Learning To Sail
So where do you start? Start with your local Yacht or Sailing club. Many run sailing seminars and courses starting in the Spring and club membership is generally not required. Next, try your local college or university. Several universities in Michigan have their own sailing clubs which offer workshops for the general public or sailing courses for college credit. Finally, you can try one of a number of non-profit or for-profit sailing schools in Michigan. These schools offer a range of options including formal certification and boat sharing opportunities. These programs are listed on an adjoining page. Be sure to check our events calendar for any open sailing or public learning opportunities.
While you are waiting for the next class opportunity (or for the ice to thaw, if in winter), US Sailing offers free online basic sailing instruction. Although not meant as a substitute for an on-the-water course, their informative slides and videos will give you a basic sailing vocabulary and understanding. Their courses can be accessed by clicking the button at the right.
Either in conjunction with a formal class, or for self-study on your own, you may want to obtain a good book on sailing basics. Please consider these titles through our Amazon store. While you are waiting for that opportunity for an on-the-water-course, try your hand at either of the sailing simulators offered below.
Access to NED is provided FREE to the world courtesy of NauticEd.org
In using the simulator above, the red triangle represents wind direction and the sails and rudder are moved by the corresponding colored controls at the bottom. Once a change has been made, the boat resets to the "upright" position but the wind indicator moves to represent the wind direction on the current tack. Move the rudder and sails and note what happens to boat speed and heel.