Episode #021: Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast: What to Expect From Your Sailing Coach

So your sailing school has told you what to expect from your course, but what should you expect from your sailing coach? There are many different teaching styles and several different learning types. Depending on how you like to learn, your sailing coach might have to get creative. However, there are some key things that you should expect from them. Here are my thoughts…

Listen to Episode #021: What to Expect From Your Sailing Coach

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Safety First!

Your coach should ALWAYS have your safety in mind. What does that look like? It means that they are teaching you how to safely get on or off of the boat. They are teaching you how to safely move around the boat; explaining why you should not be walking around on the leeward side of the boat; and should be educating you as you move through the course about safety on the vessel.


Your coach should ask you what your goals are and have an idea about why you are taking this sailing course. Did you sail as a youth? Are you brand new to sailing? Do you want to sail around the world one day? All of these things are important to be aware of so the coaching can be tailored to your goals.


The ultimate responsibility of your coach other than safety, is support. They are there to guide you through this sailing journey and to, hopefully, provide you with an amazing experience that has you wanting more! It can be really tricky being a coach as you have a lot of material to cover, but you also want to work at a pace that is comfortable for the students. Sometimes you need to push them out of their comfort zone to keep the course moving. Hopefully you can do it in a way that keeps everyone happy!


Sailing is a whole new language! I often congratulate my students at the beginning of a course, as they will leave the course bilingual! There are a lot of unique and odd terms used on a sailboat. Your coach should teach you the common and appropriate terms for everything so that when you take your sailing education on another boat, you can speak the language with the rest of the crew. Calling things “doohikeys” and “thingamabobbers” won’t do the trick 😉


Seamanship is the art of sailing without incident. What does this mean? This means that you have the knowledge and skills to work through whatever tasks or issues arise on the boat. You know your knots, you can helm precisely, you trim the sails well, etc. Seamanship is your overall knowledge. It allows you to safely and efficiently work the vessel, and your coach should be teaching you proper skills and habits from day one.


This is a tricky one and can be quite an art! Providing clear, relevant, feedback to your students is not always easy. However, it is essential to be a great coach. You need to be able to correct or redirect behaviours that are not ideal or not safe. Your coach should be able to provide you with feedback without making you feel belittled or discouraged. Not always easy, but it is necessary for your growth as a sailor!

Hope you enjoy your course!

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