Can I Learn to Sail at 50?

2,114 views  |   February 8th, 2023 

There’s often a common question that people of a certain age ask when they decide they want to learn to sail; whether they are too old to start. We get asked this by people of all ages, and even by those we consider still young, and that includes those of you in your fifties… so let us put your mind at rest.

50 is not old to learn to sail; you should not let your perceived limitation of age hold you back. The open water awaits for anybody who wants to start as a beginner, no matter their age. Our Competent Crew Practical Course is a perfect introduction to beginners of all ages including 50 years and over.

If you’re still not sure whether your age will prevent you from learning to sail, don’t be. We’ve recently had people in their eighties signing up with First Class Sailing. In fact, we had a 94 year old lady come sailing with us on our classic boat Golden Vanity last year. 

The bottom line is, providing you have the mobility and agility to sail, you won’t be held back based on how old you are. And 50 is not old at all when it comes to sailing, in fact, it could be the best age to start!

Why 50 is not too old to learn to sail

Sailing is a sport for all abilities and ages. When you learn to sail with First Class Sailing, it’s particularly true, as you will always be with instructors and other students, all of whom work as a team to support each other.

Consider these points that could relate to your concerns over being 50 and wanting to learn to sail:

  • Sailing is something that all ages can enjoy. We offer courses that kids of 12 can complete, and even 8 year olds.
  • Sailing is something that people of all levels of physical ability can enjoy. How hard you find it will depend on the type of sailing you do. Some forms of sailing can be a relatively low-impact form of exercise.
  • Sailing can also get you fit, but you don’t have to be super fit and agile in the first place. When you start learning to sail, you will soon start developing muscle tone as the boat is constantly moving.
  • Sailing is social. When you learn on our Competent Crew course for beginners, you will be in the same boat (quite literally) with other beginners, possibly the same age as you, or perhaps older.
  • Sailing can improve other physical and mental attributes, not just muscle tone as we described earlier. It could help to improve cognitive function, including your “hand to eye” coordination and problem-solving skills. It’s also the perfect remedy for stress and can improve mental well-being.
  • Sailing will challenge you. If you’re missing challenges in your life as you get older, learning to sail could be the perfect antidote to that.
  • Sailing could give you a sense of freedom and independence you’ve not had in many years.

If you are aged 50 or over, and want to learn to sail, get in touch with us today. Below is an overview of the beginners’ sailing course we will likely recommend.

RYA Competent Crew

This is the perfect introduction for anyone aged 50 and above who wants to learn how to sail. The RYA Competent Crew Practical Course is widely considered to be the best introduction to sailing for beginners.

On this five day course you will learn everything you need to know to become a useful crew member, including personal safety, seamanship and helmsmanship.

Throughout the course you’ll sleep and eat on the yacht, and you’re welcome to attend by yourself, with friends, family, or a partner. We aim to visit a different marina, harbour, or anchorage each evening.

Is the RYA competent crew course physically demanding?

The sailing you do on the Competent Crew course will require you to complete some physical tasks, including handling of sails and ropes, handling a dinghy, steering the boat, and navigating the deck.

The level of physical activity involved will vary based on the size and style of the boat, as well as the water conditions. Providing you are in reasonably good shape; you should find Competent Crew the perfect way to learn sailing in your fifties.

The course aims to be open to potential sailors of all ages and physical capabilities, with a primary emphasis on education and enjoyment, rather than intense and demanding physical effort.

If you have any questions or concerns, phone us and we’re happy to chat you through it.

Posted by: First Class Sailing


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