Basic Cruising

Are you ready to move beyond daysailing?

Class Format:
Class Session (two 3 hour lessons on Monday and Wednesday evenings)
The evening sessions happen on the previous Monday (Tuesday if Monday is on a Holiday) and Wednesday.
Cruise with Instructor (two day overnight cruise Friday thru Saturday afternoon)
Practice Session (Sat afternoon-Sun noon)

Please read before signing up;  Payments, Cancellation and Refund Policy

US SAILING logo (small)

Our ever popular Basic Cruising course is perfect if you have been daysailing for at least a year or 20 times, and are ready to move up to larger yachts.    Please email us for the latest update, especially regarding C19 precautions.  In general we require a negative test 3 days before the class or proof of vaccination.  We will modify or cancel the class if positivity rates are over 2% and/or infection rates are over 10 per 100k.

We cover systems and navigation, docking and more on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30.   Friday morning at 9am, we board the Pearson 37 at 9am, do some more docking, and start visiting harbors, with a chance to practice docking, anchoring, MOB drills etc.

US Sailing Basic Cruising Certification and log book included.   You must have the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certificate if you want US Sailing certification.  An Equivalency Exam is available. The exam cost is $60. Almost all of the cost goes to US Sailing.   We also provide a certificate good for a 10% discount on your first charter or 5% off initial membership with us. We review and build upon what was learned in Basic Keelboat.

Topics include

  • Inspecting the boat, rigging and systems
  • Maneuvering, backing under power
  • Diesel basics
  • Man overboard drills with a Life Sling
  • Sources of weather information
  • Trip planning, supplies & provisioning
  • Navigation, dead reckoning, bearings
  • Lightning, storm preparations
  • GPS, compass use
  • Preparing for 15-25 knots of wind
  • Basic sail shape controls
  • Different anchoring techniques
  • Single line docking, bow, stern in & alongside
  • Towing and using a dinghy

This course features two 3 hour lessons on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 to cover systems, navigation and docking. Then we follow with a two day overnight cruise Friday thru Sunday. Over 26 hours of instruction.   The cost for meals is included.


“The 3 days on the water were exceptional.”

“Having returned to sailing a few years back, I took SSC’s excellent Basic Keelboat as a refresher and to round out gaps in boat handling skills that had been on hiatus for family, career, etc. My ultimate goal, however, was to get back to the big boat sailing I had done in my youth. For that, I took the Basic Cruising class. It was fantastic!

Prior to the 3 day on-water practical instruction, the classroom sessions introduced me to: the basics of navigation – plotting courses and handling currents; marine systems – electrical, diesel & water; and endless docking maneuvers (which I’m forever grateful for).

The 3 days on the water were exceptional. Every student had ample time to captain the boat through all points of sail, navigating passages into tricky coves and several anchoring/mooring exercises. This was all done under the patient guidance of Martin and Wim, two of the most accomplished mariners I’ve had the opportunity to know.

In all, the Basic Cruising class instilled a degree of confidence that allows me to skipper a larger boat comfortably and enjoyably . If you’re considering taking the class – do it, I can’t recommend it highly enough!” – Christian O   June 2019

“…was looking for a course that provided rigorous instruction, but in a logical and approachable progression.”

“I had a healthy respect for the difficulty involved in transitioning from daysailing up to larger vessel cruising and was looking for a course that provided rigorous instruction, but in a logical and approachable progression.

The course exceeded my expectations on this, as well as the amount of on the water instruction and guided self practice.

I have also found the focus on single handed sailing skills especially helpful, and it has enabled me to confidently venture out without feeling dependent on the skill sets of those with me.” – Nico Z  June 2019

“I knew I wanted more confidence and authority when directing my non-experienced crew.”

“As an ensign member, I debated whether the basic cruising course made sense for me. After a year of sailing the local waters and hosting my non-sailing friends and spouse, I knew I wanted more confidence and authority when directing my non-experienced crew. Especially when anchoring for a swim or venturing into the shallower fringes of our sailing area.

Basic cruising gave all that to me and so much more. The instruction in close quarters maneuvering, docking, man overboard on a larger vessel, navigation and plotting a course on a chart was all challenging, always encouraging and absolutely outstanding. The weeknight skills classes taught by Martin and Wim gave plenty of opportunity for questions and ample skills practice for each member of my class. The weekend mini cruise with its students only final phase gave us all the opportunity to test and embed what we had learned.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that the class would open the doors wide to lots of adventures that are among my fondest memories. Sound Sailing provided me with the opportunity to sail to Newport and view the Volvo Ocean Race from the best seat in the house, and I was invited as crew for a CPYC 1-week cruise.

I have also helped deliver the Var from Beaufort North Carolina to SSC, which introduced me to my love of offshore sailing. I have since had two amazing passages to and from St Thomas and Bermuda and done deliveries from Old Lyme and Maine. All of these opportunities came about as a product of my Basic Cruising class.

Best of all, even though I am generally an ensign member, having taken Basic Cruising previously made it easy for me to opportunistically switch into a 40ft boat membership. Friends from the UK wanted to spend their summer vacation with us, and my brother wanted to cruise in the Virgin Islands with his family, but if I had needed to find time to do the course during the same summer as changing up the membership, I might not have had the time to do both.

Happily, I was able to make possible two of the best holidays I have ever had with family and friends. So, my advice is, if you have even the tiniest desire to enhance your skills, seize the day and give yourself a mini, learning sailing holiday.; you never know what other benefits will come from it.” -Audrey N.  June 2019

“…heavy emphasis on practical skills which has given me the confidence to get out on the water on my own.”

“This course places a heavy emphasis on practical skills which has given me the confidence to get out on the water on my own.  Martin’s wealth of experience shines through in a relaxed and patient manner with entertaining stories to illustrate his points.  There are plenty of opportunities to practice crucial skills in a controlled environment so one can ‘learn by doing.’

The destinations selected by Martin not only improved our docking skills but also showcased several beautiful anchorages and marinas that I fully intend to visit again on my own.

The membership program compliments the courses allowing one to build experience and confidence on sturdy, well built boats.”  -Scott S.   June 2019

“I couldn’t have asked for a better preparation to sail my own Hanse!”

“Dear Martin,
Your Basic Cruising course was amazing! 5 Stars! I felt at times overwhelmed but certainly learned a ton of things i should know or once did. I couldn’t have asked for a better preparation to sail my own Hanse! And sailing back with Pete and Scott was awesome. Couldn’t have done it solo. Now it’s a matter of keeping the skills practiced. Thank you very much!” -Turhan C.  July 2018

“I always learn new things that improve my sailing skills and build my confidence.”

“As a member since 2006, I’ve been able to take advantage of much of what Sound Sailing has to offer.  This has included formal classes (Basic Keelboat, Basic Cruising & Advanced Cruising, and Ocean Sailing), deliveries to the Newport and Annapolis shows and, most recently, sailing the VAr from Miami to North Carolina.  I’ve also had opportunities to participate in world-class racing, including the Newport-Bermuda Race and the Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas, USVI.

Martin is an inspired teacher, and he hires other great instructors and ensures quality control.  Whether in a formal class, a delivery, or a local sail outing, I always learn new things that improve my sailing skills and build my confidence.  And I know from experience that If something doesn’t work out as promised, Martin will ensure that his customers are satisfied.

When our instructor for the Basic Cruising class, who previously had his own school and had the highest certifications from US sailing failed to meet expectations Martin let everyone repeat the class and he taught it personally.

I can’t imagine having developed my skills or made so many friends with a passion for sailing if I hadn’t been associated with Sound Sailing!”

-John D  May 2014