Training Sail

The program for training sails may include the following activities:  see the Calendar for scheduled training sails.

  • Getting acquainted - Becoming familiar with the boat and basic safety precautions prior to leaving the dock. Switching on the engine and checking boat’s response to forward, reverse, idle gear while still tied to the dock. Assessing the wind at the dock. Discussing the strategy for leaving the dock and handling the mooring lines.
  • Sailboat under power – checking the boat’s momentum (inertia) on a straight stretch of the marina fairway. Each member of the crew will try to get the feel at the helm for the boats momentum (the distance it takes the boat to stop when the forward thrust is turned off while advancing at the minimum speed to maintain steerage). When the boat comes to nearly zero speed the same person will try to execute a 180 degrees turn (a pivot turn) by alternatively using short bursts of reverse / forward gear and watching the way the boat’s stern is turning. Inquisitive minds may want to measure the initial speed & distance travelled with a GPS.
  • Sailboat under power on the way to the open sea – each member of the crew will steer the boat while others keep the lookout and engage themselves in reading a marine chart and matching it with the marine / land base structures the boat is passing. Recording the compass course and getting the notion of true course that is normally plotted on the chart. Notion of bearings and their importance in navigation.
  • Sailboat under power in the open sea - each member of the crew will steer the boat while the others will raise and lower the sails. Each one will have the opportunity to work at the steering wheel (in order to maintain the correct orientation of the boat during the activity of raising / lowering sails); work at the halyards & sheets and work at the mast. When everyone has had his/her turn, the sails will be raised, trimmed and the engine switched off.
  • Tacking while the sailboat is pushed by the wind – each member of the crew will take turns at the wheel while others handle sheets and observe the boat’s movements during tacking (boat’s bow crosses the wind in order to change the direction of sailing).
  • Jibing  - each member of the crew will take turns at the wheel while others handle sheets and observe the boat’s movements during jibing (boat’s stern crosses the wind in order to change the direction of sailing).  
  • Anchoring – each member of the crew will take turns at the wheel while others prepare the anchor, arrange the anchor chain / rode, prepare the sails to be lowered. Raising sails in preparation for weighing the anchor.
  • KNOTS - during spare moments while carrying out activities # 3 to 6 the crew will be practicing the art of making the selected marine knots.
  • Sailing and/or motoring back to marina - It is expected that during training sails, the crew will be sailing the boat under the guidance of the instructor while the skipper is watching in the background making certain the boat and the crew is not endangered in any way when the boat is away from the slip.
The training sail would spend less time on the Galveston Bay than the regular sail and more time on the preparations for leaving the slip and in the marina fairway.


Please review sailing etiquette before each sail.