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Basic Sailing Course


PPYC Members Only—the Basic Sailing Course is offered only to PPYC members. If you are not already a member, and you have an interest in participating in PPYC's organized sailing events, you may apply for membership.


Purpose—to introduce sailing in a brief, practical, step-by-step course that includes: personal reading of the designated text book, classroom instruction, and on the water instruction. While designed for the novice, club members who want to brush up on the basics of sailing are also welcome to participate. One goal of this course is to help provide the student with the knowledge and experience necessary to qualify for participation in the PPYC Club Boat Program available to our members. This course may also prove helpful for those who desire to take further training through a certified sailing school.

Course Schedule—courses are scheduled throughout the year depending on when members apply and when instructors are available. For more information about course availability, please contact Sailing Director, Gary Pack.


Instructors—experienced PPYC skippers will serve as instructors. Depending on interest and availability, an instructor may teach one or more of the six blocks of instruction.


Course Make Up—the full course of instruction includes six blocks, each of which is at least two hours long. Though preferred to be taken in sequence, after blocks one and two, the other four blocks can be taken in any order. Some instructors may provide six sequential blocks while others may “specialize” in one or more blocks of study. No more than four students will be allowed in any one instruction block, but blocks may run simultaneously as needed and instructor availability warrants.


Textbook—the required text is Basic Keelboat published by US Sailing. Copies will be available through PPYC. It is expected that the student will read and STUDY the text and all accompanying diagrams prior to the corresponding study block.


Disclaimer—though the participant who successfully completes all six blocks will receive a PPYC certificate of completion, this course is not certified by US Sailing, American Sailing Association, US Coast Guard, or any other certifying body.


Waiver—all participants will be required to sign a PPYC waiver of liability form.


Course Fee—the course fee is $73 ($55 for the course and $18 for the textbook).

Course Syllabus

Block 1: “Introduction”

  • Overview of Course
  • Parts of a Sailboat—Hull &R ig
  • How a Sailboat Works
  • Sail Trim
  • Points of Sail
  • Tacking and Jibing

Block 2: Preparation

  • How to Dress
  • Reading the Wind
  • Sails
    • Parts
    • Fitting
    • Rigging
    • Hoisting
    • Controlling
    • Stowing

Block 3: Sailing

  • Getting Under Way
  • Steering
  • Starting and Stopping
  • Sail Trimming
  • More about Tacking &J ibing
  • Heaving-to
  • Returning & Docking

Block 4: Theory & Practice

  • Sail Shape
  • Yet more about Tacking & Jibing
  • Wind Shifts
  • More about Leaving & Returning
  • Knots and Lines

Block 5: Boating Knowledge

  • Weather
  • Winds
  • Rules ofthe Road
  • Navigation &N avigation Lights
  • Under Power(outboard motor)

Block 6: Safety

  • Medical Emergencies
  • Hazards
  • Man Overboard Recovery
  • Reducing Sail
  • Grounding
  • Anchoring
  • Safety Equipment