Sail Fast!

6 tips for choosing a sailing school on the Potomac River

Posted by George Stevens on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 @ 01:46 PM


1) How long has the School been in existence?

Like any business selection,  are you willing to take a chance with a recently started program or one with a proven track record? Schools that have been teaching for 35 years must be doing something right. Belle Haven Marina has been teaching sailing skills on a full time basis since 1977.

2) What Certification is Offered?

Certification of sailing is a relatively recent phenomenon.  There is no one single standard in the United States nor is it required to rent or buy a sailboat. The Mariner Sailing School is an approved US Sailing training facility. US Sailing is the governing body of sailing. This certification is recognized by sailing professionals and charter companies worldwide and ensures that our school complies with an established and comprehensive program.

  US Sailing Logo

3) What type of sailboats will I learn on?

The last thing you want to do when learning how to sail is to pick an  unstable boat. This would hardly inspire confidence, nor do you pick a boat that feels like a floating battleship. The best of both worlds is to choose a stable, yet responsive centerboard boat. 19' Flying Scot - is our choice for all Adult Learn to Sail, Racing and Private Instruction. The skills acquired can be easily transferred to other larger boats.19' Flying Scot

 Sunfish - our choice for the Youth Learn to Sail courses. The sunfish can be enjoyed by all ages and sailing skills and confidences are quickly acquired.

 C&C 34 - an ideal boat for learning to cruise with its centerboard design and outstanding performance. We will  make cruising in the Islands a pleasure.

4) How large is my class?

This is probably one of the most important questions to ask when selecting a sailing school. Obviously, the more students per instructor, the greater the profit margin for the sailing program. There are three positions on the boat, skipper, mainsail trimmer and jib sail trimmer. If you have more than three students aboard, you are getting ripped off. 

5) What happens if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate?

Great question to ask in the mid-Atlantic area. No one learns to sail while sitting in a classroom, but rather by being out on the water. When investigating sailing programs ask them how they make up for rainout days or days with no wind. At the Mariner Sailing School, no attempt is made to sail in dangerous or miserable conditions and lessons will be rescheduled. 90% of your sailing time is on the water.

6) What if I just don’t feel confident?

So what happens if you just completed a sailing course you don't have the confidence you need? Do you have to take the course over again? Our guarantee to every student: If after completing a course you feel you could use an extra lesson, we will be happy to arrange this for you. We are so confident in the quality of our Instructors that we offer you a week of unlimited free practice Monday - Friday, immediately following the completion of your course.


Tags: Belle Haven Marina, sailing lessons, Flying Scot, Mariner Sailing School, US Sailing, Sunfish, C&C 34