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Dinghy Sailing:
The activity of sailing small boats by using the sails and underwater foils (daggerboard or centreboard and rudder). also adjusting the sail trim and balance by movement of the  helm and or
crew, particularly in windy weather "move fast or swim". In rivers and tidal waters the effective choice of route in terms of existing and anticipated wind shifts and currents can be important.

If racing, the above skills need to be refined and additional skills and techniques learned, such as the application of the "
racing rules of sailing", boat handling skills when starting and when rounding marks, and knowledge of tactics and strategy relative to individual boats or the fleet in order to avoid the harmful effects of their sails on your wind, or to influence their movements to your advantage.

Those shared challenges, and the variability of the weather and sea can make dinghy sailing and racing an exciting, fascinating and rewarding recreational sport: physically, mentally, and in terms of personal relationships with other crew member(s), competitors, club members and organizers.

Realm of the privileged ?

While it may used to have been the case that sailing as a sport was reserved for the privileged few, this now is farther from the truth than many people actually realise.

Obtaining your own sailing dinghy and ‘kitting out’ can be done for under the cost of a fortnights holiday, for a few hundred pounds a suitable and capable dinghy can be purchased which when combined with the low cost of suitable apparel for same will result in years of fun and excitement.

Why join a club ?

Without doubt the best and most practical way to learn to sail. By joining a club you will reap the benefits of training, safety, knowledge and advice that is available from more experienced members and their families.

Newburgh Sailing Club, runs RYA approved training courses, both for sailing dinghies and for powerboat handling. The club also operates a flotilla of three rescue boats so that in the unlikely event of misadventure help is always just minutes away.

Cost of the dedicated training weekend currently stands at £40 (June 2008) with any further individual training days throughout the year being free. Actual time spent on the water sailing can be anything from 4 - 8 hours over the course of the weekend.

Day 1 is normally spent sailing GP14’s while day 2 features both GP14’s and Laser Pico’s. The Laser Pico’s are used for capsize drills, although if you feel that you are not ready to attempt a capsize drill this can be delayed for another time. It is however very important that a training capsize is carried out. A capsize can lead to severe disorientation and confusion therefore it is important to know what to expect, and how to recover from one.

Every individual learns at there own pace, this fact is recognised by our team of qualified instructors and no individual will be asked to do anything that they nor the instructor feels that they are not ready to do.

Ongoing costs:

Basically once you have all your kit and boat of your choice, the only real continuing costs are club fees, which in the case of Newburgh Sailing Club currently stand at less than £100 per annum. You will also need boat insurance.

Types of dinghies:

Skiffs are the fastest and arguably most difficult type of dinghy to sail. A skiff has a flat narrow hull with a disproportionately large sailplan, usually consisting of an asymmetric spinnaker, blade jib and fully battened main. Sailors manage the rig with the use of racks (wings) and trapeze. Examples are the 49er, an Olympic boat, and the advanced International 14.

High Performance Dinghies:

Fast and powerful dinghies designed for racing around an Olympic triangle (Olympic Racing Course). Examples of such dinghies are the Flying Dutchman, the 505, the Jet 14, the Fireball, the Osprey, the Javelin and the 470. They can all plane easily, even upwind and they use trapeze and a symmetric spinnaker. Not all are two handed boats: the Contender and the RS600 are high performance single handed boats equipped with a trapeze, but not a spinnaker, and demonstrate a comparable performance. Skiffs are usually classed as High performance dinghies.

Cruising dinghies:

Designed for leisure and family sailing and are usually more stable than high performance dinghies. This is provided by a 'chined' (less rounded) hull, greater displacement, and proportionally smaller sail area. Examples of these are the Wayfarer, the Mirror, the Laser Stratos, the Drascombe and the Laser 16. Sailing these boats can still give much excitement.

Classic dinghies:

Typically used as yacht tenders or shore boats, and emphasize beauty and versatility over sailing performance. Although many are still made entirely from wood, the majority of the most popular classic sailing dinghies combine a fiberglass hull with enough finely finished teak or mahogany to represent the "best of two worlds" approach. Examples of classic sailing dinghies are Minto, Fatty Knees, Trinka, Bauer, Whitehall and Gig Harbor.


Fast, high masted and double hulled boats which fall under the definition of dinghy also, usually having adjustable daggerboards. The influential Hobie Cat was developed in America, and this has its keel built into each hull shape. The Tornado is a high performance Olympic class catamaran, not for the fainthearted.

Racing dinghies:

Cover a wide range, and many are descended from Uffa Fox's seminal International 14. People often "travel" with their dinghies to international races in famous sailing spots such as Lake Garda in Italy. The International 14 remains a popular racing class, having acquired racks (for trapezing crews) and a gennaker since its original design. The Laser, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 are the variants of the Laser dinghy, a single-hander whose combination of simplicity, portability and performance has done much to advance dinghy racing and training. More modern dinghies like the Musto Skiff, RS600 and RS Vareo have also increased dinghy sailing participation around the UK. Two popular dinghies used in high school and college racing are the 420 and Flying Junior.

Sports Boats:

These classes are larger off-shore racing dinghies which shade off into classes of yachts with fixed keels. Usually they have several crew members as well as the helm. Melges 24 and Laser SB3 are current examples of this type.

Development classes:

Most dinghy classes have a fairly fixed layout of sails and hull design, and changes are very infrequent. However, some classes can compete and sail with less rigid definitions and measurements. This encourages experiment which often leads to innovation in techniques and construction. Examples are the International 14, National 12, the 18ft Skiff and the International Moth. The Moth is worth noting because of its use of foils on the rudder and daggerboard. These generate enough lift to push the hull above the water, significantly reducing friction and allowing speeds in excess of 25knots (46km/h). Classes which are not development classes are usually referred to as "One design". The first one design was the Water Wag, which first sailed in Dublin Bay in 1887. The class is still sailed today, well over a hundred years later.

Is one of the most popular forms of dinghy sailing, and it contributes to the development of sailing skills as well as to improvements in dinghy and sail construction and design.