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Basic Keelboat (US Sailing) - Learn To Sail Course FAQ's

How much will the course cost including exam fees?

The US Sailing Basic Keelboat course will cost around £260/$400/360 EUROS, plus an exam fee of £32/$50/45 EUROS. 

What will you get out of taking it?

From being an absolute beginner you should be able to skipper a small keelboat in sheltered waters in moderate weather conditions.

This course is more involved than the American Sailing Association equivalent, in that it teaches more about the theoretical side of sailing where the ASA course teaches purely the practical.

What are your limits on passing it?

You should be able to safely skipper or crew a keelboat in sheltered waters in moderate conditions.

Is the course theoretical, practical or both?

Though it is weighted heavily toward teaching you the basics of how to sail safely, there are theory elements that will ensure you can sail with due regard to other water users.

Where can you take the US Sailing Basic Keelboat course?

You can take the course anywhere with US Sailing accreditation to teach it. As well as the Lower 48 and Alaska you can learn on any US territory as well as the Caribbean and much of the Mediterranean too.

What level of experience do you need before you begin the course?

You don’t have to have any experience at all. This really means, you should have sufficient experience to know you enjoy sailing enough to invest in learning to sail!

Duration - How long does it take to complete?

The course takes a weekend or a number of evenings through the week. Many sail schools can be flexible according to your schedule.

What will you learn?

  • You will learn a number of skills required to enable you to sail a small yacht safely in sheltered waters.
  • You will cover docking and undocking, as well as how to set sail.
  • You will learn the parts of the boat and what to do for instance when asked to ‘trim the jib sheet’.
  • You will cover points of sail, and how to turn the boat in a tack or a gybe.
  • You will cover basic navigation and pilotage such as what side of a navigation buoy to stay, as well as the basics of the international Collision Regulations. 
  • Finally, you will cover essential safety techniques including how to tackle a fire aboard the vessel and how to rescue someone who has fallen overboard.

How do I progress after completing the Basic Keelboat 'learn to sail' course?

Consider further training through US Sailing accredited sailing schools.

Does it give you international accreditation?

No, but US Sailing is widely recognised as having a high standard of sail training.

You will be welcomed aboard yachts as a competent crewmember almost anywhere you wish to sail, whether on a day sail or a longer passage.

Further Resources - Where can I learn more about the course?

Have a look at the syllabus here.

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