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Weekend Sailing Courses

Posted by admin at 3:01 AM on Apr 14, 2017


Have you ever dreamed of learning to sail and becoming a proficient sailor, piloting your boat fearlessly around the Great Lakes or even the world’s oceans as you explore vast uncharted territories? Whether you dream of sailing to exotic locations around the globe with your partner upon retirement, or can’t wait to purchase your own boat for the cottage, we can help. At National One Design Sailing Academy, sailing is a passion!

We offer weekend sailing courses in addition to evening sailing lessons, because we believe an immersive environment is one of the best ways to learn how to sail. Spending a couple of days aboard one of our beautiful keelboats, gaining the experience, skills and  Sail Canada certification needed to begin your own sailing adventure, is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Weekend Sailing Lessons – The Basics in Just 18 Hours

National One Design Sailing Academy teaches you to sail on Lake Ontario, whose waterway conditions mimic those found all over the world, so you’ll be prepared to set sail just about anywhere. Our best-in-class sailing school uses only the finest sailing vessels, the most talented and down-to-earth instructors, and offers the most effective and efficient sailing programs in the industry. That’s why you can learn the basics of keelboat sailing in just 18 hours aboard. Of course, additional practice is always welcome and you can book one-on-one time with your instructor to master your skills and eliminate any weak spots in your sailing ability, once you’ve taken the basic course.

National One Sailing Academy weekend sailing courses are truly an awesome adventure. In addition to learning how to sail, you will have a great time and learn a lot about the Lake, explore its islands, get to know people better, gain confidence, sightsee, and make new friends. Sailing can help you break out of the bonds of shyness and move past any tensions or control issues you might be holding on to. You’ll discover a new freedom and see things from a different perspective as you get off the beaten landlubber track and enjoy the view from the peace and serenity of the water!

It’s never too late to learn to sail, and begin to enjoy the freedom and independence that comes with mastering this ancient blend of art, sport and travel. Join us for a trip you’ll never forget!

What to Expect at a Weekend Sailing Course with National One Design Sailing Academy

For maximum effectiveness, we have designed an 18-hour curriculum based around helping students learn the fundamentals of being an active crew member aboard a keelboat. This program is designed for students, even those with no significant sailing experience, to become comfortable and confident with their sailing skills. We want to help create a safe and enthusiastic sailing community. 

Here are just some of the practical skills and knowledge that will be acquired in our Start Keelboat Sailing course, which runs on Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday:

Preparatory Sailing and Crew Skills:

How to recognize and predict prevailing local weather conditions and winds.

Perform a pre-sail safety check on the boat, making sure all legally required equipment is present and crew are prepared with proper clothing, sun protection and flotation devices.

Learn about sails, halyards, sheets, blocks, winches, and proper rigging and controls.

Know the terminology for basic elements of the boat, sails, battens and rigging.

Tying and proper use of knots such as a stopper knot, bowline, cleat hitch and sail lashing knot.

Be aware of and avoid potential electrical hazards such as overhead electrical wires and storm lightning.

Boat Control:

Students will take on different roles (helmsman, crew, etc.) while learning the following essential skills.

Demonstrate appropriate departure skills including raising sails, line handling, casting off and general boat-handling.

Understand how elemental factors such as wind, tide and currents affect the boat and surrounding area while preparing to cast off.

Learn how to set sail in upwind, crosswind and downwind situations.

Demonstrate boat control in close quarters: learn how to maneuver around obstacles, start, stop, control speed, steer a predetermined course

Demonstrate boat control in open water: proper sail trim, accurate sheet adjustment of the mainsail

Learn crew coordination and communication.


Identify and respond to various aids to navigation in the harbour, including buoys and other markers

Piloting: familiarization with basic chart reading.

Demonstrate use of navigation rules for collision avoidance while sailing.

Understand municipal and provincial boating regulations.


Demonstrate how to depower sails.

Properly demonstrate an appropriate overboard recovery method (simulation)

Explain the proper procedure for using flares or another approved distress/emergency signal.

Become familiar with treating sunstroke, hypothermia and seasickness.

Be familiar with standard requirements for safety equipment.

Anchoring and Docking:

Become familiar with emergency anchoring procedures in the event of sudden loss of boat control, storms, injured crew situations or other emergencies.

Demonstrate appropriate boat-handling skills and crew coordination for arrival under sail 

Learn at least two different approach plans depending on various wind conditions

Learn stopping, tying up and lowering sails

Secure the boat properly, stowing sails, rigging and equipment

Make a final check of covers, hatches, docklines, etc.

Develop a Strong Sailing Foundation with National One Design Sailing Academy

If you’re looking to kick-start your journey with a professional, dynamic sailing course that will help you acquire a strong, nationally-recognized sailing foundation you can use anywhere…then National One weekend sailing lessons are for you! Just bring your weather appropriate clothing, closed-toed athletic shoes, and lunch and beverages . We’ll supply all the materials and equipment you need, plus the intensive instruction and hands-on practice required for you to become a safe and confident sailor.

If you would like further information about the sailing curriculum, or want to check course availability or discuss any of our diverse courses and workshops, please get in touch. We’ll be happy to discuss our weekend sailing lessons and help you pick the course that’s right for you.