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  #11  
Old 05-01-2009
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Hi,

I posted a reply to this thread a few days ago but I guess it got lost in the ether.

If you are looking for a "learn-to-sail" program that is convenient to your residence/work in DC, here's another vote for the Mariner Sailing School. They run a really nice basic sailing program, using Flying Scots which are a nice stable platform for beginners.

Don't worry about lack of wind -- they generally have a decent breeze there. If there is ABSOLUTELY no wind -- they will reschedule your lesson. But the Scots are actually quite decent in light air, so it's unlikely you won't sail.

Also, think of these first lessons as an initial step or building block. After completing a basic program locally, you may later want to consider a more advanced program out near Annapolis. In other words, it's not necessarily an either/or decision.
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  #12  
Old 05-01-2009
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I went to J World in Annapolis - I was extremely satisfied and couldn't say enough good things about the program and it's instructors. The 5 day course will set you back around $900. The instruction is done on J24's and they have you doing everything right off the bat with more than enough water time. Usually 3 students per boat that rotate between the helm, mainsheet trim and jib trim. I have also been back for some additional private instruction on a new 105 to get instruction on docking under power and other sailing techniques. I've had a few questions post-instruction with my new boat and just gave them a ring or e-mailed them and they gave very detailed answers (had to follow up on using the boom vang effectively)... They also have various alumni events - you can jump in on a first come first serve basis to jump in on their weekly races for free and they do various flotilla's (BVI's etc) at reasonable rates. I'm pretty sure Sail magazine consistently ranks them as the top sailing school based on student surveys...
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  #13  
Old 05-01-2009
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Thanks again everyone!

After reading all your very helpful responses, I think my plan is to sign up for the 2-day beginner course at the Mariner Sailing School (near DC) and spend a good part of this summer taking advantage of the cheaper boat rentals on the Potomac to practice. Thanks for reassuring me about wind conditions on the Potomac, that was my main concern about learning here, rather than on the Chesapeake.

Then next summer, perhaps I'll take one of the more advanced keelboat classes on the Chesapeake. Looks like it would be hard to go wrong among several recommended programs there, although I'm leaning slightly toward the 4-day live-aboard program at the Maryland School of Sailing.

Thanks again for all the great suggestions. I learned the hard way with a very disappointing skulling class last year that good instruction is very important - particularly with regards to boat safety (not until I dumped myself in the Potomac catching a crab on the last day of class did I realize we had done no capsize drills at all - I actually had to be rescued from the water - what if it had happened the next day when I would have been in the boat alone?) I'm determined to do my research this time around.
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Old 05-04-2009
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Thumbs up Sailtime Annapolis

I just finished a 3 day ASA 101 class out of Port Annapolis with Sailtime. I thought the class was really good and they only have 2 people in their 101 classes. We got to sail a 22' and 33' Hunter for the class. I think having that extra 3rd day allowed you to practice what you learned in the first 2 days.
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Old 05-04-2009
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Selecting a school

Right now I'm considering the Mariner Sailing School (in Virginia), J World Annapolis, the Chesapeake Sailing School, and BaySail. Any experience with these schools? Any opinions? Any other recommendations?

The schools you quote have 3 different programs, Red Cross, ASA and US sailing. Firstly, you need to establish which program you would like to follow. essentially: Red Cross is very basic, ASA is more cruising focussed and US Sailing is more racing focussed. Once you have done this narrow your choice to 3/4 schools by location/cost etc and then call them and ask about their program and ask if you can speak to former students. You're spending good money - get a good school!
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  #16  
Old 05-25-2009
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Report from sailing school

I just finished the 2-day Basic Sailing Course at Mariner Sailing School in Belle Haven, Virginia and wanted to report back.

The course was great. The first day we got right in the boat (19' Flying Scott) after a short introduction and learned/practiced points of sail, tacking and jibing. The second day was more practice with basic sailing techniques, and also man overboard and docking/mooring drills. The class size is very small, only three to a boat (we had two plus our instructor so it was almost like a private lesson for the price of a course, which was great) so there's very little time spent not sailing, and lots of practice at the tiller. There's a week of free boat rentals (weekdays only) after the class to practice and half-price rentals from the Marina afterward. For those considering a short course, I highly suggest taking it with a friend/partner so that you can have a crew to practice with after the course, or make friends with a more experienced sailor who will want to go out with you.

We had different instructors on both days, which really underlined the difference an instructor can make to the whole experience. Both were quite good, just very different styles. We learned a lot and I would definitely recommend them to others in the area who want to learn to sail.
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Old 05-26-2009
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That is a fun place to sail.

It's much more peaceful than the Washington Sailing Marina with the planes taking off from Regan National!!
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Old 10-30-2011
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I would recommend The West River Sailing Club in Galesville, (South of Annapolis). They have an excellent (and inexpensive) learn to sail and learn to race program. It is also a nice place to relax and enjoy the view.
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