RYA Sailing with spinnakers

2 days

The course

Learn to set and use a gennaker and experience the thrills of racing speeds in a small dinghy, catamaran or keelboat. It’s an advanced course, over two days, covering launching, recovery and performance of spinnakers and gennakers, delivered by an advanced  instructor and should involve different boat types. Students should already have the skills of a Level 3 adult course in the vessel they want to use for this course (dinghy, catamaran, keelboat).

Teaching method

After some basic spinnaker and gennaker theory, we will get on the water as soon as is safely possible for you to familiarize you with the dinghy, catamaran or keelboat. You and the instructor and any crew will then take turns at each of the roles – helming, crewing, managing. If we are using two-person trapeze dinghies we will also develop crew trapezing skills (and the helming skills to match).

Course and session timing

Course duration: 2 days in total (can be run as 4 half-days). Usual lesson time is 3 to 4 hours mixed between sailing and theory to prepare you for the next exercise. Some of your time will be rigging (preparing the boat) and de-rigging) at the end of the lesson. To ensure maximum learning time, you should come prepared to sail and change before your course starts if possible.

Pre-course experience

Normally students have already attained the skills of a Better Sailing course (Level 3) or be able to demonstrate quickly that they have the necessary skillset. This might require a 1-day fast-track to Level 3 which would gain you the formal certificate.

How to book

Courses can be booked by contacting the ESS office by email, phone or enquiry form on the website (a button on this page will pop-up a booking form, another button is a general info form)


  • Rigging including spinnaker and trapeze if fitted.
  • Launching boat that have open transoms and racks.
  • Sailing techniques and manoeuvres appropriate to spinnaker boats.
  • Capsize recovery in relation to deployed spinnakers.
  • Racing courses and techniques for spinnakers.
  • The theory of apparent wind sailing.
  • How hull shape affects performance.
  • Sources for information on rig set up.

Course progression

What's provided

We will provide the boat, instructor and course materials such as an RYA logbook. RYA textbooks covering the activities (and more) can be purchased from the shop. You should bring your own sailing shoes or old trainers for use in the boat.

Other courses

See a course in progress

Please ensure that you read and understand our COVID-19 procedures and the terms and conditions of your course contract with us. Copies of these will be emailed with your course confirmation and are available, laminated, at the beach. You will be asked to sign to confirm that you have read and understood them.