What is dinghy sailing?
Simply put dinghy sailing involves a small open boat with a sail which is used to harness the power of the wind, to move you through the water. Some dinghies are designed for speed and exhilaration, while others are better for learning and more relaxed sailing. You can sail on inland waters such as lakes and reservoirs or take to the open seas at home or abroad on warm blue seas.
Most dinghies are small and lightweight and are generally rigged ashore (on the beach) and launched each time you go sailing. They tend to be relatively small (typically between 3-5m long) and are designed for different numbers of people, single-handers, double-handers or bigger ones with 5-6 people on board. Larger dinghies can often be confused with ‘keelboats’, which are sort of small yachts without a cabin. The clue is in the name - ‘keel’, so whilst they might look the same on the water, underneath they have a heavy keel that helps keep the boat upright. Even bigger at 10m+ are yachts, which have sails, a small engine and living space downstairs. These are suitable for living aboard and are perfect for sailing holidays where you sail from harbour to harbour. The sailing skills needed for yachts and dinghies are the same and many of the world’s top yachtsmen and women started in dinghies.
Dinghy sailing differs to other wind and watersports such as windsurfing in that one has a rigid hull that you sit in/on and the other you stand on a board, both use sails to harness the power of the wind and both require a good understanding of wind direction and points of sail. Many find dinghy sailing easier to learn than windsurfing as you are sitting down and able to concentrate on the sailing rather than standing on a wobbly board.