking of learning to sail, one of the most important questions you will have to address is what boat you should learn on. Although picking a boat is a personal choice, there are various aspects to consider when determining which sailboat is best for you to begin learning.

As a beginner, you should learn the fundamentals in an appropriate boat. Therefore, and to prevent making some typical beginners’ mistakes, here are a few things to consider when choosing a sailboat, as well as some excellent selections that would work well for the majority of people.

What Qualities Characterize a Good Beginner Sailboat?

It may appear reasonable to think that the smaller the boat, the smoother it will be to maneuver. However, this is not always the case. As a beginner, one of the first things you should consider, apart from the size of the boat, is the simplicity of the mechanisms you will be dealing with while learning to sail. These include the simplicity of the rig and its handling qualities, for example. Smaller sailboats respond immediately to crew weight changes, wind variations, and any tiller or wheel command.

In any case, select a sailboat that is lightweight and simple to sail and rig. To begin with, you can pick from a variety of dinghies, daysailers, trailers, and lighter boats, all of which have excellent features. Keep in mind that as your skills progress, you can upgrade your sailboat to a more technical model. However, to start with, you need to pick a vessel that will confidently teach you how to take your first steps into the world of sailing. Of course, you won’t have to make these decisions on your own. Always ask for the advice of a professional who would be only too pleased to help you find the right model. 

The Best Types Of Boat To Buy For Beginners

#1. Sailing Dinghies

Sailing dinghies are the default vessel for beginners. They are single-masted, single sail vessels for one or two people. With a two-person sailing dinghy, you can even accommodate a teacher to come along and give you instructions. They are easier to maneuver since they are lighter, but they are also more susceptible to capsizing so you will have to bear that in mind and prepare for this eventuality. The majority of sailing dinghies are inexpensive to purchase and they are composed of rotomolded plastic to resist rough handling.

#2. Sunfish

The Sunfish is a fun, fast, small boat that will maintain you close to the water and allow you to have a great time. Sunfish is a small racing boat that is only 13 feet long but it can be a lot of fun to operate whether you are just starting or have been sailing for a while. If you are looking for a small sailboat that will provide you with thrills and enjoyment for many years, this could be the boat for you.


Small sloops are excellent for learning how sails operate together. Sloops are also simple to repair, and they may or may not have any winches. They are also quite favourable when it comes to honing your sailing skills. Depending on the model, sloops may feature larger spinnakers or headsails, which can be used to teach you more complex sail combinations.

#4. Small Catamarans

The inherent stability of a catamaran is one of its most appealing features. Stability is a huge asset for beginners who are not quite as steady and firm on their footing. Since the boat is less vulnerable to the impacts of wave action while in transit, this makes it considerably easier to maneuver around within the yacht’s interior.

#5. Boats With Tiller Steering

A boat with tiller steering offers almost instant rudder response, making it safer and more maneuverable, especially in tight quarters. Most tillers extend out of the way when not in use, providing additional cockpit space for easy access to cleats, winches, and other vital boat components.

Choosing Your First Sailboat

When selecting a beginner’s sailboat, keep the following in mind:

  • Check if the sailboat has all the necessary components, such as an inboard engine, wheel steering, and roller furling.
  • Always opt for a size that is between 20 and 28 feet long. In a smaller hull, getting to the dock or having to learn to navigate is easier.
  • To prevent tipping over, choose a keelboat or a trailer sailer.
  • Before you go out and acquire a sailboat, think about how you will utilize it. Only after you have been on the water, will you realize what you enjoy most. 
  • Concentrate on refining your skills and expanding your knowledge, be patient, and just go with the flow!
  • Do your research beforehand and always ask for the advice of a professional before purchasing.

Let Us Help You With Your Marina Services Needs

The best way to keep your boat running smoothly is with regular service at the marina. 

Corleone Marinas offers premium harbour experiences across Sydney, including locations in Sydney’s most prestigious sites including Elizabeth Bay, Long Island, Balmain and Drummoyne. Each site offers a variety of options including berths, moorings, on-site slipways and shipwrights.

If you need maintenance or repairs for your vessel due to corrosion, we can help! Contact us today to learn about our full range of marina services.

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