SAILING LESSON FAQ's
Q: How to get a sailing lesson?
A: Here are the basics:
1. Register as a member online at cal-sailing.org.
2. Sign in on the lesson sheet in the clubhouse with your membership number.
3. Stow your electrical devices (salt kills!)
4. Put on a wetsuit or some foul weather gear (club has both for you to use, it ain't pretty but it works).
5. Put on a PFD, personal flotation device (a life jacket).
6. Wait by the boat ramp for your lesson.
Q: How do I get a sailing lesson?
A: If you’re not yet a member, get on the computer right now while you’re at home, go to www.Cal-Sailing.org and register as a member. When you get to Cal-Sailing on Saturday morning, go in the clubhouse and sign in on the Sailboat Lesson sheet.
Q: Can I bring my cell phone with me when I go sailing?
A: No, because your cell phone gets very very nervous at the thought of getting wet – especially with salt water. It’s best to leave your cell phone and other electronics in your car or in the clubhouse (but, be kind and make sure your phone is on silent mode if you leave it in the clubhouse).
Q: What should I wear?
A: Wear clothes that can get wet – so wear synthetic gym clothes and try not to wear cotton. Some dinghy sailors like to wear wetsuits (put the wetsuit on over a swimsuit). Other sailors like to put on foul weather gear (it’s kinda like rain gear) over their clothing. Cal Sailing has wetsuits and foul weather gear for you to wear.
Q: What about a life jacket?
A: Cal Sailing provides Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) for you to wear. In fact, you are required to wear a PFD before boarding any boat.
Q: I wear glasses. What should I do?
A: When you’re sailing, it can get windy and you can be splashed with water. Sometimes, your glasses can get knocked off your face. If you have to wear prescription glasses, please get Croakies (available at Big 5 Sporting Goods) to keep the glasses safely on your face. Please note: cheap sunglasses never fall off your face.
Q: How long is each lesson?
A: You’ll be out on the water for about an hour. Each boat holds about 4 people – one instructor and 3 students. During the hour lesson, the instructor tries to give each student a turn at steering the boat for about 20 minutes.
Q: How do I get the most out of the lesson?
A: If you’re new to sailing, make sure to let your instructor know that you’re not familiar with boats. If you get a bit nervous, make sure to tell your instructor so that he or she can arrange the lesson to your level. If you’ve been on a few lessons and are feeling more confident, decide on a skill that you want to practice and let your instructor know what your goals are.
Q: What should I bring when I come to CSC?
A: A complete change of clothes (these boats will capsize!), extra shoes, a towel, suncreen, sunglasses, a hat, snacks, drink, money for food, (they sell lunch and snacks at the bait ship across the street).
Q: What about shoes?
A: Please wear water shoes or other shoes that won't be damaged by water. Your shoes are going to get wet (salt water does not enhance the smell of your sneakers). Please do not wear flip flops because you need to be able to have a good foothold. It’s best to wear shoes that have a non-slip sole.
Q: What if I have specific concerns or specific goals I’m trying to achieve?
A: Every Saturday morning, there’s a sailing lesson coordinator. If you have any concerns, questions, or want to provide feedback, please let the lesson coordinator know. The coordinator is familiar with the sailing instructors and can help match you with the instructor best suited to your situation. You can also go to www.cal-sailing.org and send an email to any of the Executive Committee Members who provide leadership for the club.
Q: What else would help me make progress as a sailor?
A: Crew for Sunday morning or Thursday evening races! It’s great fun! Check the website for upcoming cruises and go on a cruise. Help out with Open Houses. Help skippers rig boats for lessons. Chat with other CSC folks Saturday or weekday afternoons and get invited to go out sailing.
Q: Is there any kind of book I should read?
A: Go to the Cal Sailing website and download the Introduction to Dinghy Sailing book as well as the Operating Rules of the club. Here’s the link for the Intro to Sailing booklet.
Q: What do I need to be able to perform to pass an on the water Junior Skipper Test?
A: Here is a comprehensive list. Scroll down to the Sailboat Rating System.
Q: Anything else?
A: Have fun!