Sailing, Powerboating and Windsurfing


Sailing is a multi disciplined activity, offering continuing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Depending on the nature of sailing undertaken, it can provide excellent scope for teamwork and self reliance.

Under the guidance of its national governing body, the Royal Yachting Association, the activity is taught through recognised sailing schools and enthusiasts generally follow up their chosen branch of sailing through the many sailing clubs available.

In Aberdeenshire there are sailing opportunities promoted jointly with Aberdeen City Council at Loch of Skene and at various locations through a number of yacht clubs and sailing schools, Sea Cadets, and junior sailing schemes. There is also a junior RYA initiative called “Sailing in the City” and a local initiative called “Splash” which delivers a similar experience.

Sailing venues may vary from sheltered inland ponds to exposed coastal locations. The guidelines given below should be carefully adapted to suit the expected conditions and the chosen site.


Sailing encompasses activities in a number of different forms of craft which are summarised below:

A dinghy is as an open vessel with little or no in built shelter. Modern dinghies are user friendly with easy controls and inherent buoyancy, making them easier to right when capsized. Most people learn to sail in dinghies but their versatility can also enable them to be used in the wider context of racing and cruising situations.

A windsurfer is a board similar to a surf board which has a sail attached to it. Sails vary in size depending on the size of the person operating it and the wind strength. Windsurfers are operated solo.

This is normally used in the context of a rescue or safety craft at sailing centres. Powerboats are also becoming increasingly used as vehicles for coastal exploration, wildlife watching, joyrides and offshore racing.

Keel Boats
A keel boat is a vessel which has a ballasted keel. The vessel is not normally capable of being closed as described below but may have watertight bulkheads. Keel boats are also sometimes specialised one design inshore racing craft.

A cruiser is a vessel which has accommodation which can be closed, thus providing inherent
buoyancy. Cruisers are designed for open sea passages and are also suitable for coastal family cruising and local and long distance racing.

In respect of cruising and sail training, the Department of Transport has produced a code of practice for the safety of small commercial sailing vessels. The code has been developed for UK vessels of up to 24 metres in length which are engaged at sea in activities on a commercial (cost recoverable) basis and which do not carry cargo or more than 12 passengers.

Other wind propelled vehicles
Mention should be made to other forms of craft which use the wind for propulsion. ”Blo-Carts” can be used either on sand, grass or open concreted areas. It is essentially a sail which is attached to a frame which has 3 wheels and a seat for the operator. It is an effective way of teaching the operator wind awareness and how to use the wind effectively to move along.