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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 03-06-2008
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Learning to Sail in SE Ontario

Hello

My girlfriend and I are both students (mid 20s) and are hoping to learn how to sail this summer. We live in Guelph, Ontario and as we are both students don't have a lot of money to throw around. Can anyone suggest any schools that might be a good fit for us? Or if there is anyone looking for beginner crew members we would be delighted to join you onboard.

James
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Old 03-06-2008
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James-

While I can't recommend a school or help you out by letting you crew, I would recommend that you and your girlfriend get Dave Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor. It is one of the best books for people interested in learning to sail IMHO, and is well written, easily read, with good illustrations. It's about $14 or so in the bookstore.

I'd also recommend you read this ppost to get the most out of your time here on sailnet.

Welcome to sailnet.
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Old 03-06-2008
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You might want to google up a list of marinas and yacht clubs in the area and then visit them as the season begins. You can inquire if anyone is seeking crew, and possibly post a notice that you are available to crew.
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Guelph is inland, but is more or less equidistant from Erie, Huron and Ontario, so if you can drive a bit, you have plenty of choice. Probably Hamilton is your best best: check to see if a Hamilton club has a "learn-to-sail" course. My club, National, has an excellent course, but I'm in downtown Toronto.

Our Adult Keelboat courses basically combine class room and dock lessons with the opportunity to crew on club racers (Racing is a steep learning curve, but is probably the best way to learn). Here's the info:

National Yacht Club - Toronto - www.thenyc.com

Other clubs of a certain size will have similar courses.

Many yacht clubs try to create future members by discounting learn-to-sail courses, but you can become a "crew" member at a fraction of the cost, and can simply race on other peoples' boats or take out the club's boats, like Sharks, etc. Some people stay crew for decades and are highly sought-after, because they frequently know more about sailing than the skipper! Ask any racing skipper here: it is quite common to never own a boat of one's own and yet to be very good on the water.
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Old 03-06-2008
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If you are talking Lake Ontario, you might want to try either Humber or Niagara College. Both offer accredited courses through a range of skillsets and I think you actually get college credits for that.....

Safety, Fun & Sailing! Welcome to the Humber Sailing and Powerboating Centre - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sailing School :: Niagara College
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Old 03-07-2008
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I took the Basic Keelboat Cruising course at Humber Sailing School last summer. They have two new Hunter 31's and the level of instruction is second to none.
It is a little on the expensive side (think it was about $649.00) but because it is through an accredited college, you can claim your tuition costs on your taxes.

I'm actually looking at signing up for the desiel maintenance course in the fall.

If you have any questions about the course, PM me.

Dave
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Old 03-07-2008
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Generally speaking if you are young and interested you can find a crew position on a club race boat. I am in Sarnia and there is an adult learn to sail program in the evening but that is 2 hours from you.

Find out where the closest racing is and then go down to the club once the weather gets a little warmer and sailors are working on their boats. Just ask around they will likely direct you to a well known racer that can help you find a spot.
Another option is to go to a sail loft, their customers are generaly looking for crew, bulliten boards can work as well.

If you were closer I could help.

Good Luck
Gary
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Old 03-07-2008
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Further to my earlier reply, one of the benefits of completing the course at Humber is that you are automatically eligible for membership in the Humber Sailing Club. With your membership you would then have unlimited use of the club boats, J24's, Sharks, Hunter 31's and a new Catalina 309. Plus you would then be able to enter race nights as crew and gain valuable experience that way.
Hope this helps

Dave
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