Learn English and sailing - for international teenagers

English and sailing course

How many lessons are there on the English and Sailing course?

There are 15 full hours of English lessons (which includes the written and oral test, needs analysis and induction on the first day) plus 12 hours of sailing tuition each week.

The English lessons are from 09.00 to 12.30 with a total break time of 30 minutes.

The sailing tuition is for 3 hours on 4 afternoons from Tuesday to Friday each week. You will learn sailing in English.

If the weather is too windy, other activities will be arranged.

You can find information about the sailing syllabus at the bottom of this page.

Can I do any other activities?

Yes, there is 1 other afternoon activity and 4 evening activities each week on the English and sailing course plus a full day trip on Saturdays (not on your departure Saturday).

Open the English & Activities page to see what sort of activities we offer.

On the English and sailing course
Sailing course off Portland

Where are the sailing lessons held?

Our sailing lessons take place at the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre in Portland Harbour which was the venue for the sailing events in the 2012 Olympics.

Portland Harbour is one of the best places in Britain to sail and top class sailors come from all over the world to train here.

Can I do this course if I can't swim?

No, to go on this course, students must be able to swim at least 25 metres and they must wear buoyancy aids at all times when on the water.
English and sailing course: preparing the boats
Preparing the sails in a sailing lesson

Can I book the English and Sailing course if I have never sailed before?

Yes, whether you are a complete beginner or have had a little or a lot of previous experience, there is a suitable class for you. If you are a complete beginner, you will start with basic theory and then go on to learn all the basic aspects of sailing including ropes, rigging, launching, landing and wind awareness.

By the end of the course you will have a basic understanding of how a boat sails and some experience of steering and handling the boat.

For students with previous experience the lessons will be more advanced.

What sort of boat will I learn in?

The boats include RS Zest, RS Tera, Laser, RS Feva and Laser Bahia.
Learn sailing in the afternoons
English and sailing at WEC

Will I get a certificate at the end of the course?

Yes, at the end of the course you will receive a Royal Yachting Association Certificate of at least stage one in the Young Sailor's Scheme.

What do I need to bring with me?

You will need to bring swimming things, a beach towel and beach shoes with you but all the other equipment needed is provided by the sailing school, including wetsuits and buoyancy aids.
English and sailing course
Preparing the sailing boats

Can I book this course just for one week?

The English and sailing course can be booked as an optional extra for any number of weeks during your language course.

There is an extra weekly charge for this course - please see the dates and prices page for more information.

Can I combine this course with English and Activities, Windsurfing or Outdoor Adventure?

Yes, you can. You could book one week of English and sailing and one week of Windsurfing, Outdoor Adventure or Activities ... whatever combination you would like!
The sailing course

Sailing Syllabus

Stage 1


  • Can assist with rigging a boat

Launching and Recovery

  • Can launch a dinghy and get underway with instruction
  • Can secure a boat to a trolley
  • Can assist with recovery and stowage of dinghy and gear


  • Can tie a figure of eight and cleat a halyard

Sailing Techniques and Manoeuvres

  • Can be a responsible crrew under instruction
  • Can steer when sailing and being towed
  • Can steer on a reach and go about (reach to reach)
  • Understands the effect of basic boat controls
  • Understands the basic principles of stopping, controlling speed and getting out of irons
  • Can paddle or row
  • Can call for assistance

Clothing and Equipment

  • Can put on personal buoyancy correctly
  • Is confident in the water wearing person buoyancy
  • Understands personal safety and knows what to wear for sailing

Capsize Recovery

  • Understands the importance of staying with the boat

Sailing Background

  • Can name basic parts of the boat
  • Understands what action to take to help those in distress
  • Understands local hazards
  • Understands how to prepare for a tow


  • Has knowledge of wind direction

Stage 2


  • Can put a boat to head to wind for rigging
  • Can rig a dinghy

Launching and Recovery

  • Understands how to manoeuvre a trolley clear of other boats and cables
  • Can launch and recover a small dinghy in an offshore wind


  • Can tie a round turn and two half hitches and a reef knot

Sailing Techniques and  Manoeuvres

  • Can control speed and stop by lying-to
  • Can get out of irons
  • Can go about (close reach to close reach)
  • Can crew a boat effectively
  • Can sail a shallow triangle across the wind under supervision
  • Can understand the principles of the five essentials and returning to a beach or pontoon (offshore wind)

Capsize Recovery

  • Can be  scooped in during capsize recovery or an right one type of dinghy

Sailing Manoeuvers

  • Understands the No Go Zone
  • Understands what is meant by windward, leeward and gybe


Has knowledge of:

Spars and rigging

  • Parts of the sail
  • Sail controls and foils
  • Offshore and onshore winds
  • Telling someone ashore
  • The dangers of man-made hazards

Rules of the Road

  • Has knowledge of the port/starboard rule


  • Understands several ways of finding the wind direction

Clothing and Equipment

  • Can choose and correctly adjust personal buoyancy aid
  • Understands what to wear for sailing

Stage 3

Rigging, Launching and Recovery

  • Can rig, launch and recover in an offshore wind
  • Can reef a dinghy ashore according to weather conditions
  • Can store a dinghy ashore


  • Can tie a bowline, clove hitch and rolling hitch

Sailing Techniques and Manoeuvres

Can demonstrate the basic principles of the following:

  • The five essentials
  • Sailing on all points of sail on a triangular course
  • Tacking upwind
  • Gybing from a training run
  • Righting a small capsized dinghy as a helm/crew
  • Coming alongside a moored boat
  • Prepare for / take up tow from a power craft
  • Picking up a mooring


  • Understands the course and starting procedure

Sailing Background


  • Understands how to recover a man overboard
  • Understands the points of sailing
  • Understands how a sail works
  • Knows basic terminology for use afloat
  • Understands the importance of clear communication aboard
  • Understands lee shore dangers and sailing in close company with other water users
  • Understands advice to inland sailors for coastal sailing
  • Knows the importance of personal safety and telling someone ashore
  • Understands the dangers of hypothermia and the use of correct clothing for protection

Rules of the Road

  • Knows the basic rules of the road - port / starboard, windward boat and overtaking boat


  • Knows how to obtain a weather forecast
  • Understands the Beaufort Wind Scale
  • Knows when to reef

Clothing and Equipment

Understands the importance of:

  • Personal safety equipment
  • Boat buoyancy
  • Basic safety equipment e.g. anchor, paddle, bailer

Stage 4

Rigging and Launching

  • Can rig, launch and recover in any wind direction
  • Can set up a boat according to weather conditions using sail and rig controls


Knows the uses of and can tie:

  • Figure of eight
  • Round turn two half hitches
  • Reef knot
  • Bowline
  • Clove Hitch
  • Rolling Hitch
  • Sheet Bend

Sailing Techniques and Manoeuvres

Can demonstrate:

  • Sailing techniques and manoeuvres from Stage 3 in a crewed boat
  • Communicate effectively as a helm and crew
  • Effective use of the five essentials by helm and crew afloat including use of tell-tales
  • Recovering man overboard
  • Returning to shore safely in any wind direction

Sailing Background

Has knowledge of:

  • Beaufort Wind Scale
  • Synoptic Charts
  • Tidal ebb and flow
  • Spring and neap tides
  • Knows how to recover from a total inversion


  • Can apply the IRPCS afloat
  • Has basic knowledge of IALA buoyage, how to use tide tables and how to find the direction of tidal streams
  • Use of tide tables
  • Tidal stream direction

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Weymouth English Centre
307 Alder Road
Poole BH12 5BH