About us

If you are reading this as a new or prospective member of Hengistbury Head Sailing Club (HHSC) - welcome, we hope you enjoy the times you spend with us.

Our aims

The main aim of HHSC is “to provide or assist in the provision of sailing opportunities for adults and over 12 year-olds at Hengistbury Head Outdoor Education Centre”. To fulfil this aim we have identified a demand for those who have reached the standard of the RYA Level 2 qualification, but who do not have the experience and/or confidence and/or desire to purchase a boat but wish to join a sailing club.

Our ethos

The reason HHSC is thriving is, in no small way, due to the culture of us all helping each other. There is no formal instruction in our sailing sessions, but several members are either Instructors or have a lot of experience. This means that there is usually someone available to give advice; help to rig; etc. However, everyone helps to get the boats, including the safety boats, into the water and at the end of each session no one disappears before all the kit is put away and a short debrief held. The willingness of all members to contribute in this way has created an excellent atmosphere at all our meetings.

Your first session

The first time you sail with us it is not necessary to be a member, but we do expect you to join if you wish to continue.  If you have already become a member, you should have received instructions as to how to book your boat online. However, if you are just wishing to come down for a trial session, please contact [email protected] who will make the necessary arrangements for you. Most importantly, when you arrive, find out who is running that particular session and let him/her know that you have arrived and that it is your first session. We will then do our best to arrange for someone to be your ‘buddy’’ so that you don’t feel like a lost soul! We will always try and allocate a member who knows the ropes to guide you on your first session(s), even if you are an experienced sailor. Upon arrival at the Centre, you will be asked to sign a declaration regarding your health, particularly in respect of Covid symptoms, but also any medical issue we should be aware of on that day. Please ensure that you point this out to the instructor in charge of the session..

Our Sailing Sessions

It costs just £10 to take part in any of our sailing sessions. From April to Sept, on selected Wednesday evenings, we run sailing sessions to fit in with tides. On weekends throughout the year, when the tide allows and there is capacity at the Centre, we also run three hourly sessions.

All our sessions are run by a qualified instructor with sufficient safety boat cover on the water. We hope that as many club members as possible will become qualified to helm a safety boat. A programme of all our events is distributed regularly by email. Last minute updates are also published on our Facebook page.

A typical session

It is a good idea to arrive early for several reasons:

  1. Parking spaces are limited (if you can share transport it is a great help). There may also be other individuals or groups using the Centre.
  2. You can register, get changed and help getting all the boats ready, including safety boats, ready for a prompt start. This helps to give us all as much time as possible on the water.

There will be a briefing outlining the sailing area and our objectives.  At the end of the session, everyone helps everyone until everything is put away. There will usually be a quick debrief. Fault reporting - if you find anything faulty on any boat please bring this to the attention of the organiser of the session before you go. 

Theory nights

We periodically run theory sessions on a wide range of subjects from knots to sail settings, from the Five Essentials to race tactics.

Other Activities

We organise social evenings at Christmas along with fun days and fund raising events duirng the year.

Who runs the club

We have a committee, currently comprising 15 members, that is voted into place each year at our AGM. Your Chair is Hamish Gracie; Deputy Chair - Steve Chapman; Secretary - Margaret Norris and Treasurer - Wendy Devitt.

Hengistbury Head Outdoor Education Centre (HHOEC)

At the time of writing, HHOEC is closed to the public and the main building is not accessible. The site is owned by BCP Council and HHSC has a licence to use the site along with the Darwin Room which contains changing areas, limited toilet facilities but no showers.

Our Fleet of Boats

All the dinghies, equipment, safety boats, etc. used during HHSC sessions are owned, insured and maintained by HHSC. We sail Wayfarers, Quests, Hartley 12s, Lasers, Picos and Toppers.

We hope that you will enjoy belonging to our fantastic club and look forward to seeing you on and off the water at some of our many events.