Costa Blanca, Spain

Learning to Sail in Spain

In the past, the CBYA has recommended two Spanish RYA-certified schools for sail training, Go-n-Sail, based at Ayamonte near the Portuguese border, and Costa Blanca Sailing, based in the city of Alicante. Unfortunately, Go-n-Sail has now decided to close their school. The CBYA is actively looking for a suitable replacement RYA-certified sailing school based in Spain which offers tidal courses which more appropriate for members that plan to sail in countries such as the United Kingdom, which are subject to tides, but still want to learn in the Spanish sunshine and warmth.

Special discounted rates are available if the course is booked via the CBYA. Contact Rachel Garnham (CBYA Training Officer) for more details by clicking HERE.

My Experience

Personally, I have no plans to sail in the UK anytime soon, so I chose nearby Alicante for my five-day RYA Day Skipper course.

I had completed my RYA theory course online, before the practical course (the first examination I had taken for many years), and was very pleased to have passed first time.

So off I went to Alicante to meet the salty sea dog himself, the owner and chief instructor of Costa Blanca Sailing, Walter Henderson, to start my practical course.

The Old Sea Dog

Now Walter not only looks the part of a seasoned seafarer, he is a wild-haired and mildly spoken Scotsman, with a personality and demeanour that exudes confidence.

You soon learnt when Walter was happy with your performance, for he would then be seated in the transom seats, monitoring your every move, relaxed and quietly surveying the sea.

My Yacht – Vegabond

Having recently bought my own boat, a 27-foot yacht Albin Vega named Vegabond, I was keen to gain the confidence to go to sea in her.

I have been knocking around boats since I was about ten years old, mainly dinghies, but also cruisers, ski-boats and windsurfers. However, I soon realised how much there was to learn, and can honestly say that during my five days with Walter, I learnt a lot whilst sailing on his well-equipped (and comfortable) yacht.

The Course

The theory course was, in the main, wholly relevant, as we put into practise our new found skills in navigation, pilotage, buoyage, seamanship, etc.

The sea conditions during our five days ranged from a hot day with virtually no wind (where we had to use the yacht’s motor), to a full-blown storm with winds gusting to 27 knots, and it hammering down with rain.

Fortunately, the storm was on our final day, where we could readily put into practise everything we had learnt, and we had ample time after our return to dry out (our clothes that is, the yacht is ‘dry’ whilst at sea!).

Dave Proctor

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