Learning to Sail: A Beginner’s Insight

As part of the daily journal that we're recording, as we sail from Kinsale in Co. Cork to Westport on the West Coast of Ireland, crew member Ronan O'Neill tells us about his first day aboard a yacht learning to sail.


"Alarms rang at 7.45 am and the last hot showers were had! James (our skipper and sailing instructor) arrived at 8am to sort out what food and snacks we wanted. Once we organised ourselves we then went through the safety talks, pre-departure sailing checks and general familiarisation of the boat...

Where the likes of the emergency Grab Bag is, what emergency equipment we have on board and where it's kept. James went through all the emergency procedures and what to do in the event of abandoning the boat, what happens if we smell smoke and what to do if we find a fire in the galley.

We learnt a new saying (WOBLLE), which is a really easy way to remember the different types of safety checks we need to carry out on the engine before we set sail. WOBBLE stands for;

  • Water intake
  • Oil
  • Belts
  • Look for Leaks
  • Exhausts

Once we where ready with everything packed and loaded, I took helm (the big steering wheel!) and motored us out of Kinsale. The aim was for us to each dust off and find are Sea Legs. Once going, fellow crew members Lizzie Colleran & Tara Walsh (also learning to sail) started to prepare our lunch below deck. We were absolutely thrilled to be joined by a group of dolphins that had swam up along side us as we continued to sail.

Once lunch was finished we started to learn about how the boat was to be managed and what we all needed to do throughout the next 7 days of our sailing trip. We completed our first log at 14:17 and took our sailing coordinates. We were positioned 51° 35'.10 N 008° 35'.62 W, engine was on with only the main sail up.

As the evening began to approach, we anchored below a hotel off Sherkin Island, situated in the beautiful surrounds of Baltimore in West Cork. Crew member Daniel Smith was to be our Navigator for the next leg of our sailing journey and now it was time to get a good night's rest after our fantastic day of sailing!"


As one of Ireland's leading sail training centre's based in Kinsale, Co. Cork, we're lucky to be positioned in one of the most spectacular sailing locations in Ireland. Established in 2002, we've trained thousands of sailors, from complete beginners to advanced instructors. All of our sailing courses are RYA - ISA certified, the globally recognised standard for sail training.

Beginner sailing courses start from just €275 for two days aboard one of our yachts (no experience needed).

Click here to view more information about our beginner sailing courses and how to book.

By James Lyons Sailing Courses 0 Comments


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