Adult Beginning Sailing





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Because of the planned temporary closure of Tempe Town Lake this spring, the Adult Beginning Sailing class will take place at Lake Pleasant, starting from the Pleasant Harbor Marina. As a result, the class size is being sharply reduced from 20 to just 10. In other words: sign up early!

Take a look at that picture above. Look like fun? We sure think it is and it’s easier than you might think. In the space of this single four-day class you’ll learn the basics of sailing, a foundation to build on whether you’re racing fast sailboats or chartering in the British Virgin Islands. You’ll actually sail on the first day of class!

Here’s how it works. There are four Saturday classroom meetings of 2½ hours each followed the same day by four on-the-water classes of four hours each. Students will then have the option of crewing on one of the boats racing in the AYC Tall Cactus regatta, April 23. (Here’s a link to information about last year’s Tall Cactus.)

Classroom: 9:30am until noon followed by on-the-water the same afternoon 1pm-5pm on 2/27, 3/12, 3/26, 4/2 (with bad weather make-up day if needed on 4/16) plus optional participation in Tall Cactus on 4/23. Cost: $375. Maximum class size = 10. Students provide their own PFDs.

  • The swim test is conducted on Friday evening 2/26 either at the El Dorado Aquatic Center in south Scottsdale: 2301 N. Miller Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85257. Or a place to be named later. There’s more information on the test below.
  • Classroom sessions will be at a meeting room at Pleasant Harbor Marina, beginning Saturdays at 9:30 am. Here’s how to get there (and we’ll email you more detail as we approach the first class). There is normally a $6 charge to enter the park, but it’s being waived for your class.
  • On-the-water sessions are conducted at Lake Pleasant, starting at the Marina. After the classroom in the morning, you’ll  have a little time for lunch before sailing begins at 1 pm.

Included in the class: your copy of the US Sailing Learn Sailing Right book and sailing skills sign-off booklet—The Little Red Book. This class gives you the opportunity to begin working on getting signed off for your US Sailing Small Boat certification. Beginning Sailing students sail in Catalina (also called Capri) 14.2s, which hold two or three people.

At the end of your class, you’ll know the basics of how to sail and be ready to practice what you’ve learned. Some of those things are: sailing theory, boat handling, tacking, jibing, safety, right-of-way, knots, and docking.

The principal instructors are US Sailing certified. During the first on-the-water class we normally assign one instructor to each student boat to speed understanding. As you gain confidence and skills, you’ll sail with just one other student. Classes are designed for ages 12 and older. Classes average 36 years of age, and we’ve had students in their 70s.

You’ll need to provide your own PFD (type III “life jacket”) The main point: make sure it fits and allows you to move freely. We don’t advise an inflatable-style vest for this class because you’ll be in the water, requiring an expensive recharge of the inflation system each time you use it.

The swim test is conducted in the evening in a heated, swimming pool a day or two before the class begins. You’ll swim without your PFD and then put it on and swim some more in sailing clothes. Any stroke is acceptable, since we’re really trying to make sure you can keep your head above water if you find yourself in the lake. What are sailing clothes? In Arizona, those can be shorts, T-shirt, and shoes.

Questions: E-Mail Scott Burkhardt

“I thought this class was AWESOME! Every volunteer was helpful, fun, funny, and really a great coach to the newbees, which I admired.” —Vikki & Jason Majors, Beginning Sailing graduates

 

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For the first class or two, you’ll sail with a coach on the boat. These students are working with US Sailing Instructor Emory Heisler. Photo: Rob Gibbs

 

As you become more confident in your sailing, you'll handle the boat with just one other student. Photo: Rob Gibbs

As you become more confident in your sailing, you’ll handle the boat with just one other student. Photo: Rob Gibbs

1855 E. Apache Blvd. Tempe, AZ 85281