Sail Michigan | Learning to Sail


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Learning To Sail

Opportunities for learning how to sail can be as close as your local yacht/sailing club or your local college or university and you don't even need to own a boat. Sailing schools/clubs provide the boats you need and many even allow you to lease/rent the boats when the course is done. In addition, consider taking the course with a friend or your family. This will make the course more enjoyable and ensure that you have a ready crew to help you enjoy a day on the water or compete in a regatta.

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.

In addition to your local yacht club, other organizations offering saiing instruction can be found on our Michigan Sailing Schools page. The simulator below is a fun way to see how sail trim and points of sail affects hull speed.


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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.





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