Sample Lesson Plan
Sample Lesson Plan
SAMPLE SAILING CLASS PLAN: Most cruising students expect the bulk of their on-the-water practice will be spent sailing elegantly up and down the bay. But one secret of the sailing charter community, (we tell them conspiratorially), is that no one much worries how well you sail. The only penalty for mediocre sailing is arriving late to the next island. Being captain when the boat and its occupants are near the shore, especially when docking, is a very different matter. [ Read more about a typical sailing class ]
Evenings are available to entertain yourself, tour the waterfront, and make new friends among your fellow students. Upon successful completion, you will be certified to charter worldwide and FOR A DISCOUNT at Sailboats Inc. charter fleet locations.
Sailing Class Study Materials:
The Sailor’s Handbook – textbook by author Halsey C. Herreshoff
Online Home Study Program
Even a line to practice your knots!
Topics Covered in this Sailing Course:
What Makes a Sailboat Go
How Sails Work- Knots & Lines
Safety at Sea
Rules of the Road
Anchoring, Ground Tackle, Mooring
Leaving Dock & Returning
Sail Changes & Reefing
Radio Procedure & Use
Instruments, use & Purpose
SAMPLE SAILING LESSON PLAN: AN INSTRUCTOR TELLS WHAT HE DOES
Most cruising students expect the bulk of their on-the-water practice will be spent sailing elegantly up and down the bay. But one secret of the sailing charter community, (we tell them conspiratorially), is that no one much worries how well you sail. The only penalty for mediocre sailing is arriving late to the next island. Being captain when the boat and its occupants are near the shore, especially when docking, is a very different matter.
So our first drills introduce shiphandling, the art of guiding a boat under power, not sail. After a thorough dockside safety check, students are each given the helm for a stint, and clear of the harbor and other traffic, encouraged to power up and turn figure eight’s, rudder hard left, then hard right, to learn the boats turning radius. We instructors watch for those with tiller confusion, small boat owners used to pushing the tiller left to go right. All it takes is a little practice, we reassure them; think of your cars steering wheel.
Next we encourage students to use lots of reverse to get a feel for the boats stopping power. Student captains are always astonished how long it takes to stop these miniature ships, with their modest engines, tiny propellers and deceptive weight. They stare over the side at a gurgling wake as the boat continues to surge forward while in reverse, 7,000+ pounds of glass and lead unwilling to stop. It is a defining moment, especially for those small powerboat skippers used to lighter boats, mega horsepower and instant brakes.
After this lesson in momentum, skippers are ready for their first docking exercise. Since the easiest docking is portside toward the dock, (on these right-hand prop vessels) we attempt these first, to insure a manageable drill. (The paddle-wheel effect of the propeller in reverse pulls the stern to the left, and this helps to tuck the boat in smoothly and gives students an early success, an important boost to their confidence). Instructors watch carefully to see that each student is acquiring an instinctive feel for the helm, a growing confidence with the engine controls, and a feel for the approach angle (about 30 degrees) that protects the boat and works best.
We very gently encourage good sailorly habits early on–favoring gliding over powering, measuring speed over the side rather than the bow, memorizing the gear lever positions rather than looking at hands, observing the effect of each rudder change, and avoiding unneeded turning (worrying the rudder). If a student needs more practice, we give him or her another trick at the wheel. In this systematic program where a simple skill is followed by a more complex one, no sense moving to more demanding tasks while the fundamentals are still fuzzy!
After all the students are comfortable, completing a full set of port-side docking both as skippers and line handlers in turn, we up the ante.
Starboard landings are just a little bit harder, a good next challenge for these skippers. With a little encouragement– and after watching the instructor do a sample– they try the starboard version. As they apply reverse to slow the boat, students find the stern pulls away from the dock rather than sliding in, and they see this spoils their landing. With gentle advice, they learn to turn the wheel rapidly to the left just before touching, to absorb this paddle-wheel effect, twisting the boat into place.
When the whole crew has done a full set (about 20 cycles per side) of both port and starboard landings, new skippers are ready for docking in slips. Students learn that the best approach to a slip is not straight in (a very common error) but a shallow angle of 10-15 degrees that yields options. They find they can flare out early (like an airplane landing) if the wind is pushing them toward the finger pier, or force the boat in tighter if the wind is pushing them away, but have limited alternatives if they come in straight. After a round of easier portside slip landings, they move on to master the somewhat harder starboard slip.
When student skippers are comfortable at the controls on either approach, and can gauge their speed, size up the effect of the wind, and estimate the approach angle, they have mastered vital shiphandling skills. Patient and carefully paced instruction has instilled instinctive skills they can now polish for a lifetime. It is a very, very, satisfying moment for both student and instructor, capping an accomplishment that would take many years to acquire by trial and error.
We invite you to sign up for a fun-filled, educational sailing course!