Sailors Information
Set out below is information primarily for the use of sailors, you will also find more on the About Us page and Our Facilities on the Home page of interest.
There is a large amount of other information also on this website, for example under ‘Volunteers’ including guidance and policies and details of our Committee members.

Click here to complete and submit a Sailors Membership Form.

Frequently Asked Questions by Sailors
How much of the sailing may I do myself?
This entirely depends on your capabilities and interest in learning, or indeed you may already be an experienced sailor. We encourage everyone to do as much as they wish and are able to do and our skippers will help you develop from the early stages of handling some ropes through to steering and then taking full control. We have plenty of sailors that sail single-handed, others that progress to become volunteer Skippers taking others out for a trip or are part of our Race coaching and team click for more details.
The Officer Of the Day will confirm when you are allowed to sail single-handed, which may depend on the weather conditions from day to day.
The RYA run a programme of achievement levels by progressing through tasks in a Sailor’s Log Book and bronze, silver, gold and platinum awards are granted for each level and an achievement badge presented. These are much valued awards and badges.

How long is a sailing trip?
We aim to take each sailor for 30 minutes with a minimum of 20 minutes. Sometimes it is necessary to make shorter trips, for example:
– if it takes a particularly long time to get the sailor into and out of the boat
– if the carer requests a shorter trip
– if there is a queue of sailors waiting
Occasionally we have to recall the boats because of bad weather conditions; if the trip is shorter than 20 minutes, we will refund the sailing fee in full.

Our sailor has no upper body strength – can she/he be strapped into the boat?
No – it is potentially dangerous to strap a person into a boat or onto a removable seat. To give this sailor the support needed, we have boats fitted with specially designed seats, also additional cushions and padding. It is highly unlikely that someone will fall out of our dinghies; however, tests have shown that any such restraint will prevent the life jacket from functioning correctly. So please ask if you need additional cushions or padding, and never strap anyone into a boat.
Now that I’m an NFDS member, may I sail at Spinnaker?
As an NFDS member you do not have the same rights as a Spinnaker member – for information on your entitlements please click here.

I would like to participate in the Access Traveller’s Event but cannot afford to do so. I need assistance towing a boat. Can you help?
If you are having difficulties which prevent you participating in Sailability events, please contact a committee member to see if funding and/or volunteer support can be made available. The Committee will consider each individual case.

What if I have a suggestion?
We welcome your suggestions and you should write these in the ‘NFDS Suggestion Book’ ; this can be found on the Reception Desk. We will consider your suggestion at the next Committee meeting and write our response in this book. When appropriate, we will also add your question to this page.

Why don’t you sell chocolates, sweets and snacks?
We have been advised by carers that this can cause problems because some of our sailors have specific dietary constraints which must be closely monitored. One sailor has a food fetish and it causes problems when he sees food. If people are kind enough to bring biscuits, cakes, sweets etc. to share with other members, these should be placed in the kitchen and not on the counter.

Can I bring bric-a-brac, books, plants etc for you to sell on sailing days?
Some of our members have been very successful at selling various items on sailing days and this has significantly contributed to our funds. These members are responsible for ensuring that any unsold items are removed at the end of the day; this avoids us becoming a ‘dumping ground’ especially as we have nowhere to store such things. So you can sell plants, also books, videos, DVDs; however we have to ensure the latter are ‘age related sales’. We ask you not to bring bric-a-brac in case it is faulty or “not fit for purpose” and please remember you are responsible for removing unsold items.

If you are an NFDS member and have any questions you would like to ask your Trustees, you can either write these in the Suggestions Book kept on reception at Spinnaker (sailing season only) or email
Your question will be addressed at the next Trustee meeting and the response to your question will be uploading on this page.