Sailing Instruction

The overall objective of all our courses is to increase your self-confidence as a sailor.
With greater self confidence you can be more relaxed and have more fun enjoying the feel of the wind and the knowledge that YOU are controlling a vessel moving through the water under sail and without mechanical power (at least till you need to dock or tie up to a mooring when you may need that mechanical advantage). Enjoy - go sailing!!

General Notices:

  • All courses will be from 0900 to 1700 hours each day unless otherwise specified. Students will be tested on subject matter presented during the 1st day's session. BE PREPARED.
  • Please familiarize yourself with our suggestions on What to Bring With You
  • Please familiarize yourself with our "Bad Weather" / Cancellation Policy
  • Before stepping aboard, we must receive from you a signed copy of our Liability Waiver Form (or upon request, we will email to you when you sign up.)
  • Military (active/retired), EMS, Police and Fire Service personnel receive an automatic $50.00 discount.
  • Please familiarize yourself with our Payment Policy

We give:

  • Introduction to Sailing(If you want to have a day on the water to see if handling a sailboat is for you . . .)
  • Basic Sailing(If you want hands-on training . . . ) The Course Handbook can be found HERE
  • Beginner to Competent -  (If you want a stepped approach to learning how to sail and handle a boat safely . .) The Materials for this Course are the Handbooks for the Basic Sailing Course and the Basic Coastal Cruising Course
  • Boating Safety, Docking and Anchoring(If you want practical, hands-on instruction on boat-handling . . )
  • Basic Coastal Cruising - (Operation of a larger sailing vessel)The Course Handbook can be found HERE
  • A copy of the Appendices HERE

    Course Descriptions are provided below, and a

    Course Comparison Chart (click here) will help you decide which course is right for you.

    Introduction to Sailing

    (If you want to have a day on the water to see if handling a sailboat is for you . . .)

    • Basic sailing - points of sail, tacking, jibing, etc.
    • You take the helm and feel the boat respond to your touch
    • Perfect for family outings or quality time with friends
    • Makes a great gift, too!
    • One day, 6 hour class
    • Saturdays or Sundays throughout the season 
    • Course Fee: $200.00 per person ( Maximum of 6 persons)
      • Discounts for groups
      • Group of 3 = $25 discount ($525 for the group)
      • Group of 4 = $25 discount ($700 for the group)
      • Group of 5 = $100  discount ($900 for the group)
      • Group of 6 = $200  discount (1000 for the group)
    • Discount of $100 on the next course you take from us.

    Basic Sailing

    (If you want hands-on training . . . )

    • Preparation of the boat
    • Rigging, hoisting and setting sails
    • Rules of the Road
    • Points of Sail.
    • Open water sailing
    • Docking
    • Anchoring
    • Mooring
    • VHF Radio operation and standard procedures
    • Outboard motor operation
    • 7 hours on the water over two weekend days
    • Course Fee:  $500.00 per person (2 days, approximately 19 hours)
      • Discounts for groups
        • Group of 2 = $50 discount ($850 for group)
        • Group of 3 = $105 discount ($1,245 for group)
        • Group of 4 = $200 discount ($1,600 for group)
        • Group of 5 = $250 discount ($2,000 for group)
        • Group of 6 = $300 discount ($2,400 for group)
      • Basic Sailing price is inclusive of certification, course materials, logbooks.

    Beginner to Competent -   This course combines those items found in the Basic Sailing Course described above with the Basic Coastal Cruising Course described below. The end result is almost four days at the helm of the vessel, giving the student "lots of Wheel Time"

    (If you want a stepped approach to learning how to sail and handle a boat safely . . .)

    • Basic sailing - how to position and trim the sails, how to handle the halyards and sheets
    • Boating Safety - it's easy to have fun on a boat, and it's easy to forget you're on a boat.  There's more to it than meets the eye.
    • Docking - on a boat, you don't realize how fast you're going until you pass a stationary object (like a pier piling!) and you don't realize how much momentum a couple of tons of boat has until you hit something (like a pier piling!)  Add wind, current, neighboring boats that are way too expensive to hit, and so on - it is NOT the same as parking a car.
    • Anchoring 
    • Daytime Navigation (Intro)
    • Coastal Piloting (Intro)
    • 32 hours over 4 days (two weekends)
    • Course Fee: $995 per person
      • Discounts for groups
        • Group of 2 = $100 discount ($1,890 for the group)
        • Group of 3 = $300 discount ($2,685 for the group)
        • Group of 4 = $800 discount ($3,180 for the group)
        • Group of 5 = $1000 discount ($3,975 for the group)
        • Group of 6 = $1200 discount ($4,770 for the group)

    Boating Safety, Docking and Anchoring

    (If you want practical, hands-on instruction on boat-handling . . . )

    • Maneuvering in and out of marina slips and along docks
    • General boating safety requirements
    • and much more
    • Individual attention (maximum of four students enrollment)
    • Course length is 6 hours, one day from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    • Course Fee: $200.00 per person

    Basic Coastal Cruising - 2 days / 18 hours - Weekends and weekdays are available

    (If you want to learn to safely charter a boat . . . )

    • Course Completion Certification enabling you to “cruise safely in local and regional waters as both skipper and crew on an auxiliary sailboat in moderate winds and sea conditions.”
    • Our practical hands-on instruction will show you over the course what you'll learn:
      
