The course was a “Live Aboard” format with four students and one sailing instructor, Penny Staats, on a Mirage 35. The planned trajectory was leaving Kingston ON on the Monday morning, sail to Picton ON, and return to Kingston on the Friday. All four students were from different sailing backgrounds but had comparable levels of knowledge and skills.

We were greeted at the boat by Penny on the Sunday afternoon, settled in and went for super at a local restaurant. We spent the night on the boat at the dock. The course started on the Monday morning with a briefing, and hands-on practice of the things to do when taking possession of a sailing boat. We then set sail for the voyage under a sunny sky and light wind. We covered a number of manoeuvres and teaching points in the afternoon, with each student performing the exercise. We dropped anchor in a small bay of Amherst Island for the night. After supper, we had approximately two hours of ground school before going to bed.

The course followed pretty well the same format over the next few days. On the Wednesday night we slept at the Tip of the Bay Marina. On Thursday evening we completed and corrected our written exam. We spent the night in a small bay near Nicholsons Point, well sheltered from the waves and the wind that picked up overnight. The next day was a stormy day on Lake Ontario, which was a perfect occasion to put in practice what we had learned earlier during the course. We sailed to a small marina along the way to get pumped out and replenish with fuel, and we terminated the day at Kingston.

Throughout the week Penny maintained a steady pace of delivery of the course curriculum and hands-on practice. She seemed very well organized and although she seemed at times to be teaching large portions of the course from memory, she was confirming periodically from her teaching material that all the elements of the course had been covered adequately, asked if we had questions and followed with a quiz. She made good use of all teaching techniques at the appropriate time and when necessary.

All four of us were impressed with her abilities, knowledge and skills as a sailing instructor, and we would strongly recommend her to other students. As a former flight instructor myself, I am well positioned to appreciate an instructor’s abilities when I see them.


Georges Lagacé

Former student from Advantage Boating


Note from Penny: Georges is happily sailing the Ottawa River on his own boat and gets out as often as he can!