Learn to Sail



 

Sailing & On-the-Water Classes at the Northwest Maritime Center

Our highly experienced US Sailing instructors, a year-round windy bay, and a beautiful waterfront location surrounded by the Olympic and Cascade Mountains combine to make the Northwest Maritime Center’s Basic Keelboat Program one of the best and most beautiful in the region. Experience sailing for the first time or take your sailing skills to the next level! All Basic Keelboat classes are taught on our 26′ Thunderbird sailboats. 1 instructor and no more than 3 students per class. At least 80% of each course is taught on the boat!

The Northwest Maritime Center has received accreditation through US Sailing to teach US Sailing Certified Basic Keelboat Classes. Each student graduating from the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification Class will receive a US Sailing Membership, a Logbook and Certification Sticker that can be used around the country to rent or charter sailboats. US Sailing is the national governing association for sailing and accredits only the top schools in the country.


Saturday Sails

Saturdays Jun 12, Jun 26, Jul 10, Jul 24, Jul 31, Aug 7, Aug 14, Sept 4
1:00 – 4:00 PM  |  $75 Non-member  |  $68 Member

Take advantage of Port Townsend’s beautiful fall season with our new Saturday Sails! Spend 3 hours with an experienced sailing instructor on a 26’ Keelboat sailing on Port Townsend Bay. This class gives you the opportunity to discover what sailing is all about without committing to an entire course. Also great for folks who just want to get out on the water, with or without prior sailing experience!

Basic Keelboat Level 1

May 15–16, May 29–30, Jun 19–20, Jul 10–11, Jul 24–25, Jul 31–Aug 1 (women only), Aug 7–8, Aug 21–22
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM  |  $400 Non-member  |  $360 Member

This is the first half of the US Sailing Basic Keelboat course. Learn boating terminology, points of sail, sailing upwind and downwind, steering, basic knots, safety on the water, and practice crew overboard drills. This is step 1 toward your US Sailing Certification. 15 hours over a weekend (Saturday and Sunday). Women Only classes are available—taught by women for women only.  No prerequisite.

Tuition for this course includes the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Textbook, which may be picked up ahead of time at the Wooden Boat Chandlery, 431 Water Street, Port Townsend, please view our store page for current opening hours. Simply tell the cashier at checkout your name and that you are registered for a Keelboat class. If you do not have a chance to get it ahead of time, we will have one in the classroom for you on your first day.

Basic Keelboat Level 2

May 22–23, Jun 12–13, Jun 26–27, Jul 17–18, Aug 14–15, Aug 21–22 (women only)
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM  |  $400 Non-member  |  $360 Member

This is the second half of the US Sailing Basic Keelboat course. Learn advanced sail trim, tacking, gibing, rules of the road, basic navigation, knots, reefing, line handling, outboard engine basics, and docking. 15 hours over a weekend (Saturday and Sunday). Receive your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification! Women Only classes are available—taught by women for women only.

Prerequisite: Basic Keelboat Level 1

Basic Keelboat Full Course

Jun 7–11, Jun 21–25, Jun 28–Jul 2, July 12–16 (women only), Jul 19–23, Aug 2–6, Aug 9–13 (women only), Aug 23–27
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM  |  $800 Non-member  |  $720 Member 

This is the full US Sailing Basic Keelboat course taught over 5 consecutive days. See Level 1 and Level 2 descriptions for course content. Women Only classes are available—taught by women for women only. No prerequisite.

Tuition for this course includes the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Textbook, which may be picked up ahead of time at the Wooden Boat Chandlery, 431 Water Street, Port Townsend, please view our store page for current opening hours. Simply tell the cashier at checkout your name and that you are registered for a Keelboat class. If you do not have a chance to get it ahead of time, we will have one in the classroom for you on your first day.

Race Intensive Weekend

May 8–9, Aug 28–29  |  11:00 AM – 6:00 PM  |  $500 Non-member  |  $450 Member

Join us for a new collaborative offering with the Port Townsend Sailing Association, the folks responsible for rallying all those pretty boats you’ve seen racing on the waterfront Wednesday and Friday nights. Spend 2 hours each morning in the classroom learning racing rules and strategies. Then spend 4 hours on the water each afternoon racing on three Thunderbirds with an experienced racer on board as coach. You’ll have a chance to try different roles on board and experience several short-course races from start to finish.

Dinghy and Outboard Operation

May 8, Jul 3 | 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM  |  $250 Non-member  |  $225 Member

NEW IN 2021! Here’s a great opportunity to learn how to drive an inflatable dinghy and operate a small outboard motor. Practice starting the engine and zipping around the harbor (safely and under control!) in our inflatables both on the water and dockside.

Private Sailing & Docking Lessons

$60/hr | Call to schedule

Perfect for students that want to learn to sail but don’t require a US Sailing Certification. Learn from our highly experienced instructors who will customize your lesson based on what you personally would like to learn! Or head out on the water and let our captain take you for a ride on the beautiful Port Townsend Bay. No age limits—bring your entire family! There is a 2-hour minimum. We can also provide an instructor to teach you docking or sailing on your own boat.

San Juan Cruising Flotilla

Cancelled for 2021 – check back next year!

If you have ever wanted to take your own boat to the San Juan Islands but are unsure of your cruising skills, here’s your chance to go with an instructor leading the way. This learning flotilla starts with an 6-hour prep course online covering how to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca, navigating tides and currents in the islands, anchoring overnight, and trip planning. The group will then meet up in Port Townsend on June 16 for a meet-and-greet happy hour. We leave for the San Juan Islands the morning of the June 17—crossing the straits and finding an anchorage for the night. We’ll spend the next night at a different anchorage, and our final night at a marina before crossing back to Port Townsend on June 20.

The $400 fee ($360 for NWMC Members) covers the entire boat’s participation in the flotilla and one person’s participation in the prep class. If others on your boat would like to attend the prep class, they can register for an additional $200/person ($180 for NWMC Members).

Online Flotilla Cruising Prep Class

Cancelled for 2021 – check back next year!

The $400 flotilla fee ($360 for NWMC Members) covers the entire boat’s participation in the flotilla and one person’s participation in the prep class. If others on your boat would like to attend the prep class, they can register for an additional $200/person ($180 for NWMC Members).

About the Instructor:

Carolyn “Ace” Spragg grew up on the Chesapeake Bay, messing about in boats. She built her first raft at age 6, learned to sail at age 8, and has spent more than 35 years teaching on the water. She taught swimming, sailing, canoeing, and waterskiing at summer camps back east, and was the Waterfront Director and Program Director at Camp Wayne for 15 years. After moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2000, she started teaching sailing and cruising skills on her Yorktown 39, S/V Fraid Knot, which she lived aboard for 15 years. Ace has her USCG 50-ton Master’s License, International Sail and Power Association Yachtmaster Offshore teaching certification, US Sailing teaching certification, and is a US Maritime Academy Captain’s License Instructor. In 2006 she skippered her boat to Hawaii and back with all-women crews. She was the Program Director of the Northwest Maritime Center from 2011-2017, and also speaks at various seminars on Docking, Anchoring, Navigation, Tides and Currents and Trip Planning. After exploring other adventures for a couple of years, Ace has returned to the NWMC as our Adult Programs Manager.