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Small Boat Sailing

Elements of Sailing I for Women

Learn to sail courses that emphasize seamanship, instill confidence, and are fun.

July 21 – July 27
Brooklin, Maine
Experience Level
Activity Level

This is a five-day course ending Friday

Since early in WoodenBoat School’s history, we’ve had the great pleasure and satisfaction of introducing thousands of students to the joys of sailing. Our Elements courses continue to be among our most popular offerings, often bringing students back, year after year, for more sail training. Anyone can learn to sail, but these courses cover much more than that; our experienced instructors immerse each student in the art of seamanship. Our emphasis is on the skillful handling of small craft and building confidence in one’s abilities. These come from practice, and more practice.

Sailing can provide a lifetime of fun and recreation, but it also requires some basic knowledge and experience. We have observed that the quickest and best way for folks to learn the fundamentals of sailing is by starting out in small boats. Our program will get you onto the water quickly, safely, and fully prepared. Under the calm and knowing guidance of our seasoned instructors, you’ll learn the essentials—sailing dynamics, boat rigging and spars, and safety precautions—followed by practical lessons on sailing techniques. Daily hands-on exercises and drills will take students through getting underway, maneuvering through the points of sail, keeping a course, tacking, returning to a mooring and dock, and much, much more.

You’ll learn to rig our boats. We have various craft here that are suitable for the most timid and the most adventurous of students. Your on-the-water classroom for the week will be our fleet of Herreshoff and Haven 12½s—keel/centerboard daysailers that are a pure delight to sail safely. Above all, we want to take the drama out of sailing—it is a safe and enjoyable sport, and our heavy emphasis on seamanship should go far toward ensuring this goal. You’ll definitely have fun this week!

When the wind is fickle, you’ll practice rowing and sculling. There will be daily classroom lessons about charts and navigation, safety equipment and weather conditions, knot tying and heavy-weather strategy. Our instructors focus their entire summer on our fleet and waterfront facility; their “sea sense” is highly tuned, and experiencing that may be the biggest lesson of all.

  • Who is this course best suited for?

    This course is appropriate for students with some knowledge and experience. Basic knowledge and ability to sail is required for most waterfront courses.

    This course involves a moderate level of activity throughout the week including: having adequate balance and agility to get in and out of boats on a moving float or other boats.

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