Basic Keelboat

 Turning Sailors into skippers capable of singlehanding in challenging situations.

Weekend Classes

Other dates pending, please call us

Weekday Classes

Other dates pending, please call us

Not into group learning? We offer private classes.

Other dates pending, please call us

 Take Intro + Basic Keelboat and save!

Three-person group class (price is per person):

Other dates pending, please call us

Not into group learning? We offer private classes!

Please read before signing up  Payments, Cancellation and Refund Policy

Do you know how to sail, but want to take a boat out on your own? Basic Keelboat will prepare you to safely skipper a 20-27′ sailboat. US Sailing certification, the Basic Keelboat Textbook, and Sound Sailing Center’s own unique and information packed text is included.

US SAILING logo (small)

We have long been amazed at the variability between what different schools call Basic Keelboat.  With some programs, the instructor demonstrated reefing (which is what sailors call the process of making the sails smaller so as to safely sail in higher winds) once or twice, and the students never actually reef themselves.

Another way to quickly judge the quality of a program is to simply see if you are allowed to sail the schools boats singlehanded at the end of the class.   It’s remarkable how many programs don’t let you use their boats at the end of the lessons, which might tell you something!

At Sound Sailing Center, you will have personally reefed the main 5-7 times, and watched your classmates practice the same in our Basic Keelboat class.   With 20 hours of instruction, 95% of which is on the water and 3 students per instructor, we cover a lot, which is outlined below.  (5-7x) means each student will have personally practiced this drill five to seven times or until they are proficient at it.

Basic Keelboat weekend classes run from 8 am to 1 pm over two weeks on consecutive Saturdays and Sundays.  If only 2 students in the course, the four lessons are 4 hours long and run from 9 am to 1 pm.  Private courses again include 4 lessons, which are about 150 minutes long.

Topics include

  • Rigging, Basic sail shape controls
  • Sailing: By the heel, By tell tails, ‘Blind’
  • Reefing (5-7x)
  • Single-handed tacking (20x), jibing (15x)
  • Rules of the road, Basic navigation
  • Man overboard drill (5-7x)
  • VHF, Depth recorder use
  • Aground: sailing off, kedging, being towed off
  • Using a chart to locate position (10x)
  • Docking under sail or power (4-6x)
  • Planned departures (4-6x)
  • Anchoring

Practice Sessions

After the classes, you will take a written test based on the US Sailing Basic Keelboat book that we give you, which we require an 80% or better on.   Then you will schedule and take two 2-4 hour long weekend practice sessions or three 2-4 hour long weekday practice sessions. We encourage weekday practice times, since there is less traffic about.   You can take these either alone or with the other students in the class if you prefer, within two months after the course.  It’s important to use these sessions to practice all the drills we have taught you.  It’s not yet time for pleasure cruises!

Following your practice sessions, you will schedule and complete your final private one hour checkout sail, so we can answer questions and see how you’re doing.   After you pass, you’ll receive US Sailing Certification and 5% off membership or rentals for one year. Most importantly, you’ll be ready to start sailing with the best training available.

It is crucial to sail the Ensigns (or something similar) at least 20-30 times in order to refine one’s skills after completing the classes.  That is why our membership program, combined with singlehanded practice sessions, is the most effective way to quickly become a competent skipper.   We get many people from other schools who have not been able practice or are not comfortable sailing, and quickly lose whatever they learned. Two hours here and there over the course of a few months, and soon you will truly be  a good sailor. This is why so many of our students are now highly regarded members at the finest local yacht clubs.

Student Make Up Lessons

Students will need to make up missed lessons with a private lesson.   The cost for the Daysailer and the instructor is $100 an hour on weekends, $80 an hour on weekdays.

Need a weekday class?

Call us if you prefer weekday morning or afternoon classes, which are taught w 2 students over one week.  Morning classes run from 8:45 am to noon. Weekday afternoon classes run from 12:30 pm to 3:45 pm. These times allow parents to drop off their children with our Junior Sailing program, take their Basic Keelboat class, and be back before their children get in. In both cases, the classes run from Monday to Friday over one week for a total of just over 16 hours of instruction.