Along the coast of Dorset, sailing has been a popular activity for over 200 years dating back to when King George III first visited Weymouth, and brought his yacht, the Royal Sovereign. In more recent years, the well-known Weymouth Falcon Dinghy Class was developed, not surprisingly, by several yacht clubs based in Weymouth. The simple design but excellent sailing characteristics of these wooden craft opened up sailing to a large number of people.
Today, for any visitor to Dorset, sailing should be on the list of activities to consider. Many people enjoy sailing their own craft, and there are dozens of launch sites all along the coast to choose from. For larger craft, permanent berthing is available in several harbours â€“ Poole and Weymouth being the main centres.
Joining a sailing club is a good way to meet like-minded people, and is a great place to pick up local knowledge and tips. There are many such clubs along the coast at places such as Poole, Christchurch, Weymouth and Lyme Regis.
Safety is obviously a very important factor in a sport such as this, and in Dorset sailing tuition can be found in most of the main coastal centres. This can range from a Beginner's class for those still finding their sea legs, through crew member courses to perhaps a full Coastal Skipper qualification. Whether you decide to sail just for pleasure, or to achieve formal qualifications, a recognised course of tuition will ensure you continue to have fun in safety.
As you become more adept, you will be able to tackle more interesting journeys - across to the Isle of Wight, or perhaps across the channel for a day.
If you are competitive, you can always try yacht or dinghy racing. These sports are enjoying renewed interest at the moment. It is probably not a coincidence that the sailing events in the 2012 Olympics are being staged at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
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