Water Activities Centre

 Registered Charity No: 1025713

aala Essa logo 11016998_Toppers

Dinghy sailing is the activity of sailing small boats by using the five essential controls to keep a boat moving.

There are a lot of aspects that can make dinghy sailing and racing a fascinating and rewarding recreational sport: physically, mentally, and in terms of personal relationships with other crew member(s), competitors, and organizers. The RYA, regulating authority for sail training in the UK and Europe, states that "With a reliance on nature and the elements, sailing is about adventure, exploration, teamwork and fun."


Fancy yourself as a budding Ellen MacArthur or Ben Ainslie, harnessing nature’s resources and cutting across the water under the power of the wind? Experience the joy of sailing with a half or full day taster session, or one of our RYA courses under the guidance of a qualified instructor learning the skills of sailing a dinghy.


Sailing is our primary activity, using only the wind to move you.

Sailing is an enjoyable Olympic Medal winning sport, which involves developing new practical skills. We also include games and other fun tasks to make your time with ESSA Water Activities Centre a memorable experience!


We have a range of dinghies such as: Oppie, Topper, Pico, Laser, Feva, Laser Bahia, RS Vision, Wayfarer and Bosun.

All candidates will be given tuition by our qualified instructors using coaching ratios established by the RYA.


Come and see if you can keep your boat upright!

We are able to offer taster sessions for a whole day, half day or evening as well as a number of RYA courses for both youth and adults:

Courses are for 2 days.


Youth (9+)

Stage 1

Have fun, get wet, go sailing. An action packed Introduction to the sport.


Stage 2

Finish off the starter skills and get control. Progress through the basic skills.


Stage 3

By the end of a Stage 3 course you've learnt to sail in any direction, launch and recover, and feel in command of your boat.


Stage 4

After this course, you've arrived: you can make your own choices afloat, manoeuvre at close quarters and trim your sails expertly.


You can now go on and choose from the advanced modules after the adult level 2


Adult (16+)

Level 1

An introduction to the sport, covering the minimum knowledge required to get afloat under supervision.


Level 2

Become a competent sailor in light winds. You can now progress to the advanced modules




Seamanship Skills

How to handle the boat in all circumstances and solve problems afloat. This course will give you a solid foundation for all your sailing.


Day Sailing

Passage planning and decision making for small boat cruising. Tidal weekends are organised at other centres on the East coast.


Sailing with Spinnakers

Everything you need to know to enjoy modern, three-sail boats.


Start Racing

The start line for enjoying club racing. All you need to know to get round the course and lay the foundation for winning.

2 minute Topper

Capsize Challenge

Can you get to the top of our leaderboard?

When you learn to capsize, you can have a go at our two minute Topper Capsize Challenge!

Check out some of the videos of the challenge on our Facebook page!


(The secret is to learn to dry capsize!)