Online Sailing Course

By Amanda Suttles

Have no clue what a clew is? Our new Learn To Sail online course can open up a whole new world.

Are you intimidated about learning to sail or about the seemingly vast vocabulary of specific terms? You're not alone. Many would-be sailors turn to books in an effort to make sense out of sailor-speak. But books can't provide both visual and auditory learning, and those of us who learn by doing are completely left out.

Photo of techical parts of a sailboatClick to enlarge

Enter the online Learn To Sail course, a fully narrated, multimedia experience, loaded with videos showing real instructors aboard sailboats, and animations that let you match vocabulary terms to real parts of the boat, such as in the accompanying photo. Formed in partnership with Steve and Doris Colgate's Offshore Sailing School, this new offering from the BoatUS Foundation helps bridge the gap between the classroom instruction and on-the-water training.

Teaching hands-on boating skills is what Offshore Sailing School has been doing since 1964. Their effective sailing curriculum mixes classroom sessions with practical, onthe- water training. Previously, during each three- or five-day course, students would spend a few hours each morning in a classroom and then head out on the school's fleet of training boats to sail for the rest of the day. Steve and Doris Colgate wanted to turn that classroom time into an interactive, online course, which would jump-start their students' ability to absorb the sailing concepts before they head out onto the water on a boat for hands-on training. Now, after completing the online Learn To Sail course at their leisure, students who've elected to attend the optional on-water Learn To Sail course get to apply what they've learned out on the water in a Colgate 26 at one of Offshore Sailing School's seven locations around the country. By having students complete the online course in advance, Offshore Sailing School can give students more time on the water, and less time in the classroom.

The Learn To Sail course will be available in early 2012 at a cost of $49.95 with an introductory discount of 20-percent for BoatUS members. A portion of the proceeds from the course will go toward the BoatUS Foundation, to support its work in the areas of clean water and boating safety.

For more information visit the BoatUS Foundation Online Resource Center at

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The BoatUS Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization devoted to implementing projects that keep boaters safer and our environment protected, is independently funded by donations from BoatUS Members and by grants.

— Published: February/March 2012

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