Your guide to Sailing in Salcombe

By Clare Levy on November 17, 2014

Sailing in Salcombe is popular with both holidaymakers and locals alike. Those who do not sail themselves can enjoy spectating the many fantastic sailing events which take place during the Summer season – events which are an integral part of Salcombe’s Summer life. Keen sailors can enter the events and compete in these regattas whether they are from the area or simply visiting.

If this is your first time sailing in Salcombe, we’ve put together a few simple tips  to give you some confidence when first setting out, whether you’re hiring a boat or taking sailing lessons:

  • Make sure you pay attention to the estuary speed limits before you head out to sea.
  • To avoid collisions, keep your eyes on the other boats as well as listening out for them – this is of uttermost importance, especially if you are a beginner.
  • Keep to the outer edge if you pass through a narrow section of water as sailing instructions deem this to be the safest and best way to do this.
  • Powerboats usually give way to sailing boats with the exception being if the sailing boat is trying to overtake it. However, staying out of the way of large vessels and ferry boats is advised due their difficulty in changing direction.

Another thing that can be quite difficult to grasp about sailing in Salcombe – or indeed anywhere – is the terminology used by sailors. We have put together a short list of these terms to give you a head start when you take to the water in Salcombe.

  • Bow – This is the front of the boat and knowing this is important for defining the next two common sailing terms.
  • Port – Port is the left-hand side when you are facing the bow.
  • Starboard – This is the right-hand side when you are facing the bow.
  • Leeward – The opposite direction to the way the wind is blowing. This is also known as Lee.
  • Windward – The direction in which the wind is currently blowing. As wind is what powers sailboats, knowing this term is incredibly important.
  • Boom – the horizontal pole which extends from the bottom of the mast. You adjust the boom to the direction of the wind to harness wind power
  • Rudder –This is located beneath the boat and the tiller is used to steer the boat.

If you want to learn to sail whilst visiting Salcombe, the Salcombe Island Cruising Club and Salcombe Dinghy Sailing both offer sailing lessons for any ability. Depending on the level you want to reach, they can offer courses lasting from one day to a week. Learning to sail is a must if you want to immerse yourself in Salcombe life so make sure you book a lesson next time you’re in Salcombe!

Salcombe Yawls on the waterAnother option for total beginners is a lesson with local instructor and lifelong sailor, ‘Scratch’ Hitchen. We chatted with Scratch about the Salcombe yawl here.

Don’t forget to check out our Salcombe Holiday Homes if you need somewhere to stay whilst visiting.