Chart Your Course at Sailing Schools Around the World
A seafaring writer suggests courses where anyone can learn to take the helm.
Perhaps more than any other sport, sailing imparts empowering life skills, from encouraging teamwork and control to understanding tacking and jibbing as a metaphor for finding the best route. The novice sailor also gets a boost in self-confidence and a newfound sense of freedom. Ready to take the helm? The following schools offer a smorgasbord of courses, from learn-to-sail to advanced navigation and seamanship and live-aboard courses for those aspiring to skipper their own yachts.
Locations in New York, New York; Liberty State Park, New Jersey; St. Michaels, Maryland; St. Petersburg, Florida; Captiva Island, Florida; Fort Myers Beach, Florida; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands. A three-day Learn to Sail course starts at USD 795.
Pacific Sailing School, Sydney, Australia
Located at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the home of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, this school is affiliated with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). Sailing in Sydney Harbour is the draw for novices; there also are theory courses that cover meteorology and navigation. A three-hour Try Sailing course is offered three times daily for AUD 120 (USD 394).
Plymouth Sailing School, Plymouth, England
The school, which runs on the established RYA guidelines, has been here since 1957 and is one of the U.K.’s oldest. The Learn to Sail course can be done in five days or over three weekends. The five-day course costs GPP 470 (USD 722).
Seafarer Sailing, Lefkas, Greece
Learn to sail in Odysseus’ waters—the Ionian Sea—at this RYA facility. One of the most appealing beginner courses is Ionian Learn to Sail, a week-long course with accommodation on a yacht, including breakfast and lunch. From GBP 495 (USD 730).
Cooper Boating, Granville Island, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
At the gateway to the vast sailing waters of British Columbia and Alaska, courses are certified by Canadian Yachting Association (CYA) or International Yacht Training (IYT). A Crew course for beginners includes two classroom evenings and a weekend on the water for CDN 399 (USD 384).
Gulf Charters, Chonburi, Thailand
This school at Ocean Marina, a yachting centre about 90 minutes south of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand, follows a strict syllabus set out by International Yacht Training. The basic course, Zero to Hero, is a 14-day full-immersion course that includes overnight voyages and costs THB 86,000 (USD 2,600).