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Take a look at that picture to the right. 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.
Dates for the Fall 2014 classes are: October 10 (Swim test), October 11, October 25, November 8, November 22 (weather make-up November 30 if needed).
- The swim test will be conducted on Friday evening (October 10) at the El Dorado Aquatic Center in south Scottsdale: 2301 N. Miller Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85257. See Map. There’s more information on the test below.
- Classroom sessions will be at a meeting room in the Tempe Police Apache Substation, 1855 E. Apache Blvd. Tempe, AZ 85281. See a Map. Classes begin at 9:30 am.
- On-the-water sessions are conducted at Tempe Town Lake, starting at the Marina. Here’s how to get there. 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. If you satisfactorily complete all the skills in the booklet, you’ll be certified by US Sailing. Beginning Sailing students sail in Catalina (also called Capri) 14.2s, which hold two or three people. The price for the complete class is $350.
At the end of your class, you’ll know how to sail and be ready to practice what you’ve learned in our Sailing Skills Development course or by sailing your own small boat. Some of the things you’ll learn: 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”) and you’ll need to demonstrate that you can swim 50 yards in sailing clothes. Here’s a good beginner’s consumer’s guide to PFDs, from REI. 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 re-charge of the inflation system each time you use it. What are sailing clothes? In Arizona, those can be shorts, T-shirt, and shoes.
The swim test is conducted in the evening in a heated, indoor swimming pool in Scottsdale a day or two before the class begins. You’ll swim without your PFD and then put it on and swim some more. Any stroke is acceptable, since we’re really trying to make sure you won’t freak if you find yourself in the lake.
Questions: E-Mail Rob Gibbs
“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