Europa Holidays

Dinghy sailing on Lake Garda - wind and weather

Lake Garda - first choice for all the big dinghy fleets

Lake Garda is home to many current olympic sailors and past medal winners as well as being the frequent practice area for all the major classes including sportboats such as Sportboat,, Melges and Esse. The warm weather, clean water, long reaches and dependable winds attract all the major dinghy fleets for european and world championships.

We regularlay see RS and Laser fleets, Flying Dutchman, 420's and 505's. The popular Italian classes such as Vaurien, Flying Junior, contender and ISO also regularly meet here. All of the Olympic classes regularly meet here, often for pre-Olympic regattas and qualification regattas, so expect to see some very good 49er, Finn, Star, 470 and Laser fleets around the lake.

Wind and conditions

Renowned for its two thermal winds, l'Ora and il Peler, Lake Garda offers conditions to suit every level of sailor. Unlike most other thermal locations, where the wind turns up on only a few summer afternoons, these winds blow throughout the year. The morning wind, ‘Peler’, arrives from the North and starts at first light, blowing anything from Beaufort 4-6. Sailors may want to reef for these conditions which can provide extremely exciting sailing.

After about 11am, the southerly breeze, ‘Ora’, starts up and by midday is ideal for beginners. The ‘Ora’ continues to build in strength into the afternoon reaching its peak of 3-4 Beaufort by about 2pm. This afternoon wind, with relatively flat water, provides perfect conditions to learn and practise all points of sailing.

Choosing a dinghy for your free sailing

Your instructor will choose suitable dinghies for all training and courses but when you are hiring to sail by yourselves consider the size of the lake and the likelihood of stronger winds towards the middle. Also ask yourself :

  • What is the forecast? We can provide you with an English translation.
  • Do all of your group have the same expectations and experience (many will not thank you for an exciting capsize)
  • Should you reef? You can usually remove the reef on the water once you are confident of the conditions.

Safety on Lake Garda

We have a safety boat on the water at all times with qualified boat drivers. This is particularly important for those sailing in morning winds who can be up to 2 miles away from the sailing centre and in the afternoon for those whose technique and water-starting skills are not fully developed. Safety cover is provided free to all clients including those bringing their own equipment. We would ask our clients to abide by our decisions and to refrain from sailing when the red flag is flying. In all cases, our objective is for our clients to have maximum fun, safely.

excel safety boats

Clothing - usually shorts and t-shirt with a buoyancy aid

Europa Holidays clients can use the full range of Gul wetsuits, shorty wetsuits, rash vests and boots, all of which are cleaned and dried after each use. We also provide you with gloves and trapeze harnesses, if required.

Summer air temperatures in this part of Italy vary between 24°c and 32°c with the breeze to keep it cool. Shorts, a rash vest and buoyancy aid are all that is required for sailing with the water temperature between 19°c and 24°c. In the early mornings a shortie is useful until the sun is fully up.

Air temperatures in spring and autumn vary between 16°c and 25°c with the wind often more pronounced in this period. A full  wetsuit is required in the mornings with a shortie being adequate for the rest of the day.

If you want to purchase equipment before you come out here, or while you are out here, Gul clothing products are available through the online shop Tutto Per La Vela

gul wetsuits and equipment
Tuttoperlavela online website for sailing and windsurfing equipment