You can go on holiday for a few days at Lake Como, never having set foot on a sailing boat before, take a few hours of lessons spread over three to five days and return home a week later with a basic ability to sail a boat. Or, if you already know the basics, you can develop your sailing ability to intermediate or advanced level. You could then include some sailing, at your level of expertise, in your future holidays – or do a bit at weekends, if you live near water. You won’t have to buy a boat, you can hire one when you know what you’re doing.
You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get started. You don’t even have to be able to swim in order to sail, because you should be required to wear a lifejacket. If you can play golf, tennis or squash, you can sail. If you can drive a car, or even ride a bike, you can sail. If you’re a kid, over six years old, you can sail. You can make much quicker progress at sailing than at, say, skiing. And it’s more exciting for a beginner. Speed varies according to the type of boat and its position at different times, in relation to the prevailing wind. But when the wind is filling the sails to the maximum, you really feel as if you’re flying over the water at a high rate of knots (which of course you are).
Because tuition time is spread over several days, you can combine sailing with other active sports, sightseeing, nightlife or just relaxing on the beach. But that’s a happy co-incidence – not the reason why sailing is taught for only a few hours a day. The reason is that the most important wind – the Breva – blows only in the afternoon. Mornings and evenings are usually still. That’s when the motorboats, waterskiers, wakeboarders and canoeists take over the flat water.
Most sailing courses are for adults, either in a group class, or in private lessons. At the Tabo Surf Centres in Gera Lario and Sorico, group classes are available for beginners, improvers and advanced; and there’s a kids’ class for 6-12 year olds. Adult classes cost €250 for fifteen hours over five days (plus €25 for ‘FIV’ paperwork) while the kids’ class costs €165. All prices include the cost of kit. As the lessons progress, you move on to sportier boats and if you take private lessons (starting at €50 per hour, with rate reductions for longer bookings) you get to sail a Hobie Cat(amaran).
The Tabo centres also hire ‘self drive’ sailing boats; teach, and hire equipment for, wind-surfing and kitesurfing; and rent out canoes and mountain bikes. Additional facilities include the beach, children’s playground and tennis court.
The Katsegeln centre in Domaso provides training courses:
- at introductory level, lasting seven and a half hours over three days
- at basic level, lasting twelve and a half hours over five days, and
- at advanced level, lasting ten hours over five days.
The courses cost €185, €290 and €375, including personal kit hire. Alternatively, you can also choose training by co-sailing at €80 for one hour and €120 for two. The centre also hires out boats to sailors with an appropriate licence.
The Katsegeln centre is a part of the Windsurf Centre, also in Domaso, which offers windsurfing lessons and equipment hire, and rents out canoes and mountain bikes.
EaseAway based in Menaggio is a British company on Lake Como offering all the luxury and sailing enjoyment you could want on board our Beneteau 323 Celebration. Safety conscious and fully complying with MCA and RYA requirements we want to give you a fantastic experience on the water whether that is a ‘serious’ day sailing with our skipper, a champagne cruise or a training course.
Many other sailing centres on Lake Como offer lessons. The list below may be of interest to those who are looking for such facilities in a particular location or a specific type of boat. Unfortunately, their websites are almost always in Italian only.
The Centro Vela Alto Lario, in Gravedona runs sailing courses for adults and kids.
Skiffsailing Italia specialises in ‘skiff’ boat sailing. It has a base in Dongo, from which it appears to organise a school, sailing holidays and regattas.
The Velamare Club also runs sailing courses from Dongo, with a range of boats – from 420 and Trident to Nytec 23, Este 24, First 31.7 and skiffs.
The Orza Minore sailing school based in Dervio, advertises three levels of training and has a wide range of boats, from Skipper to A40.
The Circolo Vela in Bellano provides sailing lessons for children and adults.
The Circolo Vela Como runs a number of sailing courses for adults and children, in Como and Dongo.
Finally, Vivere La Vela runs sailing courses based in Menaggio.