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Former Wallabie star George Gregan sailing the Whitsundays


Have you always been intrigued by life on the water, yet never known where to start? Allow us to explain a little about how easy it is to learn to sail in Australia. With thousands of yacht clubs scattered the length of our 25,000km long coastline, and hundreds more found on our various rivers and inland waterways, there's surely no greater place on earth than Down Under to discover the joys of sailing.

As well as the yacht clubs, all of the major cities boast sailing schools that cater to everyone interested in learning to sail, from children to senior citizens, and offer everything from hour-long theory lessons to weekly practical camps. Whether you want to learn the basics of navigation or earn your captain's ticket, there are plenty of courses available for novices who've never set foot on an oceangoing vessel right up to those who have plenty of experience but feel the need to brush up on a thing or two. Many tall ships offer school holiday programs for young adults, and the teamwork and discipline that is encouraged can often be life-changing.

If you're keen to learn how to sail quickly, feeling really adventurous, and are looking for a different kind of holiday you can always charter a boat with a skipper for a day or two of intensive training, then when you're feeling confident enough about what you're doing remove your instructor from the equation and enjoy the freedom of piloting yourself along the coast.

Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia offer the most active boating scenes, the weather and waterways seemingly purpose-built for water sports enthusiasts to get their fill, but yacht clubs can still be found in abundance in Tasmania, South Australia and all the way up into the Northern Territory.

Modern Australia grew up on maritime tales of Captain Cook and the First Fleet, and we have always been hugely successful on the water at the Olympics. Legend would have it that one of our nation's seminal sporting moments was when we finally broke America's 132-year stranglehold on the America's Cup to claim a glorious victory off Newport, Rhode Island in 1983. Sailing is such an integral part of Australia's make-up, you all but owe it to yourself to get involved, have a go, and find out just exactly what all the fuss is about.


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