UK sailing school

Sailing school

Please Note: For the safety of our crew and guests, all mixed student sailing school courses have been temporarily suspended through to September 2020. If you are a group of two or more, you are still able to learn to sail with us and enjoy the yacht and instructor to yourselves, please inquire with a Vacation Planner to find out more.

•           Booking a single household training course, paying for 3 places and sailing with 2 family members. 
•           Booking a single household training course, paying for 3 places and sailing with 3 family members. 
•           Booking a single household training course, paying for 4 places and sailing with 4 or 5 family members. N.B. we are delighted to offer the 5th place free on any RYA course for the summer.

Learn to sail in the heartland of British sailing

Portsmouth is the largest of our sailing schools, and offers the widest range of courses. Earn your stripes in the Solent's historic sailing ground, advancing from beginners' sailing courses to RYA Yachtmaster qualifications. Take advantage of practical and shore-based courses, as well as a host of online options.

Learn to sail in one of the world's most famous sailing areas, experiencing a wide range of conditions out on the Solent. This is a tidal location with a tidal range of up to 4 metres, enough to put all sailors to the test.

Pricing and Availability


Standard prices




(1 November - 31 March)


(1 April – 31 October)
BeginnerSunsail 1 day taster course£109£129
2 day RYA Start Yachting course£199£249
5 day RYA Competent Crew course£479£559
2 + 3 split weekend RYA Competent Crew course£529£599
Some experience2 day yacht refresher course£199£249
Intermediate5 day RYA Day Skipper practical course£479£559
2 + 3 day RYA Day Skipper practical course£529£599
9 Day RYA Day Skipper combined course£799£849
ICC Assessment Day£149£149

5 day RYA Coastal Skipper practical course

7 day RYA Yachtmaster Coastal prep£609£709
7 day RYA Yachtmaster Offshore prep£609£709

 Exam Fees

Advanced Powerboat & Yachtmaster™ Coastal£181
Yachtmaster™ Offshore exams£215


Course type



(1 November - 31 March)


(1 April – 31 October)
Shore based coursesRYA Day Skipper theory course£359£389
RYA Small Craft First Aid course£109£109
Specialty coursesLadies Only course£479£559
Youth Sailing Academy-£609
9-day Combined RYA Dayskipper Youth Sailing Academy -£859

Family courses

MileBuilders course£479£559
Online coursesRYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship (ENAS)£99£99
RYA GMDSS Radio course£69**£69**
Professional Practices and Responsibilities online course£39£39
RYA Day Skipper Theory£295£295
RYA Coastal Skipper & Yachtmaster Theory£310£310

Prices above are per person based on a single berth upon a shared yacht and may include sharing a cabin or sleeping in a converted berth in the saloon. For single occupancy prices and availability please talk to our sailing school team.

We have sailing courses running year round here in Portsmouth. Please email the sales team [email protected] for available course dates

* Call for pricing

** plus £60 payable to RYA for the exam

Practical information

You can find additional helpful information in our Port Solent Sailing School Joining Instructions.

What to bring

For practical courses

  • Cold weather gear: fleece top, gloves, hat, scarf, thick socks, comfortable trousers or tracksuit, deck shoes, sailing boots or non-marking trainers, neck towel or small towel to stop drips. We do not recommend jeans as they take a long time to dry.
  • Warm weather gear: a hat, sun cream, shorts and T–shirts.
  • Please note: all personal items are brought at your own risk. You may also want to bring your own waterproofs or hire some from us at £10 per day. For hygiene reasons, we do not hire out sailing footwear.Waterproofs for hire come in a range of adult sizes.
  • Please note: Sunsail only provides life jackets suitable for adults or older teenagers. 
  • If taking part in Yachtmaster Coastal/Offshore prep week, you will need a log book showing past experience and two passport sized photographs for your examination. You will also need a valid first aid certificate and a SRC certificate or higher level GMDSS radio operator's qualification. Please ensure you bring the correct exam fees for each course. These are payable direct to the RYA examiner, not Sunsail.
  • We recommend bringing a torch with you on all practical courses.

RYA Practical Day Skipper and RYA Coastal

Skipper certificates:

To get your certificate you will need to bring a passport size photo and a photo ID, such as a passport or driving licence.

Please note: you cannot be issued with your certificate without both of these items.

Shore-based courses

  • Pens, pencils, eraser, calculator, dividers and a Bretton Plotter. A Bretton Plotter and divider pack is available to buy from us at a cost of £22.00 +£1.50 p&p or can be collected on arrival.
  • It isn't all work and no play, so you'll have the chance to enjoy coffee breaks throughout the day. There are various places to buy lunch at Port Solent as well as a supermarket close by, or you can bring a packed lunch instead.


Practical courses

  • You will be sleeping on board in shared cabins.
  • We do not provide bedding so please bring your own sleeping bags, pillows and towels.
  • Please bring your things in a soft holdall as there is limited storage on board the yacht.

