Our Method

Published by Rob Lawnsby on Thursday, 15th October 2015 - 1:06PM in Our Story


Our Method: Making a sailboat go is far easier than most folks think. In fact we will have you sailing around the harbor adjusting the sails on the first day! What takes more time is to learn how to make the boat stop… how to get away from the dock and back again, navigating, who has the right of way, what to do in strong winds, and so on.

We have a unique way to teach beginning sailing. We are a hands-on school. Low in classroom theory and high on actually doing it. In three days we will take a complete novice and have them sailing out the harbor and into the bay!

There are two broad categories of sailing; racing and cruising. It‘s sort of like the difference between driving a sports car or a camper. Racing is the sailing you see on TV with lots of frenetic activity, adjusting of sails, and a team focused on speed. Cruising is messing around on the water with a lay-back attitude, cooking a good meal, and a tranquil night at anchor. We are cruisers. We focus more on anchoring techniques, docking procedures, and family safety on the water; rather than sail trim and speed. If you want to race there are many good schools for that, but not us.

Our class size is kept very small and our course length is one of the longest in the business, 3 full days. Our instructors are experienced cruising sailors, most have cruised extensively. We give students individual attention and lots of time at the wheel. We have opportunities for you to practice on the boat after course completion, so you can cement the skills that you learned. It's all about finishing with a good foundation, and enough repetition to make those new skills intuitive.

Everyone has their own vision of sailing and what they want to get out of it. Our staff has the knowledge base and experience to guide you to the best sailing option for your individual taste.

Our Location: We chose our home very carefully. We wanted the following: 1. An area with little indigenous boat traffic. 2. A protected harbor with a large enough sailing area outside to stretch skills, but small enough to be protected without waves or boat wakes to be an issue. 3. A place where current could be felt and experienced, but weak enough not to be challenging. 4. A good marina environment to be able to learn docking skills. 5. An area with a plethora of navigational aids and a variety of buoyage types. 6. Have this benign “learning area” be adjacent to a more robust body of water, where students could challenge themselves as their skills grew; but also have a variety of protected anchorages nearby for overnights.

In looking over various options, Narragansett Bay stood out. Very predictable wind patterns during the summer (light morning breeze and solid sailing wind in the afternoon.) Enough tide change (4 feet) to be aware of, but not be overwhelmed by. Enough current to be felt, but not enough to carry you away. And very importantly; a wonderful cruising ground with lots of places to go and explore.

 The Northern end of Narragansett Bay was perfect. Little boat traffic, current is slower, protected from the waves blowing up the bay, but open to the wind for sailing. Cove Haven Marina in Bullocks Cove is completely protected from storms, but easy to get out to the upper bay. And plenty of parking. Plus is one of the largest marinas in the bay to practice docking and close quarter maneuvering using an actual marina slip!

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