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Ok, maybe not for the whole summer, I assume I can't rent a dinghy for that long. I'm wondering if I can borrow a boat for a week in Clacton and also find a good place to sail near Epping, Essex

Hopefully that's a bit clearer.
I have no info on your location but there are places that will rent a sailboat for a season. There are also boat clubs you can join that will allow you to use their boats. Both of these options will cost money. Asking for the use of a stranger's boat without payment is not much different than panhandling.

Will you properly maintain the boat? Cover any damages?

Another option is to offer to crew for free but even that is not free as you will be expected to contribute food and drink on occasion.

As already stated, buy your own boat. A small dinghy will not be more than $1,000. If you do not have the money, save up.
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