Join Date: Apr 2006
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Gforce, I think there's a free online boating safety course at boatsafe.com but that's general safety knowledge--not a sailing course. Sailing involves a lot of visceral feedback, it is best learned ON a boat, and learned better and faster if you don't have to "unlearn" things that were done the wrong way.
So I'd say the PowerSquadron courses, USCGA courses, all those skills are nice but you'll get a lot more enjoyment a lot faster by taking a basic sailing course, at a sailing school, to get you started. Often they break things up into a "basic" "intermediate" and then different directions to pursue, i.e. racing or bareboat cruising, navigation, etc. I'd say to take the first two right off, so you'll have a good grip on things from the start.