      • VHF Radio operation and standard procedures
        • Advanced sailing theory: Learn how to fully harness and control your yacht’s sails, keel, rudder and crew weight.
        • Managing tides, currents and weather: What does your boat draw, dealing with tides and river currents.
        • Sail shape and rig control: Properly controlling the mast and sail shapes enhances your boat control for fun and safety.
        • Motoring in close quarters: maneuvering in and out of marina slips, picking up moorings and docking.
        • Sail changes under way: Learn how to safely change headsails when the conditions change.
        • Heaving to: How to get your sailboat to tend herself while you attend to something or just relax.
        • Reefing underway: Safely reducing sail when the wind comes up quickly while you are out sailing.
        • Person overboard recovery drills: How to manage a recovery in stronger breezes and in different situations. This is the key safety skill for skippers.
        • Anchorages and anchoring: Become confident to explore and use all the anchorages when sailing on your own.
        • Handling emergencies: The most common emergencies and how to manage them according to best practices learned over generations. These are invaluable problem-solving skills. 
        • Course plotting and fixes: Determining position and course; measuring distance; calculating estimated time of arrival; navigational aids and rules-of-the road.
        • Systems:  Fuel systems, electrical systems, water.
        • and much more.
    • The option of living aboard during this course.
    • Course Fee $475 Per Person
      • Discounts for groups
        • Group of 2 = $50 discount ($850 for the group)
        • Group of 3 = $75 discount ($1,200 for the group)
        • Group of 4 = $75 discount ($1,600 for the group)
        • Group of 5 = $75 discount ($2,000 for the group)
        • Group of 6 = $75 discount ($2,400 for the group)

    Coastal Navigation - One Day Course (4 Person Maximum)

    (Basic Navigation and Piloting Skills . . . )

    • Magnetic Compass - variation, deviation, etc.
    • Latitude and Longitude
    • Chart reading
    • ATONS (Aids to Navigation)
    • Plotting location and course, while at anchor and underway
    • Part classroom instruction and part on-the-water practice of piloting and navigation skills.
    • Rates include "Day Navigation and Piloting" textbook, and course completion certification.
    • Plotting tools: parallel rule and dividers will be provided in the course, but students are encouraged to purchase their own instruments prior to the course.  (If requested, MainSail Charters would be happy to purchase these tools for you prior to the course.  The cost of the instruments will be given to the student prior to the purchase.  Reimbursement to MainSail Charters will be required prior to or on the day of the course).
    • Note: This course does NOT cover celestial navigation and the use of a sextant, nor does it cover GPS operation.
    • Please call for course schedule. 
    • Course Fee $425.00 Per Person

    Coastal Navigation - 2 Day Course (4 Person Maximum)

    (Enhanced Navigation and Piloting Skills. This course covers those items in the one day course with greater emphasis on each skill. This course includes a take home assignment following the first day of instruction requiring students to plot a course around Chesapeake Bay to include determining a point of departure and an estimated time of the trip.. . )

    • Magnetic Compass - variation, deviation, etc.
    • Latitude and Longitude
    • Chart reading
    • ATONS (Aids to Navigation)
    • Plotting location and course, while at anchor and underway
    • Part classroom instruction and part on-the-water practice of piloting and navigation skills.
    • Rates include "Day Navigation and Piloting" textbook, and course completion certification.
    • Plotting tools: parallel rule and dividers will be provided in the course, but students are encouraged to purchase their own instruments prior to the course.  (If requested, MainSail Charters would be happy to purchase these tools for you prior to the course.  The cost of the instruments will be given to the student prior to the purchase.  Reimbursement to MainSail Charters will be required prior to or on the day of the course).
    • Note: This course does NOT cover celestial navigation and the use of a sextant, nor does it cover GPS operation.
    • Please call for course schedule. 
    • Course Fee $550.00 Per Person

    Team Building

    Ever watch video of professional sailboat racing crews?  They're like SEAL or SWAT teams on yachts, aren't they?  As they try so boldly to harness the big wind with their magic sails they may be grinning like dogs, but they are not messing around!

    The boat's movements let everyone know immediately how well each crew member is doing individual jobs: it's nearly instant feedback you can feel under your feet.  DreamCatcher is not a racing yacht, but that's okay because your office team is not a racing crew. With safer, slower, but similar thrills, DreamCatcher can give your office team practice working together as a crew.

    And not only will they have fun doing it, they will remember why they were there.

    • Knowledge of sailing not required
    • Effective communication is emphasized
    • Practical demonstrations of Interdependence and Reliance
    • Two days out on the bay
    • Course Fee: $500 per person, minimum of 4 people, maximum of 6
      • Discounts for groups

    Personalized Sailing Instruction

    • Would you like an experienced sailor to come with you on your new boat?  We can give you a few pointers and help you gain knowledge of and confidence in your boat, how she sails and how she feels underway.
    • MainSail Charters is known for their customized courses designed with the individual to meet your specific individual needs. Whether it will be on your own boat or aboard DreamCatcher, customized course provide specific needs. Please give us a call to discuss your experience and goals and working with you we'll put together a proposal to meet your needs..
    • Fee:  $100.00 per hour

    Sailing on your personal boat, our Instructors provide you with knowledge and the ability to allow you to learn your boat. We will work with you to help you to gain confidence and knowledge of your boat, how it sails and how it feels underway. MSC&R can provide you with instruction using our Introduction to Sailing program package, or working with you, we will develop a course of sailing instruction that is right for you.