Keelboats are the largest of the small sailing boats and designed to be sailed by two or more people. They tend to be dryer and more stable than dinghies and multihulls, due to the weighted keel under the hull which reduces the likelihood of the boat capsizing. In some designs the keel can be raised making it easier to store and transport.

You will find many of the same controls as on a dinghy, but with extra equipment you’d find on sailing yachts, such as winches. Keelboats bridge the gap between small boats and cruisers, offering the benefits of both to beginners learning to sail. Find out more about our keelboat courses below. 

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Adult courses

The National Sailing Scheme is a series of short courses, each run over a number of sessions or two full days. Progress quickly from beginner to expert in a controlled, safe and enjoyable environment.

Level 1 - Start Sailing

A course for complete beginners. Learn how to sail in all directions and awareness of launching and recovery

Level 2 - Basic Skills

Build your confidence and gain the skills needed to sail and make decisions in good conditions

Level 3 - Better Sailing

Improve your sailing, consolidating skills and trying new ones in a variety of conditions.

Advanced courses

Following on from the early courses in both the National and Youth Sailing schemes, you can choose one of the advanced modules below to suit your sailing interests. All courses are available to both adults and young people.


Seamanship skills

Learn how to handle a boat in all circumstances and solve problems afloat.

Day sailing

Master passage planning and decision making for going on a day sail in a keelboat.

Sailing with spinnakers

Everything you need to know about sailing with conventional or asymmetric spinnakers.

Performance sailing

Improve your boat handling and confidence in performance multihulls.

Learn to race

Progressing through the RYA racing courses will take you from complete beginner to experienced competitor, developing your skills in the core areas of starting, boat-handling, speed, tactics and strategy. You'll need to be a Level 2 or Stage 3 sailor to start racing.

Start Racing

A course for new sailors, wishing to start racing. Build your confidence and general racing knowledge by learning the skills needed to enter and compete in a race.

Club Racing (Intermediate)

Develop the skills needed to adapt to racing at different venues and in more challenging conditions. More information coming soon...

Regional Racing (Advanced)

Develop the skills needed to adapt to racing at different venues and in more challenging conditions. More information coming soon...

Find a training centre
Start Sailing book cover

With more than 100 different titles to choose from, there’s an RYA book, eBook or audiobook for every age, interest and ability. Visit our webshop for course books and a range of supporting titles.

two girls at bow of keelboat smiling and laughing

The Youth Sailing scheme is perfect for getting young people started in sailing. Generally these courses are offered in dinghies, but some centres will have options for multihulls and keelboats. Find out more about further opportunities for under 16s.