How do you get into Sailing? By Chris Hesketh

I better start at the beginning of my journey into sailing! In the 1990s, in the UK, my work colleague and long-time friend Brett, asked me to go sailing with him for the first time, sailing in the UK is not for the timid, as the weather is bracing at best. Nether less, I was bitten by the bug, the whole package is so appealing to me, to sail by harnessing nature, travel somewhere using the wind, the adrenalin when you catch your first bit of wind, as you move the tiller into the zone. I also love the engineering and the work you can do on a yacht to make her more comfortable and sail better or more efficient controls. Most people go to a club and learn to sail to see if they like it after a few lessons. I was smitten the first time I sailed. I suppose having an “iron stomach” helped as well. I remember meeting up with Brett in Anglesey, where his yacht “Aquila” was on a dry standing, we would spend hours fixing, painting, varnishing, soldering and so on, rushing back to the B&B in the evening, to then enter a mission of drinking beer and eating curry (living the dream).  

After changing jobs in 2007 and arriving in Sydney Australia, I kind of forgot about sailing for a while as I concentrated on my career and living in a new country. But it kept on coming back to haunt me, as different people I would meet, would invite me to sail or help out on their boat. It was starting to get under my skin and after moving south of Sydney to Wollongong, which has a wonderful harbour, I approached the WYC to crew on their sail boats and for the first couple of years, the Commodore, Stephen, took me under his wing to sail his beautiful Beneteau 37 called “Big Blue”. The sailing community is like a big family, it takes a while to learn the jargon and rules and the ways of sailing. But once you’re in, it’s a sense of belonging and comradery.  There is always someone who knows what to do if you have a problem or they know a man (or women) who does if they don’t.

After a few years of crewing on other people’s yacht, I decided that I should buy my own yacht, the process of buying a yacht is a bit dauting and the yacht club was always there to help. In 2016, I bought my own yacht, a 31-footer, made by American company, Hunter. You can tell it’s American, as it has large cup holders all over the cockpit area, being a bit ignorant and slightly silly, I imagine in the states, you have sail through Maccas, where you can populate all these cup holders with endless cokes and Frappe’s. Anyway, I love this boat, it has brought me so much fun, pain, peace, experience and much more I don’t realise. 

The joy of sailing, propelled me to start my business “Heckythump” to try to tempt other “would be sailors” to take the plunge and try out sailing. There are so many bad stereotypes that harm this adventurous sport, “its only for the rich and people who don’t know what to do with their money” I hear them say, its elitism and expensive. What if I could make it easier and less expensive to get into sailing?  I created a brand of sailing clothing which is attainable. So, I designed in association with other fellow sailors, a sailing starter kit, everything you need to start sailing, including waterproof breathable jacket, trousers, UV shirt, hat and sailing gloves and of course a dry bag to keep it all in. This didn’t happen overnight, it took nearly 5 years to perfect and I am still making changes to the garments even now. The Yacht club has been testing out my gear and provide feedback for quite a few years now. I wanted to make a change in the market and make sailing accessible to everyone, so they can realise what a wonderful sport this is. Please have a look at my website and leave me your comments in the Feedback section. All the best and carry on sailing.      

Get a Quote

Home Form
Time limit exceeded. Please complete the captcha once again.
Previous Next
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this