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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 10-17-2007
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best place to learn to sail in the DC area

I am looking to find the best place to learn how to sail in the DC area. Or someone who is willing to give some sailing experience to my wife and I. Thanks for your help.

Paul
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Old 10-17-2007
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Paul,

If you are a complete novice, I would suggest that you take a "Basic Sailing" course right down on the Potomac. Two schools that come to mind are the Washington Sailing Marina (immediately south of Reagan National Airport on the VA side) and Belle Haven Marina (also on the VA side just south of the Wilson Bridge). If it's not too far for you to drive, my preference is Belle Haven Marina, because the river is wider/deeper there, and you do not have as much noise from aircraft taking off and landing. They instruct on Flying Scots, a good stable learning platform. The gentleman in charge, George Stevens, runs a solid program (I was an instructor there for a number of years in the early 90's).

If you already have some experience, it might be worth the extra time to drive out to one of the bigger sailing schools in Annapolis. There are many out there and I haven't heard anything bad about any of them, so do some internet research and see which one fits your experience level and schedule best. If you take a basic course locally in DC, this would also be the next step after building some experience by renting small boats on the Potomac. Best of luck
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Old 10-17-2007
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My advice is to join up with the Baltimore Downtown Sailing Center (DSC). A year's crew membership is only $225/year, and a bit less if you sign up before March 1. The crew membership gets you access to membership sails on every Wednesday evening and bi-monthly Sundays, plus fun racing on Tuesday and Friday evenings. There are also monthly "First Friday" membership sails that involve grilling, kegs and music after that sailing is done.

The DSC is also heavily involved with community outreach, and sponsors disabled sailors, summer sailing day camps, and many other benefit races/regattas. Sailing classes are offered through US Sailing Association-certified instructors, and also ASA classes through our associate Capt. Phil Schnering on the Pintita.

So if you're looking for a low-cost way to learn to sail, and to join the Baltimore/Washington area community of sailors, the DSC is a good way to go.

I know this sounds like a spam ad, but I've been a member for the past five years and the DSC is a great group of people. You can't go wrong joining up if you're looking for an inexpensive way to get sailing experience.
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Old 10-18-2007
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John, Jas,

thanks for the info. My wife and I are complete novices. We both love the feeling of being on the water with the wind in the rigging. So we are easing into it slowly. We hope own our own boat sometime in the next 5 years.

Thank you for your help once again.

Paul
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Old 10-18-2007
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I sail out of Deep Creek on the Magothy River just north of Annapolis. That's just 25 miles from the 495/50 interchange. My Wife and I are always looking for crew/conversations for our Friday Night yacht club races. These are not sweat, yell, scream, get every last 1 millionith of a knot type races, they are learn the boat and how to work as a team type races. The advantage to sailing a catamaran are numerous (flat, safe etc..) and the disadvantages are there as well (no heel, no feel).
There are probably many others out of Washington/Baltimore/Deale/Annapolis that would/will make the same offer - half the fun of sailing is the people you are with.
While this season is pretty much over, PM me if interested. I go out pretty much every weekend for some sailing and have a full enclosure so cold doesn't matter until ice sets in.
Chuck Ritenour
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Ok, thanks Chuck
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I have to post one more to PM.
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Old 10-19-2007
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Paul,

You got some nice offers to get out on the water on some larger sailboats. Those are good opportunities.

BUT, since you are a complete novice, I would stress to you the importance of starting out by taking basic sailing lessons in a small daysailer. It is very difficult to learn to sail on a larger cruising or racing boat. Yes, experience aboard larger boats is helpful, but you will get more from that experience if you have a grounding to work from. Shop around, there's sure to be a basic sailing program in DC/Annapolis/Baltimore that fits your needs.
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Thanks John,

Polergeist has a Flying Scot at Lake Anna, that he has offered up to get my feet wet.

So it is working out very nicely for me right now to get some experience on.

Thanks again,

Paul
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Paul,

That's great! In my opinion, the Flying Scot is amoung the best platforms available for an adult to learn sailing! They are solid, stable, fun, and challenging. You'll learn a lot. Good luck in your new endeavor -- however be forewarned that it can be addictive!
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