Do you need a boat to join the sailing club?
-No. If you are just starting, it would be better not to buy your own boat. Club boats are available for hire. Currently the charge is five pounds a session, which is less than it would cost to use your own boat!
Until you have sailed for a while and tried, or at least seen and talked to others sailing, different boats, you are unlikely to make a good choice.
There are some good boats available at very reasonable prices, but often boats are sold cheaply for a reason - poor condition, or an unpopular / unsuitable type. Caveat emptor - in spades!
Do you need to be able to sail to join the club?
-No. But if you want to helm , you will need to learn. Start Sailing courses are run at SVSC (and most other clubs) and we advise you to do this.
But you can join straight away, sail as crew and have the opportunity to do some supervised helming when conditions are easy, giving you a head start on the course.
Do I need lots of special equipment?
-No. In the summer people often sail in shorts, T-shirt and a pair of old trainers. You MUST wear a suitable buoyancy aid ("lifejacket" to most people), but we can lend you one at first. You also need to bring a towel and a change of clothes, in case you get wet.
Sailing is a water sport, so keeping warm and dry as possible in old clothes that don't mind getting wet & dirty, is the objective.
If you get into sailing, you will need to buy your own buoyancy aid and if you continue sailing in winter (as most of us do), you will need a wetsuit or dry-suit.
You will learn about these things on your start sailing course. Or talk to other members at the club.
I'm retired and never sailed before. Could I start at my age?
-Yes. Some of our members are probably older than you. Some have sailed for years, but others started after retirement like you.
Sailing is a great sport for people of all ages, combining physical and mental exercise with a primeval pleasure in harnessing the power of wind and water, especially in the lovely surroundings of Sandwell Valley.
Getting boats into and out of the water can be strenuous, so we help each other. On a very windy day sailing can be hard, so we learn how to reduce its power on the boat and ultimately, use the wisdom of age to know our limits. Then stand and watch the younger hotheads going swimming.
Come and have a chat with people like you at the club.
Is sailing expensive?
-Yes. Or No. Depends. SVSC membership is about as cheap as it gets, £57 a year (or £35 concessionary or junior.) You can use a club boat for £5 a session. So if you sailed 20 times a year, it would cost less than £8 a go. Sail more and it's even less. Comparable with trips to the cinema?
Get keen and buy your own boat (let's start 2nd hand from a few hundred pounds) and you have to start paying the council for a water licence ( £80) the insurance (about £50) and £35 to the club to keep your boat here.
Start competing in serious national races ( £20+ a day entrance fees) and you may want to buy a better boat with a road trailer (new boats from a few £ thousand upwards), with insurance going up to cover. And you'll want to spend a few hundred pounds on better sailing clothes.
We make our choices - most of us stick to the lower and middle range.
Family membership cost the same as one adult, so it can be a pretty cheap option for a familly hobby.