Ship's Blog

Learn to Sail: Basic Keelboat Full Course

Earn your Basic Keelboat certification with our 5-day US Sailing Basic Keelboat class! Join us for an unforgettable week of learning, camaraderie, and the joy of sailing. No matter your experience level, this course is designed to build confidence, foster teamwork, and create lasting memories on the water.

Begin by learning boating terminology, points of sail, sailing upwind and downwind, steering, basic knots, safety on the water, and practicing crew overboard drills—then progress to learning advanced sail trim, tacking, jibing, rules of the road, basic navigation, knots, reefing, line handling, outboard engine basics, and docking.

This is a hands-on class that takes place on the water and in the classroom. We teach on our Cal 20 and Catalina 250. They are responsive but have a 6-foot keel so they can’t tip over. Our classes have 8 students or less. You will get to know each other and your instructors over the course of a weekend, or week-long class—it’s part of the fun!

After completing Basic Keelboat Full Course, students will be tested for the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification, and on completion will receive a US Sailing Membership, a Logbook and a Certification Sticker that can be used around the country to rent or charter sailboats up to 27’.

Course Details:
May 13–17, May 20–24, June 3–7, June 10–14, June 24–28, July 1–5, July 8–12, July 15–19, July 29–Aug 2, Aug 5–9, Aug 19–23, Aug 26–30
9 AM–4 PM | Cost: $1100 non-members, $1045 members

  • Prerequisites: While there is no prerequisite for this course, students are highly encouraged to take the “Basic Keelboat Online Course” in order to best prepare for your in-person training: Contact our registrar for a discount on the online prep course.
  • For Ages: 16+
  • Platform: We teach on our Cal 20 and Catalina 250. There will also be some time spent inside the chartroom at the NWMC campus.
  • Duration: Five consecutive days: Monday–Friday, 9 AM–4 PM
  • Audience: Beginners looking to gain foundational knowledge and earn their US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification
  • Materials: Tuition for this course includes the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Textbook, which will be waiting for you in the classroom. Alternatively, you may collect it ahead of time from our Welcome Center on the first floor of the Northwest Maritime campus, opening May 2024. Simply tell the cashier at checkout your name and that you are registered for a Keelboat class. An online version of the textbook is available instead of the paper copy—please contact our registrar if you’d prefer the online version.
  • Registration: Sign up online at
  • Cost: $1100 non-members, $1045 members
  • Notes: Please watch for a reminder email with class schedules, details, and pack list to be sent via email one week before class. This class has a two-person minimum.

Adult Classes / Sailing Classes



May 20 - 24 2024


9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: May 20 - 24 2024
  • Time: 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Northwest Maritime Center
431 Water Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368


Northwest Maritime Center

Contact Us

431 Water Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Phone: 360.385.3628
Fax: 360.385.4742


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H.W. McCurdy Library
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9 AM – 4:30 PM

Welcome Center
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10 AM – 6 PM

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Thursday – Saturday
9 AM – 3 PM

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The mission of the Northwest Maritime Center is to engage and educate people of all generations in traditional and contemporary maritime life, in a spirit of adventure and discovery.

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Northwest Maritime Center (FEIN # 91-1931643) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.