Our 3-weekend format is designed for those who want a comprehensive Learn to Sail course but are unable to take a sail with us on weekdays. Upon successful completion of this course, graduates will have successfully demonstrated the ability to responsibly skipper and crew a simple daysailing keelboat in familiar waters in light to moderate wind and sea conditions. This course is conducted onboard our high performing 26′ keelboats – J/80’s. This course is offered every weekend of our sailing season (April-November), your sessions can be scheduled for either consequitive weekends or at other intervals – making our three weekend course the most flexible way for you to learn to sail. For each weekend, you will be placed onboard with others at the same progression level. Our three-weekend format includes a sixth day of training to help make up for the lag time between sessions.
By taking this course, we guarantee that you will acquire the skills and knowledge to pass the written and skill evaluation for US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification. If you do not pass during your course, you may come back for makeup instruction and testing until you do at no additional charge.
The Basic Keelboat graduate will have successfully demonstrated the ability to responsibly skipper and crew a simple daysailing keelboat in familiar waters in light to moderate wind and sea conditions.
The course and examinations will be conducted on high our high performing J/80’s, a 26’ daysailing sloop-rigged keelboat with tiller steering and with adequate equipment inventory to complete all required certification outcomes.
There is no prerequisite for Basic Keelboat Certification or the three weekend course.
Basic Keelboat Certification requires the successful completion of the following knowledge and skill requirements. These requirements are expected to be able to be performed safely with confident command of the boat in familiar waters with a wind range of 5 to 15 knots. The certified candidate will be able to skipper a tiller steered keelboat up to 27 feet in length.
Here are the practical skills and knowledge required to complete the JWorld Annapolis Basic Keelboat course:
Preparation to Sail:
- Demonstrate ability to recognize and forecast prevailing local weather conditions.
- Perform a presail check for the boat’s flotation integrity, safety and legally required equipment, and crew indoctrination.
- Demonstrate the proper rigging of the sails, halyards, sheets, blocks, and winches.
- Check all other equipment specific to your boat not indicated above.
- Describe personal preparation such as clothing and sun protection.
Crew Operations and Skills:
- Demonstrate how to put on a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
- Demonstrate tying and use of knots: stopper knot, bowline, cleat hitch and sail lashing knot.
- Demonstrate the use of these sail controls: halyards, sheets, cunningham/downhaul and outhaul.
- Be familiar with the nomenclature for basic parts of the boat, sails, battens and rigging.
- Describe the proper use of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) and throwable flotation devices.
- Describe the use of sail controls.
- Explain potential electrical hazards such as overhead electrical wires and lightning.
- Describe basic sailboat design, sail theory and boat dynamics.
- Explain how to read the wind and determine all points of sail.
- Understand what is meant by the term “sailing by the lee” and explain the inherent dangers involved
Leaving the Dock or Mooring:
- Demonstrate appropriate helmsman and crew coordination and skills for departure suitable to the conditions: raising sails, line handling, casting off and boathandling.
- Understand the effects of wind, tide and currents in relation to the boat and surrounding area while preparing to get underway.
- Describe the differences and alternatives for leaving under sail and/or power in upwind, crosswind and downwind situations.
Boat Control in Confined Waters:
- Demonstrate in close quarters under sail: starting, stopping, speed control, tacking, jibing, steering control, sail luffing, the No-Go Zone, getting out of irons, backing the jib, and crew coordination and communication.
- Demonstrate sailing a predetermined closed course and maneuvering around obstacles.
- Point out Aids to Navigation in the harbor and local waters that you are sailing, and respond accordingly.
- Be familiar with basic chart reading specific to your local waters.
- Describe Aids to Navigation: buoys, daymarks, regulatory markers, and other markers specific to your local waters.
Navigation Rules, International-Inland:
- Demonstrate use of Navigation Rules while sailing.
- Describe the Navigation Rules, International-Inland, for Stand-On and Give-Way sailboats and powerboats for collision avoidance and understand your state and local boating regulations.
Boat Control in Open Water:
- Demonstrate proper sail trim with accurate sheet adjustment of the main and headsails. Make use of the sail telltales and identify points of sail.
- Perform a heaving-to maneuver per the prescribed method.
- When appropriate, demonstrate sailing “by the lee” and explain the inherent dangers involved.
Heavy Weather Sailing:
- Demonstrate how to reef and/or depower sails.
- Describe weather warning sources
Overboard Recovery Methods:
- Properly demonstrate one of the overboard recovery methods, which is most appropriate for: your sailing ability, boat type, crew experience, wind and sea conditions, and maintaining constant visual contact with the victim.
- Understand the Quick-Stop and Quick-Turn overboard recovery methods to include: constant visual contact with the victim, communication, recovery plan, sequence of maneuvers, boathandling, course sailed, pickup approach and coming alongside the victim (or simulated object).
- Describe methods of getting an overboard recovery victim back on deck after the vessel is stopped alongside.
Safety and Emergency Procedures:
- Explain the proper procedure for using an approved distress signal.
- Be familiar with treatment of victims of overheating, hypothermia and seasickness.
- Describe the use and regulations for flares.
- Be familiar with at least six different distress and emergency signals per Navigation Rule 37.
- Be familiar with the U.S. Coast Guard requirements for safety equipment.
- Be familiar with anchoring procedures for emergency situations such as loss of boat control, sudden storms, prevention from going aground or injured crew situations.
Returning to the Dock or Mooring:
- Demonstrate appropriate helmsman and crew coordination and skills for arrival under sail and/or power suitable to the conditions: boathandling, deploying fenders, stopping, tying up and lowering sails. Explain at least two different approach plans for other conditions.
- Describe the differences and alternatives for arrival under sail and/or power in upwind, crosswind and downwind situations.
Securing the Boat Properly:
- Demonstrate stowing of sails, rigging and equipment. Thoroughly clean the boat, and install any covers.
- Check both the electrical and bilge systems for dock operation if required.
- Check the locks on companionway, lockers and hatches. Make a final check of docklines, spring lines and fender placement.
So who should take this class?
Everybody interested in developing a strong sailing foundation while acquiring US Sailing’s Basic Keelboat Certification.
How will I spend my Time?
This course is held from 9:00 to 4:00 over the span of three weekends. The weekends do not have to be sequential but is our recommendation to complete the three weekends as close together as possible. Total hours; 5 classroom, 36 on the water.
How do I register?
The course is offered every weekend from April 1 to November 1. Call or email us to register now!
What should I bring?
Why should I take a course at J World Annapolis?