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Sailing the ELLEN C. WELLS

The care, feeding, and sheer joy of sailing a small schooner.

Tuition: $950

Note: Prior sailing experience required for this course.


For many, boating is a special experience. It provides excitement, fun, relaxation, a needed break from a stressful lifestyle, and a great deal of satisfaction to countless folks of all ages the world over. However, the water poses a different environment than lots of us have grown accustomed to, and this has been known to intimidate and frustrate many an inexperienced and experienced sailor. These weeks with owner/skipper Mike Erkkinen on board his 45’ schooner ELLEN C. WELLS will enable you to better understand your surroundings and to sharpen your skills afloat.

Throughout the week there will be plenty of basic seamanship skills to discover. In addition to the sailing of this vessel, you will learn about standing rigging and running gear; understanding a traditional rig and what it will and won’t do well; shortening sail; light-air sailing; anchoring; mooring pickups; and safety. You’ll discuss simple and expedient strategies to deal with challenges that tend to happen on the water. This could be challenging anchorages, touching the bottom, foul winds and tides, fog and other types of difficult weather, dealing with a comatose engine, and all manner of other things that happen when you least desire them.

The environment aboard a traditional sailing vessel, far different from that of a modern craft, requires all on board to work directly with all of their surrounding elements. This week is a perfect opportunity to learn anything and everything about handling a small schooner, and WoodenBoat School is very pleased to have the chance to offer it to you.