Introducing newcomers to the wonders of sailing


Denis Kotlyarov and Vera Konashenok have created a new way for people from any background to taste the beauty of sailing.

Try Sail in Marbella on the Spanish Costa del Sol is a newly started sailing club, primarily for people who are curious but not yet committed to buying a boat or investing in a sailing education. The team at Try Sail has invented the term “sea-being” to describe what they want to bring to their guests – as you might guess, a term coined from well-being.

Sailing made easy

"We are not a sailing school, but we are not a rental business either. With us, people can simply come and try it out. Get the feeling of it. There are no demands, you don’t need a license, and you don’t need any previous experience or skills. You don’t need to invest much money. The point is to make sailing possible for everyone. There are still a lot of misunderstandings and stereotypes, sailing is often believed to be very complicated. There’s this belief that you need a lot of professional skills to do it. Some people perceive the sailing community to be something very closed and complicated to get into. We are here to show people that there actually are a lot of easy ways to access sailing. Of course, it can be complicated and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be like that."

The golden ratio

"Since we wanted to make sailing as simple and accessible as possible, we knew right from the beginning that we wanted a smaller boat for the purpose. We were looking for a boat where you can handle everything really easily and where loads are not as big as they are on a heavy, 35-foot-plus cruising boat. We believe that 8 meters is the perfect size for a boat like that. You can do racing, education, or just chill on the boat. The First 24 has real racing characteristics, it’s an interesting boat even for professional sailors. But at the same time it’s very easy to manoeuvre. Also, it has some space under the deck, some features and equipment just for resting and enjoying being on the water – a sun tent for the cockpit, a foldable table, stuff like that. You can even spend your holiday on board with your family. It really hits the golden ratio between racing, cruising, education and chilling."

Before or after sailing school

In Spain, sailing is more regulated by the government than in most other places. New sailors have to navigate through quite a few bureaucratic requirements before they are allowed to enjoy the sport. First of all, you need a license.  

"In a way, we are more like a pre-step, a place to go before entering a sailing school. With us, you can find out if and how you want to proceed. Also, when people get their licenses, quite often, they lack practice. So we offer that as a step that you can take after sailing school, an opportunity to acquire more experience before you take the decision to invest in a boat."

What to do next?

Try Sail facilitates trips along the coast, picnics and even informal races. They also advise customers on how they can advance further on their sailing journey – what the options are.

"This is not obvious to people who are not familiar with the world of sailing. Where can you participate in races, even with no or limited experience? If you have kids, where can they go to learn sailing? We help out with all of this. In addition, we offer something you will not find in a sailing school: some historical background. Where does sailing come from, how did it develop through the centuries, and how did it come to be what it is today? We think this is really interesting and adds something to the experience itself. Nowadays, sailing is mainly an activity for pleasure, but it used to be something you did to survive."

Six boats are good to go

Denis and Vera now have six First 24 ready to go. They received the boats in December and opened the doors for clients at the beginning of the year. “We are still a very young company”, says Denis. “But we feel confident that we have the right concept and the right boat for the job. We went through a lot of options before making the decision of which boat to implement in our concept. What we wanted was a boat where you can sense the movements and reactions of the hull, rudders and sails in a precise and noticeable way. As a professional sailor, I have sailed a lot of great boats, so I know when it feels right.” 

Even children can do it

"I remember clearly seeing the First 24 for the first time: For cruising, you have a big cockpit, a shorthanded friendly setup, and even an interior where the space feels very well laid out for relaxation and overnight trips. Under sail, you can sense the reactions of a true performance sailing boat. Being a lightweight boat with a generous sail area, we can sail in very light conditions, which means we can sail almost daily. That is obviously important when customers book trips with us. Even kids can do it. We offer camps and other activities for kids from 7 years of age. This is not really possible on a 40-footer; there’s not much they can do on a big boat. Mooring, harbour manoeuvres, tacking, gybing – all of it is much easier."

Any kind of sailing

"We visited so many factories. But when we visited the Seascape shipyard in Slovenia (EOW: that’s where First range up to 40 feet is produced and supported), I was immediately in love. You can comfortably be four or five people in the cockpit, it’s not like sitting in a bus during rush hours; you can get that feeling in other 8-meter boats. The first time I sailed the First 24 in Izola on the Slovenian coast, I noticed that I could sail the boat all by myself right away. I never felt worried about what would happen if I did this or that. So, we don’t know what the future brings for our company. But we feel sure we have the right boat for it. Our impression is that whichever kind of sailing you want to do, you can do it with a First 24."

Published on 28.12.2023