Shore-based courses

  • We are able to offer accommodation on board our yachts, subject to availability. Please ask us for further information or, if you would prefer, you can arrange your own accommodation locally. There are 3 hotels within a 10/15min walk from Port Solent. These hotels are the Marriott, Premier Inn Port Solent and Premier Inn North Harbour. The Villiage Hotel is around 15mins drive from Port Solent. 

Catering arrangements

Practical courses

  • Breakfast, lunch and non-alcoholic beverages are provided on board. You are welcome to bring any extra nibbles you may need.
  • We do cater for dietary requirements if you let us know what they are ahead of time, or bring alternative provisions as needed.
  • Evening meals are at your own expense, but your skipper will be able to direct you to the best meal in town at each overnight stop with the crew.
  • Helping out with the cooking, washing up and general housekeeping of the yacht will be expected of each guest.

Shore-based courses

  • You can expect some refreshments on arrival, as well as in the morning and for your afternoon break. For lunch you can dine in the great local restaurants here in Port Solent. Lunch is not included.

Log book For RYA courses

You will need RYA log book G158 for your course. Please purchase in advanced online. 

Recommended reading for RYA courses

RYA practical and/or theory course books. These can be purchased in advance online. 

Yacht course start times

Please refer to your booking confirmation for your start day and times.

Practical courses start at 9am or 7pm depending on the course booked and usually finish at 5pm. Theory courses run 9am-5pm. VHF course exam dates available on request.

Marina fees

Mooring/marina fees are included in the course fees.

Children on courses

  • Sunsail welcomes your older children on any of our courses at any time of year, provided they are accompanied by at least one adult.   However, to participate in courses they must meet the minimum age requirements.
    Competent Crew Certification Course- Minimum age 12+
    ICC and Day Skipper Certification Course- Minimum age is 16+
  • If you are aged 13 to 17 and want to take to the water without your parents then our specialist teenage weeks with DBS-checked instructors are the perfect week away. Contact the sales team for further information.

Respecting destinations

Sunsail remains committed to protecting the environment and supporting local cultures in our sailing areas. Over many years our clients have helped us to ensure that our presence does not negatively impact these areas. Please continue to help us leave these areas as good as or better than we found them.

  • Managing your sewerage by always using the pump out facilities in marinas, where available. Otherwise, please avoid emptying tanks in busy anchorages and marinas and prevent contamination to humans and reefs by pumping out as far as possible offshore.
  • Washing off your anchor when leaving an anchorage. Your yacht is equipped with low phosphate washing up liquid, please use this and keep the bottle so that it can be refilled.
  • Separating your waste and recycling on board as much as possible.
  • Avoiding pumping oily bilge water or other hazardous substances into the sea. Save these for safe disposal in a marina pump out facility. 
  • Being litter conscious by never throwing rubbish overboard and avoiding using plastics and other non-biodegradable products. 
  • Observing marine law, and knowing the laws that govern fish catch sizes and the touching and handling of marine wildlife.
  • Remembering to keep a safe distance from marine life, and if viewing, approach side-on and stop with propellers in neutral.
  • Identifying dark water areas as possible important ecosystems, and taking care if navigating around them.
  • Keeping sealife in mind when mooring. Using buoys where available instead of anchoring.


We have photographers on site at our bases throughout the season, and you'll be informed if one is present upon arrival at your base. If you have strong objections to close-up photography of yourself and your party, please indicate your feelings to the photographer at the time.

Sunsail schools office opening hours

The Sunsail sales office is open Monday to Friday and 0900 to 17:30

Port Solent base opening hours:

The Sunsail base is open Mon-Thursdays from 9am-5pm (or 8pm when we have yacht departures), Fridays from 9am-8pm, Saturdays from 8am-10am and Sundays from 3pm-8pm Sundays when we have yacht departures.

Contact numbers

Contact [email protected] or call 023 9222 2221 to make a booking (Monday to Friday 9.00-17:30)

Reception for delayed arrival 023 9222 2336
(Within base opening hours)

Emergency Sunsail UK operations 023 9222 2277
(outside base opening hours only)

Base Address

Port Solent Marina
South Lockside
Port Solent


How To Find Us

The nearest main line stations are Havant or Fratton station with regular connections to Chichester, Brighton, London and Southampton. The nearest local stations to Port
Solent are Portchester and Cosham. For 24 hour information on local and national train times and fares telephone: National Rail Enquiries: 03457 48 49 50. There is a taxi rank
at Havant, Fratton and Cosham train station. Taxi number is 02392 654 321. 

Follow the main road going straight across the first roundabout. At the next roundabout, bear right (the only way). At the third roundabout, near the Odeon cinema take the second exit. Then drive over two speed bumps and take the next right, sign posted Sunsail. The car park is on the left on the gravel area. Parking at Port Solent is free. Once parked, make your way down the path to the left hand side of the marina, with the water on your right. Continue until you reach a smaller car park, and can see the marina reception. The Sunsail reception is at the front of the same building.