- What are the different types of sailing boat?
There are many different types and sizes of sailing boat available for people of all skill levels, ranging in price from a few hundred euro to thousands. Put simply, you can divide sailing boats into three categories: sailing dinghies, keelboats and yachts.
A sailing dinghy is a small, open sailing boat with a shallow draft and no fixed keel. They are a great option for beginners, young sailors or those craving speed for sailing!). Dinghies are also great for sailing on inland waters like Lough Derg, as they are typically 3–5m long. Killaloe Sailing Club is a single-hulled dinghy sailing club.
A keelboat is a larger open boat with a fixed keel and a deeper draft.
A yacht is a larger sailing boat, usually with an inboard engine and a cabin for accommodation, where the sails are the main driving force. A yacht can vary from around 6 metres to 70 metres in length, making it ideal for sailing with a crew or in a group, and out in the open sea.
- What are basic sailing skills?
Learning the basics means understanding how to assess the wind and weather, how sails work, how to rig and handle a boat, how to launch and land, the rules of the road, who has right of way, use of safety equipment, how to deal with a capsize and how to recover a man overboard. Most sailors would agree that you never stop learning and can continually improve your sailing skills.
- Why should I learn to sail?
After learning to sail, you can decide to compete in club racing at Killaloe Sailing Club, enjoy leisurely sailing each week when the club is providing safety cover, or if competent enough just leisurely cruise around Lough Derg or further afield. Racing is great fun and you will find a warm and friendly welcome when you join the Club for its weekly racing on Tuesday nights or Sunday mornings (when evenings are darker).
- What are the benefits of sailing?
Whether you want to try racing, discover somewhere new or simply make the most out of the water on your doorstep, sailing is a great way to explore.
Being out in the open air can help to reduce stress and enhance your overall well-being. It also exercises your concentration and co-ordination skills. Joining a sailing club like Killaloe, is a great way to meet new people and form life-long friends – both on and off the water.
- Can anybody go sailing?
Sailing is one of the few sports in which everyone, at any age and ability, can get involved. You can do it alone, as a family, or with friends.
- How do I get started?
Killaloe Sailing Club welcomes new members, both beginners and advanced. As a beginner, it is recommended to sign up for one of the sailing courses provided at the club, by our qualified instructors. Killaloe Sailing Club is an Irish Sailing approved training centre. At the start of the season, regular Taster evenings are provided to give people (both junior and adults) a ‘Taste of sailing’. At these sessions, you can learn about what courses are coming up to help you start or improve upon your sailing skills.
- Do I need to join Killaloe Sailing Club to try sailing?
No you do not. Beginners are always welcome, and there are always people available to guide you on your first visit. It is preferable to attend firstly at a Taster evening, or if you are being introduced by a member as their guest, they will guide you and possibly take you out. It is necessary to identify yourself and sign in as a visitor.
Details of the club’s active dates are on this website: Club Calendar of Events. If you enjoy your first couple of outings you are encouraged to join the club in order to avail of the facilities.
- Is it safe?
As an Irish Sailing approved Training Centre, Killaloe Sailing Club places huge emphasis on safety. When on the water, wear a buoyancy aid at all times. Always take note of the weather before launching and ensure you sail in conditions which suit your ability and experience.
- Is sailing an expensive sport?
No, you can pick up a ‘starter boat’ for as little as €250 or you can crew on a boat without having to spend any money at all. Killaloe Sailing Club also offers boat rental for new members without their own boat. If you wish to continue sailing, the aspiration would be to acquire your own boat to your own needs, but it is not necessary at first.
- Do you need to be fit to sail?
You don’t need to be physically fit to get started, but you should be comfortable with being in the water. Dinghy sailing tends to be a bit more physical than yacht sailing for example, so it is important to choose a dinghy to suit your skills and fitness levels. No matter what your fitness levels are, always wear a buoyancy aid.
- What age is sailing suited to?
