Portland's just perfect

Portland Harbour offers one of the best training grounds in the world for watersports, with prevailing winds over Chesil Beach, flat water and shallow water that allows learners to put their feet down.

Dorset Echo: learning to sail off portland

If you want to start sailing, you should easily be able to find something that gets you on the water particularly now the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has launched it's OnBoard scheme to enable young people under 16 as well as adults to get involved in windsurfing and sailing.

Weymouth Outdoor Education Centre offers sailing and kayaking along the Jurassic Coast, as well as surfing and river kayaking.

Centre manager John Perham said: "It's very easy to get involved in watersports because we've got such a great location.

"Children can have a go, and then there's a very good network to learn, improve and join a club.

Dorset Echo: learning to sail off portland

The centre offers beginner courses in sailing and kayaking for adults as well as children. For adults, courses in Weymouth are usually at weekends or in the evening, while for children and young people they are designed to fit in with the scholl timetable and holidays.

Other initiatives for children centre on the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, where the Chesil Trust charity has teamed up with the Academy and Sail Laser to enable 500 primary school children to sail for £5. Sail Laser also offers adults too the chance to get started, with a number of different options.

Chief instructor and community sports coach at Sail Laser, Matt Bridge says: "There are more and more avenues for people to get into sailing without having to spend too much money."

Those avenues include sailing clubs being established in Weymouth and Portland secondary schools, and a community sailing club at Sail Laser. The club, for eight to 16-year-olds, runs every Tuesday from 5.15 to 7.15pm, and costs £10 without kit or £5 for those with a boat.

For young windsurfers there is Team 15 club on Portland, an RYA scheme that is designed to take members to the next level.

It is run through Windtek Watersports, and open to eight to 15-year-olds who are at Level One standard.

Dorset Echo: sailing academy recruits

Windtek instructor Alex Sergison said: "Team 15's just a good route into the sport. It's all very well doing a lesson, but if you can't carry on it tends to peter out. it's relaxing and social - they get to meet kids from other schools and have barbecues in the summer, and we're hoping to travel to events around the country."

The club runs every Tuesday from 5.30-7.30pm, and costs £10 without kit, or is free to those with their own windsurfing gear.

Click for RYA website

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