Dinghy Sailing

Learn to sail at Weir Quay

Welcome to the wonderful and adventurous world of dinghy sailing at Weir Quay Sailing Club. We have a number of aims and the paramount aim is to have fun, but to have fun safely. Whilst having fun we learn how to sail or develop the sailing skills we may already have.

We have a fleet of dinghies that will satisfy any individual’s desire to get wet or to remain dry. Dinghy sailing is one sport where the entire family can participate – come and try it, you may be surprised!

The River Tamar is an incredible place to begin your sailing adventure. The rivers Tavy and Lynher are close by and offer some interesting day or weekend sailing and as your confidence grows, the sheltered waters of Plymouth Sound beckon and maybe a weekend trip to the glorious River Yealm and its twin villages of Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo.

From the first week of April, we run sail training sessions on Friday evenings for all ages that continue every week throughout the summer until the end of September. Start time is 17:45 and sessions may finish when either it is too cold or too dark. Early in the year we are usually off the water at around 20:00 but will stay out later during light, warm evenings.

No previous sailing experience is necessary, just a sense of humour!

To run the dinghy events, the club has a number of Royal Yachting Association (RYA) qualified Senior Instructors, Dinghy Instructors and Club trained Assistant instructors. The Club owns and operates 32 dinghies that are used for instruction that can also be used when attending club events and at other times can be hired from the club on a daily basis for a modest fee.

Usually, those younger than 10 tend to get cold more quickly than older youths but if their spirit and body are willing, those below the age of 10 are welcome. A briefing note on what clothing to wear can be found below.

To cover costs of petrol and boat maintenance, there is a Friday night sail training fee of £30 for the first attendee, £15 for each subsequent family member.

Dinghy Events

Although Friday evening sailing is the core dinghy activity at Weir Quay, other programmed events include dinghy racing, overnight camping, downriver and up river cruises and fun events with the junior members of other sailing clubs in the area. Our dinghy sailors also have the opportunity to crew in yachts owned by other club members as this report of our recent Cadets Cruise to Fowey illustrates.

The full programme of club events can be found on here.

2023 Winter Racing Series

These were created to extend the dinghy sailing season and are aimed at more experienced helms and crew. They comprise two sets of three races named the Equinox and Autumn series plus a pursuit race named the Chilly.

Equinox Series Final Results

Autumn Series Final Results

All races in the Autumn Series have now taken place and the final results are shown below.

Well the fresh breeze didn’t really materialise on Sunday 5th November, in fact the wind dropped just before the start of the first race making it difficult for everyone to cross the start line in strong tides and river flow. We did complete the first race with the usual mishaps and miscalculation of the tides when round the marks, sorry but James can’t publish a video of that this time – you know why! A good race with lots of places changes due to light then strong winds and some doing the wrong course and having to go back, the top mark proved particularly tricky due to a wind shift right as you prepared to turn. We must mention Neil, even though he didn’t manage to start the first race due to gear failure, he did join in 1 lap behind everyone else – my that enterprise is slippery and would have been in contention, watch out next year!

Charles did a wonderful job of getting to the first mark in the second race, unfortunately this took 20 mins and by that time no one else had crossed the start  line so we had to abandon. This means the series was reduced to three races and there is consequently only one discard.

Well done to Bill after the three races – a worthy winner.

Thanks to Julie, Alan, Allan and Matt for supporting the race last weekend.


Photos and videos from the first weekend of the Autumn Series:

Recommended Reading

The RYA website has a range of useful books and DVDs.  For beginners there is RYA Start Sailing – Beginners Handbook. £7.49.  For improvers there is RYA Dinghy Techniques £15.49.

A report of the 2019 Dinghy Sailors Cruise to Fowey

A report of the April 2019 Dinghy Sailors Expedition on the Brixham Trawler, Leader