Any age – you are never too old to learn, as long as you are agile enough to jump in and out of a boat. Killaloe Sailing Club has active members from aged 6 years to 70+ years.
- Do I need to be able to swim to go sailing?
No, but you should wear a buoyancy aid suitable to your weight and abilities, correctly worn to give you the confidence to potentially capsize. You will find that the more waterborne activity you undertake the more you will be eager to learn to swim.
- What clothing/equipment do I need to start sailing?
It is most important to be suitably dressed for the season and climate. This includes possibly a wetsuit, common enough in our society today, bootees or light runners to protect the feet, windproof outer shell, hat, sunglasses (tied on), sailing gloves, and mandatory, a buoyancy aid. Prepare for all weathers by bringing multiple layers of clothing, including a hat, as conditions can change very quickly.
Killaloe Sailing Club have a limited supply of wetsuits and buoyancy aids for those who are attending a course or just trying sailing. Obviously your own gear will ultimately fit better and be more comfortable and warm.
Killaloe Sailing Club has an online shop selling club-branded merchandise/ clothing at: Killaloe Club Shop. An easy way to look the part!
- Will I be taught how to sail if I join the Club?
This depends on whether you sign up for any courses that become available from time to time. If you are introduced by a member, they may be happy to teach you what they can. Alternatively the friendly members of Killaloe Sailing Club are always glad to assist beginners. The taster evenings, while supervised, have limited instructional value, but are a good place to start. Typically, there is no substitute for going out on a calm day and putting into practice what you have picked up or read. The internet is a vast source of instructional information. No questions are silly from the point of view of the experienced members. We were all beginners at one time.
Throughout the sailing season, various coaching and training courses are provided for both juniors and adults – for beginners and more advanced sailors.
- What happens if I capsize or get into difficulty?
Killaloe Sailing Club operates on a calendar of activity which centres around Tuesday evenings for racing, Thursday evenings for general sailing, tasters and practice, and Sunday mornings for general sailing, or racing in the darker months. Safety cover is provided on these dates. There are Four fast safety boats with trained crews operated on a roster system. If you join the Club, you will be expected, once competent, to assist in this regard. To go sailing outside these dates is not encouraged.
- Racing seems to be high on the agenda of sailing dinghy clubs. Will I be expected to race?
No, not expected, but encouraged once competent. Killaloe Sailing Club, while having a lively and fun fleet of racing sailors, of all ages from teens to 70s, also have many
members who sail for pleasure only at their own pace. You will find the best of encouragement if you show an interest in racing, and it is said that the fastest route to learning the skills of sailing is to try racing. The club operates the “ Portsmouth Yardstick” handicap system, known as PY, in order to be competitive no matter which class of Dinghy you use. If your appetite for racing becomes bigger, you will find you will seek a boat in the faster boat classes, such as Laser or RS.
- Is sailing family-friendly?
As the club logo indicates, Killaloe Sailing Club is a family-friendly sailing club. In fact, sailing is a great way to take up an activity outdoors as a family. Children from 6 years old can learn basic sailing skills and take part in Summer Camps at the club. A number of dinghies, such as the RS Vision, are particularly suited to family-sailing, with ample space for one or two adults and a couple of children.
- What do I need to know before buying a dinghy?
Before you start searching for a boat it is a good idea to consider the following:
- If you are new to dinghy ownership, do you know someone who can share their experiences with you and help advise on what is a good dinghy for your needs? Just ask anyone at the Club and they can help you or point you in the right direction to who can.
- Do you want to be able to sail single-handed or with a crew?
- Are you going to buy new or used? There are pros and cons for both. Cost being the biggest factor.
- What is your budget? Remember to factor in purchase plus maintenance costs and time, eg, wooden boats require more ongoing maintenance.
- Do you have enough sailing experience for the type of dinghy you have in mind?
- There are a number of websites which sell dinghies, or ask around at the Club. Often there is someone trading up, or retiring altogether, who might be selling. Other sailing clubs might also have members selling.
- Useful websites