Few things in life spark the collective imagination as much as an adventure at sea. Regardless of whether you’ve grown up by the coast or not, the idea of striking-out with a sail full of wind and a nose toward the horizon still has the power to make you gaze longingly out the office window.
And with good reason. Considering most of the Earth is covered in ocean, the odds of you exploring somewhere remote and unspoiled are pretty good. But, the ocean is as dangerous as it is beautiful, and attempting to sail it when you’re just beginning can be daunting.
You’re not to be dissuaded, though. Having begun your search, high and low, for sailing yachts for sale, you now feel ready to learn this salty pastime. And to help keep you on course to realise this dream, here are the top destinations for beginner sailors to hone their skippering skills.
Top 7 Destinations For Beginner Sailors:
#1 The Bahamas
If the mere mention of these islands has you humming Kokomo, you’re not alone. The same way The Beach Boys are the quintessential pop band, the Bahamas are the quintessential tropical paradise. But aside from being the classic island holiday destination (be warned, though: the photos you take won’t look real, such is the perfection of the place), it is also a wonderful destination to learn how to sail. A lot of this is due to the consistent weather, with sun almost all year round and light trade winds, meaning you’ll feel relaxed enough to practise your harmonies while you practise your sailing.
#2 The British Virgin Islands
No, they weren’t mentioned in a pop song. But don’t hold that against the British Virgin Islands. Because though this small archipelago in the Caribbean has yet to be immortalised in music, their standing in the world of sailing has been well and truly cemented. Again, for a beginner, it’s the mixture of sunshine and consistent winds, along with easy anchoring depths that make these islands worthwhile. Their close proximity to each other is also a huge bonus, meaning that you can hop between islands without having to commit to any long journeys.
Admit it, you scrolled down just to make sure Greece was on the list. It’s okay, we would’ve done the same. What’s to be done, though, when your name has become a byword for a sailor’s paradise? For beginners, the Ionian Islands off the west coast are ideal, as they have the calmest winds and plenty of coves and beaches for safe mooring. The only real downside to Greece is that it tops everyone else’s list, so try to head there early in the season to avoid the crowds, both in the water and on the water.
Croatia is often referred to as the ‘new Greece’, which, to be honest, does it no favours. A place this stunning deserves its own time in the sun (pun intended) without having to feel as though it’s an understudy to the main event. And for a beginner, this is another fantastic place to gain experience. From gentle winds, to hidden coves, to traditional fishing villages, the list of things in your favour will have you ready for bigger stages in no time.
While gentle, predictable conditions are, quite rightly, the first things to note when choosing a sailing destination as a beginner, a lack of crowds should be the next thing you look for. And Turkey fits that bill perfectly. The summer here is long and hot, the winds and tides are mild, and given it doesn’t gather the crowds as much as the places above, you’ll have no trouble finding a secluded cove to anchor in. Start your Turkish adventure in the Gulf of Fethiye, which has excellent marinas, mountainous landscape to explore, and incredible ancient monuments to visit.
#6 Northern Italy
Mention Italy and the sea in the same sentence and most will picture themselves on the beach somewhere along the Amalfi Coast or further north at a place like Cinque Terre. But Italy also has a proud history of sailing, and there is no better place to enjoy it than along the north east coast, in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. Home to numerous marinas, sailing clubs, and sailing schools, this place will have you feeling right at home. And whether you feel like relaxing on the beaches of Lignano or Grado or exploring the surrounding national parks, there is plenty here to enjoy when you’re ready to have your feet on steady ground.
#7 For Beginner Sailors
Again, like Northern Italy, Slovenia might conjure things other than sailing. But don’t let your imagination talk you out of choosing this stunning pocket in the Adriatic Sea. Like the rest of the destinations on this list, Slovenia will charm the novice sailor with tranquil conditions, such as a small tidal range, which makes it great for sailing smaller boats. And, if you find yourself feeling confident, there is Barcolana, a traditional autumn regatta that takes place along the Slovenian coast in October. As long as your boat is long enough you can enter, meaning you have the chance of lining up against real professionals, which, in itself, is a great lesson.
Takeaways – Beginner Sailors
The places mentioned in the list are all great because they provide the perfect platform for a beginner. But, the wonderful thing about learning to sail is that the better you get the bigger the ocean seems to get, if that’s even possible. As you become a more confident skipper you’ll find yourself chasing greater challenges. And often this will mean returning to the same places when the conditions are moodier and things are less idyllic, just to see if you are up to it. Now, loose that mooring and get sailing!