Do you do kids courses? 

Not at this time. We will have kids (8+) on the boat if they are taking a course with a parent. However, we do not offer kids camps at this time. Please contact the Nelson Recreation Complex for their summer camp programs.

What kind of experience do I need before taking a course?

None! We are here to teach you what you need to know to get out on the water and have a fun, safe, sail!

Where do I start?

The best place to start is the Introduction to Sailing course. This course gets you out on the water for 2 full days and will teach you some of the language we use on the boat. It is the best way to get your feet wet and to see if sailing is for you!

What kind of gear do I need? 

The only “special” sailing gear we recommend is a pair of sailing gloves. Bike or gardening gloves can also work. We will send you an email before your course with ideas on layering for your clothing, but we provide all the necessary safety gear that you will require for your course.

How big are your classes? 

Our on water courses will only have 4 students. This is due to limited space, but also so that we can spend as much one-on-one time with each student as possible. Our classroom courses are usually around 12 students, however they may be more or less depending on the content.

What is the difference between the small boats and the big boats?

The small boats out on the water are called dinghies. The courses that we teach are taught on larger boats (24-28 feet) and are called keel boats. Keel boats have a large lead fin that help keep the boat stable in the water.

What is the difference between the day sailing crew course and the day sailing skipper course? 

Both of these courses are taught at the same time, however the basic sailing crew course is for people who may not be ready to take on full responsability for the boat. You will learn all of the same terminology and maneauvers as the skipper course, but you will not have the same expectations for handling the boat overall as the skipper students.

What if the weather is bad? What if there is no wind?

As we depend on the weather to cooperate for our courses, sometimes we need to make arragements to reschedule part of a course if we are unable to meet the curriculum requirements. Although a rare occurrence, if we do need to reschedule part of a course we will ensure that it works for all of the students.

How long is each course?

The introduction to sailing course is 14 hours long and is taught over 2 days. The basic sailing courses are 28 hours long and are taught over 4 days (or a combination of evenings and days). The intermediate sailing course is a live-aboard course and is taught over 5 days where the students will live on the boat together for a full week. For more experienced sailors looking to challenge courses, we can offer these courses in a shorter timeframe depending on the students’ abilities.

What if I am scared of if I cannot swim?

It is natural for you to be nervous about getting out sailing for the first time. It is the fear of the unknown! Just know that our instructors are professional, compassionate and here to help. Our boats are equiped with all of the safety gear needed to ensure a safe and pleasant experience. We are also sailing on keel boats, which are designed to stay upright and, contrary to dinghy sailing, there is no expectation of us entering the water at any point during the course. We wear our Personal Flotation Devices (lifejackets) at all times during our courses and we are very safety conscious. If you cannot swim, you can learn to sail.

What happens if I do not pass my course?

If you are unsuccessful in passing the writen test for your course, you can rewrite the test after waiting 14 days. If you are unsuccessful in passing the afloat requirements for your course, your instructor will recommend some additional practice you may want to do. You will be provided feedback throughout your course, so there should be no surprise if you are unsuccessful in passing your afloat requirements. However, if you are not comfortable being the skipper you can always attain your crew designation instead. You can also sign up for some mileage building courses or for one of our specific seminars to get more practice.

What will I receive at the end of my course?

If you are successful in meeting the requirements of the Sail Canada standard you are attempting, you will receive a Sail Canada logbook, BC Sailing Student Registration & Number, a Sail Canada seal for your logbook as well as a certificate of completion from Sail Nelson. There also tends to be some Sail Nelson swag that we love to spoil our students with 😉

How can I keep practicing after I complete a course? 

The best way to practice is to keep getting out on the water! We know that that is now always easy to do, however. You can look at joining our local sailing association The Kootenay Lake Sailing Association. We are also looking at setting up a sail share program, so get in touch with us if this may interest you.

What is a mileage builder? 

Mileage builders refer to increasing your experience out on the water (or your nautical miles). A mileage builder course is suitable for someone who has already completed courses with us, or who already knows how to sail.