Sport: Whitsundays, Australia

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The Independent Travel

A learn-to-sail holiday offers the taste of a Goldman Sachs lifestyle for Northern Rock money. The New Zealand and Australia specialist Bridge and Wickers runs 11-night courses on board a Beneteau 323 yacht in Australia's Whitsundays archipelago: the first five days are spent under the guidance of qualified instructors before you're entrusted with the yacht for another five days.

The Whitsundays provide the perfect playground for the novice mariner: the 74 tropical islands – only eight of which are inhabited – are protected from the Pacific swells by the Great Barrier Reef, so first-time sailors need worry only about which deserted sandy bay to weigh anchor in for the night. For experienced sailors, there's the option of "bareboating" – chartering your own yacht, with or without crew, to sail to your heart's content. RB

The Bridge and Wickers 11-night course costs £2,964 per person (including all flights, tuition and two nights on Hamilton Island), 020 7483 6555, www.bridgeandwickers.co.uk. Bareboating is from £534 per person for five days

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