RYA Courses

Learn to Sail with Girls for Sail!

We've been encouraging women to sail since 1999 - from absolute beginner right through to RYA Yachtmaster and beyond. 

Whether you've always wanted to learn to sail; are looking to develop your skills further or even want to train for a career in yachting and change your life completely, you've come to the right place!

We run the full programme of RYA sailing courses, from 2-5 day RYA Start Sailing and Competent Crew courses...all the way through to our 16 week Yachtmaster Pro which will take you from complete newbie to professional sailor.

And the best bit? We only teach women! 

Whilst we love sailing with guys just as much as we do girls, we think learning to sail is a lot more fun when your strength, fitness and boat parking skills are not always the punchline to a bad joke!

So if you like the idea of learning to sail in a fun, supportive testosterone-free environment - then read on!

In this section we aim to cover the most frequently asked questions about RYA courses. What is the RYA, why do an RYA Course with just girls, and what makes us special?

PLEASE call us! We can call you back anytime to answer any other question and/or make you feel confident you are choosing the right school. 

Quick Links

Where is Girls for Sail based?

Which RYA courses can I do with Girls for Sail?

What is the RYA?

How is Girls for Sail different?

Why are we ladies only?

The Girls for Sail promise

Why learn with us?

Should I take a course or not? 

Where is Girls for Sail based?

Girls for Sail has two international affiliated RYA schools - Cowes, UK & St Lucia.  

Our Cowes base on the Solent offers teaching in busy tidal waters, with many ports to visit nearby. Almost every type of navigational mark can be found right here in the Solent, so you will learn a lot in a short period of time.  Learning in tidal conditions is reccomended if you are going to be sailing in tidal waters in future.  Of course, the UK weather isn't always perfect, but learning how to sail in a variety of conditions is all part of the challenge.

Our base in St. Lucia offers stunning sailing in clear blue, non-tidal Caribbean waters.  From here we have access to other Caribbean islands.  Navigation and manouvering are slightly less complicated without the affects of tide.  If you want to ease yourself into sailing, or will do your sailing mainly in the Mediterannean and Caribbean, then learning in non-tidal waters is a great option.  And of course you are almost guaranteed plenty of sunshine!

Which RYA courses can I do with Girls for Sail?

We run all practical courses from RYA Competent Crew for beginners up to RYA Yachtmaster Offshore:

RYA Competent Crew

RYA Day Skipper 

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore

We also offer a wide range of theory courses from beginners upwards:

RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship

RYA Day Skipper Theory

RYA Yachtmaster Theory

Out theory courses can be completed both in the classroom or online at your own pace.  Please call us for more information about our online courses.

What is the RYA ?

The Royal Yachting Association is the UK's national association for all forms of recreational and competitive boating.  RYA qualifications are recognised all over the world.  You cannot gain your official RYA certificate unless you learn to sail with a sailing school that is RYA approved, such as Girls for Sail.  The RYA inspect their training schools every year to ensure the strictest standards of teaching and safety are met.  We want you to feel secure in the knowledge that you are taught to the very highest level (and have FUN whilst doing it!)

How is Girls for Sail different?

We have been established for many years and really understand what customers need when they are learning somthing new. Our objectives are clear. We offer learning in a fun environment with no pressure or stress. We use professional, experienced instructors who are passionate about delivering excellent service. All of our instructors are selected for their calm nature and patience. 

We are one of the few accredited training centres to offer the full range of practical and shore-based RYA courses.  Whether you are a complete beginner, a competent dinghy sailor or an experienced yachtswoman, we offer a range of RYA yachting courses to suit everyone.   

We are also the only RYA recognised sailing school in St. Lucia.

Why are we ladies only?

We chose to sail with just ladies simply because it’s easier.  It can be daunting enough to share a boat with strangers. We believe it is easier if you don’t have to share a cabin with a strange man and your cabin mate understands why you have all those girlie things with you..... it just makes sailing with Girls for Sail far more relaxing! 

We should point out that we do like boys. We just prefer to learn with the ladies and are happy to meet the gentlemen in the bar afterwards! We prefer to learn in our own gentle way doing it for ourselves...with clean smelling loos ('heads'), nice cups of tea, yummy food, calmness and no shouting. 

The Girls for Sail promise

As a brand we ensure there is a consistency of approach and we focus on how we teach you. We are not just good sailors...we work really hard to ensure your learning styles are met.

*  On all of our boats we have 3 main rules: 

1.     We are a calm boat and we do not shout

2.     There is no such thing as a stupid question

3.     We are a team and we take care of each other on and off the water 

Ultimately, you should have some fun whilst learning!

Why learn with us?

Girls for Sail has been established for over 15 years and is one of the best known and loved international brands in the sailing industry. Having started out as a humble sailing event organisation in Antigua in 1999 we now have two established RYA recognised schools. We are proud to be an RYA affiliated school and we focus on training and coaching and encouraging ladies of all ages and backgrounds . We are passionate about sailing! The principle is that learning for just girls and/or for just boys is a choice in our education system and we think that it makes learning much easier. We are especially keen to encourage ladies who are completely new to this wonderful sport to take up sailing.

Should I take a course or not?

This is a question we are asked many times. An RYA course provides a certificate of competence at the end of your time with us. Some courses have written or practical examinations and are recognised so that you can work in the industry. If you do not need or want a certificate, the days spent at sea are still great fun, extremely educational and we highly recommend them! If in doubt, why not contact us and we can discuss what would be best for you.

You can see our full calendar of events and availability here

Don't just take our word for it, look at some of the feedback from our customers HERE


Girls for Sail is an accredited sailing school with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).  The RYA is the UK's national association for all forms of recreational and competitive boating. RYA qualifications are recognised all over the world.  

Our yachts are inspected and certified to meet the highest safety standards, and so are our instructors and skippers!  Instructors with Girls for Sail are selected for their calm nature and patience, and they are all passionate about introducing their students to sailing in the most supportive, encouraging and fun environment possible.

From our bases in Cowes and St.Lucia, we run all practical RYA sailing courses from Start Yachting right up to Yachtmaster. We also offer RYA theory courses online or on board as part of a longer pratical course.

Call us on:
+44(0)1983 28 28 67

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