Opinions on Sailing Schools in DC/Annapolis area? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-28-2009 Thread Starter
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Opinions on Sailing Schools in DC/Annapolis area?

I'm a complete sailing newbie. But I've been on a friend's boat in the Chesapeake a few times and fell in love. I've been researching schools in the area and was hoping to ask more experienced sailors what their experiences and opinions are regarding these programs.

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?

Also, for someone who doesn't really know anything - or even how much I will like sailing, does it make sense to start with a shorter (and less expensive) course? Or will I be so little confident after two days on the water that the money will be largely wasted?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-29-2009
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I had good experiences with both the Chesapeake Sailing School at Port Annapolis Marina learning on a 22ft Tanzer keel boat and Mariner Sailing School on the Potomac River at Belle Haven marina on Flying Scots.

Both these schools have a laid back yet thorough approach for teaching new sailors the basics.

A good link on the topic...

Sugesstions on best place to learn on the Chesapeake

BTW~I took the long weekend course from Chesapeake Sailing School and thought it was great.

Both have rental programs for grads so one doesn't have to go full bore into ownership to enjoy.

We did that for about two seasons before settling on the boat we bought.
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-29-2009
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I would recommend you at least look at the Annapolis Sailing School. While it was a number of years ago, I took their weekend sailing program followed by a 5 day bare boating course, it was great. We had such a good time we took a second bare boating course from them in the Virgin Islands (not sure if they still have that location). The courses were great, the instructors fantastic, 20 years later we are still sailing, and still telling our stories from these classes.

Subsequently I have taken racing courses from Steve Colgate, and a Blue water course from some forgettable outfit in Florida. While these courses were good (certainly Colgate was), neither made the same impression as the courses from Annapolis. Clearly my information is very old, and a lot may have changed in the past 20 years, but I would encourage you to at least look at Annapolis, today with the web research is easy!

Enjoy!
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-29-2009
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Another Idea

Before you spend many hundreds of dollars on J World, Annapolis Sailing School, etc., look at taking lessons from a Community Sailing Program. I am sure that they have them in Annapolis as the have them here in Boston.

They are typically a fraction of the cost of the others and the lessons will teach the basics and allow you to sail on a small keel boat easily. It will also give you a idea if you really like sailing without a huge cost. While you may not get "professional" sailors teaching you as you may in the more "fancy" schools, the instructors at the community sailing schools will know how to sail well. A lot of them are collegiate sailors keeping their skills up and earning some money over the summer.

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post #5 of 18 Old 04-29-2009
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I went to Annapolis Sailing School (the oldest I think) and also Maryland School of Sailing across the bay in Rock Hall. Both were great. The MD school does it on Island Packets which are big heavy boats - The advantage is that once you learn to dock one of them everything else seems easy.

I also went to Baysail for one course - but it isnt near Annapolis - Its in Havre de Grace - A very good course though.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-29-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips!

Thanks so much for the very helpful suggestions. I'm particularly glad that someone has experience with the Mariner Sailing School - as I'm in DC it is much closer than Annapolis, and seems to offer a very good value. (My one concern was that there might not be enough wind on the Potomac to learn properly.)

I had looked into the Annapolis Sailing School, but had crossed it off the list because I found a comment (yelp? here?) that they didn't refund or reschedule classes if there was bad weather.

I will also look into a community sailing program. I found one here, but the marina looked to be highly unpleasant (very urban, have to motor around cruise ships). I hadn't thought to extend that search to Annapolis.
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-29-2009
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Maryland school of sailing and seamanship lets you stay on the boat durring the class. Saves on hotel bills.

That derelict boat was another dream for somebody else, don't let it be your nightmare and a waste of your life.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-30-2009
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so does baysail but not for asa 101 because the boat is only a 22
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-30-2009
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I took my daughters (age 11 and 8) to Chesapeake Sailing School last week. I went there becasue Annapolis SS has an age limit (12 I think) and a lot of other schools were not open yet. I went for two 4 hour private lessons for the 3 of us (I needed a refresher) as it was pretty cost effective and they train on Tanzer 22s which are easy to singlehand. The teacher (Irene) was great and she is an instructor at USNA so she new her stuff. I found that Chesapeake was friendly, more than willing to accomodate us coming all the way from upstate NY, and they were flexible.
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post #10 of 18 Old 05-01-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emcentar View Post
Thanks so much for the very helpful suggestions. I'm particularly glad that someone has experience with the Mariner Sailing School - as I'm in DC it is much closer than Annapolis, and seems to offer a very good value. (My one concern was that there might not be enough wind on the Potomac to learn properly.)

I had looked into the Annapolis Sailing School, but had crossed it off the list because I found a comment (yelp? here?) that they didn't refund or reschedule classes if there was bad weather.

I will also look into a community sailing program. I found one here, but the marina looked to be highly unpleasant (very urban, have to motor around cruise ships). I hadn't thought to extend that search to Annapolis.
1. That's always the chance you take!!

2. I don't go out in small craft warnings, but I think you will find that unless there is lightning, the show goes on!!

3. Community sailing programs are great for the committed but some require as much time as ownership itself.

The long and short of it is, you are going to spend about $400

You may get good weather or bad, but either will give you experience.

When our instructor said "today we are learning to reef the main" instead of going home I just but it was an experience!!
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