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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 01-28-2010
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Sailing schools in San Francisco South Bay Area

I'm a newbie trying to find a beginner sailing class.

So far I found:

Shoreline Aquatic Center, in Shoreline Park, Mountain View:
Cost of a 2-weekend class (Level I + II): $400
US Sailing or ASA certification upon completion
Adult & Teen Classes: Sailing

Spinnaker Sailing of Redwood City:
Cost of a 2-weekend class (Basic Keelboat): $695
ASA certification upon completion
Spinnaker Sailing Basic Level Sailing Lessons

Does anyone know the pros and cons of each place?

Any information is appreciated

Last edited by dboy4ever; 01-28-2010 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 01-28-2010
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Looks like I can't post any link that says "spinnaker"... it'll automatically get changed to a link that takes you to a sponsor. Oh well. You guys can google that school
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Old 01-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dboy4ever View Post
I'm a newbie trying to find a beginner sailing class.

Any information is appreciated
If you are willing to go a little further north, Modern Sailing Academy in Sausalito was voted as the ASA School of the Year in 2009. I've taken the first three courses there, Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising, and Bareboat Charter, and I only have great things to say about the school.

There is also Club Nautique in Alameda and OCSC in Berkeley which are worth checking out. Honestly, for your first course it all depends on what kind of experience that you are looking for. Read up on their websites and see what kinds of boats the school uses for each class. Some teach on smaller boats and others on larger boats. You'll also definitely get a feel for what attitude the school has by reading the websites. Some schools really emphasize racing technique and others really emphasize a more laid back cruising approach.

Wherever you choose to go, the Bay is a great place to learn to sail. Good Luck!
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Old 01-28-2010
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daboy...

Here is another approach I like even better. It won't be very popular in some circles, especially those that push certifications, but Forget the school business. It isn't really all that necessary. All they will do is teach just enough to be dangerous, give you a document that says your certified (which really means nothing), and separate you from your money.

You really don't get to learn anything until you get out there. I would save the dough, buy a good book on sailing fundamentals and start reading. Then look for a small local sailing club friendly to newbies (most are). Start racing! It is so much fun, but most of all, Nothing teaches sailing better! Make yourself available to crew to as many as possible (folks are always looking). Get on a boat, bring the skipper some beer (you'll make a friend for life), do as you're told, and learn.

Now, I'm not saying that there is no value to sailing schools. They do a great job, at a great price, of introducing folks to sailing. They will not make you a sailor.

Best of luck!
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Old 01-28-2010
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Check out:

Afterguard Sailing Academy

Mary is highly experienced and a great teacher. I learned from her when I started sailing.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seadart View Post
daboy...

Here is another approach I like even better. It won't be very popular in some circles, especially those that push certifications, but Forget the school business. It isn't really all that necessary. All they will do is teach just enough to be dangerous, give you a document that says your certified (which really means nothing), and separate you from your money.
Like most things, instruction from a qualified professional will flatten the learning curve and shorten the time it takes for you to be comfortable and start enjoying yourself on a boat by orders of magnitude. Further, if the OP wants to rent or charter a boat, some certification will be necessary.

Bottom line, lessons are almost never a waste of time or money.
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Old 01-28-2010
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I used Spinnaker in S.F., and some how managed to survive. I believe lessons start you out with the least amount of bad habits, and the most amount of usable knowledge..........i2f
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Last edited by imagine2frolic; 01-28-2010 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 01-28-2010
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I have "sailed" twice now, and what I'm just dyin' for is an experienced eye to observe what I'm doing and say "you're hauled in too tight/too loose", "look at the tattletales", "you're pinching, fall off a bit" that sort of thing.

I made the boat go by reading books but I'm not a good sailor. I think there's benefit to a structured course. The trick is finding a good one.
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Old 02-19-2010
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Hi, I bought my boat about 15 years ago and started making mistakes right away. Then I joined a racing club and started learning to sail. You'll learn more in one year of racing than five on your own, plus it's alot of fun.
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Learning to sail is like learning most things. Sure you can probably pick it up on your own but it will take you twice as long if not longer and you'll probably develop a lot of bad habits.
Learning to Sail at a sailing school will give you the basic sailing fundamentals that you need to know to understand how to operate a sailboat on San Francisco Bay. Like anything you learn you need to practice to refine your skills and develop your self confidence. The first year you should sail as much as you can whether it's with friends, chartering, joining a club, racing, cruising whatever. It's the time on the water that will make you a better sailor. Racing is also a great way to improve your understanding of making a sailboat perform well. Most of the sailing schools on the Bay teach similar standards. Sailing fundamentals are sailing fundamentals and no sailing school has anything overly special about what's in their courses that differ much.
So long as the instructors are quality people who have experience, patience and make learning to sail safe and fun you'll have a great time. If you live in the south bay and you want to learn to sail the bay, Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City is a fine choice. They have been teaching for over 30 years and have some great instructors. It's the same as when you were in grade school, high school or College the Instructor can make all the difference. If you want to learn to sail dinghy's then Shoreline Aquatic Center in Mountain View is one of the few places you can learn to sail a dinghy.
Don't listen to someone who tells you to just go out there and learn on your own. A bad experience can cost you severely. The Bay is not a place to play around in without knowing what you're doing.
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