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Old 03-22-2011
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I signed up for and completed the CYA Basic Cruising Standard as offered through Niagara College as a part of their continuing education program (i.e. tax deductible), back in June of 2007.

I can't exactly recall, but am sure it was between $300 and $400. The classroom portion was run out of the inner range lighthouse (seriously) on the East pier in Port Dalhousie. The session was run over two weekends (Saturday and Sunday), with a maximum of four students per session (we had three in ours). I'd say the split was about 30/70 ashore/afloat time.

The training sailboats were Shark 24s and it seems they're still using them. These are great and very sturdy boats to learn on.

The skills that I picked up were instrumental in giving me the confidence to immediately jump into small boat ownership as a single-handing sailor on Lake Ontario. Following completion of the course I found a cheap C22 needing some TLC and haven't looked back. Comprehensive knowledge and sailing confidence is what you'll get out of this course, with one caveat...

...the most important factor was my instructor. I highly recommend Peter Ruddlesdin if you can find him. I see he's listed on the Ontario Sailing website as an instructor, but I don't know if he's still instructing with Niagara College. You might want to send him a query to see where he's instructing this year.

I've participated in many training sessions (unrelated to sailing) and feel qualified to say that many instructors are full of hot air and don't really know what they're talking about. Mister Ruddlesdin on the other hand, is a sailor and a fine instructor who knows how to teach greenhorns to sail a keel-boat confidently. Remember that this is 4 years later and it still sticks out in my mind enough that I feel it warrants mentioning.

Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions and I'll do my best to answer.
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