Learning how to sail a keelboat


Keelboats allow you to learn to sail without the fear of capsizing, and usually with several other people on the boat. Learning to sail in self-righting keelboats (or trailer sailers) provides a learning platform that is stable yet responsive. As your skills progress, you will also develop an understanding of each persons role and how teamwork plays a major part of being an effective crew.

You should come away with the knowledge and confidence to sail a small boat competently and for those that wish, you can progress to larger boats or participate as crew on a racing boat.

 Areas Covered
Step 1
Start Crewing
12 hours
The first step on the Keelboat pathway introduces you to the basics of sailing on a small boat, including boat handling, safety and sailing theory
Basic sailing terminology and rules, basic knots, tacking and gybing, man overboard recovery
Start Helming
12 hours
This course develops both your theory and practical skills to confidently take control on the helm.
Preparation of the boat, helm and trim on all points of sail, recovery of man overboard whilst at the helm
Step 2
Start Skippering
12 hours
You will now advance your sailing skills and safety knowledge to enable you to skipper unsupervised in sheltered waters
Assess risks on board, boat maintenance, actions in an emergency, sailing backwards, mooring, interpreting weather and environmental conditions
Step 3
12 hours
This course introduces you to the fun and challenge of using asymmetrical and symmetrical spinnakers
Set up spinnakers, hoist, and drop techniques, correct use of spinnakers
Start Racing
12 hours
You will now learn the basic racing rules, skills and tactics and gain an understanding of what is expected of a racing crew on a small boat
Basic racing equipment, optimising sails for racing, understanding teamwork, basic rules of racing, crew communication

Click on the Activity Finder to find a Keelboat course near you.

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