Ship's Blog

Learn to Sail: Basic Keelboat Part 1

This is the first half of the US Sailing Basic Keelboat course for those who want to take the first step towards earning their US Sailing Certification. Delve into boating terminology, points of sail, sailing upwind and downwind, steering, basic knots, safety on the water, and practice crew overboard drills. 

This is a hands-on course that takes place on the water and in the classroom. We teach on our Cal 20 and Catalina 250 boats. 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 the week-long class—it’s part of the fun!

After completing Basic Keelboat Part 1 and Part 2, 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 11-12, May 25-26, June 8-9, June 22-23, July 6-7, July 20-21, Aug. 3-4, Aug. 17-18, Sept. 21-22
9 AM–5 PM | Cost: $550 non-members, $499.95 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: Two consecutive days: Saturday & Sunday, 9 AM–5 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: $550 non-members, $499.95 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 25 - 26 2024


9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: May 25 - 26 2024
  • Time: 12:00 pm - 8:00 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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Thursday – Saturday
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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.