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Be a better sailor

2022 June 1

You know how to sail, now learn how to sail better

Goal: Sail your own boat better

Sometimes sailors just want to learn to sail their own boat better, and that’s where private instruction, now offered by many sailing schools, comes in.
Paul Todd/Outside Images photo

Some sailors aren’t looking to add new skills to their repertoire, they just want to sail, understand and operate their own boat better and in the past there wasn’t much help available. This can present a problem, particularly to buyers of used boats, who often take ownership without much in the way of guidance as to how the boat works.

Some sailing schools offering private lessons onboard an owner’s boat, customized to whatever they may need help with. That could include dialing in sail setup and trim, understanding how a boat’s systems work or even a specific skill such as docking.

David Pyle, president of Blue Water Sailing School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said private instruction on an owner’s boat has been one of the school’s most popular offerings for
several years. 

In addition to helping owners get the most out of their boats, private instruction can also help identify areas in need of improvement. Instructors may recognize equipment that is due for replacement or offer suggestions for ways to get better performance out of existing equipment, such as sails, which may benefit from a few nips and tucks rather than needing replacement. 

Private instruction can be a good way to work through a particular skill in a short period of time. Docking for instance, can be vexing, particularly when nerves come into play. But an afternoon with an instructor practicing in a variety of docking scenarios can give an owner the confidence to pull into a slip without incident.

Many owners return to a sailing school they learned at before buying a boat for private instruction, but an increasing number of schools now off the service at an hourly or daily rate.

Find sailing schools near you or in the location of your choice through the American Sailing Association, www.asa.com, and US Sailing, www.ussailng.org.

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