Which RYA dinghy course should you take?

Experienced or not, RYA courses help keen sailors advance their skills and become more confident on the water. There are centres around the UK that offer the courses and be sure to check with your insurer, as many offer discounts for RYA-qualified sailors.

If you’re considering taking a course but aren’t sure where to begin, here’s a quick run through of the different RYA dinghy courses on offer…



Level 1 Start Sailing

Duration: 2 days

What you’ll learn: The Level 1 RYA sailing course introduces beginners to sailing, equipping you with all you need to know to get afloat. The course will teach you how to sail in all directions and how to launch and recover your vessel. Once you’ve completed this course, you’ll be able to sail in light winds under supervision.


Level 2 Basic Skills

Duration: 2 days, can be combined with Level 1 course across 4 days

What you’ll learn: Level 2 lays out the foundations of sailing, and will teach you the basics of rigging, launching, and sailing in all directions. You’ll also learn how to recover your vessel after capsizing and learn basic safety rules and regulations. Once you’ve taken this course, you’ll be able to sail and make decisions in good conditions.


Level 3 Better Sailing

Duration: 2 days

What you’ll learn: In the Level 3 course, you’ll receive the coaching of Level 1 and 2 along with taster sessions from the advanced modules. You’ll become more confident in your sailing and technique, and you’ll be ready to progress onto the advanced modules.



Stage 1

Duration: 2 days

What you’ll learn: This course is aimed at children who have little to no sailing experience or knowledge. You’ll learn how to launch and recover and how to steer. You’ll also be introduced to the different parts of the boats and the basics of sailing.


Stage 2

Duration: 2 days

What you’ll learn: In this course you’ll learn basic sailing skills, ropework and collision avoidance. You’ll be able to tack and control boat speed and understand basic boating principles.


Stage 3

Duration: 2 days

What you’ll learn: In Stage 3 you’ll learn rigging, launching and recovery, capsize recovery, sailing theory and different sailing techniques. Once you’ve completed this course you’ll be able to launch and sail a dinghy around a triangle in moderate conditions.


Stage 4

Duration: 2 days

What you’ll learn: Here you’ll learn how to launch and return to a beach, jetty or mooring and sail a crewed dinghy in moderate conditions.


Learn to race

Start Racing

Duration: 2 days

In the RYA Start Racing course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of getting off the start line and cruising around the course. You’ll also be taught how to maximise boat speed and outwit your opponents. Once finished, you’ll be able to take part in club racing in good conditions.


Intermediate Racing

Duration: 5 days

The Intermediate Racing course will teach you basic racing skills and help you improve the key principles of starting, boat handling, boat speed and tactics while racing. Your core racing skills will have advanced and you’ll be able to take part in club races.


Advanced Racing

Duration: 5 days

The Advanced Racing course is a predominantly practical course working your skill, technique and knowledge to enable you to take part in regional competition. You’ll finish the course with the confidence to take part in higher level competition.



For advanced sailing modules, be sure to head to the RYA website.


Want to learn more about sea safety? Download our Sea Safety with your Dinghy ebook.

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