The NLSA is fortunate to own a residential coastal sailing base, Brightlingsea Coastal Sailing Centre, at Brightlingsea in Essex, situated on the Colne estuary. With a long maritime tradition of fishing and boatbuilding, Brightlingsea is also a centre for leisure boating, with superb local sailing in the Colne and Blackwater estuaries, ideal for RYA courses, race training and dinghy day sailing and cruising at all states of the tide.

Groups of up to 16 members can be accommodated at the Centre, a converted historic building.  Accommodation is in bunk beds in simple but comfortable dormitories or in two-person cabins, and the house is centrally heated with showers and drying facilities. Weekends are run on a group self-catering basis, with everyone contributing to the domestic activities. 

Brightlingsea NLSA

NLSA Dinghy Cruising Weekends 

NLSA runs several sailing weekends a year for members and their guests.  All sailing is supervised by a Senior Instructor and full safety cover is provided.  Sailing is usually day cruising to one of the many destinations on the Colne or Blackwater estuaries, although special activity weekends - for example tidal racing practice, or navigation, or weekends especially for families - are also run.

Brightlingsea's location on a creek near the mouth of the River Colne gives easy access at all states of the tide to a large and sheltered tidal sailing area with extensive areas of sheltered water in the Colne suitable for beginners even in relatively strong winds, but trips further afield also provide challenging sailing for the more experienced.  For day sailing there are many destinations within easy reach in most combinations of tide and wind.

Dedicated racing also takes place at Brightlingsea during the Brightingsea Sailing Club's Pyefleet racing week in August each year.  For more information and the Pyefleet booking form, please go to the Pyefleet racing page.

An additional charge is payable for Brightlingsea weekends to cover catering and the Centre's operating costs.  For further information on NLSA dinghy cruising weekends at Brightlingsea, contact the Bookings Coordinator, Christine Williams at

Boats at Brightlingsea

At the Brightlingsea base, members and their guests sail Wayfarers which can accommodate up to 4 people in their 16-foot length and are excellent sea boats with good stability.  They have an easily-reefed rig but can also provide exciting and lively performance sailing, being equipped with spinnakers and trapezes.

RYA Courses 

Brightlingsea Coastal Sailing Centre organises a wide range of residential and non-residential RYA dinghy and powerboat courses and there are discounts for NLSA members.  

For further information on RYA courses at Brightlingsea, contact the NLSA Bookings Coordinator, Christine Williams at

Use of the Base by other Organisations

When not in use by NLSA, the base and boats are also available to external sailing groups if under the supervision of an RYA Senior Instructor who has completed an induction at the Cente.  For further information contact or visit