Watersports information for north Lake Garda
This watersports information is based on our experience of providing watersports activity holidays and courses over 25 years at our base, just north of Malcesine. For more detailed information on the lake, Malcesine and the surrounding area, we recommend 360GardaLife
first choice for sailors and windsurfers
Lake Garda is situated in the foothills of the Dolomites, close to the Alps and to the cities of Verona, Venice and Milan, it is a perfect place for the passionate sailor or windsurfer as well as for mountain bikers, climbers and lovers of all outdoor sports.
Lake Garda is home to many current Olympic and professional sailors and windsurfers and past medal winners as well as being the frequent practice area for major sportboat classes including SB20, H-boat, Melges and Esse. The warm weather, clean water, long reaches and dependable winds attract all the major dinghy fleets for European and world championships for example Topper, RS, Laser, FD, 420, 470 and 505.
Freestyle windsurf started here and the lake is perfect for slalom windsurf as well as for learning and blasting on 5km reaches.
Catamaran sailors who come here range from Nacra-17s , Hobie Tigers and Wildcats up to 13m carbon giants and include single handers such as A-class.
Winds and conditions
Renowned for its two thermal winds, the ‘Ora’ and the ‘Peler’, Lake Garda offers conditions to suit every level of sailor or windsurfer. 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. Dinghy and catamaran sailors may want to reef for these conditions which can provide extremely exciting sailing while windsurfers will rush for their smallest sails and lightest boards.
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 3-5 Beaufort by about 4pm. This afternoon wind, with relatively flat water, provides perfect conditions to learn and practise all points of dinghy sailing, catamaran sailing and windsurfing.
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 3 miles away from the sailing centre and in the afternoon for those whose capsize recovery technique or water-starting skills are not fully developed.
Safety cover is provided free to all clients. We 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.
You must wear a buoyancy aid at all times (it is the law here) and we provide comfortable, buoyant, smart Gul buoyancy aids.
Choosing a dinghy to rent
Your instructor will choose suitable dinghies for all training and courses but when you are hiring to sail by yourselves, please 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.
- Are you familiar with centreboard dinghies?
- 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.
t-shirt or wetsuit?
Europa Surf and Sail clients can use the full range of Gul wetsuits, shorty wetsuits and boots, all of which are cleaned and dried after each use. We can 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 often being adequate for the rest of the day.
Want to be protected and comfortable? We can sell you a smart Europa Holidays rashvest (made by Gul) or a t-shirt to protect against the sun and wind while staying light and cool.
Shop for Gul clothing
We can provide new and used equipment through our sister business “Tuttopervela”. Whether you want a smart new wetsuit for sailing or an ex-demo board for your own use, have a look at our website Tuttopervela.
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 Tuttopervela