ASA Certified Sailing Instruction
Learn how to sail, or refresh your skills
Learn How to Sail: Cruise 'n Learn
Sailnorthwest Charters offers a week long Cruise 'n Learn class that takes sailors from basic sailing fundamentals, to coastal navigation, to bareboat chartering. Captains Judy Mickel-Griffin and Nate Harmon are American Sailing Association Certified Sailing Instructors and they have many years teaching in the Pacific Northwest. Their students think they are awesome. Classes are taught on our 32' Islander or our 40' Islander with a class size of three or a private class for two. We like to keep the size of the class small so each student gets a lot of hands-on experience. Prices: $1385 per student for three in a class. Private class for two is $3450.
What Will My Week Be Like?
We enjoy the opportunity to share our knowledge of the beautiful San Juan Islands with you while you learn to be the 'captain of your own ship'.
Our regular classes are limited to two-three students and we specialize in teaching private couples classes. We start on Sunday at 1:30pm in Bellingham, WA and continue our journey through the San Juan Islands and return on Saturdays at 12pm. These classes are on spotlight Gal, our 32’ Islander, or Lily Pad, our 40' Islander. We try to put you on a boat size that matches your future sailing goals.
Spotlight Gal, our 32' Islander or Lily Pad, our 40' Islander, will be your home for the week. In some situations, depending upon the students goal, we use our 50' Beneteau. Cooking is shared by all and you will find plenty of great food awaiting you. You are welcome to bring any snacks and drinks you prefer. We stay at beautiful marine parks where we practice anchoring and picking up mooring buoys. There are great hikes/walks at all our stops and everyone enjoys getting off the boat for a little exercise and photo opportunities.
The class starts when you decide to join us on our cruise and learn. There are three books required for you to read before you join the class in Bellingham. They are Sailing Made Easy for the 101 section, Coastal Cruising Made Easy for the 103 section, and Cruising fundamentals for the 104 section. The books are available at www.american-sailing.com as well as ASA memberships.
After you arrive we start learning at the dock before we leave. We go over all the safety equipment on the boat, all the parts of the boat, what makes a boat sail and why it doesn’t turn over, how to tie a dock cleat (so we can arrive safely back at the dock!), and familiarize you with charts and our itinerary for the week. There is a sample itinerary on our web site www.sailnw.com. The currents determine what direction we will go and what time we depart. We then have lunch and get underway. Our first night is spent in Chuckanut Bay or Inati Bay, just off Bellingham Bay. This gives us a lot of time to practice handling of the boat the first day.
We sail to Sucia Island the second day. There is great hiking/walking on this beautiful marine park island. The third day we arrive at Roche Harbor to shower, see some quaint sites, and do a little shopping if needed. The fourth day we can anchor out at Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island or Garrison Bay on San Juan Island, depending on tides and weather. After sailing in Haro Straights looking for the whales on the fifth day we usually head for Friday Harbor where you can practice docking, have a nice latte in the morning in addition to a little shopping. The sixth day we head back across the straights to Bellingham Bay where we will spend the night anchored in Inati Bay, a Bellingham Yacht Club out station and a very beautiful spot.
We usually start the day about 9am and finish our day on the water about 6pm. Some students like to study after dinner but if you are well prepared before the class this time can be spent in other ways. Our instructors are known for their patience and excellent teaching skills in addition to being great cooks! You can see several resume's on our web site.
Each day we build on the skills developed earlier. We start the day with Basic Keelboat Sailing Standards that include boat terminology, points of sail, navigation rules, USCG equipment required, and aids to navigation. A test is taken on the second day for the Basic Keelboat Standard.
The second level is Basic Coastal Cruising Standards. In this class you will learn more boat parts, gear and equipment. We also cover hypothermia, man overboard, more navigation rules, weather, duties of the skipper and crew. Chart reading, and what to do in case of boat emergencies will be discussed. We will practice our knots and their use and work on boat handling including sails and docking. This test for this level will be given on the fourth day.
The third level is Bareboat Chartering Standards. We will build on previous skills including weather, seamanship, planning a trip, anchoring, engine familiarization and more chart reading. The last test is taken on the sixth day.
The cost of a private class for two is $3450 and includes great food. In addition there is also the $39 per person ASA membership fee. Each test passed is $20. The cost for a class with our normal student size of three is $1385 per student. When we have a request for four in a class we go up a size in boats and the cost is still $1385 per person in addition to the test and membership fees.
When the class decides they would like to stay at a dock for the night the mooring fee is shared by all. The cost for moorage for the night is usually about $50. This is the only other expense you may incur during your six night stay aboard.
Some students arrange to bareboat charter Spotlight Gal the following week after their class. This has worked out very well and solidifies what you learned the previous week. She charters out at $1385 per week plus 8.7% sales tax. There is a $1000 refundable damage deposit along with a non-refundable daily insurance fee of $38.
We recommend layered clothing for the week. T shirts, fleece jacket, wind breaker/rain jacket, hat, sailing gloves, two pair of shoes, one for walking and one non marking for the boat. I have a list that I include with the contract that gives you all the pertinent information and directions to the boat.
All Women's Classes June 9th and 23rd, 2013
See Our Calendar for 2013 Dates
Our all gals class is very popular. We have two classes scheduled for 2013. Many women love the opportunity to learn in this environment, where they get to do it all. June 9th and June 23rd are the weeks for the all gals classes for 2013.
Refresh your sailing skills
If it has been a while since you spent time sailing, or if you are unfamiliar with Northwest waters, and wish to have a captain do a quick 2-3 day refresher course to build your confidence, we can accommodate you. This is a wonderful way to regain your sea legs and take advantage of our expert captain's local knowledge. Also, it will help you become familiar with our boats and all of their systems. After you feel confident, simply drop your captain off at any ferry dock and we will pick them up on the other side. Meanwhile, you can continue with your vacation without hesitation.
Dear Captain Judy,
You have made this sailing experience even better by the way you share so eagerly of your knowledge and experience. You truly give your crew 100% of your time and attention, making this an extraordinary week of learning and enjoyment. Thank you for your patience, understanding, cooperation, and sharing so much of yourself. I will look back on this week with fond memories.
Please enjoy your first sail FREE!
Click here to start your first sailing lesson.