You have always stopped to look at the boats from the coast and would love to try. You usually go out on a boat with a friend and want to know more.
Sailing is not just a sport, but a great lesson in life: being offshore with only the sound of the wind and waves allows you to see the world from a new perspective. On a sailing boat, you learn to respect the world that hosts us, to count on others, to know your limits.
The sailing courses in Canada are practically infinite, as are the schools that offer them. Those who decide to take this path will therefore be faced with a myriad of offers, not always of good quality.
The duration of the sailing course depends on the time of year in which it takes place: during the winter, the lessons are generally held over several weekends, while in the spring-summer, it is easy to find intensive courses of a week or two.
Why Not Learn Self-Taught?
Potentially you can learn by yourself to play tennis, climb rock walls, drive and even go sailing, but the question is: Is it worth it?
Making a mistake on a tennis court may mean losing a ball, but at sea, when the wind and waves increase, you could put your life itself at risk. Going out to sea alone are essential to learning but only at a later time when the basics are now clear.
How to Recognize A Serious Sailing School?
We start from the assumption that there are no absolute methods to choose a good sailing course; even the advice of a dear friend could disappoint expectations. In the years that I have spent among the sailing schools, however, I have identified some points in common between the more serious ones, and I want to bring them back, as my personal advice to those who are looking for a quality sailing course.
More boats and equipment in good condition are the first indicators of quality; it generally means that the school has been organizing sailing courses for some time and that it (rightly) invests in the care of the boats. Just to give an (absolutely indicative) number, a good sailing school should have at least a dozen boats, perhaps of different types and in good condition. As for the cabin cruisers, the numbers change since the cost of every single boat is much higher; if well maintained, even a single boat will be sufficient.
Existing patents for sailing instructors do not necessarily guarantee good teaching standard, but serious schools focus a lot on the training of their staff and on the teaching method. Often the instructor completes his training directly within the school: starting as a helper, he is gradually assigned more and more responsible tasks, up to taking care of the entire sailing course.
Each school that organizes sailing courses must have the safety of its pupil as its central objective.
On the ground, there must be everything necessary for first medical assistance, even better if there is a lifeguard or another person capable of providing first aid.
It is always preferable that the instructor and a helper follow the trainees from an inflatable boat so that they can intervene quickly when a problem occurs. The instructor should always have a cell phone or a radio with him in order to ask for help, and it would be a good idea to have at least one contact person on the ground.
Life jackets are mandatory! Be wary of those who do not provide them and ask for it expressly. It may even be annoying to wear, but in that famous time, the jacket could save your life.
A good sailing school knows all this and will not allow you to go out to sea except in maximum safety.
In general, however, be wary of those who own a boat and improvise a sailing instructor to repay some expenses, contact a real school.
When choosing a sailing course, never lose sight of the goal: to learn and have fun in safety; if a course respects all three parameters, then you will not regret the choice!