Learn to sail on San Francisco Bay. Tradewinds stands apart from other sailing schools. Stop by and visit our sailing school and club. Our ASA course offering prepares you for sailing the Bay or anywhere in the world. Sailing schools on San Francisco Bay.

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(9am-5pm, closed on Mondays!)




Sailing School

Frequently Asked Questions from Students

We developed this page to help answer questions that we receive from our students before and after they take their courses.

What should I bring to class?

Please review our short writeup.

Do I need to bring my own life jacket?

No. We provide US Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Devices to all of our students. We have correct sizes for people of all ages, including juniors. We insist that our students wear a PFD while participating in our programs. However, you are welcome to bring your own lifejacket if it is US Coast Guard approved.

Do I need lots of expensive clothing?

No. When you first take your lessons, wear normal outdoor clothing. As well, bring running shoes and a hat. Bring a few extra clothes as the temperature can be cooler on the water. When you sign up for one of our courses, we send you complete course instructions. When you are sailing on a regular basis after completing your lessons, you may choose to purchase some sailing clothes - eg. foul weather gear.

What can I expect during my class?

A lot of fun! We created a short scenario of a course to help give you an idea of what to expect.

Where can I sail after I complete my class?

The area in which you can sail depends on the course level that you have completed and the fleet that you are sailing. Please see our practice area and Fleet pages.

What and how much should I practice before my next class?

You should practice as much you need to feel comfortable with all new skills introduced in the previous course. Before taking your next course, we highly recommend that you compete all the exercises on the course exercise sheet.

Why should I get ASA certified?

ASA certification provides documentation of your training and is recognized by many national authorities, charter, and insurance companies. Sailors may join the ASA and take advantage of many valuable member benefits. Certification could help you in the future if the State and Federal governments are successful in their desire to have sailors licensed.

How fast can I go through the ASA course series?

As fast as you can take the class, complete the course exercise sheet, and master the skills required at each level before moving on to the next course. Trying to shorten our program by doing the minimum practice between course will not benefit you in the end. Please see Our Teaching Methodology.

Give yourself a minimum of 6 months to complete the 3 course package with 5-8 practices between each course. The 6 month pace requires about 24 days of sailing in 24 weeks, which is a tight schedule. Most members take longer because they want to practice more between courses at a more leisurely pace.

Do I need to join the Club after passing my course?

No. Some members own their own boats or sail with a friend. You must still complete the required practice before moving onto your next level.

Can I challenge a course level?

Yes. Some members come to our program with prior sailing experience. If you think that your sailing skills are at ASA level and you want to challenge that course, please call our office for more details. A normal challenge starts with taking the ASA written test for the levels that you are challenging and then taking a Practical Skills evaluation on the water.

What is the difference between ASA certification and US Sailing?

When you finish the entire keelboat program that we offer... there is no difference. You will be a very competent, skilled, and experienced sailor. Your certification will be welcomed by charter companies throughout the World!

US Sailing and the American Sailing Association have different techniques and course outlines toward the same goal. US Sailing focuses more on the technical/racing aspects of sailing early on in their program. The ASA course outline is oriented to the cruising sailor. Both are quality programs.

Am I too old to sail?

Sailing is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Some of our students are retired and are looking for a new sport. Sailing can be enjoyed at whatever pace you choose. While there is a physical element to sailing, cruising is not a speed endurance activity.


Last modified on: Tuesday, 31-Jan-2017 22:11:11 UTC