A sailing academy? I can barely master a lilo, let alone a boat!
Well, that’s precisely the point. Head down here and you will go from zero to hero in no time.
If that’s true then these guys must seriously know what they’re on about...
They do. Regatta Sailing Academy is actually one of Qatar’s longest-running sporting ventures, having been founded by Mike and Christine Lawton in 1996. So far it’s proved so popular that they’ve had to move venues twice, from their original base at the Sheraton hotel, to the Intercontinental Doha in 2006 and now their new beachside home.
And where’s that?
Katara Cultural Village, although the academy also has a base in the Four Seasons in the Marina. That’s where they have their two racing yachts moored.
Yes, it is. But fancy doesn’t equal posh – this place is open to everyone.
You say that, but I’m fairly sure you need to have either gone to public school or actually be P. Diddy to go on a yacht...
Now you’re just being daft. In fact, all the instructors here are really down-to-earth and the vibe is very laid-back. Just get yourself down there about half nine in the morning and you can be out on the waves by 10am.
Isn’t it quite difficult, though?
Funnily enough, that’s what we thought, so we asked one of their sailing instructors, Simon Kearns.
What did he have to say, then?
We were getting to that. “The first lesson’s the hardest,” he reckons, “because it’s a very weird feeling until you get used to it – essentially you are in reverse; the way you steer is the opposite way round to the way you go.”
That makes my head hurt.
Us too. But he did also say, “once you get used to it, it becomes very easy. It’s just that first initial jump.”
Do I actually have to learn stuff? Or can I just go out and chill?
You can do whatever you want to, really. If you want to learn, you can work your way towards your Yachtmaster or Day Skipper qualifications. If you want to compete, they have weekly races and an annual championship. And on top of all that the academy offers everything from birthday parties to corporate activities.
Result! I can chuck the boss overboard.
Our thinking entirely.